Well

espressoAugust 13, 2012

While we are not building a home, there are plans to build ten of them surrounding our property, all on wells/septic. My concern/question is the following:

A few years ago, we learned that developing the land around us would not be feasible, because perc tests did not provide sufficient water supply to support new homes. Now, there will be TEN new homes. Did they have to redo the perc tests prior to the township approving the development? What could have changed?

Our well is considered weak, with approximately 2 gallons/min., at 400 feet depth.

Will those new homes deplete our already lower than standard (per county it should be 3 gallons/min.) water supply?

I contacted the township and the county. They could not give me an answer. However, I was told to dig a new well should ours dry out, at our own expense. We're already 400 feet deep, and the well was a bit of an issue when the property was built, so the installer of the well.

Does anyone else have any input? I was left with a sense that people don't really care. A house without water is uninhabitable, digging a well is pricey, and finding an interim place to live is also not cheap.

Thanks a bunch!!

espresso

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Annie Deighnaugh

Wow....I would make a stink with the town as their town engineer and sanitarian should be involved in such things as perc test results....sounds to me like there might be hanky panky going on if suddenly 10 homes are approved. I would do what I could through public hearings and such and see if the perc tests results are available. While their wells may not necessarily impact yours, if it is a very low water table issue, it might. It's more of a matter of how close the houses are and what kind of septic nightmare may be created by this turn of events.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 12:46PM
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stinkytiger

Hi,

If I am not mistaken a "PERC" test has something to do with Septic fields and less to do with wells. What I think a Perc test does is determine if the land, and more specifcally soil conditions will be sufficient to absorb and process all the waste water. Note "soilds", sorry sort of getting messy here :) , are kept in the septic tank which is emptied out once every few years.

If the land is deemed not sufficient, i.e. the PERC test fails, then the usual remedy is to bring in topsoil which will allow for the septic field to operate correctly. This can be expensive and may stop people wanting to build.

The other thing to note is that "PERC" tests are usually not controlled by the town planning department, but by the local county / regional health department. If they sign off, then the town sort of is off the hook. I.E. the Town says that it is OK because the EPA, and the Health department said it was OK.

As for water. It is not good in that you may get less water and may have to dig a deeper well. As to who has rights to the water sort of depends on which part of the USA you live and the local water rights legal situation.

I think what you can do is to at least write a letter of concern / objection to the local town planning board and the local health department. In the end it may not stop the development, however because you are flagging the issue, it does tend to make officials delay things. I.E. If I were a town guy, I would want tripple sign offs before I say OK. I.E. I am well covered legal wise. So this may deter developent, but ultimately may not stop it.

Best, Mike.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 2:34PM
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dekeoboe

As Mike stated, perc test have to do with the septic system, they do not have anything to do with the well. The only way to determine if water is available is to drill a well. Okay, there is another way, but it involves taking "pictures" with very very expensive equipment.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:21PM
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espresso

Thanks for the responses!

I did some more research,and yes, I learned that perc tests are for the sewage part, not the water supply. Apparently, water/sewer has been taken take of in a way that should not affect our well, BUT that will only be evident once wells have been dug, and may also be dependent on the new homeowners' water usage habits, i.e. watering lawns, filling hot tubs, etc.

I did talk to the township, the county, and the company that constructed our well. Nobody can give guarantees, there is no safe and good way to 100% prevent the problem.

If I went on record with the township, and the county, in the end, it would not provide me with any legal recourse in terms of who would have to shell out the $$$ for a new well, which would be me in any case.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:17PM
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david_cary

I guess the way you should try and look at it is that anytime you drill a well, it can dry up. Nature could do that by way of drought. Your frustration is really the result that it might be other people rather than nature but I do think there is little you can do about it in most jurisdictions.

No one knows really about the water supply so the real issue was likely percing for septic. If they came up with an alternative, then you will not be affected. But if they drill a lot of wells, then it is possible that you will have a watertable issue. But - who would build 10 homes and not be comfortable that they can get water? Perhaps they know at 600 feet that they will get plenty of water and they are building a community well for that. Well - in that case, your 400 ft well would probably not be affected at all.

You could talk to the developer/builder and see what their plans are. The way you could start the discussion is to mention that your well is a little weak and you wanted to see what their solution was going to be. Heck maybe you can tie into their theoretical community well to reduce your cost and get better flow. Going deeper almost always works and a large well (for 11 houses) costs a lot less on a per house basis than a single house well.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 4:38AM
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