Avoiding Costly Homebuying Mistakes: Environmental Concerns Part 3 - Water
by Lawrence Kostaneski
Copyright 1999 Centerline Press
Part 1 took a general look at environmental risks and sources, and Part 2 focused on air quality issues. Part 3 will concentrate on a topic that is arguably the most important of all: water.
Contamination of drinking water can be even subtler than air. Pollutants that can enter a water supply are frequently odorless, colorless and tasteless. A major concern for infants is nitrates, which can cause serious illness. Other pollutants come from septic tanks, drain fields or other on - site wastewater systems that are not functioning properly. When individual or community wells are used along with on-site wastewater systems, pollution can occur if one of the systems is in disrepair.
Most large, public water supplies are regulated by a State agency. The operators - usually a city - must test and report frequently. Any failure to report or meet the purity requirements is dealt with quickly.
Private systems may or may not be regulated, depending on the laws in your State. While water quality requirements generally fall under the federal Clean Water Act, many States are allowed to set their own criteria and methods for regulating small suppliers. It is these private systems that often have the most problems. To compound the problem, small systems don't always have the money needed to make major repairs.
The challenge for the homebuyer is learning whether the water supplied to the home is actually fit to drink. The system operator may not reveal this information unless under a State or court order. The seller may not be aware of it, or may have simply forgot: you can imagine the impact on the seller if they have to say the water supply is bad. Large municipal systems are usually reliable, but it never hurts to ask, particularly if you are moving into an unfamiliar area. Private systems deserve a great deal of research.
The best place to find this information is the State agency responsible for monitoring water supplies used for residential developments.
If you take no other advice, you would be wise to determine the quality of your drinking water, particularly if you plan on living in the country where the system is private and drain fields or other individual wastewater systems are in use.
Next Time: Environmental Concerns: Part 4 - Soil
Mr. Kostaneski is a registered professional engineer with over 20 years experience in the design and construction industry. He is President and Owner of Centerline, an engineering consulting firm. Comments are from his book, "A Home Buyer's Guide To Reality". For more information about the book visit www.stretcher.com/resource/tocl12.htm.
Take the Next Step
- If you haven't looked for a lower mortgage rate in the past year you could be wasting money each month. Use our simple tool that compares different lenders to see what your monthly mortgage payment could be. It's private, only takes a minute and could show you how to save thousands!
Also in Home
- Downsizing to a smaller house
- How to clean a stone fireplace
- Clear out Christmas clutter
- Romantic bedrooms on a budget
- Cleaning dryer vents
- Helping a packrat get organized
- Convenient floor cleaners
- 6 reasons you shouldn't overimprove your home
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- 7 green ways to save money on laundry
- 6 ways to organize your home in the new year
- 6 ways to save on home heating
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Mortgage refinance break-even calculator
- How much money can I borrow for a mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?