The Shopper Real Estate: Purchasing a home with a well

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By Jess Barron, Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors

It is not uncommon to purchase a home, especially in Coweta County, that has a well on the property. In fact, the well may supply the drinking water for the home on the property.

While some buyers may be apprehensive of a well system, there are certain things your Realtor can do to protect you.

When purchasing a home with a well, a buyer should always have a well test performed by the county health department or a licensed water well contractor. There are certain things the test should look for. The new test package at the Georgia Department of Public Health is called the Private Well Chemical Test (W-33C). This test analyzes several parameters including arsenic, lead, fluoride, nitrate, and nitrite (DPH.Georgia.Gov).

I recommend asking the seller to provide a clear well letter from the county health department, or a licensed water well contractor, during the due diligence period of your purchase and sale contract.

You should also confirm that the well is in compliance with the following basic wellhead protection measures from DPH.Georgia.Gov:

• Maintain the area around the well to be clean and accessible.

• Do not store any chemicals, gasoline, or fertilizer within 50 feet of the well.

• Divert surface water away from the well. Install a water tight curbing, sloping away from the casing that is sufficient to prevent contamination.

• Protect the upper terminal of the well by a sanitary seal or cover to prevent entrance of pollutants to the well.

The following horizontal distances are required under DNR’s Water Well Standards Act:

• Not less than ten (10) feet from a sewer line

• Not less than 50 feet from a septic tank

• Not less than 100 feet from a septic tank absorption field

• Not less than 150 feet from a cesspool or seepage pit

• Not less than 100 feet from an animal or fowl enclosure

Another important factor to consider when purchasing a property with well water is your financing. You need to check with your lender and see what their requirements are for properties with wells. Some lenders may be stricter than others. If public water is available at the property, your lender may require you to connect. You could always keep the well as irrigation for your yard also.

Do not let a property with well water prevent you from purchasing the property. A properly working well can be a great thing and, obviously, much cheaper than county or city water. As someone who grew up on well water in West Coweta and now drinks city water, I can tell you that the well water tastes better anyway.

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Jess Barron is an Associate Broker with Lindsey’s Inc. Realtors and former President of the Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors.

A schematic of how a typical single-home domestic water well works. USGS.gov Photo

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