Sharing well and pump--how much should we charge?

Page 2 of 2  
On Feb 26, 3:45pm, snipped-for-privacy@cs.ubc.ca (Dave Martindale) wrote:

Good job at inventing new problems that haven't been stated and have nothing to do with the question.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 25 Feb 2008 21:49:30 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Talk to the developer. After all, it's only been a year. Find out some more facts from him. You did have inspectors out when the house was built this year, right? Call their office for documents.
Some places in the desert of Las Vegas, NV have up to 12 homes on community wells. Apparently, the wells and all on are on an easement...but I don't know for certain. Again, as others say! Check your documents.
Is the well on his property and you agreed to pay the electric bill, because of a slight oversight?
-- Oren
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You should have had the agreement down on paper from the beginning.
If things got nasty, there's no telling of how it would turn out.
Does your ownership agreement say _anything_ about this? Is it listed as an easement?
I think it's _way_ too late to consider recouping the cost of the initial installation. Chalk that up to experience, and don't do it again.
You could purchase a Killawatt meter and monitor the power consumption for a month or more, split the power consumption in half, and bill him for that at the current going rate. This only works if the pump is 120V (and preferably plug-connected). Killawatts are only about $40. At 240V, I dunno of any solutions that cheap.
As for maintenance - the common plumbing elements are: well, pump, pressure tank, and anything else his water goes through before it goes off to his house. Like a water softener. He should pay half the repair bills of any equipment in your place it goes through before it gets to his. If he objects to that, you will have to consider whether it's in your best interest to eat the costs, or go the legal route.
Without some pre-agreement on maintenance, paper or otherwise, you may well be screwed. A court may consider what little agreement that there was to be a binding "contract", in which case you're stuck with it. Legal advice is advised, but don't threaten/start proceedings until you're ready to make a long term enemy.
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Wow! Lots of responses! Thanks for all the advice.
I'm surprised the mere idea of well sharing is so foreign to everyone. It's very common in Wisconsin. It makes a lot of sense. There are rarely any problems, and I personally have never heard of any first-hand. Sharing a well causes no problems with deeds, mortgages, buying, selling, etc. Our deed, and our neighbor's deed, both have the same language regarding the well and pump, and the deeds were reviewed by attorneys, title companies, lenders, etc. This is all legit.
My only problem is *HOW* to split the electricity. We both agree that we'll split it, and our deeds stipulate that we'll split it, but how do we split it? I'm waiting to hear back from my neighbor to see if he agrees on a reasonable amount like $15/mo. I have no reason to believe he'll argue about it. If he does, I'll just have to install a meter on that circuit, watch it for a few months to come up with an average, and then charge based on that. If the cost of a meter is reasonable, I may do that regardless, as I'm a lover of information, and I'd just like to know how much juice the pump uses.
I'm satisfied that the cost to run the circuit in the first place is negligible, and I won't bother my neighbor with that. Besides, we'd have to run that circuit even if we didn't share a well, and our neighbor had to run a similar circuit to control the pump, so it's not worth analyzing.
As for the pressure tank... I'm going to have a non-biased third party plumber look at the installation and make sure it's fare, and explore the "check valve" to make sure my neighbor doesn't benefit from it, or, if necessary, figure out what initial costs should be shared.
Thanks for all the information everyone!
- Johnnie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Feb 26, 5:27pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If it's all so common and a swell idea that doesn't lead to any problems, why are you here asking questions about how to resolve it?

And what happens when he says, screw you, you're charging me too much, I'm only paying half? Or when lightning hits the pump and you pay for it's replacement? Or he sells the place and the new neighbor decides to put in an irrigation system for 2 acres of lawn?

That's cool. How about the cost of the well and pump? Who paid for that? Here we call guys like you a sucker.
Besides, we'd

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

we share a well with the well's owner (whos never here) and another neighbor. the well's owner charges us $35 a year and i know that i use alot more water than he does cj in michigan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote: ...

Well, you left out the part of it being included in the deeds, easements, etc. The discussion was over the case in which, as it sounded like from the original post, one property owner was supplying water to an adjacent lacking anything other than a very nebulous verbal arrangement for power.

