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Water Drinking water, wells, ponds, saving, purifying, etc.

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Old 10-23-2015, 07:59 PM
MattCash MattCash is offline
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Location: Chicago
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Default Disconnecting from city water/sewer

I am wondering if anyone knows or has experience with disconnecting from a city water/sewer system and installing their own well instead?

I am paying $74 / month for my city water & sewer at home (currently--fees keep increasing). This, IMO is too much, especially since the water tastes like chlorine and is undrinkable. I also want to avoid fluoride. No water filter will remove fluoride, because it is too small of a molecule I guess. I am fine with fluoride in my toothpaste but I don't think it belongs in my stomach.

I had the idea to disconnect entirely from the city water system. It is probably illegal to have a septic field where I live though. I am not really sure. However, there is another payment plan where I only pay for the water I use (per gallon or something). The city has to install a different water meter for that, but I was thinking if I had my own well, I could continue using the city sewer system, and just not pay for it, since I wouldn't be consuming from the new meter if I had my own well.

I don't whether this is realistic or silly. I am guessing that it is illegal to pump your own water in a city-supplied water zone, but I don't know. I am fed up with the lousy water and every utility bill rising.
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Old 10-23-2015, 09:10 PM
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Bearfootfarm Male Bearfootfarm is offline
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Most likely private wells are illegal, and there's no way you will be allowed to use the septic system without paying, since charges are generally based on water usage.

You could call the county or city and find out the regulations, but most cities require you to use the municipal water and sewer
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:10 AM
Terri Terri is offline
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Laws vary widely from one community to another. In my area we do not have to use city water, but we would have to pay a monthly fee anyways.

We have a septic tank so we have no sewer fees, but some areas charge the homeowner a sewer fee anyways.

Lastly, you cannot have your water too close to your septic. It would not be safe. No doubt your area also has regulations regarding that.

I bet the secretary at your local courthouse knows who you would need to ask. Never be rude to a secretary (not that I think that you ever would), they are too valuable a source of information!
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:50 AM
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randallhilton Male randallhilton is offline
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Cities got away from septic systems because they often ended up polluting the neighbors' yards due to maintenance issues etc.

Water quality issues aside, I think, if you dd the math, you would find that your water bill is cheaper than drilling and maintaining a well. They don't fix themselves you know.

Here are some ideas to ponder:

* You might be able to capture and store enough rain to cover your potable water needs - you'll need to purify and filter it of course.

* We use a Berkey filter with a flouride filter. I sure hope they work as stated.

* You probably won't be able to get a well driller to return your calls if you're asking them to drill in town. Alternatively, if you're considering a shallow well in town you're setting yourself up for water quality and consistency problems. Just sayin. . .

Use less, lose less, weigh the benefits, count the costs.
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Old 10-24-2015, 09:56 AM
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12vman Male 12vman is offline
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Short answer.. NO..

If your area has been "Zoned" and public utilities have been put into place close enough for you to connect to, you are forced to connect or pay as you were..

They (The County) just accomplished that in a small community not far from me. They zoned the Township, ran water/sewer lines to the outskirt City residents and forced them to connect. Even though the residents were property owners outside of the city corporation limits,(And had plenty of area to support a well/septic that was already County approved) were given a window of time to conform and connect for free. (The owner still had to pay for time/material from the house to the street/road) If someone didn't conform and continued to use their septic/well, they were still charged as if they were after the time window. (At a calculated rate, which was higher than most normal amounts) This also hindered the sale of the property if one decided to move away from the gestapo..

Conform.. Pay.. And everyone's happy, RIGHT?

After things settled down, the property owners tried to sell. It cost big bucks to connect after the fact just to be able to sell. In some cases, almost half of the property value!

The End..

Just a short story from around here..
"Without Deviation from the Norm, Progress is not Possible".
*Frank Zappa*
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and Ió I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference"
*Robert Frost*
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:28 PM
Bones Bones is offline
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12v is correct, Friends in another state over from 12v were forced to hook up to sewer. IT was either do it now for a reduced price or do it before the house could be sold for a min of $10,000. They do not care if you have a proper working septic system or not. Around here those hooked up to the system has a holding tank and a sewage grinder. They get to pay for the power to chop it up and then it is pumped into a two inch line on to the treatment plant.
" I void warranties"

Last edited by Bones; 10-24-2015 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 10-24-2015, 07:12 PM
doc doc is offline
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Welcome to the forum, Matt.

