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  1. #1
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    Default public water supply+private well

    Do any of you know about rules regarding connections to both private and public waters supplies to the same house at the same time? I thought I heard that some jurisdictions prohibit being connected to a well if you have a public hookup.

    Any chat on the subject would be appreciated.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    The way the code is worded indicates not to intermingle them.

    From the 2006 IRC.
    P2602.1 General.
    The water-distribution and drainage system of any building or premises where plumbing fixtures are installed shall be connected to a public water supply or sewer system, respectively, if available. When either a public water-supply or sewer system, or both, are not available, or connection to them is not feasible, an individual water supply or individual (private) sewage-disposal system, or both, shall be provided.



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  3. #3
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Most public water supplies are treated, chlorinated, so mixing with untreated well water is strictly verboten for obvious reasons.
    My sister was told her drilled well would have to be capped permanently with concrete, before they would hook her up to public.


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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    My sister was told her drilled well would have to be capped permanently with concrete, before they would hook her up to public.

    That's strange, why not just use that well for irrigation sprinklers?

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  5. #5

    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    I would think that a backflow prevention device would help prevent problems as long as it is tested annually/ functional.

    I am in the city limits. I have a well for my irrigation system, but am hooked up to city water for the house.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Here in Illinois its a toss up. Some area's will allow you to have a well and a potable city water system if both have a RPZ backflow device installed to protect each other from contamination of each in the case of any cross connections. Other places want the well plugged and capped. Plugging is done with shale up to the last 4 to 5 foot of the well casing then the well casing needs to be cut below grade and the remainder capped with concrete.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    Here in Illinois its a toss up. Some area's will allow you to have a well and a potable city water system if both have a RPZ backflow device installed to protect each other from contamination of each in the case of any cross connections. Other places want the well plugged and capped. Plugging is done with shale up to the last 4 to 5 foot of the well casing then the well casing needs to be cut below grade and the remainder capped with concrete.
    In TN, you can have both. They just can not be connected at the same time to the home. You must have a way to disconnect the well from the house. Many use wells is just for irrigation. With the draught over the past couple of years, I have seen many homes with wells because their city supply was being rationed or could not be relied on.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    In TN, you can have both. They just can not be connected at the same time to the home. You must have a way to disconnect the well from the house. Many use wells is just for irrigation. With the draught over the past couple of years, I have seen many homes with wells because their city supply was being rationed or could not be relied on.
    The cities that allow the homes to have a well for irrigation, and city water for the home still require an RPZ to be installed. Due to the fact you can never predict what a home owner will do to their plumbing inside the home.

    I have seen some pretty odd cross connections in my time. I had a home owner swear their water heater had the defective dip tube their seen reported on the internet. Trouble was the water heater was built in 2004, the dip tube problem was in the late 90's. When I went their to investigate I noticed that they had moved their laundry from the basement to the first floor. I went down in the basement where the washing machine was and found a hose hooked up to the hot water supply leading right over to the cold supply. They then informed me that the shut offs did not work so to keep it from spraying all over the floor they just hooked the hose up between the two. After installing new shut offs there the problem was solved. Still took me an hour to get them to understand what they where doing with their set up was a cross connection between their hot and cold supply which was tempering the water down.

    So with situations like above I can see why the government agencies would require a RPZ installed on both systems.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    The cities that allow the homes to have a well for irrigation, and city water for the home still require an RPZ to be installed. Due to the fact you can never predict what a home owner will do to their plumbing inside the home.

    Ron,

    Not in any of the areas I've been.

    The irrigation well is totally separate from the potable water system.

    Their sense makes as much sense, basically speaking, to not allow city sewer when city water is connected because the two "could become cross connected". And we find cross connections at times ... not irrigation to potable water, but sewer to potable water on city supplied systems (both supplied by the city).

    To me, that rule just makes no sense.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    The house I inspected had the well hooked up to the irrigation system only. I still think it's not legal in this area. I'm looking for a local reference on it.


  11. #11
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    It depends on where you are. Some areas allow no wells and some areas allow wells for sprinklers or water for ther home. In Florida, well the area I was in, you could drill a well for the sprinklers even if you had town water for drinking. Where I live now I am pretty sure you can not do that. You would also have to drill a serious well to hit potable water around here.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ron,

    Not in any of the areas I've been.

    The irrigation well is totally separate from the potable water system.

    Their sense makes as much sense, basically speaking, to not allow city sewer when city water is connected because the two "could become cross connected". And we find cross connections at times ... not irrigation to potable water, but sewer to potable water on city supplied systems (both supplied by the city).

