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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our new place has well water. The well is deep (150 feet?) and provides plenty of fresh clean water. Not only that, but it's water that I'm happy to drink straight from the tap. I'm a water snob, and Iceland is the only other place where the water tasted good enough that I'd drink it from the tap.

Things I like about having a well:
  • self-sufficiency
  • good quality water
  • cheaper (maybe)?
  • water is not treated (I can purify it myself if I have to) so it lacks bleach or whatever else the city puts in it
Things I don't like about the well:
  • doesn't work when power is out, really. You'll get a trickle in the basement, the owners told us
  • it's noisy and the giant tank takes up space
But my big issue -- the wellhead is almost under where I want my sacrifice lot to be (the space abuts the barn). I'll be out there scooping poop every day, but eventually I'm afraid the urine will soak into the ground water. It is by far the best place on the property to put a sacrifice lot, as it's right next to the barn, in view of the house, and is relatively flat (the property as a whole has a gentle grade to it).

There's actually city water in the street, but the neighbors say that if you sign up for city water they make you cap your well. So it's either-or. What would you guys do? Sign up for city water and cap the well? Or keep the well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So, I guess I need to talk to the county and clarify, but what the neighbors said is if you're using the well for official agricultural purposes you can keep it, otherwise not. In my mind, I made this into "If the property is used in such a way that you would qualify for an ag exemption," but maybe that 's not the case. Maybe it's not that strict.
 
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I would keep the well and find a new sacrifice lot.

I know wells and pumps come in different shapes and systems but they shouldn’t be noisy or require a big tank.
Invest in a small generator for the pump in those power cuts if you don’t want to splurge out on a whole house generator.
 

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Considering where the world climate is going and future issues with water scarcity in terms of access to clean water, sufficient volumes of water, and water at an affordable price, no way I would be giving up my own water source if I had one. In my mind, water is the most pressing environmental issue. We can only live days without it.

Fresh water is more than valuable (so valuable) enough to find another place for a sacrifice lot so that you don't contaminate your water supply. I would also check with some geotech experts in the area once you are there to make sure where you pick won't contaminated it. They will know the groundwater conditions in your area and how things are likely to move around in the soil.

Promisingly, some soils can be used to remediate contaminated water, so you may not have to move it to far depending on your local conditions.

I just have to repeat it, fresh water is such a valuable resource, please do everything you can to retain it and protect it. You don't want to end up down the track being stuck in a water scarcity situation or paying very high costs for a city supply.
 

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Well water is the best. City water is full of chemicals. I'd find another sacrifice area or just make sure you are far enough away from the well that it won't have an impact.

You can have the pump wired so you can hook it up to a generator for power outages. That's your best bet. You'll want a generator if you're out in the country with horses anyway.
 

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Have to agree with the rest. Keep the well. If you are going whole house generator make sure it is hooked up. If not a small generator as mentioned will run it. You want the tank sized for the motor and your anticipated use.

This link can give you an idea. You may hear the pump if there is something on in the house or barn using water and you are outside but you shouldn't hear it inside. Ours is in the corner of the shed and has its own vented cabinet. We hear it if we are in that area. Most around here put it in its own well house and insulate. Keeps sound down and protects the pipes.

 

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We have 3 wells on our property. They each have their own well house and are insulated against freezing. We use frost free hydrants to water the horses and have insulated any outside pipes that would be exposed. Don't ever give up your water or mineral rights to any entity. As MR stated, clean, abundant water is going to be an issue if we, as people, don't slow down some of our waste and consumption. Don't let anyone talk you out of your water rights.
 

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I would move the sacrifice area. If you do not like the taste of treated water why would you want to go on City water? How large is your holding tank ? I have a generator I bought at tractor supply to run my system when the power goes out. I have a large enough holding tank to hold water for 2 or 3 days and a pressure pump. The generator is not large enough to run the well. As long as my air conditioner / heater is working and I can flush toilets I am happy. I have two tanks to clean the water , one is to clean the arsenic and the other cleans the nitrates etc .
 

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Like the others, I would keep the well, and move the dry lot.
Do you have the well log? If they went thru basalt rock, I wouldn't be terribly worried about surface contamination. 150 is a nice depth, but by no means a deep well. My well is 801. And it's not the deepest in the country by far.

I hate city water with a passion. It all tastes like you're drinking out of a swimming pool.
 

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Keep the well and get the city water...
Where I use to live {LI} few homes had well water anymore...
Yes, chemicals are added municipal water, aka city water to assure the water is free of bacteria that can harm you...
At one time LI was a huge agricultural entity of food grown....pesticides sprayed and sadly years later it was learned so many were carcinogens. LI is one of the largest concentrations of cancers of various kinds in the nation.
Best with having city water is if a power outage you still have water in your home to flush toilets, take a shower {yes cold!} and have adequate water supply for your horses you not need to worry about dehydration.