If you live within the boundaries of The Peoples' Socialist Demokratic Republic of Chikago, you're screwed. The water is free. You're just being taxed exorbitantly because they have to pay off all those fat union contracts. You're not allowed to sink a well (probably contaminated anyways) and use public sewage facilities.

There used to be several wells in the CCFPD around the city & 'burbs which people used to line up to fill their coolers, but they were all shut off in the 60s due to contamination.

ps/ the Fl is good for you. And you won't appreciate Chicago water until you move away and have to use rock hard well water.
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Old 10-25-2015, 01:25 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
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All the info so far is spot on in my experience..
IF you happen to have an existing well you MAY be able to use it for lawn watering ONLY.... Even then it will be a pain in the neck to get approval to use it for watering..

Like said... You can easily end up with really BAD, hard and bad tasting water depending where you go.. For instance most any place in the northern great planes or east slope of the Rockies around Yellow Stone... Enjoy what you have..

Good luck..
Always fresh.
Keep your stick on the ice. Red Green
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Old 10-25-2015, 02:04 PM
CatherineID CatherineID is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: East central Mississippi
Posts: 243

I don't have experience unhooking from a city system but I have a little experience with wells and hooking up to a city system.

#1 - Find out if you have water rights. It'll be stated somewhere in your deed / home ownership paperwork. You might not.

#2 - Talk to a well driller or two. See if you can even find someone to do the work. You might not. At least they'll give you a better idea of which aquifers are available (or not) depending on your water rights. I know this sounds weird, but not everyone has water available on their property. You also might introduce new problems, like radon.

~ Somewhere along this process you'll want to speak with your local Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to get their thoughts on all this.

#3 - Go to your local controlling givernment officials to get well approval. That might stop you right there. Even if they allow a well, you're charged for your sewer based on how much water you use. If they can't calculate your water usage, they'll have to find another way to charge you for sewer which they may not be willing to do. Be prepared with a strong argument for your water disconnect. "My bill is too high" or "I don't like how the water tastes" isn't going to fly.

#4 - IF - big IF - you get approved for a well, the givernment may require you to remain connected to the city water for future homeowners. If so, you'll be required to install a certified and inspected backflow system so your well water doesn't contaminate the city water. They can also require you to get your water tested periodically but typically that is included in the drilling process.

Thoughts on lowering your water bill:

We lived through a CA drought (not the current one, the one before that was really bad) and learned a few things about reducing water usage. As a matter of fact, our water usage was so low, the water company couldn't believe the house was still occupied!

* Make sure you have low-flow toilets and shower heads. Be stingy about using either. We flushed the toilets twice a day - before leaving for work and before going to bed. Showers were SHORT!

* Turn off your automatic ice maker, if you have one in your refrigerator.

* No landscape watering unless it is with caught and recycled water (like the buckets that fill up when you're showering - although sometimes we used those buckets to flush).

* Be stingy about water used to wash dishes and clothes. Have a high efficiency washing machine.

* Turn off all the water in your house and go look at your meter. The meter should not be turning. If it is, you have a water leak. Find it and fix it!

* Change how you cook / prepare food. This helps in two ways. The first is cook meals with an eye toward easy clean-up. Scrubbing pots and pans of sticky eggs and melted cheese and gooey baked on sauces takes a lot of water. Line pans with foil or parchment paper and throw these in the trash. Gosh, there are so many hints in this category. For instance, we would prepare finger foods to avoid using utensils or, if grabbing a snack, use a bit of paper towel instead of a plate that needs to be washed. Every family member uses one cup or bottle a day to avoid washing multiple glassware. Second consideration is you don't want to cook water intensive foods - pasta, boiled potatoes, rice, beans (soup is okay since you're going to eat the water). I remember when the drought was over and I finally made mashed potatoes with dinner. What decadence to pour that water down the drain!

* Use alternatives to water for household cleaning. We waste a lot of water and cleaning chemicals merely because we rinse them down the drain. Use "wet wipes" or "disinfecting clothes" to clean around the house.
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