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

jeanw Posted By jeanw, May 5, 2013 at 5:33 PM

  1. jeanw

    jeanw
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    Sep 23, 2008
    128
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    ky
    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
    Thanks
    Jean
     
  2. festerw

    festerw
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    Nov 16, 2009
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    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
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    Oct 26, 2010
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    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
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    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.
     
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  5. heat seeker

    heat seeker
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    Around here, 100' is required between septic and well. Usually septic is out behind the house, the well in front.
     
  6. nate379

    nate379
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    Don't know who Hubby is but he/she is correct.
     
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  7. ewdudley

    ewdudley
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    "Flush twice, it's a long ways to Lexington!"
     
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    I wish I could contribute but my head hurts badly after trying to read the original post.
     
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  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart
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    Everybody for miles around me is on well and septic. Never heard of any well contamination.
     
  10. homebrewz

    homebrewz
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    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.
     
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  11. granpajohn

    granpajohn
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    Jul 13, 2007
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    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:

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_97428-76109-777_0__?productId=3104487&Ntt=drinking+water+test+kit&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Ddrinking%2Bwater%2Btest%2Bkit&facetInfo=

    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
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    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.
     
  13. jeanw

    jeanw
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    Sep 23, 2008
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    Yeah, I sent for two tests kits but have not did them.. I guess I am scared to plus always have something else going on....
    Yeah we did take a sample to big town later. Results .... Said it had some concern for bacteria. But we think it was old water sitting in that short hose Hubby has hooked up in the small well pump housing... You can not walk into the well housing. Hubby constructed a nice lid out of plywood and corrugated steel roof panel. You have to prop up the lid and lean in.
    When we bought this old money pit it just had a delapilated pc. of plywood on top..of the well pump housing...... well at least the outside of housing is bricked against the house...
    and how would we know if our well is constructed properly ? It prob was done back in 1963 when house was supposedly built...
    Like I mentioned in my original post THAT neighbor house is up hill from us... I could throw a rock close to their front door, if I stood at edge of our property.
    the rest of the neigbors are close to an acre away.... This is a busy long street right off the main road...
    The neighbor told us he may have had it pumped once all these years, prob cause it had a bad spot in the leach field.. I dont remember.
    I can STILL smell septic when it rains alot... ITs raining hard right now and I bet their septic junk is flowing above ground...
    I guess I could walk across the street if I thought they were NOT home at the time
    Do you think they would even care???... I bet not unless it affected them
    we keep a note on the wall by the 2 filters... with dates changed. He wants to only change the two filters once every 3 months...I would prefer more often..

    I just know one thing ...Hubby stopped drinking our water. and only uses the Berkey filtered water for his coffee. He keeps drinking bottled water... I wanted to keep around here for Emergency....
    also since my original post we have personally witnessed 2 trucks going up the hill losing prob either a liqid fertilizer or herbicide.
    also when main road was repaired , a crew spilt gasoline that ran into our gravel driveway...
    I never witness it happening. But smelled that Diesel spill for many for days and the large spot was prob less than 35 feet from our wells center...... I called county and they blamed it on the construction road guys. No one could care less.
    unfortunately I have really bad eyesight and would not have gotten my glasses on fast enough if it would have happened in front of me.
    well anyway I thought I asked about window install on this forum.. but I guess I didnt "submit it or post it" after typing... DUH me.... LOL
    alot has taken place since 2012 and this money pit house is taking most of what we sold our old former home for...
    thanks yall
     
  14. jb6l6gc

    jb6l6gc
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    Get a water cooler and store bought jugs if your that concerned.
     
  15. granpajohn

    granpajohn
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    Jul 13, 2007
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    If your family has lived as long as this forum thread has...your water must be OK.

    P.S. (on a more serious note)... just boil that water if you're concerned about bacteria. The coffee maker is already doing this automatically. (Which just proves that coffee is healthier than water...oops, back to making jokes.)
     
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  16. moey

    moey
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    Get a water test. Maybe you did I could not make that out of your posts sorry. Its like $100-$150 then worry about it. What type of well do you have? Dug, Drilled, Driven Point?
     
  17. billb3

    billb3
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    Unless you are swimming in a lake of sewer overflow and it is overflowing the top of your well pipe ( and most are capped so this can't happen ) any sewer on the surface is not a threat to your well. The ground acts as a huge filter media.
    I'd let the drinking water concern go and spend effort on where the sewer smell is coming from. You may just be smelling vent pipes.
    If you have old cast iron dwv pipes inside your house check horizontal sections for rust throughs IF the smell is inside the house and not outside.
    I've had to replace horizontal cast iron drain pipe.
     
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart
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    If the smell is inside the house you have one or more drain traps somewhere in the house where the water in them has dried out and is letting septic smell back into the house. I have one in the guest bath that I have to remember to put some water in every once in a while. The smell usually reminds me.

    Took me forever to figure out where that smell was coming from.
     
  19. semipro

    semipro
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    I respectfully disagree. The process of installing the well in the first place creates a potential pathway for surface contaminants to travel down to the water bearing zone.
    I agree on the rest and would add to what BrotherBart said by reminding the OP not to forget floor drains. I add a little vegetable oil to ours to minimize water evaporation from the trap.
     
  20. billb3

    billb3
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    which is what I wrote
     
  21. semipro

    semipro
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    I'm not talking about sewage overflowing "the top of your well pipe" as you wrote. I"m referring to flow down the borehole that was created by the drilling rig before the casing ("drill pipe") was installed.
     
  22. jeanw

    jeanw
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    Sep 23, 2008
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    we were told this house was originally just a plain prob wooded siding house. supposedly in the 1980s the original owner guy dug out for a basement... and also bricked the outside....... so much is jury rigged. NO floor drains... Hubby jackhammered the floor by the wash mch and put in one. only small plumb stack(on roof) was going just to the single bathroom vanity only...
    we paid a plumber to cut out the old cast iron 4 inch pipe from crawl space to outside joins the septic,, and install hub with pvc., etc so that the toilet and bathtub was then vented. So that vent runs up the backwall of the house.... Hubby and a guy we hired cut out the old drain (steel) from the kitchen drain....
    One guy wanted to charge 1000 to do the kitchen change out.. It the Kitchen sink still is not vented to outside...It has one of those in line vents.....
    My wonderful talented Hubby installed a toilet in the basemnt. He put in one of those upflushes. He defintely vented that himself
    recently mentioned to Hubby he should have had plumber also vent the kitchen sink properly to outside. cause once in a while I hear the basement upflush slurp sound in kitchen sink
    I prob mentioned earlier I was told my a state person over phone that a "well breathes" and was told they were checking a certain amt of wells for free for "caffeine"...... I was late finding out so I missed out on free test.
    ah well
     

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