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  1. #1
    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    Ethical Question...

    I have lived in this house for 25 years and my neighbor has owned the house next to me for 15(?) years. It is a winter home and in the summer it mostly sits empty. We have had conversations in the past and are acquainted with one another. Things happen and I knew I had had well problems in the past at some point I had asked if something were to happen, would he mind if I hooked to his water to help me through the spot (I am on a well and he has county water). He had said that it would be no problem. His daughter has been living there since July (I just found out as I saw her out and said hello and talked a bit a couple days ago. We talked and she said her dad and mom would be down in Dec). Fast forward 8? - 10? years and my well tip took a krap saturday morning. I went over and knocked throughout the day and got no answer. Sat eve, I decided the offer dad had made was still in effect, I left a note on the door, and I hooked to their water to tie me over until Mon when the well people could get me a new sub pump. Well, daughter showed up Sun eve and I saw her pull up and I went out and let her know what I had done. I told her I would pay for what I used and I had talked to dad in the past about an emergency situation. She made me feel like I had hooked up and was mooching free water from them. I told her I would pay $50 (water bill would be high at $100 a month). She said she would call her dad and questioned how we would split the water bill. I have never asked for anything from them in the past. It was not the reaction I expected from a neighbor.

    My questions are these..

    Would you have considered the permission granted by the owner still in effect?
    Would you have hooked to the neighbors water?
    Do you think I was wrong to hook up to the neighbors water?

    Had the situation been reversed, I would have told them it was no problem and that I was glad to help them out. My wife and I are a little surprised at the reaction the daughter had.



    Hopefully, the pump will be replaced tomorrow and I can unhook without an interruption in water supply.

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  3. #2
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    Doesn't sound like you were out of line. That's what neighbors are for, right?
    I strongly feel that we need to get back to that kind of country. Where people help one another without greedy motives.
    Besides, your offer to pay $50 towards the water bill is completely acceptable. Somewhat generous even.

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    i don't think you have anything to worry about, where i am from neighbor helping neighbor is the way it goes unless you are a total **** (enter your choice of four letter words)

    i would say the daughter just doesn't know how that works.

    as long as you have stayed on good terms, everything will be OK

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    I think it would be fine. You're paying more than you used, and the father said it wasn't a big deal. In the future, who knows what will happen, though.

    I would have hooked up if I was desperate. If it was needed to water animals or run the toilet, I would. If it was for showers, I probably would have smelled weird until Monday.

    Our water pump went out once a few years ago in the middle of winter on a Friday evening. We brought in 5 gallon buckets of snow to fill the bathtub with. When melted, we bucketed that water into the toilet. You do what you have to....
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    One thing is surprising to me. Why have you not been forced onto the local government water system? Everywhere I have lived if the water line goes past your house you are forced onto the system. Mike
    "Profit begins when you buy NOT when you sell." {quote passed down to me from a wise man}

    Now go beat the copper out of something, Miked

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    I don't know where he is, but we're 10 miles from the nearest town. If he's in a more rural area where there are a couple of houses, I could see him being in a similar situation to our area of the country.

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    The question is did the daughter know about the deal you and her dad made 8 to 10 years ago?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimicrk View Post
    The question is did the daughter know about the deal you and her dad made 8 to 10 years ago?
    Most likely not and thats why she was so upset. Hopefully her dad let her know he had given permission for this very emergency and things will be ok between everyone now. OP, you did the right thing offering money to cover the water, that should smooth things over as well.
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    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    She called her dad and he said it was no problem. She told me he said he would work it out when he came down. I think he probably said it was no problem. She probably had not heard of the agreement as we were just outside shooting the chit.

    I am not on water by choice. I moved here before water hookup was available. I moved here partially because I did not want to pay $70-$100 a month for water. I will resist until I am unable to hold them back, then I will agree (we can keep the well for lawn watering). I will not pay the bill and they will turn me off and I will hook back up to my well (perhaps I will hook up and not use any of their water and not pay the minimum bill).

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    For whatever it's worth .....

