Septic and Well Off Property

drc13351February 14, 2009

Would a home builder ever put a well and septic tank/drain field outside the property lines? How could a builder get away with that? The reason I am asking is I am looking at a house that seems to have a well outside the property line on an empty lot next to it and the surveyor is having trouble finding the septic tank. The property looks too small for a well and septic ( .18 acre) but the previous owner lived in it for 4 years. All the other properties on this street have similar dimensions and are on septic and well. They don't seem to be having any problems. This is why I am confused. If your drain field is in your neighbor's property that neighbor could sue you if the sewage pollutes his well water correct? Has anyone ever seen a property with issues like this? The price of this house looks like a good deal and its a 2003. Maybe its not such a good deal.


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Never heard of that. I have two properties with well and septic and both are on my property. .18 acre sounds too small for a septic system, well and house from everything I've ever seen. What would you do if the septic system failed and you needed a new one?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 8:02PM
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You need to check the property, well, and septic tank records to find the who, when, and where of the whole mess. It is possible that the same person owned both lots and then sold one off. It is also possible that the well is a shared well. They are not unheard of. It may also be nonconforming in one or more aspects.

It is also not unheard of for well and septic tank placement on adjacent lots to make it impossible to legally build on a neighboring lot.

Basically, you need to know where to find the appropriate records, what the rules are, and what they were when the events transpired. Then you or your agent(s) need to make sure everything was done as it should have been done, and the property is usable today. The fact that your surveyor can't find the septic system doesn't bode well.

As has been mentioned, it is difficult to put a well, septic system and dwelling on a lot that small. Tread very carefully on this one.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 9:05PM
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The lot sizes are too small for such, there is probably is a community spetic system...where the laterals from each house all run to a pipe that runs to a communal leach field and septic system...same with the well.

This is fairly common where there is no sewer and or water system available, but they wish to build on small lots.

You will need to go to the town building office and investigate....and find out who is responsible for maintaining the system and the well. Often this type of set up involves an HOA.

Here is a link that might be useful: Community Septic Systems Brochure

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 11:37PM
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Happens here quite often... If most lots perc ok for septic and well then they are on the subject property. If a few lots in a subdivision can not sustain a septic system, the developer sets aside a certain area that can be used for these lots. The homeowner is usually responsible for the mowing of the grass on his part. It is recorded as a septic easment that goes along with the home. The HOA is usually responsible for determing whose pipe is leaking, and then once a determination can be made, the expense of repairing the pipe is handed over to the homeowner. Most of the time wells are still located on the subject property.
This is different than a community septic. Each tank and field is on a deeded easement.
So, it is probably not a big deal. Just pull the environmental perk permit, and it will explain everything, or at least it should.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 7:44AM
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you need to hav eyour LAWYER verify that if it is on adjacent property everythign is 100% legal and in your favor. you don't want to have an easement for the current system tha texpires when it fails. then you would be screwed!

here in MS it is illegal to put your septic on another property. wells may be shared, but no part of the septic can cross the property lines.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 10:59PM
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don't know about other areas, but here the health dept will not approve a septic system on any lot less than 6/10ths of an acre;

but putting the septic on someone else's property won't solve the problem.

In fact, the owner of the property where your septic is located could sue for who-knows-what/contamination of the soil maybe.

You might call the health department & the title company, but, as davidandkasie said, you may need legal advice.

I wish you the bet.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:45AM
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"Would a home builder ever put a well and septic tank/drain field outside the property lines?"

Yes, and sometimes legally, using an easement. DH and I looked at such a property.

"How could a builder get away with that?"
Legally, easement.
Illegally, inadequate or no inspections. Someone asleep at the wheel. Small, crowded neighborhoods it can be difficult to figure out where lot lines are.

A septic pumping company should be able to locate the septic system. I agree that lot size it too small for personal septic and well. Our town is having issues with lots much larger than that. They were fine for awhile, but now are failing. I grew up in a town where a dirty builder combined septics (2 houses dumping into one field, not discovered until many years later, houses were built in the 60s).

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 6:32PM
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