Raw Land Purchase - Perc and Well Question

missmaryJuly 22, 2013

My first posting in this neighborhood of GW. I usually hang out at the roses forum in recent years (landscape design and home decorating, too).

So - skipping to the chase....
The owner of the raw land property that borders the property we live on intends to sell his land and has given us first option to purchase it (we'd asked him to do that when we moved in here).

In researching buying raw land and to discover if it's buildable - and most significantly to get a land loan - we are repeatedly told that we have to have it perc tested. That we understand.

What we don't understand is why it isn't required that we also have it well/water tested? Meaning, is there water there that would feed a well (or whatever the terminology is)? Isn't that as big a question and factor for it being "buildable land"?

BTW - if this makes any difference - the property is about 1.5 acres, surrounded by about 10 other 1 - 2 acre lots with houses on them (including ours) that all have well and septic.

Miss Mary

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It depends on your location. Many areas of the country are well served by easy access to a well charted underground aquifer. Getting water isn't a problem at all.

Even in the west, if you dig deep enough, you can usually find water. Or have it trucked in. Or do rainwater collection and cisterns. Money is usually the only limitation when it comes to water.

And, actually, it's the only limitation to septic as well. There are plenty of lots that don't perc conventionally but that will qualify for alternative systems of waste handling. IF the money is there to create them.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:33AM
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I would counsel a bit of caution when it comes to the septic system. Local county health departments typically set the requirements on septic systems and water wells, and these requirements can change. A piece of property that was "approved" for a septic system in, say 1996, and was sold to a buyer on that basis at that time, might not be meet the requirements in 2013. This very scenario played out for a prospective client of mine within the past 4 months in Ohio. And there is absolutely no amount of money, no amount of engineering ingenuity, that will change things for my client working within the footprint of the existing property. The only solution is to buy more contiguous property, and it's not for sale.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Many areas of the country are well served by easy access to a well charted underground aquifer.

Really? Wish that were the case here. Maybe then we wouldn't have drilled a dry well the first time around. There isn't really a way to test for water on a particular lot. Well actually, I think there is testing equipment available, but it is very expensive equipment and finding someone to test for you is not easy. Not to mention the cost to get it done is not cheap.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:55PM
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I am now drilling my second well. First one was a paltry one gallon a minute at 240 feet. Neighbors were at 170 feet and 8 gpm. Across street they get 12 gpm. Not sure what well test they are talking about. Working with a hydrologist, the county, and the drillers the second well at 5000$ a pop is a best guess of where better to drill next. The pros have described my problem as saying the aquifer is fractured in my area. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 5:50AM
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1 gallon per minute is not as bad as it sounds. A few places have regulations requiring a certain minimum inflow rate-- but not where I live. I have a well that is 1 gallon per minute, 610 feet deep, and it has at times served 4 households simultaneously. A 6" well casing stores about 1 1/2 gallons per vertical foot. Subtract the static level from the total depth, multiply by 1.5 and that is how much is stored, ready for use, when the static level is full. In my case, that is about 810 gallons.
1 gallon per minute is 1440 gallons in 24 hours. Not good for lawn watering nor a swimming pool-- but will wash a lot of clothes and flush a lot of toilets.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:03AM
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