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  1. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    New England
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    OP, it cost me $7000 for a 300' deep well and $20k for a 3 bed septic in Vermont. Drilled through lots of rock and it was tricky finding a good spot that perked. (You need two spots... a backup, too).

    Your lot sounds kinda small, though. What about using a composting toilet? Check and see if these are legal: Sun Mar
    Screw the net, Surf the backcountry!

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    2. What the heck does it cost to drill a well, anyway? I know this varies from place to plae, but this is the cerntal Idaho mountains, NOT a desert, near a major lake, so I'd expect groundwater to not be all that deep.

    3. What's it cost to install a septic system for a small home? Rough figures if you know.

    You using union or non union contractors?
    Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield: Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration?

  3. #28
    spook Guest
    don't forget all those nasty setbacks!

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by teleee View Post
    2. What the heck does it cost to drill a well, anyway? I know this varies from place to plae, but this is the cerntal Idaho mountains, NOT a desert, near a major lake, so I'd expect groundwater to not be all that deep.

    3. What's it cost to install a septic system for a small home? Rough figures if you know.

    You using union or non union contractors?
    I'd prefer union, but this is Idaho, and union contractors now account for about 7% of commercial construction, and NONE of the residential market. I believe construction workers deserve good wages, benefits and a safe work place and am willing to pay for it.

    Big Daddy, I have definitely considered the composting toilets, but if I build this place I'll use it both summer and winter. Summertime, an outdoor shower from a solar bag, with a large french drain would be perfect for washign off blood, grime and sweat after a long bike ride, hike or climb. But in the winter, after a day of skiing, and definitely after a second day of skiing, I want a long, hot shower. And once you build one of those I suspect the conty and/or health department is going to require a septic.

    Unless I could talk them into letting me set up a gray water irrigation system. I suppose I could store winter gray water for summer use to water the landscaping.

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    RM trench
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    you do realise that septic isn't gray water? Do you really want to live or invest in a town that allows a house to be built without a septic system or sewer main hook up...?

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Yes, I realize that black water is not gray water. An incinerating or composting toilet would take care of black waste. A gray water system would address what to do with sink and shower waste.

    Unless, of course, you're confused becuse you shit in the shower. IN which case, to each his own, I guess, but you're not renting my place.

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    well I've not any first hand experience with those composting shitters but reading online doesn't inspire confidence in them.

    I stand by my comments re the town allowing it, if they do then what kind of hillbilly redneck place is this? No real code/zoning enforcement on a multi-acre block out in the woods is one thing (no problem) but a 1/4 acre block in town next to the neighbors junk yard, which may or may not have septic & gray water leeching into your new very expensive well? Maybe this tells you why the place is cheap...

  8. #33
    spook Guest
    dealing with grey water from a composting toilet is not a small deal if you give a shit about the rules. and very noble of you counselor to believe that construction workers deserve a good wage. i bet you tip 16.5%, too.

  9. #34
    spook Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by jamesp View Post
    well I've not any first hand experience with those composting shitters but reading online doesn't inspire confidence in them.

    I stand by my comments re the town allowing it, if they do then what kind of hillbilly redneck place is this? No real code/zoning enforcement on a multi-acre block out in the woods is one thing (no problem) but a 1/4 acre block in town next to the neighbors junk yard, which may or may not have septic & gray water leeching into your new very expensive well? Maybe this tells you why the place is cheap...

    shhhh. if he does it we can spend the next years reading about it!

  10. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Jump to conclusions much, jamesp? I have no idea whether this jurisdiction permits such things, which is why my comments on these topics were expressed the way they were. In fact, I doubt that it does permit such things, given the nature of the community in question, and despite the fact that I believe it is outside the boundaries of any municipal corporation.

    I have read enough stories of failed septic systems basically pushing sewage to the surface of the earth, that I think your automatic discounting of alternative waste disposal systems might be misplaced. Every method of dealing with large volumes of human waste is plagued with problems. On the other hand, the disposal of small volums of human waste is really not that much of a problem. The problem is delineating successfully between small and large.

    A friend of mine has had great success with an incinerating toilet at his fishing cabin, which he installed precisely because he did not want to be dumping seware, even sewage "filtered" through the earth, into his favorite river.

