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any way we can tell if we are getting neighbors runoff septic?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by jeanw, May 5, 2013.

  1. jeanw

    jeanw Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Newbie, one year to old money pit house. jury rigged house. Unfortunately we bought "AS IS"
    newbie to well s too. Hubby said I am worry wart. But my little voice warns me about this....
    Only route for bacteria is next county health dept. since everyday this area is less rural.. Too bad
    There are private testing in big town. They charge for every single item they test for...
    We are in county so dont know if anything can be done abot it. WE ARE Only ones, I believe, on this long road that is not hooked up to "city water" .....which I call recycled sewer water.. Yeah I know all water is recycled...
    I missed out on state doing testing really she said was a study.. last year. Lady from state I called and she said.. besides regular health concerns, bactria,etc they were checking for "caffeine" I am so sick about this. I called around everywhere trying to get in on a test for other pollutions too. . Only way to test was next county. which we did. But that can change day to day.
    Then well guy we had hired to check on well, when he was about finish installing new well pvc and sub pump. The son mentioned that new well are caped that is 4 inches or so above ground.... He said because of "surface water" That really got that little voice in my head, Intuition I call it too... concerned
    They the neigbors across the street are nice people, she runs a small daycare out of of her house. Plus we are downhill. our lot ends in creek area,,,
    I have been reading about uv lights etc... Dot yall mention dangerous chlorine.... duh.. I have been reading about "Oxy blast " hydrogen peroxide.. saw it in "Farm journal" magazine... you can buy food grade hydrogen peroxide but it is expensive. Read about uv lights too. At least we finally installed a sediment filter and a another carbon filter. PLus we filter all our drinking water thu Berkey and their PF4 filter...
    Oh I smell septic nce in a while outside... I have a good "sniffer" LOL
    what yall think yall with wells that is
    Also ,lady from state said a "well refrehjes itself" We are close to the street and lots of house above us too but farther away. I kind of suspect that neighors lateral lines are closer than 75 feet from our well

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  2. festerw

    festerw Burning Hunk

    Nov 16, 2009
    Cambridge Springs, PA
    You'll probably be fine, the septic smell could be from your own vent stack when the wind is just right. If you've been drinking it a year and haven't got sick you'll probably be fine.

    I was born and raised on well water with close neighbors and now live in a place with farm fields all around and both places water has tested fine.
  3. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

    Oct 26, 2010
    Michigan's U.P.
    Well, let me see jeanw. If you are concerned about neighbors "septic runnoff", that would suggest that there is an overflow of septic on the ground that is being seen...is this the case? It would look black, grey, watery and like something you don't want to step in or touch. If there is none of this "runoff", I think you are alright. I know plenty of people that have their own septic fields and/or mound systems on the same parcel of land that they have their wells on. These are all (almost all) approved by the local and state codes. There is a seperation distance required between the drainfields and the well it self, but I don't know what it is.
  4. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

    Jul 11, 2008
    Northern NH
    Testing for real contamination from a septic system is not very hard, most states offer it for free or very low cost. Fecal coliform and nitrate loading is sometimes the test they use. Unfortunately I have to break it to you that you most likely are drinking "recycled septic water". A septic system reintroduces household waste back into the ground and if designed properly a biological mat builds up in the distribution field that cleans much of the biological wastes out of the water. It usually doesnt do much with chemicals but other processes underground tend to abosorb chemcial pollution.Ultimately ground water tends to flow downhill and therefore some portion of you water may have come out of you neighbors septic system. Its now clean but many folks dont like to think about it. Most ground wate typically only flows a few feet undergound but it depedns o n the geology of the area. Most wells are generally drilled wells that go for deeper water.

    Quite frequently there are very good salesmen would prey on people by trying to scare them into thnking they need some sort of expensive water treatment system. Many offer "free" water testing but it may be reall expensive "free" testing as they are very good manipulating people into writing a check.

    In some areas water treatment is needed but frequently it is not. UV and hydrogen peroxide will not take out chemical contaminants, they may ozidize them but wont remove them from water if they were there to begin with.They both work well for biological contaminants. Basically they kill the bacteria and viruses that may be in water but they dont remove the bodies. Generally if there is chemical contamination, a activated carbon filter that has to be changed routinely or a reverse osmosis system is required. Sometimes depending on the chemical there may needto be pretreatment ahead of the carbon or RO filter.
    homebrewz likes this.
  5. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

    Feb 25, 2011
    Northern CT
    Around here, 100' is required between septic and well. Usually septic is out behind the house, the well in front.
  6. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Don't know who Hubby is but he/she is correct.
    mikefrommaine likes this.
  7. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

    Nov 17, 2009
    Cayuga County NY
    "Flush twice, it's a long ways to Lexington!"
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Dec 28, 2006
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    I wish I could contribute but my head hurts badly after trying to read the original post.
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    Everybody for miles around me is on well and septic. Never heard of any well contamination.
  10. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

    Nov 29, 2005
    East Central, NY
    Septic tanks are usually close to the surface, and so is the leach field/distribution. Wells can be 100' or many 100's of feet deep and even into a confined aquifer in bedrock that doesn't accept recharge from nearby surface water. Though, your well may be accessing recycled septic water from a septic system many miles away, but its usually not an issue for the reasons peakbagger mentioned in post #4.

    Some problems can occur when a well isn't cased properly, and/or surface water can infiltrate the well. That can lead to contamination problems.
    That happened at the Washington County fair one year here in upstate NY when a vendor was drawing water from a shallow well that also
    had agricultural runoff contaminate it. The resulting e-coli outbreak killed two people and sickened hundreds.
    midwestcoast likes this.
  11. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

    Jul 13, 2007
    Central Maryland
    Look here: http://wellowner.org/

    A septic outfall will likely show high bacteria concentrations. You can test it and many other things yourself for $27 at Lowes:


    Wells are not often contaminated by septic fields unless the well has a problem. I don't know about your area, but here at my place, the wells are in a much different (deeper) aquifer. If the groundwater is contaminated by septic, it won't be able to get to the well screen.
  12. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

    Oct 9, 2009
    NW Indiana
    Along with what hombrewz said: As long as your well is constructed properly you have nothing to fear. Your dog can poop an inch from your well head & it's no problem. That's the whole point of having a proper well really, it's not at all like drinking from your creek. No reason to worry about the "well guy" capping & sealing the casing 4" above ground either, that is good belt & suspenders practise. The casing is sealed water-tight from the surface.

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