One well & Tank to serve two houses vertically separated

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Stick M

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My 2/2 house's water supply system consists of a 5/8" municipal water meter, a ? gallon reservoir with a 3/4 hp submersible well pump, approximately 1050 (horizontal) feet of 2" PVC connected to an 85 gallon pressure tank (with pressure switch, set at 35/50 psi). The tank is about 190 feet (vertically) above the pump. I get about 7 GPM from a hose with steady pressure just under 40 psi. I know I am near the upper end of my pump's capacity. The house and "system" have been in this configuration for about 25 years.

The property has a 40 year old commitment to share water with an undeveloped lot located about 850 feet from the pump (200' from my house) and as much as 50' vertically below my house. At the time of the commitment, there was a reservoir and submersible pump adjacent to the lower house, which has since been removed.

At some point in time I will have to share the system and I want to make sure it works well for both houses.

My first concern is the capacity of the system to serve two houses. There is minimal, if any irrigation demand, but what the domestic demand of a new house might be is unknown. Any thoughts on this issue is appreciated. A larger pump would require replacing the 1050' of electrical wire.

My second concern is the elevation difference between the two sites and the impacts to my low end pressure. Although the topo sheet seem to indicate 50' vertical, it does not appear visually to be that much, but even at 30' that would be 13 psi differential.

I have the option of requiring the new house to re-install the original reservoir, a smaller pump and pressure tank to service only the new house. I am not sure if a low pressure regulator would be needed on the reservoir feed or not, since the the loss of pressure at my tank would start the pump.

I think a second option would be to simply allow a direct connection to 2". I think my 85 gallon tank may be large enough. In this scenario, a regulator to restrict the feed into new house to 50 psi may help prevent a sharp pressure drop if a hose spigot is opened.

The 40 year old commitment is overly simplistic. Most of the neighbors I have had in my life have been very good neighbors and I am hopeful I am lucky enough to have another one here. If so, we'll work it out from day one. But I am flat-lander and could use some advice.

Thank you
 

Reach4

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1. To be clear, is any municipal water involved? I think not, but I am not sure.
2. What is that reservoir -- is your house fed by gravity from that open reservoir?
3. Does the agreement cover any expense sharing?
 

Stick M

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1. To be clear, is any municipal water involved? I think not, but I am not sure.
2. What is that reservoir -- is your house fed by gravity from that open reservoir?
3. Does the agreement cover any expense sharing?
There source water supply is municipal.

My water meter (3/4 x 5/8) is at the base of the hill. A few feet away is a poly tank of unknown volume with a float valve of some sort, probably an air gap, and my 3/4 hp pump, which feeds the 1050 feet of 2" PVC. So the pump itself operates the same way it would in a well 190 feet deep. Only the horizontal distance is 1050'.

The original 1978 water source was from an old water line, at least 400' further away and probably 50+ feet lower, and I suspect it required 2 pumps, one at the old meter location and a second reservoir and pump in front of the lot with the commitment. In the 1990's, the original water line was extended to the point of the current meter, and I think allowed the original owner to reach the house without re-pumping. I have not probed, but believe the abandoned second pump and reservoir was removed by the then owner of the lot with the commitment. Because of the slope, there is very little room for a replacement reservoir.

The commitment is recorded, and is very simplistic. Grants the right to access the water, mainatin, repair and replace components of the system, does not require me to guarantee water service, and splits the cost of water and power from the pump. I have consulted a real estate lawyer already and the commitment is valid. I do have some leverage. For one, the commitment says when a house is built, it shall connect to THE reservoir in front of the lot. I think the default would be to require a new reservoir and pump to feed the new house. But as I thought about it, in the long run, it may be better just to define the common system as the resevoir, pump, 2"PVC, my pressure tank and switch. The original municipality was merged into an adjacent municipality. The current water system will not allow multiple houses on one meter, but may allow a sub-meter. Another lever is that the plat shows the road as part of my lot (my house was built by the original developer). The plat only says the roads are private. no other mention any other property rights. That may or may not be an advantage.

