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Old 05-01-2015, 09:17 PM   #1
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Septic systems and wells

Not entirely sure what forum to put this thread in, but plumbing seems close enough...

Anyway, looking at a new property in a rural location, off of the municipal water supply.

Ive never lived anywhere serviced by a septic system and a well.
I was wondering what some of the issues/drawbacks/problems/maintenance etc etc go with having a well and septic system is.

Obviously the septic system needs to be pumped out occasionally and can overflow into the yard.
Well water, depending on the quality, I imagine has to be properly filtered (and treated??) and I would assume periodically be sampled for water quality

What else?
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:31 PM   #2
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Your water comes from a pump. When the power goes out you will have a bit of water until the pressure in the tank runs down, but once gone you have none until the power comes back unless you have a generator.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:55 PM   #3
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Have your septic system looked at by the local authority for a presale inspection. That way if the worse happens you can deduct the cost of repair off the sale. Older septic systems are prone to leach bed failure that makes replacement mandatory due to State and federal EPA rules. A good Realtor should do this automatically. I would also have the well water tested for bacteria. Usually your local health department takes care of both.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:41 AM   #4
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It's no problem at all if done right, and is probably usually better for you than municipal. But there is some knowledge you should pick up if you decide to do it. (Mostly just get it pumped and inspected according to schedule, maybe every few years, and it's fine for 30-40 years from install).

A few problems to watch out for:

Pump may be sized inadequately/well may have insufficient capacity. Can it maintain good water pressure continuously, after it's been running for a while and the pump kicks on?

Well can be contaminated. Is it far enough from septic? Get test for bacteria.

Septic may be at or near or past end of life, depending on age, how often it's pumped, etc... See how old it is, get documentation on how often it's been pumped if any is available, have it pumped and inspected by someone not recommended by the real estate agent. If muni authority will inspect it, great.

(Real estate agent has an incentive to use inspectors who will find enough wrong to knock a grand or two off a deal, but who will not tell you all the problems they see (or should see) because they don't want to kill the deal.) A failed septic can be expensive enough to kill a deal. (5-30K+)

Roots may be growing into drain field. Be sure to cut trees that threaten it.
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:54 AM   #5
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This is very common. Others have given you good advice. Additionally watch what you throw down the drain. Garbage disposals should be used sparingly if at all. Avoid excessive chemicals like large quantities of bleach, latex paint ( I wash my paint brushes, use disposable paint tray liners and throw my paint roller covers out rather than wash them to reduce that load) , poisons or harsh chemicals. choose water saving appliances like washing machines. Don't drain storm water or sump pumps into your septic system
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Old 05-02-2015, 06:06 AM   #6
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A lot depends on how old the systems are.
One of your homes has a brand new pump, water softner, septic system and plumbing in a 75 year old house.
The other has a 50 year old septic that was built with no permits, buryed way to deep, terricotta clay leach field, plus the home has been added onto three times.
One was a porch with the slab pored over 1/2 the septic tank.
Guess which one is failing and is being replaced.
Older systems often times only had 500 gal. tanks and materials like Orangeburg, steel, or Terracotta drains that collaped or allowed roots in.
When posting in forums, letting us know your location will help others give better feedback/advice/solutions to your questions
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Old 05-02-2015, 08:30 AM   #7
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Are you talking about buying a property with an existing well and septic tank or installing a well & septic on a undeveloped piece of property?

If new, your local health department will specify separation requirements between your well (and any neighbors' wells) and a proposed septic systems. Also separation from any bodies of water (ponds, streams, etc.) Be aware that both are pretty expensive utilities. Most places a septic will cost $15K and up. A well and pump system, $10K and up. And when I say up, it can mean double or more.
Get estimates from local well drillers and septic installers.
My electrical answers are based on 2017 NEC, you may have local amendments.

Location: Coastal South Carolina
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