    We ran the numbers on a private well & septic system vs municipal hook ups and it came out to be about the same cost over a twenty year period. With one thing there's the initial set up along with long tern maintenance costs. With the other it's a quarterly bill.

    Can't say as i blame you for wanting to do your own thing. Give it some time though. They've already started taxing groundwater usage in some places.

    BTW: Good call on the ethical dilemma. You did it the right way. Who knows .... it might be an easier thing in the future now that his daughter understands that it's kool.

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    Ethically with concern to neighbor, I think the use of water is what all "good neighbors" or what any "decent neighbor" would do, help each other!

    Well water or municipal water? There are situations that one should consider: 1. Regional water table long term supply viability. 2. Water quality of your well water (is your health/safety needs factored in to your thought process?).

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  19. #12
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    I will not pay the bill and they will turn me off and I will hook back up to my well (perhaps I will hook up and not use any of their water and not pay the minimum bill).
    If you decide to do just this and not pay the bill, can't they add that to your taxes or something?

  20. #13
    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigburtchino View Post
    Ethically with concern to neighbor, I think the use of water is what all "good neighbors" or what any "decent neighbor" would do, help each other!

    Well water or municipal water? There are situations that one should consider: 1. Regional water table long term supply viability. 2. Water quality of your well water (is your health/safety needs factored in to your thought process?).
    No problem on the water supply. The water is 26ft down with an 80' well tip, and I would drink my water way before I would drink your muni chemical water.

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    I agree with your desire to be independent and self sufficient as you can be. I only bring up well water safety, as my best friend, now has major health problems. The source of those problems? Well water, he has lived on the same property his entire life (-4 years in navy), 53 years of drinking his own well water, that he thought was safe!

    Microorganisms: Bacteria, viruses, parasites and other microorganisms are sometimes found in water. Shallow wells — those with water close to ground level — are at most risk. Runoff, or water flowing over the land surface, may pick up these pollutants from wildlife and soils. This is often the case after flooding. Some of these organisms can cause a variety of illnesses. Symptoms include nausea and diarrhea. These can occur shortly after drinking contaminated water. The effects could be short-term yet severe (similar to food poisoning) or might recur frequently or develop slowly over a long time.

    Bacteria and Nitrates: These pollutants are found in human and animal wastes. Septic tanks can cause bacterial and nitrate pollution. So can large numbers of farm animals. Both septic systems and animal manures must be carefully managed to prevent pollution. Sanitary landfills and garbage dumps are also sources. Children and some adults are at extra risk when exposed to water-born bacteria. These include the elderly and people whose immune systems are weak due to AIDS or treatments for cancer. Fertilizers can add to nitrate problems. Nitrates cause a health threat in very young infants called “blue baby” syndrome. This condition disrupts oxygen flow in the blood.

    Do you have your well water tested? Is your shallow water well source safe for you and family? I would answer those questions to myself, not something you would or should share unless you want too!

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    Ummm .... kinda got a point there Bert.

    See ... it's recycling. All of the waste water from the septic system finds it's way back to the aquifer and is drawn back up through the well.

    You keep using the same water over & over again.

    With a muni system the water is used once & then safely discharged.

    There are pros & cons to both ways of doing things.

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  24. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigburtchino View Post
    I agree with your desire to be independent and self sufficient as you can be. I only bring up well water safety, as my best friend, now has major health problems. The source of those problems? Well water, he has lived on the same property his entire life (-4 years in navy), 53 years of drinking his own well water, that he thought was safe!

    Microorganisms: Bacteria, viruses, parasites and other microorganisms are sometimes found in water. Shallow wells — those with water close to ground level — are at most risk. Runoff, or water flowing over the land surface, may pick up these pollutants from wildlife and soils. This is often the case after flooding. Some of these organisms can cause a variety of illnesses. Symptoms include nausea and diarrhea. These can occur shortly after drinking contaminated water. The effects could be short-term yet severe (similar to food poisoning) or might recur frequently or develop slowly over a long time.

