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  1. #1
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    Default New house built over uncapped well

    A past client called this morning and stated during title search they found that the 8 year old house was built over an uncapped water well. The previous house on the property had been torn down. At the time the State of MN required the well to be capped and registered with the state. However, there was no capping record but the builder received a variance after the home was built.

    The variance states that if the well is ever uncovered or found it would be required to be capped and if the State ever found that this well was negatively effecting the water supply the homeowner would be required to seal the well.

    The client's question to me was; would this uncapped well effect their home negatively? Increased radon risk, or risk of sink holes? Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    As far as the radon question, that one is easy, just test for it. Sink holes? Unlikely, but we need more info on the well. Is it a very old and large hand dug well? Not likely, because that would have probably been discovered at time of construction. So, it's probably just a drilled hole with casing in the upper part. I grew up with an old well in the backyard and it never did anything. I don't think there is any real concern based on the information you have.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    We can't predict what that well will do, nobody can. That is why it should have been capped.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 02-08-2013 at 10:10 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    .........if it's a drilled well, put a sanitary well-seal cap on it and call it done. I built both of my previous homes and had the wells drilled first so they ended up in the utility areas. Nice to work on and never a problem. The first place is now 40 years old and had one pump change out. I'm now working on the plans for my retirement home and intend to do the same.........Greg.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Capping the well at this point really isn't an option. As I originally stated, the new house was built over the existing well. CMU foundation with concrete floor (did I mention a fully finished basement). I'm assuming it is a drilled well since hand dug wells don't exist very often in this region.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    A past client called this morning and stated during title search they found that the 8 year old house was built over an uncapped water well. The previous house on the property had been torn down. At the time the State of MN required the well to be capped and registered with the state. However, there was no capping record but the builder received a variance after the home was built.

    The variance states that if the well is ever uncovered or found it would be required to be capped and if the State ever found that this well was negatively effecting the water supply the homeowner would be required to seal the well.

    The client's question to me was; would this uncapped well effect their home negatively? Increased radon risk, or risk of sink holes? Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.
    I would have to reply to them with; I honestly do not know.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    The only thought I had other than Radon would be methane gas. Even if the well is capped with concrete (the foundation) gas theoretically could enter through the weeping tiles via a sump pit if there is one. Methane is odourless.

    Also wells have to be capped in a prescribed manner because if not there is always the chance of contaminating the aquifer.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Methane is odourless.
    .
    Are you sure about that?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    In Ontario,all wells no longer in use must be decommissoned,and no,you can not use sacrete to do this.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Rick yes I am quite certain.

    Methane is a colorless, odorless gas with a wide distribution in nature. It is the principal component of natural gas.

    Chemical of the Week -- Methane


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    Post Re: New house built over uncapped well

    To answer the client's question, "yes." It places a financial liability associated with the property. Have the well properly abandoned per state regulations by the seller. No more problems, no more financial liability. Forget about the Radon and the sinkholes. Fill the casing with sodium bentonite and cap as regulations require.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Aldering View Post
    To answer the client's question, "yes." It places a financial liability associated with the property. Have the well properly abandoned per state regulations by the seller. No more problems, no more financial liability. Forget about the Radon and the sinkholes. Fill the casing with sodium bentonite and cap as regulations require.
    As I said previously, twice, the new foundation was built over the old well. The chances of locating the well without ripping the house apart is slim to none. It's fairly certain that the well pipe, or at least part of it, was torn out during the excavation for the new foundation.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I would have to reply to them with; I honestly do not know.
    That's basically what I told them.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Rick yes I am quite certain.

    Methane is a colorless, odorless gas with a wide distribution in nature. It is the principal component of natural gas.

    Chemical of the Week -- Methane
    So it is, thank you.
    I must be thinking of something else.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Rick,
    Cows produce methane. What smells is the process of making the methane.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    To each their own but I wouldn't even consider a property with this hanging in question.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    To each their own but I wouldn't even consider a property with this hanging in question.
    With what "hanging in question". There's a variance on the well so nothing needs to be done right now. My original question was "what problem can this pose" and nobody seems to have any definitive answers. Why would it keep you from buying the house?

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Other than what others opined, the state gave you the definitive answer as to why someone may pass on the house.

