Wells in aquifers of loose collapsible sediment are cased so that they have a blind wall and gain water only from the bottom. The hydraulic gradient established at the bottom of these wells during pumping brings the aquifer materials in a quicksand state, which may cause abrasion of pipes and pumps and even the destruction of well structure. To examine the quicksand occurrence, an analytical solution for the steady flow to a partially penetrating blind-wall well in a confined aquifer is developed. The validity of the proposed solution is evaluated numerically. The sensitivity of maximum vertical gradient along the well bottom in response to aquifer and well parameters is examined. The solution is presented in the form of dimensionless-type curves and equations that can be easily used to design the safe pumping rate and optimum well geometry to protect the well against sand production. The solution incorporates the anisotropy of aquifer materials and can also be used to determine the hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.