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Old 05-25-2016, 07:20 AM
 
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We are a Littleton, Colorado couple who currently pay an average of $75.00 a month for water and sanitation. We are contemplating a move to a small town in New Hampshire, and so we would appreciate some information about the costs and advantages/disadvantages of well and septic.

Assuming we buy a house with existing well and septic systems that would need to be repaired and replaced, what is a ballpark price to repair each of these, and how often can we expect to need to have them repaired in the next 20 years?

Also, for those of you who have experienced both public and private systems, which do you prefer, and why?

Thanks so much!!
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:55 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
30,858 posts, read 56,242,556 times
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My brother had his well dry up, finding water and drilling a new one cost him $12,000. My parents had their pump go out, and it cost $3,000 to replace it and put in a pressure tank. They also had to install a new water softener system at $800. The nice thing is that the water is free and the electricity to run it is a minimal cost. Beware of local laws and possible future development. In many areas where suburban meets rural, new development results in water main extensions, and the government requires anyone along it to hook up. That can cost $20,000 or more for tap, lateral from the main, meter, house line and our share of the main extension.Some cities/counties are actually requiring metering of wells and charging for "their" groundwater.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:45 AM
 
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Hi,


I live in eastern Connecticut and own a house with a well and septic system. It is very common here.


I also have many family members and friends throughout New England with the same set-up.


I have a drilled well which is about 165 foot deep, my neighbor has a "dug" well which I guess is about 20 foot deep. You can take the cover off the dug well and see the bottom.


Around here a new drilled well will cost you $15,000 or so. I personally don't know anyone who had a drilled well dry up. If you buy a house with an existing well it can be inspected prior to purchase. The well pumps seem to fail every 10 -15 years, the last one cost me about $1500.00 ( I helped the plumber pull it up though).


Septic systems can run from $8,000 to $35,000, depending on the complexity. Like the well a septic system can be inspected prior to purchase. I have HEARD of systems failing after 5 years, mine is 40 years old and seems fine. They require some care - pumped every couple of years ($250.00), no sink garbage disposal, no cleaning agents down the drain, etc. When you are looking at houses your agent will be able to tell you if your property requires an "engineered" septic system - these will always be expensive to replace.


The water quality is important too. I have a friend in southern NH whose water tastes like blood. Another friend more north in Campton, NH, her water tastes like nectar. After you get used to well water public water will taste like you are drinking from a chlorinated swimming pool. Honestly, one of my great pleasures in life is coming home and having a big glass of ice water from my well.


Good luck.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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We have owned homes that have been on wells and we have owned homes that have been on city water.

$75/month sounds like the bill for a tri-plex not for a single-family-residence. Municipal water is metered, you pay per cubic foot of water. Then whatever your water meter says is factored for the sewage bill. You are consuming a lot of water, maybe a running faucet?

The house we are in now was the first time that I paid to have a well drilled. It is 200' deep and the water level in it is 68' deep. This well cost us $3,500.

Some states require that you pump out your septic tank every 3 years. Other states have no such laws. A septic tank can fill will sediment at whatever rate you put non-septic stuff in it. More and more commercial products include fillers like silicon-dioxide [basically fine sand] which settles in a septic tank and eventually fills it. Things that can never break-down, will fill a septic and cause it to need pumping.

Leech fields fail from poor design. A good leech field should last for centuries.

If you never allow anything 'bad' [like fillers] into your septic system, it should last many decades. I know of systems that have gone 40-years without mishap.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:27 AM
 
8,046 posts, read 1,866,792 times
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Quote: "$75/month sounds like the bill for a tri-plex not for a single-family-residence. Municipal water is metered, you pay per cubic foot of water. Then whatever your water meter says is factored for the sewage bill. You are consuming a lot of water, maybe a running faucet?"

First, thanks to all for the info so far!!

Regarding the above, I understand that city water rates vary from state to state -- maybe even town to town? -- because my mom lives in SoCal in a single 3-BR home (a little smaller than ours) by herself, and she says her water costs are about $200 a month (!!); and this was about a dozen years ago, I think! Btw, I have no idea if all other towns combine water and sewer or not, although I would doubt it as I has seen real estate listings that say, for example, "Public Water, Septic System" (listed separately).

Anyway, thanks again!

P.S. Yes, we have had all our plumbing checked a couple of times in the past few years. We do have an automatic sprinkler system, however, that runs three times a week for only about 20 minutes, so I don't think that would be too much of a factor.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:47 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
30,858 posts, read 56,242,556 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whocares811 View Post
Quote: "$75/month sounds like the bill for a tri-plex not for a single-family-residence. Municipal water is metered, you pay per cubic foot of water. Then whatever your water meter says is factored for the sewage bill. You are consuming a lot of water, maybe a running faucet?"

First, thanks to all for the info so far!!