    The variance states that if the well is ever uncovered or found it would be required to be capped and if the State ever found that this well was negatively effecting the water supply the homeowner would be required to seal the well.
    I guess its a 50-50 chance that the well will be fine as is or 50-50 chance there could be contamination into the well. The question remains with the client to determine for himself whether its a hinderance.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post

    I guess its a 50-50 chance that the well will be fine as is or 50-50 chance there could be contamination into the well. The question remains with the client to determine for himself whether its a hinderance.
    Do you really think the chance of contamination is 50%? I've seen hundreds of uncapped, abandoned wells during inspections but never heard of one being contaminated. On the other hand I've never heard of a house being built over one either.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Sealing of the well to keep contaminants from entering the drinking water involves plugging the pipe and sealing around the pipe drill hole to keep ground surface water out. If the house was built on a slab the surface water is being keep away from the hole by a plug hundreds of times larger than used by standard means.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Ken I am not an odds maker, but I know from my experience that abandoned wells can lead to contamination and active wells can become contaminated too.
    Abandoned wells in my area are a concern so much so the government has well abandoning grants.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    The way I see it is that the well is capped because of the foundation, but the paperwork wasn't filed. If it was a drilled well with a casing, I personally wouldn't worry about it at all. If it was a hand dug well, which you said is not common, then my concern would be for subsidence under the property, but that's not going to be anything that can be diagnosed at the time of the inspection. Contamination is probably no more likely for this property than any other property, and again goes back more to the casing than the fact that the capping was not recorded or verified.

    Jim Robinson
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    As far as the radon question, that one is easy, just test for it.
    It's always useful to remember that radon levels that are acceptable now may not be so next week, month, year.......

    Rather than spending money on interval radon testing, invest in a mitigation system from the get go and put the issue to bed. In my view these systems can be a positive selling feature down the road.

    Eric Barker, ACI
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Ken I am not an odds maker, but I know from my experience that abandoned wells can lead to contamination and active wells can become contaminated too.

    Please relate some of your experience with contaminated wells.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Well in the house,what would happen if some thing happened to the well,it collapased,or the well ran dry,and it had to be dug deeper,if it was in the house how would you repair it? you cant.
    The well belongs outdoors were it can be accessed.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Ken,

    I do many rural inspections hence my experience where the well was shown to be worked on improperly by contractor, where hand dug wells have been abandoned and the top has collapsed exposing the water in the pit.

    It is not uncommon to find dead mice, snakes and insects in the pit.

    Other experience where I have found improper wells with subsidence around casing and subsequent testing shows contamination. Enforcement branch of Ministry of Environment has taken statements from me for court cases against contractors who have worked on wells without a licence.

    Improper caps, again surface water entry and subsequent testing shows contamination, bacterial in nature.

    My experience with our local regional government where some of the public wells our community draws water from are contaminated with nitrites from private sewage systems due to underlying geological conditions.

    All four photos of the wells upon testing showed contamination, and I think the photos are self explanatory given you are knowledgable about wells.

    Do you have any photos to share?

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Actually Raymond, I'm not knowledgeable about wells. That's why I'm asking all the questions in order to get other input.

    Regarding the well I'm referring to; it is not a rural area, but I'm sure it once was. It is a suburban development which was built between 7 and 15 years ago. Every house in the area is connected to city water and sewer. Being that the foundation of this house was built over the well I can't see how the well could get contaminated from the surface (mice, snakes, insects) as you point out.

    That's why I'm having a difficult time wrapping my head around the statement of a 50% chance of contamination.

    I would think that out of all wells tested that far less than 50% would be contaminated. So I have a hard time understanding why a house build over an abandoned well would be more likely to become contaminated than any other well. I would think that it would be less likely. But then again I'm not a well expert, and that's why I'm asking.

    Actually I just found this article from Scientific America which states:
    In the first national effort to monitor wells for two dozen trace elements, geologists have discovered that 13 percent of untreated drinking water contains at least one element at a concentration that exceeds federal health regulations or guidelines. That rate far outpaces other contaminants in well water, including industrial chemicals and pesticides.
    Many U.S. Drinking Water Wells Contaminated with Arsenic, Other Elements: Scientific American

    So if on average 13% of wells are contaminated then, in your professional opinion, would building a house over the abandoned well reduce or increase the chances of the well becoming contaminated?

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 02-13-2013 at 12:23 PM.
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  28. #28

    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    I'd recommend contacting a company that provides ground penetrating radar services.