If I end up with a reasonable neighbor, I think we could write a new agreement that will ensure both properties have a good water service and equitably distribute the costs. So the two technical issues I see is will a second house require a pump upgrade and how to handle the 10-20 psi pressure differential from the difference in static head between the two houses. This and other lots are on the market and have been for some time. But I need a good plan before the lot is sold.
 

Stick M

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Each house needs about 5 GPM. You can just put a pressure regulator on the lower house.
I don't have a pump curve, but if I'm getting 7 gpm now, would the fact that half of the demand would be at a lower pressure actually give us each 5 gpm during concurrent use? Sounds like I'll need to do a flow test to see if that works.

On the regulator, regulate the low end or the high end?
 

Jeff H Young

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When you say the water company "may " allow a second meter, that might not be good
The other thing I'm looking at is to split cost of water and cost to run pump. I'm assuming you have an electric meter at the pump splitting the cost in half 50 /50 has a 50/50 chance of working out in your favor or his. I wouldn't want to split the water and power bill if I was gone for a month or other guy uses twice as much . I would probably add my own meter to my line to monitor perhaps another on his usage as well.
I don't get your question about the regulator, if he needs one down at his house he can install it should be no concern of yours. no mention of you having excessive pressure so no worry.
After the 40 years is up no idea as to your commitment he may now have rights that live on other wise you could just cap him off? kinda like squatters or easements rights that people eventually get just for having access for years . I guess lawyer ran that all by you
 

Stick M

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When you say the water company "may " allow a second meter, that might not be good
The other thing I'm looking at is to split cost of water and cost to run pump. I'm assuming you have an electric meter at the pump splitting the cost in half 50 /50 has a 50/50 chance of working out in your favor or his. I wouldn't want to split the water and power bill if I was gone for a month or other guy uses twice as much . I would probably add my own meter to my line to monitor perhaps another on his usage as well.
I don't get your question about the regulator, if he needs one down at his house he can install it should be no concern of yours. no mention of you having excessive pressure so no worry.
After the 40 years is up no idea as to your commitment he may now have rights that live on other wise you could just cap him off? kinda like squatters or easements rights that people eventually get just for having access for years . I guess lawyer ran that all by you
First, let say that I don't think I can stop this if someone wants to build a house. I am sure that this will happen someday.

I was hoping the Town would just say no. They have a 1 house , 1 meter policy. But it's a small town, not covered in Town Code, but there's a precedent in town. A sub meter addresses the water use separation. I was thinking I'd wire an hour meter in into the pressure switch. The power for the pump comes from the house and that makes a pump up size more expensive. But calculating the $ isn't getting them. A new agreement is needed and I don't know if I can force a new agreement. I'll try to convince them it's the right thing to do. I would want if the roles were reversed.

I do not know what impact, if any, instantaneous water demand at the lower house will have. If the 2" is just above my turn on point and the other house opens a garden hose, will I notice it in the shower? Could my pressure drop below the turn on set point? The second house will have a 10+ psi advantage. A pressure reducer set to just above the shutoff would equalize the inlet pressure . I never had a water system with 65-70 psi, but that's what the other house may see, depending on what the actual elevation is.

On the other hand the 2" line and 85 gallon tank may work just fine. I just don't know. Right now I am preparing to negotiate a new "agreement" that covers all the bases.

All of this is very helpful.

Thank you very much.
 

Reach4

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I would want a check valve in the path to the lower house.
 

Bannerman

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the original water line was extended to the point of the current meter, and I think allowed the original owner to reach the house without re-pumping.
If no pump was required to supply the original house located on the lower property, it would then seem the original house was supplied directly from the municipal feed line that is currently being utilized to fill the cistern that is supplying your home. If this is the case, assuming the municipality owns the supply line up to the meter, then the water supply to the lower property will have little/nothing to do with you, but will be between the new property owner and the municipality.

