Buying Home with Old, Open Well

I hope this is relevant to this group. We are looking at buying a home. When the seller built the home, he lived in a trailer on the property while building it. During that time, his water came from a well [brick-lined, open] and he said the quality was bad. So, he put in a cistern to service the new home instead of using the well [home and cistern are ~10 years old].
Is it legal to sell the home with the well open? It has a heavy, metal lid over the opening, but I'm wondering more about the laws around whether or not he is required to fill the well before selling it? We may choose to include that in our contract anyway.
We're in SW Indiana.
Thanks,
Ryan
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herlihyboy wrote:

I would suggest that you contact your local county and or state authorities.
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Joseph Meehan

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On Wed, 24 May 2006 13:37:59 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

I wouldn't. Just leave it. Someday, that well may be the only water available. And you can always irrigate with it.
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wrote:

Hmm... maybe. My impression was that for useful fire-fighting ability, you need more water than is typically available in a dug well. If the cistern is a decent size, OP might think about a least a 2.5" hydrant fitting and maybe a 4.5" fitting, set a bit away from the house. What's the standard for that, 5000 gallons?
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Goedjn wrote:

The cistern is 6000 gallons and is not rain-filled. The guy currently has it trucked in from a nearby town every two months or so [for his family of 4].
Thanks to everyone [well, almost everyone] for the helpful advice.
Ryan
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In rural areas like this they rely on pumpers more (pumper fire trucks), bringing water. And going to established sources if more is needed.
Banty
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was used to catch rain water for uses other than drinking water. I don't remember anyone ever drinking that water, although I suppose if it was filtered before entering the cistern and then treated somehow to eliminate bacteria, it would be possible. By cistern, do you really mean a driven or drilled well? I agree that you would probably want for safety's sake to have that old well filled in.
Tom G.
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It all depends.
You live in SW Indiana.
I live in Las Vegas.
This newsgroup is read in Italy, Australia, and Kazakhstan.
The people who respond here may provide information that is relative only to their area.
I HAVE A BRILLIANT IDEA!
Why don't you check with your local authorities? You know, the ones who write the laws and set the guidelines in YOUR area for these EXACT things?
Yer Welcome.
Steve
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If you put it in the contract and he agrees, the only law that becomes relevant is contract law. A good Realtor should be familiar with the relevant legalities but my sense is that if it is covered and locked such that an inquiring 11 year old boy cannot climb inside, it's legal. There probably is no criminal code but civil prosicution for negligence if someone does get hurt would be a major concern. Furthermore, the insurance company might have a specific issue with that feature.
What are we talking about, 5 yards of crushed stone delivered for less than $500. Will make a great dry well for draining the gutters once filled with drain rock or just nothing if filled with loam or base material. Make sure it is compacted as it is filled or it will form a sink hole in the future. He can get a couple of day laborers from in front of HD if he is too lazy to do it himself for another $100
For a good job, have him remove the lining brick from the top foot or so in case you ever want to till the yard, you won't hit it. Just knock it off the top into the well before filling it.
A $500 fix-it item should be nothing to the seller

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The OP should check local or state regulations for decommissioning a well. In many areas they must be filled with a non-porous concrete type material that prevents water from entering the well and contaminating the ground water. Using it as a dry well or filling with loam will certainly contaminate the ground water and many other wells in the surrounding area that people depend upon.

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Good point, I suppose it depends on the size of the property and if anyone else uses well water nearby. It dosen't sound like this well is very deep that may relieve him of special obligations. Agreed, a call to city hall would clear it up fast.

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If I were buying a home where the potable water had to be hauled in by truck I would be really thankful to have a secondary source for irrigation, cash washing and so on. The last time we had a drought here people drilled wells here so they could use all the water they wanted as they wanted.
If you don't agree then as others have posted the local authorities are your best option.
Colbyt
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I would keep the old well, but install a heavy cover with lock so its never a hazard, like no kids get in.
such free water might be of major use someday.
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I think there's compelling reasons to keep the well. Personally if it had a secure lid, I wouldn't close it up if it were me.
If you do close the well...it's best to do it properly, and here's an article that works for Iowa, you may have different regulations in your area. <http://www.abe.iastate.edu/HTMDOCS/pm1328.pdf
Good luck to you,
DAC
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from there very well. Do check with the county and/or the local DNR office- much of SW Indiana is cave/limestone country, so the water tables are very strange, and an open well acting as a pipe for any surface contamination can sometimes take a pollution plume dozens of miles. Contamination from septic fields was quite common as the rural subdivisions got built up, so running a water main often happened even before gravel roads got paved.
Wish I had the money to move back to that area- every place since then has just been 'wrong'....
aem sends...
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