What’s the Difference Between Public & Private Water?
As long as everything is working well, you won’t think much about where your water comes from or how waste gets taken away. When something goes wrong, you’ll care a lot.
Here are some of the quick differences between public and private water systems:
City Water and Sewer
Private Well and Septic
You pay for it either through your taxes or a regular bill.
You buy the water and the septic system when you buy the house. Your ongoing costs are electricity for a pump and maintenance or repairs.
The condition of your water is on public record. Your local health department makes sure it is healthy to drink.
You only know the condition of your water if you test it.
Your water comes from a large source shared with all your neighbors.
Your water comes from your own ground. And your neighbor’s water can be fine while yours could be filled with toxins.
Your city or town is responsible for delivering water and sewer service to your property line. You are responsible for conditions on your property.
You are solely responsible for access to your own water and septic system. But your local health department will have rules about how you manage it.
Mortgages favor city water and sewer.
Your mortgage lender will want proof your water is bacteria-free. Some mortgages specify the distance your well and septic system are from each other.
It works all the time for everyone. If something fails, the city or town is responsible for giving access to clean water and waste removal.
Wells can go dry. Septic systems need annual pumping. Systems require replacements. If your electricity goes out, you will not have water. Septic systems work differently depending on how heavily they are used.
Maintenance is Smart
If the house you buy has public water and sewer systems you don’t have much to worry about. Just keep an eye on how things are working and be careful of tree roots growing into your water pipes.
But when you’re responsible for your entire water and waste system, remember it’s cheaper to maintain than to replace.
If you choose a house with private water and septic, you’ll want to read up on how it works and know how to maintain it. Follow the guidelines for regular pump outs of your septic system. And test your water quality frequently.
Routine care and awareness of your private water systems make it less likely you’ll ever go a week without a shower or have to replace your toilet with a bucket.