U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New Jersey
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-18-2010, 10:24 PM
 
388 posts, read 1,418,946 times
Reputation: 252

Advertisements

Hi,

We are looking to buy a house. Most of the homes we looked at in this town have public sewer and water, this property does not. Could it be because it was custom built (in 1979)? Should we stay away from septic sewer and well water, and if so, why? We know nothing about this stuff...

Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-18-2010, 10:45 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,188 posts, read 30,583,381 times
Reputation: 5166
If an area is annexed into the actual city/town limits, many times the city/town will tie in the public water/sewer into the home. If the home is in the county and not the city/town, or if local laws did not require a tie in at the time of transition, then it sits as it does now with the old style systems (I'm guessing it's in a county area and not actually in the city).

Septic systems are not necessarily evil. They just require regular maintenance (clean-outs, adding the right additives, not putting weird stuff into them via the toilet, using the right laundry detergent to avoid build-ups, etc etc). Many areas still use septic systems. Well water is a matter for debate - some people swear by it, others hate it; there's been debates about the health issues of drinking well water for years. It requires occasional inspection and testing of the water, and keep in mind if the house does not have a backup generator or solar backup, then whenever the power goes out you won't have water pressure, either. A drawback. Personally I could live with septic, but not well water (just my opinion).

Check with the local town/city to see where the house fits in to their zone to maybe get tied in to the local utilities. It can cost a few thousand dollars however. The local authorities will be able to go over the specific laws in that particular area with you.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2010, 06:34 AM
 
388 posts, read 1,418,946 times
Reputation: 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post
If an area is annexed into the actual city/town limits, many times the city/town will tie in the public water/sewer into the home. If the home is in the county and not the city/town, or if local laws did not require a tie in at the time of transition, then it sits as it does now with the old style systems (I'm guessing it's in a county area and not actually in the city).

Septic systems are not necessarily evil. They just require regular maintenance (clean-outs, adding the right additives, not putting weird stuff into them via the toilet, using the right laundry detergent to avoid build-ups, etc etc). Many areas still use septic systems. Well water is a matter for debate - some people swear by it, others hate it; there's been debates about the health issues of drinking well water for years. It requires occasional inspection and testing of the water, and keep in mind if the house does not have a backup generator or solar backup, then whenever the power goes out you won't have water pressure, either. A drawback. Personally I could live with septic, but not well water (just my opinion).

Check with the local town/city to see where the house fits in to their zone to maybe get tied in to the local utilities. It can cost a few thousand dollars however. The local authorities will be able to go over the specific laws in that particular area with you.
Thank you! Very useful!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2010, 07:24 AM
 
63 posts, read 120,867 times
Reputation: 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAVC View Post
Hi,

We are looking to buy a house. Most of the homes we looked at in this town have public sewer and water, this property does not. Could it be because it was custom built (in 1979)? Should we stay away from septic sewer and well water, and if so, why? We know nothing about this stuff...

Thanks!
I would highly recommend you avoid *any* house with a septic/well system. If you must buy it:

[1] - Check with the county to ensure that it is on record and properly permitted. You can also get a history on any work (that they had done legally of course) to the system to get an idea of what shape it is in.

[2] - All septic systems fail eventually. It is an expensive repair. I had a tiny septic system that was going bad and was quoted at 15k - 20k for the repair, plus an additional 1k - 4k to seal off the old system. It's not cheap at all.

[3] - It requires work to take care of a septic system. You do not want to flush drano down the pipes if they get clogged for example. You'll want to make sure you spread your laundry out over the entire week rather than do it on a single day. Depending on the water table and how the soil is (perk test can tell you a little about that) you may need to watch the system come heavy rains. Try to avoid pouring any grease down the drains as well as any fatty substances.

[4]* GET A SEPTIC INSPECTION DONE when you buy the home, preferably before you have any money down on the house! I used a company called 'Advanced Septic Inspectors' and I was very, very pleased with them. They were expensive ($700 all told) however they saved me from buying a home with a terrible septic system (would have cost me the amounts you saw quoted above) - and my research discovered the system was unpermitted as well.

It can be a good decent system, and you'll avoid paying for sewage but I'd avoid it, especially after my septic system scare - I don't think anyone is ready to drop another 15k - 20k on a house a few months after you move in. It would have been a nightmare. Of course your milage may vary - but at least be aware of the four points above! Good luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2010, 08:29 AM
 
1,173 posts, read 4,197,265 times
Reputation: 1332
We just bought a house with a spectic system, like you I had never had one before and at first I was completely turned off by the whole idea. But the town we wanted to move to has NO sewer system so we bit the bullet and I'm totally fine with it now.

