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History of the Well Developer

Frustrated with the methods available for small-diameter well development, Tom Kwader began building small-diameter surge blocks made from plywood and used truck tire inner tubes in the early 1980s in his garage.  Many drillers and field technicians began asking Tom to build well developers for them after seeing how fast they worked to increase well yield and improved water clarity. A small spring-loaded check valve was originally added to the surge block and the well developer could then remove the clays and silts from the well by pumping through the drop pipe, eliminating the need to bail or pump the well while surging.  A quarter-turn check valve was also added to the top of the drop pipe to keep the water in the well screen in low-producing formations for a longer development time before removing the slurry.  

In July 2002, Tom applied for a US Patent for this invention.  He was granted Patent No. 6,868,904 on March 22, 2005. In early 2007, Geoprobe® Systems assisted in producing the 2-inch prototype; and in the fall of 2007, the 1-inch prototype.  It was clear that the prototypes were a huge success and a high demand for the well developers required the mass production of the tool, which began in the spring of 2008 for the 1-inch, 1.5-inch and 2-inch models. Another feature is the low cost which allows for the Qwater Well Developer to be disposed of after each use which prevents cross-contamination between monitoring wells.  

In the fall of 2009, a Production Series of well developers was introduced for water supply wells constructed with 4-inch and 6-inch well screens.  A well developer for 8-inch well screens will be available in 2010. The Production Series of well developers has readily interchangeable parts that can be replaced if worn or damaged.

About the Inventor

Thomas Kwader, PhD, PG

  • Senior Consulting Hydrogeologist


  • Over 30 years of Groundwater Experience


  • Registered Professional Geologist in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina


  • Past Chairman of Florida Board of Professional Geologists


  • Licensed Florida Water Well Contractor


  • Author of more than 600 articles on Monitoring Wells and Groundwater Related Issues


  • Holds two US Patents for Well Development Surge Block Tools

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