    Egbert Jager
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Ken,

    Whether the well is contaminated or not, doesn't matter in your situation. I live in rural Colorado and inspect many rural properties with wells. If the well is not being used, as in the situation of the house you describe, the level of contamination should never matter. The well water is isolated from the neighborhood water supply system.

    Secondly, an individual well can be contaminated and the nearby surrounding wells can be (and usually are) clean. It is a rare circumstance when all the area wells share contamination and that is usually associated with some kind of industrial pollutants. For instance, wells in highly cultivated areas may share nitrate and nitrite contamination from fertilizer use. One of my neighbors had unusually high arsenic levels. They drilled another hole only a few yards away and it came in normal. No other neighbor has had this problem.

    So, I maintain there is little reason for concern based on what you describe. I think your comments to the client, that it's impossible to know is good advice. Frankly, the excavations normally done to put a house in should have exposed the well head, so I wonder if the information about a well under the house footprint is even accurate.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Thanks for the information Lon.

    I find it very interesting that the answers range from eh, I wouldn't worry about it to I'd never buy a house with this issue.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Thanks for the information Lon.

    I find it very interesting that the answers range from eh, I wouldn't worry about it to I'd never buy a house with this issue.
    You couldn't make some people happy if you hung them with a new rope

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Ken,
    Glad you asked the 50% question. Figuring it had no empirical validation it was a politician's answer. Where a number is pulled from the air or some other lower dark location. I agree that there is a possibility for something happening with the well, but there is no way to determine a statical probability.

    Thought I would try to give you a little more information and a view or two on the topic. Hope that it aids you in some way. I am not an expert on wells nor a geologist and not a well driller. Though I do have 50 years of personal experience dealing with and working on different types of wells.

    Since we do not know exactly what type of well is under the house we have to make a few assumptions or conclusions and then extrapolations. With a little explanation of our local decommissioning process.

    Caveat: Experience mainly in Maryland and a little in GA, AL, PA, VA and ME. All decommissioning requires permit and inspected by my experiences. Also, taking that the well in question is not artisan (another discussion in itself).

    1) Hand dug wells yield ground water. Found above a bedrock. Decommissioning is typically only just filling the hole in with dirt and stone.

    2) Drilled well, with casing, that does not go through solid rock layer is still yielding ground water. Decommissioning the casing is plugged (cement) and the casing pipe (if metal) receives a cap welded onto the pipe.

    3) Drilled well going through bedrock with a metal casing set into bedrock to seal from contamination. Decommissioning is a concreted plug with welded top cap. Then Gov. inspection.

    The min required depth of the well for a cased system into an aquifer is determined by the local gov., basically has to go through a rock strata layer, but I'm not going to get into entire process and specification for that determination. It involves local geology.

    So you said, "...At the time the State of MN required the well to be capped and registered with the state. ...", which by use of the term "capped" I would think it was a cased well. Making me think that in the process of grading to build the casing was ignored and dozed over. Then a slab poured, supposedly over the casing site now under house.

    There are two basic concerns that come to mind, first it is possible for ground water to flow/migrate under the house at many different depths, second is that there is a possibility that some type of contamination originating in the house could find its way through the slab an into the soil under the house.

    Therefore
    ((((For this discussion ground water could be water, liquid or anything carried by or dissolved in the water or anything finding its way into the casing.)))

    A) The casing may plugged by dirt in some fashion, but it there is a chance that the casing was dislodged from its' rock seal which would allow ground water to enter the aquifer with potential contamination.
    B) Casing may be still sealed into the rock, but the casing cracked or broken between the surface and the point that the casing is set into the rock. Possibly allowing ground water to contaminate the aquifer.
    C) Since the pipe was not correctly plugged and capped at he surface, there is a possibility for ground water to enter the top of the casing and contaminate the aquifer.

    The first part of the variance that requires the well to be capped if found is the least of the concerns. You probably would be demolishing/rasing the house to uncover the well.

    The way the variance was worded as "...negatively effecting the water supply...." does leave a lot of potential variables which could come back to haunt the owner. Especially since no one knows exactly the condition of the well casing or how it was left. Worse case scenario is that the owner would have to find the well casing and have it plugged. With the added worry that they (home owner) is now responsible for the aquifer cleanup and the liability for anyone using that aquifer no mater how far away they are.

