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Shared Well

Jerry Simon

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On-site well that serves two or three houses. Are these common in other parts of the country (just had a client ask about such, and short of a community well, I've never heard or seen one) ?

I would imagine there would have to be some sort of maintenance agreement between the homeowners. Anything else to look for/know about?

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I did a commercial draw inspection in Houston a month or so ago on a small bldg that shared a standard-sized well with 2 other small commercial bldgs. 'Course, these commercials didn't have a kitchen or shower, just a couple half-baths. My own water well could easily serve two other houses with just a larger diaphragm tank.

Our neighbor's well once served us via a water hose for several days while I changed out the pump/check valve on mine. Didn't experience even a drop in pressure.


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Something I recommend for a deep well submersible pump installation.

The one thing an owner can service easily is the pump control box, which has a big capacitor for starting the pump. That capacitor will blow at some point. A spare pump control box costs between $75 - $100, good investment.

Buy the same brand and the new capacitor unit plugs in to the old housing.

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That is how you troubleshoot a stalled pump. If a new capacitor doesn't start it, it is time to call a pump guy, or build a tripod over the well head.

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I don't inspect many houses with wells. In NJ there is a Well Water Testing Act that requires the seller to provide documentation that the private well has been tested for specific water quality issues. I am not sure how it works with a shared well.

I would advise my client to gather all available information regarding the well. This includes the responsibilities for operation costs, maintenance and repair. Also the history of past problems.

For example, what if one of the owners wants to water his lawn every day and this causes the well to go dry. What is the remedy? Do you have to hope that the neighbors are nice and fair?

Could be a great situation where everyone is reasonable. Could also be a nightmare.

I would defer the legal stuff to the lawyers and technical stuff to a well specialist (because I am neither).

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I had a home two years or so back that was on a shared well with 2 other homes. This was an issue with VA on this home, I would imagine that it could be an issue with FHA and maybe some lenders as well.

It was my understanding that the owners all needed to form a mini-association that would manage the well so that if the pump broke down or some other issue occurred it would be repaired. The VA had a concern that if something happened the home could be without water. From what I was told by the Realtor that it delayed the closing by almost two months.

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