Regarding the above, I understand that city water rates vary from state to state -- maybe even town to town? -- because my mom lives in SoCal in a single 3-BR home (a little smaller than ours) by herself, and she says her water costs are about $200 a month (!!); and this was about a dozen years ago, I think! Btw, I have no idea if all other towns combine water and sewer or not, although I would doubt it as I has seen real estate listings that say, for example, "Public Water, Septic System" (listed separately).

Anyway, thanks again!

P.S. Yes, we have had all our plumbing checked a couple of times in the past few years. We do have an automatic sprinkler system, however, that runs three times a week for only about 20 minutes, so I don't think that would be too much of a factor.
I consider $75/month to be very reasonable for a single family home, in fact, less than average for an apartment here. In Seattle, the average water bill is $40/month for 5.5 CCF, sewer $55/month. For the single family residence with any outside watering that goes up, and in summer, the rates are higher. Where we used to live in CA that would be about the same plus an elevation surcharge if over 200' above sea level (for pumping uphill costs) and a drought surcharge. Combining water and sewer on the same bill is very common, though in our case it's separate agencies so separate bills.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:00 AM
 
4,542 posts, read 7,538,725 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
$75/month sounds like the bill for a tri-plex not for a single-family-residence. Municipal water is metered, you pay per cubic foot of water. Then whatever your water meter says is factored for the sewage bill. You are consuming a lot of water, maybe a running faucet?
Must be nice to live wherever you do. I've been an owner/occupant in 4 towns (Wyoming, Colorado and 2 in Georgia), all have had a Base administration fee.. here in Georgia that's $50 even if I don't use a single drop of water. Out in Wyoming and Colorado it was lower (I think my total water/sewer bill in Wyoming was ~$50/month, including watering the lawn and Colorado was roughly the same), but I'm hitting $80~90/month here in Georgia and that's just inside water and about 6~7 potted plants, no lawn watering. I know for certain that there are no leaks as I have full access to the whole system and check it about monthly (had water issues in my crawl-space, so I check because of that and no fixtures so much as 1 drop).


For the OP, my father-in-law has been drilling water wells for just over 40 years now. There are a number of things not mentioned here that you'll want to know. Best bet is to hire one for your pre-purchase inspection AND have a follow-up for servicing/education after purchase. Don't be afraid of dug wells, their main drinking water supply is from a 30y/o dug well (and tastes great), they also have a drilled well for their heating/cooling and as a backup water supply. But you can easily run a dug well "dry" if you leave water running. Then there's having the water tested, dealing with filters, etc... it's mostly a "once in a blue moon" thing to have issues if you're not ignorant about the system you're working with. I'm hardly the most knowledgeable, I only know enough to know that I'd seek out an expert in the field to provide info/support if I had a well. And that's the advice I offer to you, ask around and find an expert in the field for wherever you're going.

I'm a bit shocked at the pricing though, the most my FiL gets here is ~$6500 for a drilled well + pump, no matter how deep. It's just the going rate and he often does them for cheaper just to get the job.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,543 posts, read 55,461,975 times
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Colorado is in an area where water is a valuable commodity and water wars are fought. $75 is reasonable there. We paid around $100/mo in south Florida for water/sewer.

New Hampshire has no sales tax, so property tax and other taxes are higher to make up the revenue. If you plan on buying and living there, be sure to check those out as well as the rate that the tax burden increases each year.

Wells and septic vary tremendously. In New Hampshire and Vermont the aquifer should get plenty of rain to replenish supply. If the well is only 100' or less, jet pumps can be used that are less expensive and relatively easy to replace. Freezing can be more of an issue with wells.

Once you have an area in mind, talk with a local well driller and the health department on requirements and costs. Around here, septic was $2K to get installed, well drilling was a couple hundred plus $20 per foot. Expect at least double that in New Hampshire.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,146 posts, read 50,309,418 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_M View Post
Must be nice to live wherever you do.
I have lived in and owned apartment buildings in California, Scotland, Connecticut, Washington, and now in Maine.



Quote:
... I'm a bit shocked at the pricing though, the most my FiL gets here is ~$6500 for a drilled well + pump, no matter how deep. It's just the going rate and he often does them for cheaper just to get the job.
Around here drillers charge per foot.
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Old 05-26-2016, 10:38 AM
NDL
 
Location: Charlanta!
3,362 posts, read 3,798,709 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Some cities/counties are actually requiring metering of wells and charging for "their" groundwater.
I am not challenging your statement; just asking for more info, because I'd like to read more about what's going on. What areas practice this?

***
To the OP: I've had both, and my answer depends upon where you live.

There should be next to no issues with a proper septic system, provided that you keep oils and fats out of the system (put cooking oils/grease in jars, and throw them away, as opposed to down the drain).

The main issue with well usage, has to do with density/proximity to your neighbors property, and the way in which they treat their property.

In other words, I wouldn't want a well if lived fairly close to my neighbors, and/or if I knew that my neighbors treated their lawns. Some folks don't make the connection that they will be drinking whatever pesticides they put down.

The electric to run the well costs next to nothing.
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