If the agreement were were complete, it would adjudicate the split as well.
Lacking a formal agreement, estimating is fine if you and the neighbor are both agreeable. Whether that's equitable depends on relative water use, though, not simply the power charge. While the incremental operational cost isn't probably enough to worry about excessively, what about the distribution of repair costs, etc? Are they to be shared 50:50 or on some estimated basis or what? If one uses far more over time than the other, is it fair that that user pay less than the fractional amount of water used?
The point really isn't that you and the current neighbor couldn't work this all out between the two of you (although I'm curious as another respondent that if there weren't some friction that you would feel prompted to post the question to usenet) without anything further, but the scenario of future neighbors who may not be so easygoing. If there's a firm legal basis for all the ancillary costs besides simply the incremental power cost, then there's a basis for settlement that minimizes potential bickering. Again, the basis for this shouldn't be to try to favor one party over the other but to make it an equitable (and well-defined) arrangement. ...

As a shared well, what's not "fair" about him gaining some "benefit" from the pressure tank -- it's part of the system and the _system_ is shared. One would presume the well feeds the pressure tank and the tank then feeds both properties.
Again, the agreement should include the system and costs for maintaining it, not simply the operational costs.
What happens if the well fails and you're out of town for an extended period? The neighbor have access to everything they need to get the problem resolved before you return?
So many questions, so few answers...
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You could measure the time the pump runs by adding a clock to the circuit. The amount of electricity used by the pump can be measured with a amp meter or watt meter.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Feb 26, 2:27pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

There should be much more than just shareing the cost of the electric. It sounds like he is reasonable so a sit down to hash out some details is in order. In any case, do not present him with a 'decision' without discussing it with him first.
Picture zero dark 30 on a stormy night when you discover you are out of water. How are the costs of the plumber going to be shared? That needs to be in a legal contract. Any reasonble neighbor will negotiate it.
As for the initial cost that went into drilling/equipment/piping etc. of the well: That is water under the bridge. You agreed to whatever the assignment of them were when you bought the lot from the developer even if yuo didn't consider it. Those costs don't even involve the neighbor. In effect you want to go back and renegotiate the selling price. Ain't a gonna happen.
Harry K
.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No one would fall for that in NJ. Shared driveways make houses harder to sell
On Feb 26, 5:27pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's not foreign. However, entering into one of these without a firm legal basis for it is not only foreign, but very unwise.
At least you seem to have a reasonable relationship with him.
Sharing electrical costs on a guess of, say, $10-20/month is perfectly reasonable if you're both happy with it. Measuring it may be more trouble than it's worth. You could put it in a repair fund.
The real issue is repairs. You need to discuss with him circumstances, cost sharing, and what constitutes "shared equipment". That will be well, well supply lines, pump, control systems, and almost certainly pressure tank (unless you have checkvalves between it and where his feed taps off). If you have a water softener that feeds him, it's shared too. Do you have filters? Do they feed him? Etc.
How things get done if your neighbor can't get access to the equipment while you're away is also an issue. Do you trust them enough to give 'em a key?
As for the initial installation cost, it's probably too late, but, perhaps no harm in asking if your relationship is that good.
Now, once you get that all thrashed out, write it down in simple and plain language (should be less than a page), and each should keep a signed copy. That will keep things sane in the future.
Note: because of various incidents over the past years, people are getting considerably more leary of small-scale water sharing. You don't want to face major lawsuits over a contamination problem you didn't catch. You'll probably need to advise your insurance company.
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to JohnnieMarr, Swm1954 wrote: I'm in a similar situation. I own a rental house that has a well that is shared with a neighbor. The well is on my property & the pressure tank is under my house. My lawyer says if there is nothing written in the deed concerning the shared well, then I can do what I want with what is on my property. I just put in my fourth pump, have replaced wires 3 times and pressure switches maybe 4 times. The neighbor has never paid for any expenses, but does sometimes help with friends and relatives of his when we need to pull out the pump. When I started doing it all myself, I asked him to pay $50 per month to help cover costs. He did this for about 2 years & then that stopped about 8 months ago. I couldn't figure out what the problem was this time & I didn't have the time or help to do it myself, so I hired a professional to do the work. They replaced the pump & wires again, so I have to try to get money from the neighbor, while his wife is going through serious health problems. I can legally cut off their water, according to my lawyer, but I don't want to make any enemies & would feel guilty about making his wife any sicker. But choosing to cut off their water is easier when I see them buying new cars as I continue to repair & drive my old one. Also, I just found out that he has his own well, but he just can't afford to put in the pump, pipe, wiring, pressure tank & switch so he can have his own system. Anyway, my suggestion to you is to check the deed & the laws in your state & county. If there is nothing in writing requiring you to keep the water running for your neighbor, you may be legally able to cut them off. Of course, like in my case, you risk making an enemy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.