If the lower property is supplied directly from the municipal supply line, the municipality should then equip that branch line (before your water meter) with its own water meter so the new owner will be responsible directly to the municipality for the cost of the water they consume.

If the lower property is not fed directly from the municipal supply line, then another pump to supply the other property could likely obtain water directly from the same cistern you currently obtain water from. The 2nd pump would be totally independent from your pump and would require its own pressure tank and pressure switch located in the other house. If there is concern the cistern capacity may be inadequate for 2 houses, then the municipality may need to install a larger supply line and/or a less restrictive water meter so as to increase the cistern's fill rate.

I anticipate any additional costs to upgrade any part of the system to supply the 2nd property, could be incorporated as a development cost to the new property owner.
 
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Jeff H Young

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Stickm , has an agreement to share with the other property that is binding,

Reach 4 Why would he want to install a check valve for the neighbors house? cant see why he would care neighbor is below him?

Im a little confused why Stickm wants an agreement with neighbor ? Do you feel obligated to remain in the partnership? has the other property owner been paying to maintain the system for the last 38 years and paying for half the power and water? You might choose to not to continue partnership after the 40 years, as may he. I guess being able to split future repairs with neighbor is ok. but then you have to decide who calls shots and collect from them . I like my neighbors but never went on joint ventures with them
 

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Neighbor has hose into bathroom. Power goes out, and check valve at the pressure pump fails. Water could fall and create a vacuum.

There is an ambiguous agreement. I think Stick M would like things defined better and fairly.
Yes, a little convoluted. Abundance of caution. Cities are putting check valves for each house now.
 

Stick M

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I would want a check valve in the path to the lower house.
Hmmm. I had abandoned that idea because it would isolate the pressure switch from a pressure drop caused solely by the lower house, but I could relocate my pressure switch to the supply side of the check valve, conserving the storage volune of my tank for my house only. That also gives me another negotiating option.
 

Stick M

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Stickm , has an agreement to share with the other property that is binding,

Reach 4 Why would he want to install a check valve for the neighbors house? cant see why he would care neighbor is below him?

Im a little confused why Stickm wants an agreement with neighbor ? Do you feel obligated to remain in the partnership? has the other property owner been paying to maintain the system for the last 38 years and paying for half the power and water? You might choose to not to continue partnership after the 40 years, as may he. I guess being able to split future repairs with neighbor is ok. but then you have to decide who calls shots and collect from them . I like my neighbors but never went on joint ventures with them
Jeff, thanks for the reply but you have misunderstood the situation. When someone builds on the lot, he has some right to share water in the long and vertical private line. It could be as simple as a normal straight pipe off the 2" "main" or I could require (as per the original commitment) a new storage reservoir for a new pump to serve the new house. There are a lot of cost issues that are not covered in the commitment and I would like to negotiate a new agreement. The buyer may not.
 

Stick M

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If no pump was required to supply the original house located on the lower property, it would then seem the original house was supplied directly from the municipal feed line that is currently being utilized to fill the cistern that is supplying your home. If this is the case, assuming the municipality owns the supply line up to the meter, then the water supply to the lower property will have little/nothing to do with you, but will be between the new property owner and the municipality.

If the lower property is supplied directly from the municipal supply line, the municipality should then equip that branch line (before your water meter) with its own water meter so the new owner will be responsible directly to the municipality for the cost of the water they consume.

If the lower property is not fed directly from the municipal supply line, then another pump to supply the other property could likely obtain water directly from the same cistern you currently obtain water from. The 2nd pump would be totally independent from your pump and would require its own pressure tank and pressure switch located in the other house. If there is concern the cistern capacity may be inadequate for 2 houses, then the municipality may need to install a larger supply line and/or a less restrictive water meter so as to increase the cistern's fill rate.