Just be aware...
A generator for a well needs to be wired that the house does not get a back-surge if you are using the generator and the power returns...
A few hundred dollars will get you a electrician to wire for you and provide a long enough cable you can put a generator out of nasty weather to run your well...
You must have a large enough generator to power the well and do double check cause I know my well is 220 volt, not 110 so cheap and tiny generator is not going to happen here...
On the other hand, if a power outage you have power to save your freezer, ability to have lights at night and things that run on electricity within reason and not all at once unless you do a whole-house system.

Depending upon your municipality they indeed can say either or, but not both...to well and municipal.
The reason for that is a back flow of water into the public water system just contaminated it since your well is not treated and following health department requirements.
I don't know if a back-flow valve is acceptable enough to use.
If you use the well exclusively for the barn and municipal water for the house, separate systems then there is no issue, but don't get caught mixing them or face the judge and jury....
At 150' deep to the well-head your land should be a fantastic filter natural...but you don't know what others did to the land prior to you buying and what they may have dumped in the ground..:rolleyes:
If this home has a mortgage on it you may not be given a choice by your banking institution but to hook up to city/municipal water.
If your ground is rich with minerals using well water may also shorten the lifespan of appliances such as washing machine, hot water heater, refrigerator if you have a ice maker and water spigot. Well water can often discolor toilet bowls, sinks and indeed your clothes over time can tinge colors from those minerals..
You may find the taste of the well water much desired compared to municipal water but due diligence of water testing should be done so you know, truly know what is in your ground water reservoir.. and that means more than just once but periodically.
Things to think about.

You want to keep the well close to the barn and make your sacrifice area very close.... :unsure:
I would fence it off minimum with a 25' perimeter fence and extend that area out further is all.
Remember that horses do not have to stand on flat terrain, but can and it is good for them to go up, down and across varied terrains...
Make sure though your well-head is minimum o f 75' away from your septic...by us that is a law and minimum distance and nothing less is permitted. Or the county health department has the right to condemn your home for being occupied...
Yes, they will pull your Certificate of Occupancy.... :eek:

So many hidden decisions to uncover, learn about and then put in place....
Fun!!:)
🐴....
 

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I like living on well water although we have magnesium and sulfur in ours. We have a water softener and add soda ash and bleach... We don't drink it but the animals do just fine...

As for the power being out, get a generator, even a small one will run the water and the fridge. You might not get TV but the water and fridge are most important.
 

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The place I almost bought had a well that hit water at 350 feet. Backup generator. OTOH, I'm on city water now. Drink it with a Brita filter all the time. Not too bad without. Runs $60/month including watering trees, horses and the house...unless I forget and leave the water running at the trough. That has added $100 to my bill a couple of times....

Folks 5 miles from me have city water from a different city. They pay 2-3 times as much.
 

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Depending on the geology of the area where you live wells are either drilled in solid rock to intercept water bearing cracks in the rock or through alternating layers of fine impervious soil and coarse water bearing soil called aquifers. The success of a hard rock well depends on hitting enough water bearing cracks to produce the quantity of water needed. A "sand" well depends on having an aquifer containing water of a suitable quality and quantity. There may be relatively shallow unconfined surface aquifers but these are generally not permitted for drinking as they are susceptible to whatever is applied to the ground surface. When the well is completed the driller will grout the well with either concrete or special clay to seal it off from contamination from the surface so your well should be fairly safe. Here the local health department maintains well records and can give you required setbacks such as distance between the well and and an onsite septic system. If you have a good well I'd keep it but I'd also follow the septic setbacks for your sacrifice area. You may not be lucky enough to find such good water at another location on your property.

As far as power outages they are so rare here that I don't worry about them. I'll wait 4-5 hours to see if the power is restored before I'll bother to hook up the generator. You can stock up on water by filling a stock tank for your horses, milk jugs for drinking, and your bath tub for flushing toilets when you anticipate a power outage such as one caused by a thunder storm.
 

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I have a well. All of our well houses are buried underground above the well. I can’t imagine noise or a big tank I guess, ours is a small tank with a continuous running pump… so I’m not picturing what you are saying. I guess the others may have a big tank, but again all of them are underground.

The only issue with our wells I see is when a pump goes out you are looking at like 10k at least. Also, we have a water issue where the water table is continually dropping, as the pumping overruns the refill. So, wells must be dropped occasionally when they begin pumping some air.
 

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The pump went out at my place this year. It's just a 5 hsp pump, but it's set down deep.
So, called the water outfit, they came out and pulled the pump. Yep it was bad.
They ended up setting a couple of joints of pipe deeper, all new cable, new variable speed pump, new wall panel boxes, labor, and distance, all told, it was over $14K. I about did a back flip! They had quoted me $7500.
So I called the owner of the water outfit. He laughed, said he knew I'd be calling as the quote was so far off.
He sold me some of the materials at his cost, so it was down to $12K. Still high, but at least I felt better about it.
Now with this variable speed pump, you can run just one hose at a time, and not have to have everything going to keep the pump running. There's no hard jolt when it starts up, as now it starts slow and easy and ramps up and then back off.
Hopefully, it will be many years before I have to do that again!
 
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