I like to do research so for me actually understanding what a septic system is and how it works was the first step. The best resource I found for this and many many other house systems was a book by reader's digest called The Home Owner's Manual. Highly reccomend it, it talks all about every system in a home, tells you what maintenance is needed. Breaks all jobs (maintenance & DIY projects) down into what tools are needed and difficulty levels. They also breakdown complex jobs that even if you get a contractor at least you understand what work is involved so you don't get ripped off. Their section on septics was very clear.

As for getting an inspection I 100% recommend it, we paid $495 although for what the guy has to do it's a bargain. They basically open the lid and stick their heads inside the tank (EWWWWWWW!!) then they have these little telescope cameras that they insert and make sure all the tubes are clean, the one from the house and the one that connects the multiple tanks etc. They also make sure the draingage field is working correctly but our guy didn't get that far.

When we had our inspection we were so nervous since we really wanted the house, our faces completely fell when the guy came out and said "sorry the system is shot, I have to fail it" Well our faces fell but our realtor and the home inspector (different co. from septic inspector) smiled and said "that's great!" HUH?!?!?! Well it's turns out the health department will NOT allow the sale of a house with a failed septic. The seller has two options, fix the septic and continue with the sale of the house or take the house off the market and keep using the failed septic at thier own risk. So in our case the failed system worked out well because we got a brand new system installed for us right before we moved in At closing we did get to see how much the seller paid and I believe if was just under $15K definitely not something you want to worry about having to fix yourself aftert just buying a home.

As for daily usage it's not that bad, the only things different are that I can't have a garbage disposal (bummer) and I have to be very careful when i wash the dishes making sure nothing gets down the drain. Also if we have a clog we're not supposed to use drano but no biggie there are natural enzyme products they sell just for clogs in a septic system. They are better for the planet too. We're not supposed to do too much laundry back to back but ocasionally I do, I mean I'm a working mother with an hour commute, what else am I supposed to do? Haven't had any problems from this at all. Also, no paper towels or flushable wipes down the toilet. I very rarely fry stuff but if I do now I have a little jar in the kitchen where I have to pour the oil into so it doesn't go down the drain. Our town is all septic so our recyling center actually has a special tank where you can drain containers of used oil but I guess in most places you could just toss it in with the trash.

Couple tips: 1) Make sure the septic system is the right size for the house, especially if the house was expanded at any point. Last thing you want is a 2 bedroom septic in a 5 bedroom house. A large family will quickly overload the system. 2) Get the inspection done by a company that ONLY does spetic inspections, not by a regular home inspector taking a quick look and definitely not by a company that also installs or repairs septics, they have a vested interest in finding a problem. I can tell you who I used if you PM me. 3) Even if the system is in working order negotiate to have it pumped out right before closing so you don't have to worry about it for 2 or 3 years. (or have a tank full of someone elses poop in it!!) 4) When you get the inspection make sure you understand exactly where the system is, this will come in handy down the road so you don't let someone drive heavy machinery over it or try to plant a tree in the drainage field. 5) If the system does need to be replaced try your hardest to be there during the work and make sure you stipluate in your negotiations that the area has to be replaced to it's original state. We didn't know about that and the damn excavators took a very beautiful japanese maple tree and removed two rock walls. I understand they dug the stuff up but IMO they STOLE our materials and tree.

I don't know anything about well water but I think I've said plenty anyway
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2010, 11:18 AM
 
604 posts, read 1,801,194 times
Reputation: 205
icibiu has done a yeomans's job as usual.

Starting with a brand new (and correctly installed) septic system is just fine and would last for twenty or so odd years if not abused. OP should find out how old the present system is ? How long it will remain trouble-free has a lot to do with its age. Another consideration is how well the surface water drains off where the septic system is located. A lot with too steep a slope also creates a problem for locating another(auxillary) system should that become necessary.

Well water : Important consideration is how deep is the well and is it encased (to prevent contamination). Shallow wells (less than 100 feet deep) are less desirable. The well water can be sampled and tested for its potability prior to purchase - generally lender will make that a condition for getting the mortgage.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-19-2010, 04:27 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
478 posts, read 1,557,376 times
Reputation: 122
Septic's are bad..in early spring they will back up galore if water is used even normally due to ground can't handle all the water will cost around $400 just to pump out water mostly.