    I personally might blow it off and take my chances if I really liked the house, location and never planned to get a dime out of the house in the future, (loose money on resale) since to sell it I would have to find some else who would be willing to take the risk as I did. But, to advise someone else on the investment into the property ethically/morally I would advise them to invest in some other property. Maybe not a "run forest run", but there has to be another property that can meet your needs and desires with out a potential risks like this one. If I was not directly involved in the purchase decision, I would provide the facts with an explanation of potential cause and effects and strongly advise the buyer to obtain other professional determinations on the potential risks and legal liabilities that they may encounter in the future. Along with how it will effect the potential resale of the property.

    Hope this helps you a little.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Yup, like I inferred, you can't guarantee anything and so there remains a 50% chance. Can't validate anything because there is not enough info and speculation is a defacto matter in this case.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Thanks Garry. Good information.

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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Having seen a lot of site plans, I would suggest, being this is a relatively new development, that the site plan that is filled with the local governing agency be checked to see if the well location was accurately placed by the surveyors. As it was addressed, and a variance filed, it may be spotted there and that would be a start. Then, as suggested, maybe radar it.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Ken,
    Do your past clients own this property?

    You mentioned that the well variance turned up in a title search. What was the title search in conjunction with?

    If they own the property, apparently they did not know of the variance when they bought the property? Which would make me question why it was not brought to their attention before they settled on the property? Or possibly who told them that it had no or minimal effects present or future bearing on the property?


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Yup, like I inferred, you can't guarantee anything and so there remains a 50% chance.
    Not knowing for sure whether something will occur or not does not mean there is a 50% probability of it happening.
    There being only two possibilities and not knowing which will happen does not mean the probability between them is 50/50.

    " Can't validate anything because there is not enough info and speculation is a defacto matter in this case."

    I would say rather that reasoning from the known facts can yield only most-likely outcomes. What we know: The well is drilled. It is under the house, and the top portion of the pipe was destroyed in preparing the site. There is a variance that says the homeowner is responsible for capping the well in a prescribed manner if water contamination is traceable to the well.
    Sealing a well is done to prevent contaminants from flowing down the well to the water. Ripping up the pipe and covering the area with an actively maintained cover (in this case a house with a roof) would seem effective, if overkill.
    Even if some contaminants were to get into the well somehow, how likely is it that they would make it to the next well? Most contaminants in small quantities do not migrate, or become diluted so a to not be a problem.
    Suppose the neighbors well shows a contaminant. How will it be shown that this is due to the well capped by a house?
    I think this is pretty safe... certainly better than 50/50, more on the order of your being hit by lightning and attacked by a shark. (Note I said "and", not "or".)

    The above may correctly be called speculation, or reasoning, or informed guessing. The penalty for being wrong is indeed high, and I can't argue with someone who decides not the take the house because the cost of the unlikely but not impossible event is unacceptable. Some potential buyers will take that position, and thus it does lower the value of the house, probably more than is actually warranted.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Even if some contaminants were to get into the well somehow, how likely is it that they would make it to the next well? Most contaminants in small quantities do not migrate, or become diluted so a to not be a problem.
    Suppose the neighbors well shows a contaminant. How will it be shown that this is due to the well capped by a house?
    There are cases where oil/gasoline/chemicals, et ceteras do migrate because ground water does travel due to pumping, gravity, lay of the land et ceteras. Quantity of contaminate(s) does not matter.

    http://www.epa.gov/region1/students/pdfs/gwc1.pdf


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    There are cases where oil/gasoline/chemicals, et ceteras do migrate because ground water does travel due to pumping, gravity, lay of the land et ceteras. Quantity of contaminate(s) does not matter.
    I didn't say it was impossible, and clearly it's not. My point was that it was not a 50/50 chance.

    and, I think the quantity of contaminants clearly does matter. It would have to be enough to migrate to other wells and be detected, and persist long enough to be a problem traceable back to a well that presumably most people don't know about. For some chemicals that could be a very small amount, but I don't think we are talking about polonium here. If we are talking gasoline or paint thinner this would require a substantial amount to be somehow injected under the slab and soak through the dirt covering the well in order to make it to the intact portion of the pipe. If there were a buried storage tank I'd worry, with or without the well. I would not be worried about spilling a slosh or so on the slab or in the yard... at least, not more concern than such an event would have caused without the buried well.

