Hi! My name is Ken. I'm going to periodically write about running, writing, and a number of other topics. Please feel free to read my posts and provide your comments. If you have a question about any topic, leave a message and I'll try to help you get the information you're looking for. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wells versus City Water, Septic Systems versus Sewers

 I'll never buy a house with a drinking water well and a septic system. Well, that's my position at this point in life. And why do you suppose I'm against wells and septic systems? Wells provide some of the highest quality drinking water and septic systems can be carefully designed to accommodate even difficult sites. Also, there's no monthly water and sewer bills to pay. I know I just ruled out some fantastic properties and homes out in rural parts of the country.   But I'm okay with that and here's why.

Private drinking water wells can easily get contaminated with chemicals. Keep in mind that standard well testing for homes doesn't typically include analyses for all chemicals of concern. For example, agricultural activities can introduce pollutants like pesticides, nitrogen, phosphorus, and bacteria into the groundwater. Industrial and commercial activities can contribute things like benzene, toluene, xylenes, trichlorethylene, ethylene dibromide (EDB), methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), heavy metals, and cyanide into the groundwater from spills and other things. Storm water off roads and highways can be a source of elevated sodium and chloride from road salt, two pollutants of concern for people with blood pressure issues.  Another issue with a well is that when the power goes off, a water pump won't work unless you have a back up power source like a generator. The well system needs to be maintained too and that costs money and time when things break down.

Regarding septic systems, I grew up in a house that had one.  Our property was located at the bottom on a small hill. I lost track of how many times the system got backed up because the groundwater table was so high we couldn't flush the toilets. Also, a septic tank needs to be cleaned out once every two to three years. And to get to the tank, someone has to dig up the ground to find the cover. God forbid you need to do it in the winter. Although if you can't remember where the cover is and there's snow on the ground, the heat from the septic tank will diminish the depth of the snow over the tank, making it easier to find.

With city water and sewer, I don't have to worry about pollutants in and around the neighborhood polluting the drinking water and a septic tank backing up. When the power goes out, I can still get as much water as I need and continue to flush the toilet whenever I want.  I don't have to dig up my backyard or worry about getting a septic tank pumped out. Also, I feel comfortable knowing that the water I do get from the water company is regularly tested for many pollutants and has been treated to remove organics, inorganics and bacteria. The peace of mind I get from the water and sewer services is "well" worth the cost.

So the next time you're in the market for a new home, think about what I shared here. I hope it helps.

Also, I'd be interested to hear what you think about this post.  Am I being short-sighted?
Let me know.



1 comment:

  1. Hi Ken, thanks for stopping by my blog. FYI, you can set your email in Blogger so people can reply to your comments directly... the way it is now, it's "no-reply." Of course, you may prefer it that way, I'm just sayin'... Happy writing, in any case!


Your comments are appreciated!