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Old 11-15-2012, 06:39 AM
 
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When looking at houses in the Rockville/North Potomac area I noticed some of the "bigger" houses that are located just outside city limits are all operated with well water/septic tanks instead of public water/sewage. Is this an issue to be concerned with? Thanks.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Mount Airy, Maryland
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I grew up on city water and never had a well/septic until moving up here 10 years ago. It depends on what is important to you. Personally I LOVE not having a water bill and running the sprinkler in the garden as long as I want and I will always look for a house with a well if possible. But there are a few trade offs. The water pressure is a bit less than city water. Not that noticable in the shower but you do notice it in the kitchen sick a bit.. In addition well pumps run on electricity, so if you lose power you have no water. That's why folks up here always fill their tubs. Finally there is always a small risk that your well runs dry. Very very unlikely but drilling a new well is very very expensive.

The upkeep in next to nothing. Depending on the size of the family you pump the septic every few years and that's about it.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,090 posts, read 18,624,496 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveinMtAiry View Post
The upkeep in next to nothing. Depending on the size of the family you pump the septic every few years and that's about it.
I agree that the septic tank is not really a problem. In fact, you will probably get a larger lot than a house on a city sewer line, as you need a certain amount of land for the drainage field.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
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I would say be concerned to the extent of:
1. Ensuring the water is tested for contaminants (PM me if you'd like a recommendation).
2. If the water is acidic or hard, ensuring there's a treatment system you know how to maintain.
3. You'll need to know where the well pump stuff is and ensure you have a decent inspector thoroughly check it out. Maybe someone who maintains wells. Again, PM me if you'd like a recommendation.
4. Know where the septic stuff is in the yard, including the drainage field, if any. Be careful not to plant things in the area, drive a car over it etc...
5. Know about septic/well related maintenance. You'll need the septic pumped out every couple of years and to get a company to maintain the water-treatment system.
6. Go green. Using harsh cleaners can be a no-no since it could end up in your groundwater, and/or interfere w/ the beneficial bacteria in the septic system. Non-chlorine bleach on clothes, etc.
7. Ensure you get a lot of property - It is a bad idea to plant really close to the septic or on the leach field, so be sure the yard's large. So if you'd like to, there are other places on the property where you can garden, build a big patio etc.


The MDE had a list of groundwater contamination cases in the state, but I can't seem to find it. I used it to see if there were any issues near the house. You can probably call if you'd like specific information.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:44 AM
 
Location: Mount Airy, Maryland
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Good summary Kinky. Again this sounds like a lot but it's really not and the lack of a water bill and the ability to use as much as you want is a huge plus. I have to believe that your house has a water softener or an acid neutralizer. The upkeep on these things is pretty much add salt every year or 2.

One more thing I forgot to mention is you really should not use a garbage disposal with a septic, the organic matter will break down eventually but it taxes the system. Most everyone simply has one of those screens in the sink like the old days. No big deal.

I'm really surpised to read that there are wells that close to the city. If you have found a house that you like I would not let this issue be a big factor in your decision.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:36 PM
 
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Thanks for the responses. learned a lot!
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:22 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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One downside to well and septic is that when the power goes out so does your water.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:43 AM
 
Location: Greenville, NC
2,051 posts, read 4,844,846 times
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Replacing either the septic or well can be a very costly affair. The State of Maryland and the EPA are currently engaging in a little dance to see just what will be done with all of the septic systems in the state. The proximity to the Bay is causing a lot of problems. Gov. O'Malley gets a lot of grief for the new regulations and fees but his hands really are tied. There will come a day where each house that is not on a public sewer system will have to have it's own little system that prevents anything from leeching off of the property or into the ground.

Maryland is a very expensive state to live in, there is no doubt. Even something as simple as replacing a water well submersible pump can cost thousands of dollars and involve permits.

They are also taking a very close look at roof runoff from private homes. Closer to the Bay I've seen homeowners have to install holding ponds and berms to keep the rain water on their property.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:11 AM
 
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Personally I cant stand well water. I came from city water my entire life till I moved to Marylands Eastern Shore. Depending on location and your setup it can be a huge PITA to get everything correct so its drinkable. A close friend is a wastewater treatment manager and is on well water at his house.....he wishes he was on city water. Recently, Fruitland MD residents found a known cancer causing chemical in local wells that one home owner just happened to have tested. After one well was tested more were found to have that chemical present as well. I affectionately call the water on the shore cancer water. The rates for cancer here are incredible and most homes are well water, even some in the centralized "city" areas. Ill take a dead yard and water restrictions to the negatives of well water.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,090 posts, read 18,624,496 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveinMtAiry View Post
One more thing I forgot to mention is you really should not use a garbage disposal with a septic, the organic matter will break down eventually but it taxes the system.
We have a garbage disposal with a septic tank. We just use it very sparingly, like to rinse off plates. I would not dump a large amount of stuff though the disposal as it doesn't break down well. I save garbage in cans in the freezer and put it out with the trash.
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