Well Water information/Septic Systems

      Nothing like a glass of clean fresh water right? I think I am becoming pretty good at tasting the difference between water across the region. Every time I go to a diner etc. I order unsweetened Ice Tea. Wow....sometimes I love my drink and sometimes its so bad I cant drink it. Case in point "Bleach". Most city water and restaurant water is treated with bleach. Apparently there are variations in the amount, Timing of treatment, dissipation, these are variables we should consider. Seems somewhere along the line experts have decided that drinking bleach was better than drinking bacteria.

     Call me crazy, but I prefer no bleach no bacteria water for my Ice Tea (and anything else water related thank you very much)

     This brings me to my Topic of the day-WELL WATER. Here in the country (Greene and Southern Albany counties of NY) we primarily have wells and septic systems that are your very own. This means you are responsible for your water and waste systems. I know your thinking "Oh Joy" but there is good news here too. Once you have had good water to drink and cook with, there's no going back. Its Great!

     Here is a quick education on the basics if you are considering owning a home in the country or your an agent dabbling in sales where there are wells and septic systems. The distance between the well and septic for sanitary reasons should be at least 50' apart from well to septic tank and 100' from well to leach field (pipes that come out of tank like branches to distribute waste water) Obviously set too close you could potentially contaminate your own well water with your own waste water...yeesh not a good thought right?

     Ideally  you would want a concrete or todays strong plastic version septic tank. A lot of older homes have metal ones. They decompose over the years, I watched a septic man uncover a old metal tank, started to clean (pump out) and the entire tank caved in. Luckily this happened to buyer during an inspection, before he owned it. Seller then replaced with 1000 gallon concrete one (which he thought he had already by the way) Surprise!!

     Test your well water at least once a year for bacteria. A good test can change over time, things happen. Once a year I treat my well with bleach. (yes that darn bleach) but here's the difference, I'm not drinking it. I pour a gallon of bleach down the well (remove cap, push wires out of way)  Run the water in the house into pipes, appliances, etc. Let sit 24 hours if possible, then run your faucets until you do not smell bleach anymore. Takes a while. Your house should be able to run 3 gallons per minute for one hour but you shouldn't need to run it that long.  There are basically two bacteria's your trying not to have, Coliform and Ecoli. Bleach will kill Coliform but not Ecoli. If your test comes up with EColi you will need something more powerful like a Ultra Violet Light system on your water entry point. Its a light that zaps out bacteria from water as it passes thru before going to your faucets. They cost ranging from like 600-2000 dollars depending on the size you need. The test kits can be picked up at Bender Lab in Albany. If your doing yourself, keep in mind to remove screen, rubber ring etc from tip of your faucet spout.  Stick your finger up to make sure you didn't miss anything. Take a match and wisk by opening to kill any bacteria at the tip that might effect your test results. Then run water a few minutes, carefully fill specimen bottle up to line with water ,seal immediately. Drop off to lab right away.

     Just stay on top of your water management and you will have the greatest water.

     I hope I was helpful to someone moving to the country or an agent looking to sell homes in the country , especially to 2nd home owners who shut down their vacation homes and start them up again....bleach, test, be safe.

                                                                   Debra Danner

                                                                 Associate Broker






Debra G. Danner

Debra G. Danner

Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Regional & Branch Manager
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