I have my home near a new subdivision that is being installed. I am
on well water and have a septic system. A company is planning on
drilling holes for groundwater in the area and obviously digging the
ground up for foundations for all the new homes. Can someone please
tell me if all this digging and drilling can have an adverse affect on
my well which is about 200 feet from all the digging that is going to
If so, what can happen to my water from others digging and drilling so
Is there anything I can do to stop it or protect myself from the big
companies that dig nearby?
It's pretty tough to stop progress. I'm sure these folks have all the
necessary permits to do whatever they're doing. If , for instance your well
stopped producing as a result of something they did, and you can prove it,
you probably can have something done to have it fixed
I wouldn't worry about the basements -- they're surface scratching
unrelated to the aquifer.
I don't know what you mean by "drilling holes for groundwater in the
area". Are all the houses in the new subdivision going to be on
individual wells or are they planning on drilling a community well
or...??? Either of those could adversely impact your reservoir
although only a trained hydrologist or other person who knows the
local aquifer can tell you a priori. (As in, certainly no one on
usenet w/o knowing a thing about even where you are can say anything
meaningful about impacts.)
What you can do depends on where you are and what the rules are on
established residential groundwater rights. (Here, it's essentially
"first come, first served" for agricultural rights and basically
nothing for residential.)
Another poster says he's sure the "whoevers" are in compliance and
while that may be so, it isn't always necessarily so. The better the
reputation of the developer, the more likely to follow rules, of
course. Also, there may or may not be any zoning or other regulation
in the area as of yet, anyway. You need to check w/ whatever
jurisdiction controls sewage and find out who, if anybody, regulates
Sooner would be better than later. As the same poster says, redress
_may_ be possible if damage is done, but proving it could be difficult
at best and expensive. Far better to be as proactive as possible at
least w/ determining what's going on and "who's in charge"...
May or may not. No one can say for sure, but it is unlikely. If they do
cause damage, they may have some responsibility to fix it.
If they happen to his the same veine of water, if they are up stream, you
may get some crud in the water until it settles. As for digging the
foundations, tha tis not a worry. They wont' be deep enough to affect you.
You can protest, you can lay down in the street to block the equipment you
can carry a picket sign, you can pay your life savings to a lawyer. End
result will be about the same. Look on the positive side. Most builders
don't want to aggravate the neighbors and will go out of their way to avoid
problems. Some will even help you. When they build a house across the
street, they took down some trees and gave me the wood for my stove. Even
hauled it over. They wanted to check where the sewer line went so asked to
use my cleanout. They notice a trickle from a leaking toilet so they fixed
it for me. I had a depression in my lawn so they filled it in for me.
This doesn't sound like you, Bob... :)
We don't know for sure there were any (at least close) neighbors
before. The incremental effect of one additional residential well as
opposed to the addition of a fairly large number of individual or a
few larger, communal wells isn't necessarily the same. Again, all
depends on what is actually happening and what the local aquifer
I'll agree it isn't too likely the OP will have a problem, but if it
were I, I'd be doing some investigating, too...
And, of course, if had the opportunity would have tried to buy up the
area, too, although sounds too late now.
I am probably projecting.... I have been working on a project
in a neighborhood where everyone is very concerned about every
little thing that you do.
Agreed, but at what point do you get to tell your neighbors
that own the land around you (whether they be individuals or a
corporation) that there is enough development and they have to
stop using their property because it may have an effect on
you? One does not have the right to do that. Every bit of
development affects neighboring properties in some way.
My problem with the OP is that as long as the proper
procedures are followed, there isn't anything that they can do
to stop progress. I would hate to have someone try to tell me
what I can do on my property (or especially what I can't do).
That is why I live out in the country.
I wish I could buy up all the property around me, but I can't
afford to pay all the taxes just to be able to keep progress
My apologies to the OP,... you kind of struck a nerve with me
when I was at a weak moment.
Given some of the things I've seen happen around rural areas and
smaller, established subdivisions, I'm not at all surprised nor do I
blame them for being concerned. Wichita City just went an bought most
of a quarter directly across a county road from a very nice area of
existing acreages/houses with the expressed intent of placing a
landfill there -- hardly conducive to making friends. Another area
just got told there's now going to be a large development of
subsidized housing go in what is presently a city park in the middle
of what has been for 40+ years single-family or duplex residential.
And, yet another residential area edge has been sold out to allow yet
another WalMart SuperCenter with it's main parking lot entrance
sharing the one entrance/egress street to their neighborhood which is
landlocked and can't be provided a second egress w/o taking out
multiple homes. To top this one off, there's an existing WM within 3
One doesn't have an absolute right to say how adjoining property is
used, granted. But, otoh, while the adjoining landowner/developer may
have the legal right by law to do something, doesn't necessarily make
it right from a more neighborly point of view for lack of better way
to put it. To make a nuisance for existing neighbors of whatever type
is not an optimal answer, either.
You're undoubtedly much more reasonable than some individuals and
certainly some developers aren't at all concerned about effects on
those surrounding them. It would be ideal if zoning and other
ordinances were able to be totally fair to all involved but,
unfortunately, like most other issues, "right" is colored mightily by
the point of view.
And that's why I have an option on the half-section north of the house
so that when the current owner decides to sell I can prevent the
feedlot east from acquiring it and moving their operation directly
across the road. Fortunately, as agricultural land, it is revenue-
generating even though I don't need it for our operation I'll add it
to ensure the integrity of the surrounding area around the home
quarter (which is three of the four quarters on the section).
