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Rural Living – Well and Septic Requirements

Rural Living - Well and Septic Requirements

If you have always lived in a town or city, you likely haven’t given much thought to the water requirements in your home. Well and septic would be pretty foreign words.  Typically you turn on the tap and have an unlimited supply of clean, safe drinking water for you and your family’s requirements. And when we have flushed the toilet or pulled the plug in our bath tub, we haven’t given much thought to what happens to the water. It is just gone.

In the country things are different and if you are considering a move to a rural property in Dufferin County or Wellington County, it is important you are aware of these differences and understand about a well and septic.

To run your rural household effectively you need to manage your water requirements into the home. With water, there are two things we need to be aware of. Simply put it quantity and quality. Let’s start with quantity. When you purchase your country home, your realtor should ask for what is referred to as a flow test of the well. This is a metered test that will determine the number of gallons per minute your well is capable of producing over an extended period of time. This is important for you to insure that you have adequate water for all your household needs – cooking, cleaning, bathing, laundry, etc. A good minimum benchmark is a minimum of 3 gallons per minute after a period of an hour.

Then we look at the quality of our water. Water may contain contaminants such as coliform or e coli, may be high in iron or sulphur or may be very hard. Coliform or e coli can have very serious health issues. Iron can create the rust marks that we see in toilet bowls and dishwashers. Sulphur will give your water a rotten smell. Hard water will leave spots in your showers and cause your appliances to prematurely fail. All of these present unique issues for your home and all have potential solutions. At the end of the day, make sure you are working with a respected realtor who knows what they are talking about.

When waste water exits our country property it passes through the home’s waste discharge pipe and enters the septic system. In most cases, this system is located on your property. Although there are multiple types of systems, the most common type of septic system is a holding tank and weeping tile bed. This works on a simple system that has all waste water travel into a holding tank that is buried in your yard. Solids settle to the bottom of the tank and the liquids then pass through a header into a tile bed where they leach into a filter sand tile bed or evaporate with the heat of the sun. The solids in the tank are managed by bacteria but the tank is required to be pumped out periodically. The frequency of this can vary dependent on the size of the tank and the number of individuals in the home but a good rule of thumb is to have the tank pumped by a qualified septic pumping company every 4 or 5 years. If you take care of your septic system it will give you decades of worry free use.

Bottom line is it is critical that your realtor understands your rural household water requirements and protects your interests when negotiating on your behalf.

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