I anticipate any additional costs to upgrade any part of the system to supply the 2nd property, could be incorporated as a development cost to the new property owner.
Bannerman, Thank you for your reply, but there is no direct water service for either house. This is about sharing water from a pump in a remote reservoir feed by a public water system meter. My house is 190 feet above the pump. The undeveloped property is 30 to 50 feet lower and I'm concerned about how this pressure diffential will impact my service.
 

Reach4

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Hmmm. I had abandoned that idea because it would isolate the pressure switch from a pressure drop caused solely by the lower house, but I could relocate my pressure switch to the supply side of the check valve, conserving the storage volune of my tank for my house only. That also gives me another negotiating option.
If the pressure at the lower house drops, water will come out of the pressure tank (which is at the upper house I am assuming), thru the tee, thru the check valve, to the lower house. Pump will turn on when the water in the pressure tank falls to the cut-on pressure.

If there is a check valve, lower house will need a thermal expansion tank. Alternatively, the lower house could have a pressure tank that would supply pressure for sudden loads that the piping could not handle without a quick drop. Example, Flush-O-Matic (tankless) toilet gets flushed. Needs 10 gpm for a couple seconds. Not a common thing in a residence.
 
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wwhitney

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If the pressure at the lower house drops, water will come out of the pressure tank (which is at the upper house I am assuming), thru the tee, thru the check valve, to the lower house. Pump will turn on when the water in the pressure tank falls to the cut-on pressure.
So in the above arrangement, what benefit does the check valve between the tee and the lower house provide?

Cheers, Wayne
 

Reach4

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Only for unlikely circumstances. Same protection that cities putting check valve in place for every house. It used to be that that was pretty much never done. Now it is the standard for new installs, and it is normally done when the water meter is changed out

https://www.gmwa.info/residential-backflow is an example that cites some regulations.
 
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Jeff H Young

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cost of a valve negligable , as for a expansion tank , Stickm i dont think is building the second house or concerned about that aspect.
After agreement ends Why not just end the partnership? let him run his own system ? Who likes splitting utility bills it seems undesirable for resale , also what if he puts in a lot of irrigation?
Again confusing as title says one " WELL" and tank is a well somehow involved?
 

Bannerman

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Thank you for your reply, but there is no direct water service for either house.
Your statement below, suggested the lower property may have been serviced directly from the municipal supply.:
the original water line was extended to the point of the current meter, and I think allowed the original owner to reach the house without re-pumping.


The undeveloped property is 30 to 50 feet lower and I'm concerned about how this pressure diffential will impact my service
I had suggested a seperate pump, pressure tank, pressure switch etc to supply the lower property. Even with 2 pumps obtaining water from the same cistern (aka: reservoir, tank), the lower property's water system will be totally separate and independant from your water system.

As Jeff mentioned, your thread title states "well" even as apparently, no well is actually involved.

The agreement seems to be originally between the previous owner(s) of your property and the previous/current owner of the lower property, or perhaps a requirement by the municipality in case the lower property is ever sold and is developed in the future. It also seems you were forced to accept that agreement as a condition of purchase even as that lower property has been undeveloped for some time and remains so today.

Your initial post specifies the agreement requires you to "share "water"". Sharing 'water' does not necessarily require you to provide pressurized water service, but may require you to only allow access to the water supply which services your property.

Since the existing cistern is located after the municipal water meter, I suspect you own the cistern and the agreement may only require you to permit the other property owner access to the water within that cistern. How the water is to be delivered from the cistern to the lower property, should be solely the responsibility and expense for the owner of that property.

Since the cistern is located within your property, you will then be also obligated to allow the other owner or his agents to access your property to trench in a water line and electrical service over to the cistern, and also permit ongoing access so as to maintain, repair or replace his pump, wiring and supply piping.
 
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Jeff H Young

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agreement could be a lot of things perhaps some of these are very clear since a lawyer helped look at it however it might be manty things are vague.
 
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