In general, it's not an easy question...
On Mon, 28 May 2007 16:30:41 -0700, car crash wrote:
It definitely can affect ground water. You should contact your City
Council. Where I live, the builders are required to have an environmental
study before they can modify the surface here, let alone dig a basement.
one lady house has begin to sink more due to local parking lot install and
change in ground water absorption.
Of course where $$$ is concerned, 'studies' don't mean much... City
counsil is supposed to work for the people. Get some neighbors together
and give them a piece of your mind. Maybe you don't win this one, but if
they are messing with you now, don't expect them to stop...
So if you owned a piece of property and someone told you that
you can't develope it, you would be fine with that? When did
development become "messing with" owners of adjacent property?
They are just trying to use their property as they see fit.
What you are saying is this: You can own all the land you
want around me, you just can't do anything with it.
It's a tough balancing act -- what about the folks coming out into
farming country and buying a small acreage and building their "dream
home" next to an existing animal operation (say a dairy or small
feedlot or hog operation) and then demanding they cease or attempt to
place completely ridiculous restrictions on the operations? Even more
absurd than those in a situation similar to OP's in my opinion, but
quite common and getting more so. :(
square mile, before the board of health folks force city water and/or sewer?
(Variable depending on local soil characteristics and water tables and
subsurface flow patterns, of course.) Or do they let things ride until water
samples start failing e.coli tests and people start getting sick, or the
wells run dry?
Depends totally on locality in me experience. Until quite recently
here, there was no zoning of any kind nor even enforced health
ordinances in the county outside of incorporated cities in the more
rural/agrarian counties. It had never been an issue until quite
recently. Now there is at least a modicum of control.
As noted before, as for drilling residential wells there are no
limitations that I am aware of other than the separation from septic
fields from the health standpoint. There is a "closed" area for
further agricultural or industrial wells, however.
I suspect like most related questions the closer to metro areas one
gets, the more restrictions/limitations one will find is a quite
On Wed, 30 May 2007 01:38:06 +0000, Robert Allison wrote:
Im not saying it, its our system. There are zoning rules that govern what
you can and can not do with your land. In general, if he has a home, what
other home owners do to their land will not affect him much. But when
you mix zones, then businesses can do things home owners dont like, and
vice versa. This is no different.
It happened in my neighborhood. But thats because my city is silly and
still has no city development plan, so its haphazard zoning...
I thought the OP was talking about a subdivision. Not a
walmart or a hog farm.
I have an electrical substation across the street from my
shop, which is behind my house. It is a good neighbor. It
never says anything about what I do on my property. I like it.
If it ever harms me, I can sue it (or rather its owners).
Otherwise, I live and let live. Since I live in the country,
there isn't any zoning. Down the street, we have a bread
distribution warehouse, a church, a plumbing supply warehouse
and some sort of office building. The other direction has
only homes, but they are putting in a large computer company
building (they are very secretive about exactly what they are
going to do there). It is about 300,000 sf. It is at the end
of my county road about a mile away.
When it gets too crowded for me, or I don't like something, I
can sell and move. Or I can just learn to live with it.
After all, they don't tell me what I can do with my property
and I don't tell them how to use theirs.
If I wanted that sort of thing, then I could live in an area
like the neighborhood of my current construction project. It
has one of those gestapo like neighborhood associations that
has to approve the exterior colors, roofing material and
color, entry locations, exterior selections, landscaping,
amount of time you can park on the street, what you can park
on the street, hours you can work, how long you can leave your
garage door open (1/2 hour), what playground equipment can be
visible from the street, what you can keep in your yard, etc.
They pretty much let you do what you want inside your house,
but you have no leeway concerning the exterior.
You see, there is a place for just about everyone. You just
have to find it.
I live in a rural subdivision in the county, and it does have zoning,
permits, code enforcement, etc. Several neighbors complained to the
planning commission about a new subdivision planned with smaller lots
than the typical neigborhood lot, and the builder increased the lot
Some states, counties, & watersheds have rules governing septic system
& well spacing. You need to ask about your local requirements; start
at the county courthouse. If you don't know who to call, start with
the County Clerk. Probably, your state has a website with the agency
involved in health & water permits.
Unless you have a shallow well, you probably won't notice any
problems. You could invest a small amount of $ by taking a water
sample from your well now, then periodically (quarterly? annually?)
and keeping track of the quality. If the wells and septic systems are
properly installed, nothing should be able to affect your water
supply. The soil acts as a filter, and the biological activity in the
soil converts all of the sewage into bacteria & plants. The most
drastic impact you should expect is lower capacity during extreme
drought, if the water table drops due to excessive use.
One thing to watch is that the builders don't create any buried trash
pits. Chemicals used during home construction (paints, thinners,
pesticides, solvents, etc.) don't belong underground and can
contaminate the groundwater. It could be years before anyone would
see this in their wells.
If you have a karst geology in your area, you may have problems. This
is when the limestone layer is immediately below the surface, and has
many joints, caves, and solution cavities that permit free flow of
water underground. You need a specialist to help you then, but you
probably would already know about it. There are some other types of
geological problems, but they are rare.
In my state, we have a 'Rule of Capture'.
That means I have the right to shoot a deer that comes from your
place to mine.
It also means that I can drill an oil or water or gas well on my
place even if all the stuff I produce from that well is drained from
What I cannot do is pour arsenic down my well where it pollutes yours.
I must say that there are now some water districts being formed that
tend to restrict my right to capture the water so what was isn't
necessarily what will be.
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