  11. #36
    spook Guest
    or we could call in the authorities and have dasblunt up in a tree with his gopro

  12. #37
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    just thinking out loud, playing devils advocate. I doubt the town would allow it either, but if for some crazy reason they did, I wouldn't be buying land there. Keep us updated re approvals for your composting shitter if you go ahead with it.

  13. #38
    spook Guest
    righteous! until it costs extra.

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Hell Track
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    Getting a permit for alternative waste disposals can sometimes be a headache, especially if you're near a body of water. While septic systems aren't perfect, they're common and they're well understood. If you ask a small town health department official to approve something new, different, or somewhat unusual, chances are you might get the runaround. It might be worth it if that's your only option, but your cheap piece of land may not end up being so cheap in the long run.

  15. #40
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    Nov 2011
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    Well, I just got a copy of the complete permit packet for the septic system that the current owner had prepared, applied for and approved by the District Health Department. It's not that complex. Still trying to figure out how much of the lot, if any, would be available to drill a well.

    I also may have answered the question why this lot is cheap. It's just barely outside city limits. All of the comparable lots (which run anywhere from $20k-50k more for similar sizes) are inside city limits, and thus can access city water and sewer. Installing septic and well will run $10k-20k, at best guess, unless everything breaks the driller's and excavator's way (no rock, water is found pretty shallow, soil is good for septic, etc., etc.) in which case, the owner of this lot could get lucky and come out ahead.

    Still researching. Still interested.

    Toast, you are certainly right about code enforcers being comfortable only with the familiar. On the other hand, this is small town Idaho, where folks will try to work with you if you got a real problem and aren't a dick about it.

  16. #41
    spook Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamespio View Post
    this is small town Idaho, where folks will try to work with you if you got a real problem and aren't a dick about it.

    good luck with that.

  17. #42
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    If you're just outside the city limits, it might be worth looking at how much it'd cost to extend city services to the lot. If you can get that done for ~$15-20k, you might come out ahead. You'd have to deal with getting annexed, and your property taxes would probably go up, but your land value would go up as well. Obviously that assumes the municipality is interested in annexing you, which may not be the case. And there's always the risk that you'll be stepping on your own dick, subjecting yourself to all kinds of building and zoning regs that you would've avoided in the county. But it's worth considering if you're looking at all possible options.

  18. #43
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    off on yet another Tangent
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfost View Post
    When dealing with the hard sciences such as dowsing and mormonism (just assumed since you said mountainous Idaho), you really need to get a guy on the ground to give an accurate estimate...

    Quote Originally Posted by flowing alpy View Post
    this is most helpful, eliminate the guesswork and leave the job to a pro.
    b
    Ha! This reminds me of a project where a good ole boy driller and I were watching a witcher working a site. The driller turns to me and says: "I don't believe much in this witching voodoo stuff.........but I ain't drilling until this site gets witched!"

    Probably irrelevant to your deal, but our property is below a watershed area which was one of the reasons I liked the property at 7600' and expected the 30 year old (in 1989), 75' deep well, to keep providing quality water. The well has been sputtering (same with the neighbors) since our recent droughts and we have water hauled. We'll be witching for a new well with the real possibility we'll have to go to deeper levels with inferior water requiring treatment.

    This makes me wonder if there is any value in knowing any beta on water qualities at different levels around this site?

  19. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    hell, CA pop 4
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    Witching is for real, and I strongly believe that it works. My brother and I both witch, but we use brass brazing rods.


    Test holes are expensive, and we use the witchin to narrow down test locations.

  20. #45
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Inland N.W.
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    26
    OP, I built a house 3 years ago about a mile from Lake Pend Oreille in N. Idaho. The well was $18,500 at what I seem to recall was 125 feet. Keep in mind that you may need to treat the water, though. Mine had so much iron it looked like blood coming out of the faucet, so add another 6K for a water purification and softening system...if something similar comes outta yours.

    If your perc test comes out good, I would think 6-10K for a 3-bedroom septic. If it doesn't and you need a ecologically safe "mound" system, well, bend over and chew on a stick. That took my septic from $8,000 to $18,000! My ass is still sore 3 years later.

    I never play the lottery, by the way...

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    The Cone of Uncertainty
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    I've dowsed/witched plenty of times using metal rods and there's no doubt in my mind that you can feel the rods move, I've felt it myself. I'm not so sure it finds water necessarily, my pet theory is that it detects variations in grarvitational or magnetic fields, which might be a vein of water or something else, like a buried car.

