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Old 05-02-2013, 10:45 AM   #1
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Well and City Water Dilemma


I have a private well in SE Wisconsin that was installed in 2002. Since I bought the 1950s house in 2011, I’ve noticed that the well water comes out clear directly from the well, but with tiny flecks of black particles. I’m assuming it’s iron/manganese because I see orange rust stains on the bathroom fixtures. Occassionally, when I’m using the water a lot, I’ll see black smudges on my finger tip. I have a new culligan softener with carbon filter and well tank (there’s a mix of copper and galvanized pipes in house). I have 2 ways of addressing the iron/manganese and hence my dilemma:

  • Get a costly iron curtain for $3000 or a cheaper Amtec/Culligan filter for $300. I have to assume that the well or well pump, already 11 years old, will have to be replaced at some time in the future (another $2000 maybe).

  • Ditch well water and go with city water. Cost is potentially $8,000 - $12,000. Cost could be lower if my neighbors join in as well.

They’re both undesirably expensive, except the city water is the maintenace free, long term solution. I'm not certain the iron/manganese filter is 100% effective.


What would you do?

UPDATE: just spoke with well-respected well driller who said that i'm dealing with sulfur-reducing bacteria. solution:

1. chlorinate the well with 1 gallon of chlorine, wait for 2 days, and flush for several hours
2. install a chlorine filtration system with iron filter.

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Old 05-02-2013, 10:48 AM   #2
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Well and City Water Dilemma


City water is maintenance free but you're also paying for it, so don't forget to add that to your considerations.

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Old 05-02-2013, 11:14 AM   #3
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Well and City Water Dilemma


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scully View Post
  • Ditch well water and go with city water. Cost is potentially $8,000 - $12,000. Cost could be lower if my neighbors join in as well.
At what point will the City *require* connection to the available main?
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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Well and City Water Dilemma


It is rare that locations with available city water let folks keep using their wells. They're gonna get you sooner or later.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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Well and City Water Dilemma


are you on a septic system? if so there is usually a requirement that your septic system be a certain distance from well (whether your well or your neighbors). this can limit the location of your septic system. when on town/city water it provides you with more options.

just food for thought ....
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:11 PM   #6
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Well and City Water Dilemma


Do you have a water filter intended to take out particulate matter?

When there is a lot of stuff to filter out, the filter element will require more frequent replacement.

If or when you are required to hook up to city water, you will not be charged the cost of laying the water main in the street as part of your hookup fee. It is possible for affected property owners to be assessed for water mains as a "betterment" charge but you might appeal that you should not have to pay a higher rate or fee simply because there are few homes on a long street. However property value, street frontage, and combining the costs of all water main projects done that year have been considered acceptable means of computing your share of betterments.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:11 PM   #7
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Well and City Water Dilemma


Wait, cities really REQUIRE you to hook up to town water if it's available?

I remember, living in MA, when there were water shortages, they'd limit outdoor water usage for people on town water. But you'd see just random houses with big signs that said "on well water!" so they could water their lawns without the limitation imposed by the town. I just always assumed, based on that one experience pretty much, that all communities left it up to the homeowner.

Fascinating.
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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Well and City Water Dilemma


They usually make you hookup to town water but if you have a well you can continue use it for watering the lawn and washing cars etc.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:29 PM   #9
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Well and City Water Dilemma


Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
At what point will the City *require* connection to the available main?
my city doesn't require you to hook up to city water. it's entirely optional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GBrackins View Post
are you on a septic system?
no, i'm on city sewer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Do you have a water filter intended to take out particulate matter?
i just have a new culligan softener and carbon filter.



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Old 05-02-2013, 04:52 PM   #10
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Well and City Water Dilemma


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scully View Post

UPDATE: just spoke with well-respected well driller who said that i'm dealing with sulfur-reducing bacteria. solution:

1. chlorinate the well with 1 gallon of chlorine, wait for 2 days, and flush for several hours
2. install a chlorine filtration system with iron filter.
Hey Scully,
Please keep us posted after the chlorination, flushing, and filtration system have been installed. This is a very interesting topic.
Thanks,
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:57 PM   #11
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Well and City Water Dilemma


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scully View Post
my city doesn't require you to hook up to city water.
The question is about knowing when that will change.
Especially before spending serious money on the well/filter.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:59 PM   #12
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Well and City Water Dilemma


I would try chlorinating the well first before spending any big money. I've done mine twice in the last 9 years, the first was because it barely failed a water test at closing on the house. The first time, I used some chlorinating tablets from the well company who did the test, and cycled the water through for hours. THe second, a friend who's a plumber told me to pour a gallon of "Pool SHock" into the well casing, run a garden house into the casing for a an hour or so to circulate, and then run the hose out to the ditch for 4+ hours to flush it out of the system. It worked fine, and I didn't die, but I did run it for 8+ hours just because the scent of chlorine still seemed strong.

If you do decide to chlorinate, I'd highly suggest taking off the aeroator on every faucet, as well as any shower heads, as it will loosen a ton of particulate and clog those things up instantly when you run the water.....

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