    Bacteria and Nitrates: These pollutants are found in human and animal wastes. Septic tanks can cause bacterial and nitrate pollution. So can large numbers of farm animals. Both septic systems and animal manures must be carefully managed to prevent pollution. Sanitary landfills and garbage dumps are also sources. Children and some adults are at extra risk when exposed to water-born bacteria. These include the elderly and people whose immune systems are weak due to AIDS or treatments for cancer. Fertilizers can add to nitrate problems. Nitrates cause a health threat in very young infants called “blue baby” syndrome. This condition disrupts oxygen flow in the blood.

    Do you have your well water tested? Is your shallow water well source safe for you and family? I would answer those questions to myself, not something you would or should share unless you want too!
    Perhaps my reply was a little edgier thasn I had intended. The water is softened and filtered and aerated and chlorinated. It is then run through a carbon filter and drinking water is run through a reverse osmosis system. I know exactly what is in my water, and I do not know what county adds to their water or in what quantities. I have never had Manatee County pipe my drinking water through an old sewer line. I have never had a boil water warning. I much prefer a well over government poisoned water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrappah View Post
    Ummm .... kinda got a point there Bert.

    See ... it's recycling. All of the waste water from the septic system finds it's way back to the aquifer and is drawn back up through the well.

    You keep using the same water over & over again.

    With a muni system the water is used once & then safely discharged.

    There are pros & cons to both ways of doing things.
    Unless the person has no idea what they are doing, drain field water never mixes with drinking water. My well is 200 ft deep and retrieves water from the aquafer. The drain field discharges in the sand and is part of surface water. A septic system functioning properly safely discharges the water treated in the septic tank.

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  26. #17
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    < Gentle Laughter >

    The aquifer recharges from the surface T.

    I never said the wastewater didn't filter through the earth first.

  27. #18
    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrappah View Post
    < Gentle Laughter >

    The aquifer recharges from the surface T.

    I never said the wastewater didn't filter through the earth first.
    Aquafers, as I understand them, are geneally ancient water. The water I drink has been underground for millions of years. Unless there was a Ford DinoTaurus driving around, it has been unsullied by any fossil fuel, global warming, chemical residue. Bradenton sent Sarasota drinking water through a poo poo pipe ( I would definitely consider that water "sullied").

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  29. #19
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    It's perfectly understandable. Most people understand the aquifer as being ancient water undisturbed for millions of years. That probably was even true up until the time that the technology came along to drill a deep well. Once we started pulling water out of the ground everything changed. It started the cycle of discharge & recharge.

    This is the simplified version of the story but think of aquifers as being underground storage tanks. As you pump water out of the tank it refills with water filtering down from the surface.

    Let's say you were trying to fill your new swimming pool from the well. You run the hose straight out and are taking the water out faster than the aquifer can recharge from the surface. The water level in your well drops & drops until it eventually runs dry.

    That's the problem we were having at the municipal level when i was doing the day to day operation of our local water company. We had to keep drilling more wells and tap into different aquifers in order to get enough to run the town.

    It was sad because one of the very best aquifers in the area was already destroyed by my father's generation. At the time they didn't understand how this all works. They put an unlined landfill right on top of it. Fifty years later the lechate from the landfill was still poisoning the underground water supply in that area. It's even more sad because i've watched people on private wells in that area dying from a variety of cancers for the last 30 years.

    There's not enough money in the world to clean up that environmental mess. The only feasible solution has been to deal with it quietly behind the scenes and talk with the people in the area one on one. That water is fine for most things but it's not a good idea to drink it.

    Anyway .... long story .... and yes you kinda are drinking your poo poo water from the septic system after it's been filtered through the earth.

    LOL .... it blows everyone's mind when we tell em' that. (It's a local running joke among the plumbers here cause they understand how it all fits together.) People's reactions are priceless.

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  31. #20
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    Fair enough. Everybody has their preference and opinion. I would rather drink water that went through a septic system and 200 feet of sand filter than water that I know has been infused with fluoride. I am happy with my circumstance as I hope you are happy with yours.

    Live well.

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