Well water is bad, will cause rust in plumbing and need new plumbing over time faster..taste also is bad a iron/acid taste sometimes a light browish color.

If getting a new septic system..the modern kind these days will cost you a wopper..better off with neither in any home.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-10-2010, 09:47 PM
 
388 posts, read 1,418,946 times
Reputation: 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewBlood View Post
I would highly recommend you avoid *any* house with a septic/well system. If you must buy it:

[1] - Check with the county to ensure that it is on record and properly permitted. You can also get a history on any work (that they had done legally of course) to the system to get an idea of what shape it is in.

[2] - All septic systems fail eventually. It is an expensive repair. I had a tiny septic system that was going bad and was quoted at 15k - 20k for the repair, plus an additional 1k - 4k to seal off the old system. It's not cheap at all.

[3] - It requires work to take care of a septic system. You do not want to flush drano down the pipes if they get clogged for example. You'll want to make sure you spread your laundry out over the entire week rather than do it on a single day. Depending on the water table and how the soil is (perk test can tell you a little about that) you may need to watch the system come heavy rains. Try to avoid pouring any grease down the drains as well as any fatty substances.

[4]* GET A SEPTIC INSPECTION DONE when you buy the home, preferably before you have any money down on the house! I used a company called 'Advanced Septic Inspectors' and I was very, very pleased with them. They were expensive ($700 all told) however they saved me from buying a home with a terrible septic system (would have cost me the amounts you saw quoted above) - and my research discovered the system was unpermitted as well.

It can be a good decent system, and you'll avoid paying for sewage but I'd avoid it, especially after my septic system scare - I don't think anyone is ready to drop another 15k - 20k on a house a few months after you move in. It would have been a nightmare. Of course your milage may vary - but at least be aware of the four points above! Good luck!
Well, we just had our septic tank and well inspection today by a specialized inspector. He had some concerns... He found some water on the lawn, around the area where the septic tank is. Can't tell if its from the rain on Thursday (I doubt it), a broken sprinkler head, or from the septic tank. He placed some dye into the tank and will go back on Tuesday to check if the dye came up on the lawn... He also said that any system should last about 40 years. First system on the propriety had to be replaced after 15 yrs, and now this one is about 15-16 yrs later. He feels that the soil may have too much clay in it, and that may be the problem why these septic tanks don't last very long. If we determine that the extra water comes from the septic we may have to speak to an engineer about the options. Our agent said that one option would be to place the septic tank on the ground and cover it with dirt and bushes, as it would be part of the natural landscape... How bad is that if that's our only option? How does that influence resale value? This is a fantastic house for a very good price even in this market. I would hate to walk away, however, I don't want to get ourselves into a huge headache, even if the seller does fix it/ replace it. They have city sewer on that street, but it stops a few houses down from this one. The seller tried to get connected a few years ago, however, one of the neighbors did not agree to have the pipe run through his property... I am pretty confused and worried right now, as I am not sure how bad this is, even if they do fix it. I am concerned about us living there and any potential headaches caused by the quality of the soil, and also about resale value. Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-10-2010, 09:59 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
478 posts, read 1,557,376 times
Reputation: 122
In my neck of the woods a new septic system by NJ EPA rules... cost about $15k-$25k or more..not cheap anymore.

Can't understand that dye test????..All septic systems flow into a drainage field..thats how they work...the solid waste will form up over time and depending on the use of the system..the more usage the more it needs to be pumped out.

I believe the average pumpout is once every two years for a family of five.

I own three houses..two have septic systems..one I have trouble galore with due to the ground..clay dirt (bad drainage)..the other with a septic system I haven't pumped out in 25 years..both houses average 2-3 persons per year..my third house is city sewage..at a cost!

I'm in the pinelands area..very strick with septic rules just to say!

Last edited by carlo2009; 04-10-2010 at 10:23 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-11-2010, 06:49 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,774 posts, read 15,256,843 times
Reputation: 11906
I would prefer sewer over septic but if the house is in a country location you may not have any choice. Have it pumped out to start with and care for it like it is supposed to be.
I would take well water over city water any day unless you like the taste of Chlorine because that's what they put in city water to kill bacteria. Of course NYC city water is supposed to be the best water you can get but I think the OP is talking Jersey. We get a lot of our city water from the local rivers that are not the cleanest. The local sewer utilities dump their "treated" sewerage right into our rivers and streams. The same rivers where the water co. draws their water from.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:




Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New Jersey
View detailed profiles of:
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top