We had a very interesting experience when showing a country property recently and thought it a worthwhile note for those considering the purchase of a country property which is served by a private well and septic system.
We noticed the item shown in the photo and originally assumed it was the lid and riser for the septic system and in fact, the green lid is identical to those that can be found on a septic “riser”. However, as we continued our tour of the property exterior, we noticed the septic tank area was behind the house.
With able assistance from Moe Rayyes of Canadian Water Inspection Services https://www.waterinspection.com/services and with confirmation from the seller, we confirmed that the equipment in the photo was in fact, the cap for the “shallow” well system which serviced the property.
So what is a “shallow” well and how does it potentially affect a buyer?
A “drilled” well is by far, most common:
The listing for the property indicated that the property had a “drilled” well which is the most common type of well used to service country properties. These are drilled to a depth and location that provides the best possible quality and quantity of water available to that particular property.
Shallow, dug and sand point wells: Pros and cons
Other types of wells are also out there and many provide reasonable and cost effective sources of water in areas with springs, high water tables and where drilled wells may be costly or otherwise problematic. One such problem might be that the underlying aquifer does not have good quality water. ie too much salt or other mineral.
The potential disadvantage of the above type of wells is that by being closer to the surface, they are potentially more subject to bacterial contamination. (often one may see a UV light system to mitigate this potential issue) They can also be prone to water limitations during drier years, especially between May and October. Sometimes these can even run dry and require tanker trucks full of water to replenish them until ground water levels get back to normal levels.
Should a buyer avoid a home with these less common water systems?
Many country homes are well serviced by such wells but in addition to some of the potential issues noted above; these type of systems make a property somewhat unique and generally speaking, unique features and systems may not be well understood by future buyers (and Realtors) and therefore, market value and marketability may not be as good as more standard homes. We also know of several homeowners have been forced to truck in loads of water in dry summers to keep their well supplied for household requirements.
In the case of our buyers in this instance, they chose to pass on this property-even though it seemed to have very good value at the price. In addition to the shallow well, it also had an original septic system which was 40+ years old which represented another risk and near term financial cost to our buyers.
As always, buyers should always get both a septic inspection and a well and water inspection from qualified professionals, (in addition to a general home inspection) when purchasing a country property.
If you are considering a purchase of a country property, we would be happy to you navigate the bumps and potholes that may be encountered along the way.
For additional information to consider before shopping for a country home, check out an archive article on our previous blog here: https://www.oasisrealtyottawa.com/blogs/gord_mccormick/archive/2014/01/31/what-we-city-slickers-need-to-know-about-country-properties.aspx
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
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