    One time we were looking for an old septic tank that there were no drawings for and found a buried 1940's-era round metal picnic table first. Once we dug and realized it was the wrong thing we went back to dowsing and found the tank 50 feet away in 10 minutes. It's weird but the rods do move.

  22. #47
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
    This makes me wonder if there is any value in knowing any beta on water qualities at different levels around this site?
    Value, sure. But data from surrounding sites isn't necessarily gonna translate to your property as water moves in odd directions underground. The only way to get the data would be to keep testing as you drill, which would slow shit way down and be very expensive. Or I suppose you could take samples as you go, get them all tested, and then grout the well back in to get up to the level where the good water was, which seems kinda crazy too.

  23. #48
    spook Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Ironwood View Post
    OP, I built a house 3 years ago about a mile from Lake Pend Oreille in N. Idaho. The well was $18,500 at what I seem to recall was 125 feet. Keep in mind that you may need to treat the water, though. Mine had so much iron it looked like blood coming out of the faucet, so add another 6K for a water purification and softening system...if something similar comes outta yours.

    If your perc test comes out good, I would think 6-10K for a 3-bedroom septic. If it doesn't and you need a ecologically safe "mound" system, well, bend over and chew on a stick. That took my septic from $8,000 to $18,000! My ass is still sore 3 years later.

    I never play the lottery, by the way...

    it can get way more expensive than that. we've got a friend just outside the city limits who has to replace a system - and you are required to have a replacement area the same size as the functioning system - with a watershed management creek 30 feet off the back porch and a road 30 feet off the front porch. $60k minimum without even considering setback issues due to need to use ultraviolet treatment, etc.

  24. #49
    spook Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    I've dowsed/witched plenty of times using metal rods and there's no doubt in my mind that you can feel the rods move, I've felt it myself.

    it's sensing your undersized bladder leaking into your depends.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Crystal Mountain backcountry, WA
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    1,363
    Quote Originally Posted by spook View Post
    it can get way more expensive than that. we've got a friend just outside the city limits who has to replace a system - and you are required to have a replacement area the same size as the functioning system - with a watershed management creek 30 feet off the back porch and a road 30 feet off the front porch. $60k minimum without even considering setback issues due to need to use ultraviolet treatment, etc.
    Seems way too high....... I have just permitted a house that has Wetland type 3 buffers, F1 and N1 stream buffers and a high water table. We are within 115 ft of a salmon bearing stream and half my property is designated elk habitat. We had to have critical area mapping down by a County biologist.($1200)
    I hired a septic designer to undertake perc tests ( $500)and submit septic design.( $1750
    I also had to have a geotech report ( $750)
    Type of system is based upon Winter water table level and soil type.
    The drain field area is calculated based upon a soil type co-efficient...mine was 0.6 and drain-field ended up at 750sf. ( design is always based upon a 3bdr house)
    You also need to designate a reserve area of similar size where the drain field can be moved to in 20 years or sooner when or if the original area fails.( does not have to be installed ..only the area reserved and shown on site plan.)
    You need at least 18" of soil above winter water-table for the drain-field. If Winter water table is higher ...then you have a problem...and sometimes they will withhold approval until March or April when WT is usually higher. If high ,a mound system can work but there is a maximum number of frost days allowed and if you have a lot of frost days...mound system is a problem.

    Because of he proximity to the wetlands and river at my site... My septic has to treat to a high level ( in layman's terms--- to the level they treat municipal water in Mexico... you could drink it but probably shouldn't) Mine is a drip feed drain field with Ultraviolet treatment.

    The installation cost is about 16K to 18k.

    This is the second system I have had installed as the septic at my current ski cabin( a few lots down and also on the river) failed inspection and the Owners had to put in a septic system similar to mine at a cost of 18k.

    Setbacks for my area are 10ft from property line, 10 ft from crawl space foundations and 5' from SOG foundation. Septic field can go right up to edge of critical area buffers and be within the buffer setback which is 15'.

    After 4 months of permitting ( not Building permit...just Critical area and septic)....I've learnt a lot...... Building permit is probably another 3 months away. Total Septic and building permit on a difficult site near a river or critical areas= allow 6 months.

    YMMV but I doubt it.
    Last edited by Scotsman50; 01-21-2014 at 07:01 PM.
    TGR Bureau Chief, Greenwater, WA

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