    To me, that rule just makes no sense.
    Jerry,

    The thing is if the well is used for irrigation its not tested to ensure it is safe for drinking water, and they are worried if some one makes a cross connection between the irrigation water and the city water, it can contaminate the city drinking water easily. For example if someone was to be using an Otho weed-b-gone on their irrigation piping, and there was a cross connection and the city side loses pressure the weed-b-gone can backflow into the city system.

    I have books with tons of cross connection cases where a pvt water source that was contaminated has gotten into the city water supply and made many people seek... even die. I fully understand why that rule is in place and to me makes perfect sence.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    The house I inspected had the well hooked up to the irrigation system only. I still think it's not legal in this area. I'm looking for a local reference on it.
    Its best to contact some one in that county or city's public works office, or water department.. Like I said its a toss up, each community will have its own ruling on the issue.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    The thing is if the well is used for irrigation its not tested to ensure it is safe for drinking water, and they are worried if some one makes a cross connection between the irrigation water and the city water, it can contaminate the city drinking water easily. For example if someone was to be using an Otho weed-b-gone on their irrigation piping, and there was a cross connection and the city side loses pressure the weed-b-gone can backflow into the city system.

    Ron,

    I understand that concern, but the irrigation well is as separate, if not more separate, then the sewer system.

    Thus, to me, there would be more concern with cross connection to/with the sewer system than with the irrigation well. There are also a lot of documented cases of cross connection between potable water and the non-potable water in the septic/sewer systems.

    I'm not talking about where there is a city water supply and a private well supply to the same house, but where the house is supplied by city water and there is a separate well for the irrigation system and no connection with the house water system - none, zippo, nada - no connection at all between the two which can get cross connected.

    Someone would intentionally have to play Darwin Candidate to get them connected together, and with much less effort than that they would spend to get the sewer connected to the potable water supply without an air gap or even an air break. I am sure there are people out there capable of doing that with the irrigation and potable water, but they would have much less work to connect the potable water to the sewer system.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    Its best to contact some one in that county or city's public works office, or water department.. Like I said its a toss up, each community will have its own ruling on the issue.

    That is the best way, and the only way to know for sure.

    Where we are now in Ormond Beach, our house and every other house in our development (and likely most others with average and better housing) has their own irrigation well.

    In South Florida it was the same way, virtually ever average and better house had its own irrigation well.

    Ted was on the west coast of Florida, Southwest Florida as it is now referred to, and they had their own irrigation wells too.

    The cost to run a sprinkler system with city water is just outrageous, plus, the sewer charge is based on the water usage charge, using the water for irrigation means installing a separate meter for the irrigation so they do not add that sewer charge (which basically doubles the water cost). There were many exclusive subdivisions where they did not allow wells, but that was because there was so much iron in most well water down there that the well water would discolor the homes, and heaven forbid the paint is discolored (it happened fast too). We had a rust inhibitor solution automatically added by a tank by the pump, but still got major rust stains on the paint which needed repainting fairly often. It was a fact of life living in South Florida, just something you needed to take care of, like mowing the grass every week for 9 months, then every 10 days for the other 3 months - there was no 'non-growing season' there was a 'growing season' and a 'slower growing season'.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Jerry,

    I understand their is no connection what so ever in these cases when the system is set up in this manor. But the city does not want to take a change that a DIYer, handyman or some one that is plain not up to the plumbing codes, comes along and connects the pipe that they believe is a cold water supply pipe which is really a private well system piping and run it some where with in the home. Or the well pump was down for some reason but they still wanted to be able to water their lawn so they installed a Tee in the supply to the irrigation system and run a tap from the potable water system to supply the irrigation system with fresh water. Then the well is up and running again now their is your cross connection between the two sources.

    Granted there are a lot of what ifs that can happen, which is why they want protection for each system. About cross connections from sanitary systems to the potable water system there are codes in place for that as well. Like DO NOT DO IT.. lol Code says plain and simple cross connections from potable water to sanitary systems are prohibited.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    Granted there are a lot of what ifs that can happen, which is why they want protection for each system. About cross connections from sanitary systems to the potable water system there are codes in place for that as well. Like DO NOT DO IT.. lol Code says plain and simple cross connections from potable water to sanitary systems are prohibited.
    And that handy dandy homeowner is the same person who is going to connect the irrigation pump to the water supply yet reads the code and know not to connect the sewer to the water supply through an improper connection?

    That is my point. Those cities which do not allow irrigation wells for that reason must have their heads up their butts to think that those same home owners *now read the code*, much less understand what it is saying.