    I think the odds that such an event would be made worse by the "technically uncapped but for all practical purposes eradicated" well, those odds would be quite small.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    As to the theory of 50/50 its used in horse racing -

    Odds - the price or probability of the horse winning
    There are also several terms used in describing the types of odds in horse racing. They are:
    Even money - where the chances of the horse winning is 50/50
    Odds Against - where the chances of the horse winning is less than 50/50
    Odds On - where the chances of the horse winning is more that 50/50
    Long Odds - where the chances of a horse winning is slim
    Short Odds - where the chances of a horse winning is high
    Stake- The amount of money wagered

    No such thing as 50/50?

    Weather forecasts use 50% chance of rain.

    probability - Does "50/50 chance of.. . " convey information? - Mathematics Stack Exchange






  41. #41
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    As to the theory of 50/50 its used in horse racing -
    ...
    Long Odds - where the chances of a horse winning is slim

    No such thing as 50/50?
    Didn't say there is no such thing as 50/50 odd, just that this is not an example. I'd say very long odds against any issue.
    I do acknowledge your point (I think you made the point) that the diminution in value is not necessarily related to the actual likelihood of contamination. People tend to avoid risks they have difficulty quantifying.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    You say its not an example, then what is it? You say its a long shot for no contamination but provide no indication by example that it is a long shot not knowing any more about the well then any of us do in the thread.

    I think the 50/50 comment demonstrates the probability admirably based on 'unkowns' in my view.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    You say its not an example, then what is it? You say its a long shot for no contamination but provide no indication by example that it is a long shot not knowing any more about the well then any of us do in the thread.

    I think the 50/50 comment demonstrates the probability admirably based on 'unkowns' in my view.

    Using the same logic it could be sated that the probability is 80/20 or 6:5 or 1/5k.

    Someone apparently won the lottery with odds of 1 in 175 million, so the odds of "possible" could be determined at 1/175,000,000.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    That logic is irrelevant in the comparison. The lottery has many known factors which can change the odds dramatically.

    As to the well we don't have any factors other than location to extrapolate stats to say anything greater or less than 50% chance of contamination.

    Personally I would not even state to my client that the well has no chance of contamination because it was not abandoned as to prescribed standards.

    But then again my reply was not drawn out of thin air, nor am I a politician.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    You say its not an example, then what is it? You say its a long shot for no contamination but provide no indication by example that it is a long shot not knowing any more about the well then any of us do in the thread.

    I think the 50/50 comment demonstrates the probability admirably based on 'unkowns' in my view.
    I said that this (the well with the house built over it) is not an example of a 50/50 chance, and I stand by this. While I agree that we can't determine and exact probability with available information, I disagree that this means the chance is 50/50.

    Using your stated reasoning (you can't say for sure what the chances might be means that it's a 50/50 probability);
    What are the odds that I will have a flat tire tomorrow? I am pretty sure you can't say. I'd like to make an even bet with you, based on those 50/50 (even) odds.
    I think you can see that even with limited facts you can reasonably see that 50/50 is too high a probability. Betting me even odds would very likely loose you money,.
    Likewise, betting even odds that the well will become contaminated would also (probably) loose you money.

    If it's a disservice to a client to fail to warn him of a risk, isn't it a similar disservice to the client (and to the seller) to overstate a risk? If I have an improperly grounded outlet in my house, what is the risk I will get electrocuted? Can't say exactly, so by your logic it must be 50/50?
    I think you can see that writing up such an outlet as having even odds of killing someone would be a serious overstatement.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    You can stand behind your believes thats your prerogative. But statistically speaking the odds are 1 in 2 that contamination could occur due to the fact the well as stated was not done to prescribed abandonment requirements.

    If anything that fact would increase the chance of contamination. As to the odds, that would in my view increase the chance to more than 50/50.

    As to your flat tire analogy, there is a chance of having a flat, just as there is a chance it may not go flat, but again you provide no details to factor into determining the odds by not disclosing anything about the condition of the tire, its age, whether its balanced, or the depth of remaining tread. So yes I am sticking to the odds it remains 50/50.

    I can also see that we are not going to agree on the subject as to probabilities. However I will stick with my knowledge of wells and probabilities based on physical appearance and yes I would instill to my client the likelyhood of risk based on the visual evidence and borne out by laboratory testing. But then I am a home inspector. Are you?


  47. #47
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    You can stand behind your believes thats your prerogative. But statistically speaking the odds are 1 in 2 that contamination could occur due to the fact the well as stated was not done to prescribed abandonment requirements.

