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Old 06-09-2011, 11:02 PM
 
277 posts, read 601,512 times
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What has been your experience/impression of wells and/or septic tanks? Are they a big deal, and what generally is involved? If your house has these, have you had any major issues? Is not having city water or city sewer a big deal? Or do city utilities present MORE of a hassle in your opinion?

I've never lived anywhere before that wasn't solely fed by city utilities, so seeing neighborhoods (some VERY nice ones, like N Valley, N Albuquerque Acres, Corrales) fed by wells and septic tanks is new territory for me.

Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:32 AM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
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1. What does the well water taste like? What does it smell like? We once lived in Florida where the water had a high sulfur content. Do you know what rotten eggs smell like? That is because of the sulfur. High iron content and you get the rust stains.

2. Had a pump go out in our home in PA, it was about $1,000 to replace (a jet pump at the bottom the the well, about 700 feet down).

3. We have natural occurring arsenic in the water in New Mexico. You going to have the water tested?

4. Septic systems need to be pumped out periodically, sometimes by local law. I think in PA it was every two years by law. Some of the restaurants in Corrales every couple of days. Drain fields can get expensive to "fix" they might have to dig up a large portion of the yard.

"Or do city utilities present MORE of a hassle in your opinion?" never had a hassle with city utilities. Just pay the bill, things work. No water pressure problems etc... Everything else being equal I would go with city utilities. But we do miss our house in rural PA even with its septic and well.

I have no personal experience with well and septic in New Mexico...



Rich

Last edited by Poncho_NM; 08-04-2016 at 08:29 PM..
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Sacramento Mtns of NM
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I don't know how strictly septic tanks are controlled in NM, but there are states (Colorado being one) where you cannot sell a home unless it has a contemporary septic system approved by the state. I don't know what that means in terms of technology - but apparently latter-day designs are more ecology friendly than older designs. I also think they are much more expensive to install than the former designs.

As for well water - it can be either potable or not, depending on local conditions. Certainly there is more potential for contamination in those areas close to animals, populations and industry. But naturally occurring "contaminants" can also mean more expense to render potable - hardness, for example, may require a softener or RO system. Iron, sulfur and saltiness can be treated, but at what expense?
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:58 AM
 
Location: 5,400 feet
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Info here: Important General Information and Disclaimer about Septic Systems, Wells and Water

One of the significant changes was septic size requirements related to the number of bedrooms, which may require that the tank be replaced before sale. I think the seller has to have the tank pumped before selling. It may also have to be inspected.

We have been on community water and septic here for 12 years with no problems at all. As Rich as pointed out, water quality and septic performance can be location specific. Some homes very near us had to have engineered septic installed because of poor drainage. Our neighbors had to relocate the septic during construction because it drained too quickly. Our water is a bit hard, so we use magnetic softeners. Others here use nothing or conventional softeners.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Abu Al-Qurq
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Albuquerque's city water and sewer are, without equal, the most reliable and best quality utilities to be had. Even a completely perfect well and septic would never compete on quality. If only the electric & gas utilities (good) or the phone, cable & internet utilities (fair) were as predictable.

In terms of price, if you are a heavy water user, perhaps there'd be some advantages to having a well. City water is a bit pricey if you're not doing household things with it (like watering plants/lawns/crops). I don't think you can even dig a new well within city limits (and old ones might be hard to upgrade).

There's also a third option: if you live in the valley, there are acequias that can occasionally be diverted to flood or irrigate your land, depending on your water rights. From what I understand these tend to be use-it-or-lose-it sources of water, and there's no guarantee in a given span of time of receiving an allotment when you need it. Beats the heck out of a well if you need acrefeet of water though.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
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I have only had one well and septic, and now I have city water and sewer. I cringe when I see those utility bills arrive, because I got so used to only having an electric bill for 20 years. My experience was that well and septic were very care free and economical...sure there was ocassional maintenance, but not much.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:23 PM
 
277 posts, read 601,512 times
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Thanks for the thoughts.

It is just interesting to me that so many "in-demand" neighborhoods with pricey homes have this kind of set-up (well/septic). Has there ever been a push to link up to city utilities in neighborhoods like North Valley, North Albuquerque Acres, Corrales?

Do residents PREFER the well/septic to preserve that truly-rural feel? Or is it a matter of just putting up with any hassles of well/septic because the neighborhoods are otherwise so desirable for other individual reasons?
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Old Town
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crackiswhack View Post
Thanks for the thoughts.

It is just interesting to me that so many "in-demand" neighborhoods with pricey homes have this kind of set-up (well/septic). Has there ever been a push to link up to city utilities in neighborhoods like North Valley, North Albuquerque Acres, Corrales?

Do residents PREFER the well/septic to preserve that truly-rural feel? Or is it a matter of just putting up with any hassles of well/septic because the neighborhoods are otherwise so desirable for other individual reasons?
Those areas are more rural in nature. It is not fiscally feasible to do so.

IMO it is not a hassle for well/septic. My father has lived on well/septic for 30 years in Belen. In the 30 years he has only had to replace the water pump once and pump out the septic every couple of years which is only about $150.

He has better water than what I do in Albuquerque. I know because we both have had it tested.
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:34 PM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
26,083 posts, read 42,809,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crackiswhack View Post
Thanks for the thoughts.

It is just interesting to me that so many "in-demand" neighborhoods with pricey homes have this kind of set-up (well/septic). Has there ever been a push to link up to city utilities in neighborhoods like North Valley, North Albuquerque Acres, Corrales?

Do residents PREFER the well/septic to preserve that truly-rural feel? Or is it a matter of just putting up with any hassles of well/septic because the neighborhoods are otherwise so desirable for other individual reasons?
Do residents PREFER the well/septic to preserve that truly-rural feel? - No.

Yes there has been a push to link up to city utilities in Corrales. It went on for over 10 years, with federal funding lost because of failure of the Corrales government to act.

North Albuquerque Acres? How about this from starters, just a portion: North Albuquerque Acres Community Association - Public Announcements - 2011 Well Water Testing Request
Public Announcements
2011 Well Water Testing Request
4/21/2011

Hello NAA Community Members,

I am writing to ask for your input about some free water testing I would like to do in North Albuquerque Acres this Spring.

I recently became aware of a few water sample results that showed high levels of arsenic in the northern and northwestern portions of NAA. We don’t have enough data to say that arsenic in NAA is a widespread problem, but its presence in some domestic wells does get our attention. Arsenic is a carcinogen and is naturally occurring and can be filtered out.


I have hired a local laboratory to test 150 well water samples for nitrate (an indicator of contamination from septic systems) and arsenic. I would like to do the sampling in the second half of May and possibly into the first half of June.
Rich
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Old 06-12-2011, 10:35 PM
 
277 posts, read 601,512 times
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Interesting... thanks, Rich. And thanks to all for the input.

Sounds like overall, if given the opportunity, people would much prefer city over well/septic but are willing to make do if the property fits a lot of other individually-appearing criteria...

So the Corrales issue is pretty much a DEAD one at this point?
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