    I think the better solution would be to connect the city potable water supply to the house through an air gap to an individual water tower at each residence - that would eliminate any risk of contaminating the city water supply and it would still provide water pressure to the home. How high would the water towers need to be, and how much water would they need to hold, to provide 80 psi at the house?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    And that handy dandy homeowner is the same person who is going to connect the irrigation pump to the water supply yet reads the code and know not to connect the sewer to the water supply through an improper connection?
    That is my point. Those cities which do not allow irrigation wells for that reason must have their heads up their butts to think that those same home owners *now read the code*, much less understand what it is saying.
    I think the better solution would be to connect the city potable water supply to the house through an air gap to an individual water tower at each residence - that would eliminate any risk of contaminating the city water supply and it would still provide water pressure to the home. How high would the water towers need to be, and how much water would they need to hold, to provide 80 psi at the house?

    The way Illinois handles the home owner from doing any plumbing in their home is only to allow them to do minor plumbing repairs. Here is the definition from the Illinois Plumbing Code book.

    Section 890.120 Definitions
    "Minor Repairs": Repairs that do not require changes in the piping to or from plumbing fixtures or involve the removal, replacement, installation or reinstallation of any pipe or plumbing fixture.

    Also the first page in the Illinois Plumbing Code book for Water Supply and Distribution says this.

    Section 890.1110 Quality of Water Supply
    All premises intended for human habitation or occupancy shall be provided with a potable water supply. The potable water supply shall not be connected to non-potable water and shall be protected from backflow and back siphonage.

    About the water tank size and height to provide enough pressure. I am in no shape to figure that out. But I can tell you in Illinois the minimum supply pressure after the water meter is 20 PSI
    Section 890.1210 Design of a Building Water Distribution System

    c) Minimum Water Pressure. The minimum constant water service pressure on the discharge side of the water meter shall be (at least) 20 p.s.i.; and the minimum constant water pressure at each fixture shall be at least 8 p.s.i. or the minimum recommended by the fixture manufacturer.



  19. #19
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    The way Illinois handles the home owner from doing any plumbing in their home is only to allow them to do minor plumbing repairs. Here is the definition from the Illinois Plumbing Code book.

    Ron,

    As I said, if they expect (and that is what the prohibition of irrigation wells is for) Joe Homeowner to connect the irrigation sprinkler to the house supply (that is what they are expecting), do they really think that Joe Homeowner is reading a code book?

    That's my point.

    The same person who they are worried about is the same one they should be worried about with the sewer too.

    You really think that no home owner in Illinois ever does any 'not allowed' plumbing work? Of course not, and I am sure you have seen plenty of it. Which simply reinforces my point - that Joe Homeowner has no idea of what they should be doing, and read a code book? They would probably say 'What's a "code book", I've heard that term before?'

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ron,

    As I said, if they expect (and that is what the prohibition of irrigation wells is for) Joe Homeowner to connect the irrigation sprinkler to the house supply (that is what they are expecting), do they really think that Joe Homeowner is reading a code book?

    That's my point.

    The same person who they are worried about is the same one they should be worried about with the sewer too.

    You really think that no home owner in Illinois ever does any 'not allowed' plumbing work? Of course not, and I am sure you have seen plenty of it. Which simply reinforces my point - that Joe Homeowner has no idea of what they should be doing, and read a code book? They would probably say 'What's a "code book", I've heard that term before?'

    I have had home owners tell me forget the code ( in worse words) its my home I am going to do what I want to do. I just explain to them their actions can make his/her community ill or kill of a few people. I know it is not going to stop them. They do get caught though. City does smoke tests on the aquifers, and sewer systems. Also spot checks the water meters and sump pump instillations to ensure a home owner has not made any illegal connections.

    They also fine pretty heavy if some one is blatant about violating the codes. I seen a home owner get fined for putting CPVC in their home on their own. His argument was the Illinois Plumbing Code allows CPVC to be used for potable water. What he failed to realize is the town he lives in does not. So they fined him for not getting a permit, not using a licensed plumber to do the work, and I forget what the third one was for. During my last continued education class we where informed the state has issued over $700k in fines in the last two years and collected over half that last year.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    During my last continued education class we where informed the state has issued over $700k in fines in the last two years and collected over half that last year.
    Now that is some heavy duty fines.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
    Steven Meyer's Avatar
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    Default Re: public water supply+private well

    When I was "forced" to hook up to city water supply (at $6,000 hook up "fee"), I did not decommission my well, and will only do so,at the wrong end of a gun.

    I use it strictly for irrigation, and have the greenest lawn when we have "water restrictions" Have been turned into the water natzi's, and subjected to the rath of neighbors and those "passing" by, my, do these environential whack jobs have a vulger vocabulary!!!

    Meanwhile, I enjoy a lush, green lawn, beautiful flowers, all summer long!!!

    Guess I am just a selfish water hog!!


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