    If anything that fact would increase the chance of contamination. As to the odds, that would in my view increase the chance to more than 50/50.

    As to your flat tire analogy, there is a chance of having a flat, just as there is a chance it may not go flat, but again you provide no details to factor into determining the odds by not disclosing anything about the condition of the tire, its age, whether its balanced, or the depth of remaining tread. So yes I am sticking to the odds it remains 50/50.

    I can also see that we are not going to agree on the subject as to probabilities. However I will stick with my knowledge of wells and probabilities based on physical appearance and yes I would instill to my client the likelyhood of risk based on the visual evidence and borne out by laboratory testing. But then I am a home inspector. Are you?
    No, Iím not a home inspector. Degrees in Architecture and Engineering. I have worked for most of my life as an engineer, currently global solutions design engineer for a multi-billion dollar company. Iím pretty sure I have a good handle on the mathematics of probability and the basic mechanics of wells. I still think the probability of a drilled well with a wellhead covered by a concrete slab and a roof over the slab contaminating the water table is not much higher than the water table becoming contaminated with no well present at all.

    My reply would be far more effective, but honesty compels me to admit that as fate would have it, I DID get a *&@$ flat tire yesterday.

    So, lets agree that we disagree on this particular issue, on a friendly basis. I do both enjoy and learn a lot from your posts.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    I have really enjoyed this clanging of foils in this discussion.... I judge it a tie. However, I am disappointed that no one mentioned the effect of Murphy's Law would have on the results.


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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    You can stand behind your believes thats your prerogative. But statistically speaking the odds are 1 in 2 that contamination could occur due to the fact the well as stated was not done to prescribed abandonment requirements.

    If anything that fact would increase the chance of contamination. As to the odds, that would in my view increase the chance to more than 50/50.

    ................
    For some more, clanging of foils.

    Raymond,
    Have to ask the question, where does your "statistically speaking the odds are 1 in 2..."
    come from. What is your data reference?

    Also explain how a 1 in 2 would increase the chance to more than 50/50 ?


  50. #50
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Odds cannot and do not determine outcomes - they only give you mathematical probabilities.

    The odds of a coin coming up heads or tails is 50/50, or 1 in 2. If you flip a coin five times and it comes up heads everytime, the odds of it coming up heads (or tails) next time is 50/50 or 1 in 2. The previous 5 flips have no effect on the next flip.

    Going back to Garys flat tire, I had said that there was a 50% chance of him having a flat tire.

    But then again probabilities are not pulled out of thin air or could be said to be a politicians answer.

    What do you think the probabilities are that the well with the hand pump is going to have high bacterial readings?

    Or what odds are there that the second abandoned well could cause contamination of another well in close proximity (10'), given its on an active farm?

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  51. #51
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    ..... But statistically speaking ...........
    The question is your use of the term "statistically speaking" where you have no statistics to make the correlation between the well and an possible event. Yes nit picking over words, but if you couch your argument with the term Statistics there should be something to back it up.

    Methods used to decommission/abandon a well are designed to minimize several things, one of them is contamination. I use the term minimize since there is still a possibility (not probability) that the well could be contaminated.

    It boils down to people throwing around made up statistical references without anything to back it up. Maybe it is really about how often government officials makes claims and support those pronouncements with bogus/fabricated numbers.

    No fight intended, only clarification.


  52. #52
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post

    .....It boils down to people throwing around made up statistical references without anything to back it up. Maybe it is really about how often government officials makes claims and support those pronouncements with bogus/fabricated numbers.

    No fight intended, only clarification.
    Garry, be careful what you ask for..... Way back when I took stat, there was a statement by the Prof that has stuck in my mind to today....

    "You can make statistics say anything you want....
    depends how you present them...
    "


  53. #53
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    Garry, be careful what you ask for..... Way back when I took stat, there was a statement by the Prof that has stuck in my mind to today....

    "You can make statistics say anything you want....
    depends how you present them...
    "
    There's a 90% chance that's true.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  54. #54
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    Default Re: New house built over uncapped well

    Gary wrote in part:

    It boils down to people throwing around made up statistical references without anything to back it up. Maybe it is really about how often government officials makes claims and support those pronouncements with bogus/fabricated numbers.
    Made up? You asked for proof which I provided and you are apparently still stuck that what I said was made up. Government has nothing to do with odds/probability with this discussion the way I see it.


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