I’m in the process of buying a house with a capped well (which may even be covered with earth since I don’t remember seeing it) and a septic tank (still being used). The water is 50 feet from the septic.
Does anyone know if capped wells can be uncovered and used again and if so, can it be used as a secondary water supply in case of ‘trouble’? It would be like using the city water supply every day and if the city water goes off then I would switch to using the well water. Also is 50 feet far enough in between the water and the septic? It sure doesn’t seem like it.
I’ve never had a septic tank nor a water well. And can I garden over the septic tank? That’s the best spot in the yard for a garden of course.
You’d have to have the well uncapped and have a water sample analyzed to determine if the water was good for drinking. 50 feet separation may be okay, depending on the lay of the land (is septic uphill or downhill from well?).
We have a well and septic system, too. Our well lies uphill of the septic field and is about 200 ft away from it. Because it’s a relatively new house, we have a newer septic system that’s supposed to only release effluent that meets safe standards.
We were told by the builder and the subs who installed the septic that “…if you had to, you could drink the effluent. It wouldn’t taste good, though.” The last was said with a smile!
I’m speculating that by the time your effluent filters down to your aquifer, it’d be relatively clean. But hopefully another poster can verify this.
That may or may not be the case depending on how well the septic tank has been maintained. If it is full and not able to be “septic”, then the waste water is pretty much run straight through the tank with no treatment time. Usually septic tank inspections are part of the normal routine in buying a house. It would be a good idea to make sure it is in this case.
I meant to add, no problems about the garden as long as it is not downhill from the tank and the tank is functioning properly.
gardens grow well over a septic field - natural fertilizer and water.
but have the well water checked before you drink it. If nothing else you can use it for the garden.
In Wisconsin, when a well is abandonded, the well hole is filled with some material ( I dont recall what it is but it prevents ground water contamination) and then capped. Personally, I think 50′ is too close for a well and septic, and most state laws would agree.
You might not actually have water under your cap, but 100′of fill.
In NM the rule is the well has to be 100 feet from the septic lines (not the tank). The point is the lines are what are important to measure from. Here they have to take pictures of the tank and leach fields before they approve. You might find sketches via the county for the placement of the lines and well. The rules in your state/county may be different but it might be that even at 50 feet you might can use the well for irrigation but not for drinking (that would be the way it would be here). And yes, it may very well be filled with something (perhaps sand if you are lucky)
In Virginia most private wells supplying water to a home are clssified Class IIIb or IIIc
Class IIIc wells are grouted to a depth of 20 feet. They must be 100 feet away from drainfield. 50 feet from the foundation(if treated for termites, 10 feet if not), sewer line, septic tank.
Class IIIb wells are grouted to a depth of 50 feet. Specs are the same except can be 50 feet from the drainfield.
In Virginia the seller pays to have the water tested for bacteria.
Always a good idea to shock the well before using with chlorine. You can find the right amount to use depending on how many gallons of water are in your well. My well is 262 feet deep with a 6 inch diameter. That means 1.47 gallon per foot. My normal static level is 20 feet from ground level.
242 x 1.47= 355 gallons of water in my well when full. To shock my well I would use almost a gallon of Clorox. Let it sit for 24 hours, then it should be ok to use. We have been here 2 1/2 years full time + 2 years part time. I have never put chlorine in my well and have never had a problem.
As others have said, you’ll have to have the well checked to see if it’s contaminated, accessible, and if it’s safe to use. If the septic tank IS too close to the well, maybe you can have the tank moved. Or sealed.
One thing I would worry about would be having the location of the well precisely pinpointed before you start wandering around your new yard. There are those stories of people who innocently walk over an old well, the cap of which is hidden by dirt and deteriorating… and suddenly, they’re at the bottom of the well looking up wondering what just happened.
You’ll want to make sure to avoid that.
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