City Sewer and water Question


#1

I’ve been looking at a small (8 pad) park that has city water and sewer. It also has well water that the park usually runs on to cut down on expenses. I understand that each park is its own animal and expenses need to be meticulously researched.

For broader purposes, however, such as examining/comparing different park leads, just how desirable generally is having city sewer, and to a lesser extent, city water? Is there some very rough relationship or very general mathematical rule of how city sewer affects expenses relative to septic? I would think long term expenses would drop with city sewer. I get the waste issues with unmetered city water. Are there any other comments on city water?

Thanks in advance,

Andy (NC)


#2

The city water and sewer are an expense but for the most part, that is where the trouble ends. Even this can be limited by hiring such services that privatize the water collection (Linda Knox from our seminar has such a company) which in essence creates a 3rd party water company that can bill each tenant separately for water and even (legally) cut off water for non-payment.

The park owner has to install the meters and set the system up and if I’m not mistake its a couple hundred per meter to get setup but once you are, that expense is no longer yours. As I understand it from her presentation, the service does all the collections, can legally bill for admin and then pays the water bill (which I believe remains in your name). She or some company like her’s would know for certain.

I remember thinking that the money would be recouped in about a year based upon my park numbers but your park would vary. My has city water but septic so my bill is less. I guess yours might pay for itself in less than 1 year.

With that expense licked you are in a good position and have increased your parks value by reducing the expenses.

When we are on septics there is always the concern that if a problem surfaces (no punn intended) then the city might require you to eliminate that spot in the park. Both Scott and I have had this experience. Fortunately for me I bought the park with that spot already eliminated and Scott was able to relocate the home in his park and make up for the loss of income.

Septics in many locations are regulated either by zoning (when you are building) or by backdoor zoning (when building) by requiring large, usable amounts of property for “repair fields.” This can greatly limit the number of homes you can put on smaller pieces of property.

With city water and sewer you can add a great deal more homes to the land per acre.

Tony


#3

Andy, I built my MHP 14 years ago, it has its own well/ waste water treatment (lagoon)system designed for 106 households. The operational costs are low with these systems (electric bill for well pump and aerators $350 month). However Government requires permits that currently total $4000 year and some continuing education for the operator plus reports to file and inspections to deal with. Currently I have 72 houses in my MHP, so the costs are $9.49 per month operational+tax cost.

Here in this part Mid-Mo county water/sewer district sewer bills run about $40 per household per month, and water service is approximately $30 per household. These charges are pretty high and would certainly push down lot fee rates.The option of connecting to a municipal system was not available to me 14 years ago, if they were I would not have spent the $160k to build these systems . But now that I have them, I can certainly attest to their lower cost of operation and low maintenance.

In my view a private system can be a plus for an MHP if and only if proper due diligence is performed to assure the systems compliance, quality, and maintenance.


#4

I’ve had a bad experience with private sewer and water and if I had it to do over again I would only buy a park with city owned and maintained water and sewer systems.


#5

Just to clarify. In my area and most that I know (but certainly not all I guess) the city and sewer “owned and maintained” end at the property edge. We have to pay to “tap” and we have to pay to run the lines to the water and sewer mains at the street.

We still have to maintain the lines throughout the park. If you area is different thats sweet. Just a heads up for others who may be looking in areas like mine.

Tony


#6

Municipal water and sewer is the biggest single expense at both of our parks. So make sure you work the real numbers into the expense side of your value estimate. On he plus side they are almost totally trouble free. And expansion is way easier and less expensive in our area.


#7

This is a timely subject for my park. We currently have city water and sewers. The water is cheap but the sewer bill is in my opinion pretty steep. We have about 48 functioning units in our park and the bill is between 3500-4000 each month. We have several acres adjacent to the park that we own but is currently being farmed. I feel it would be much cheaper to install our own septic system. Any thoughts? Who do I contact ( I have never owned a home with a septic system ) to see about cost? Are their different types anyone recommends? Is this a stupid idea.


#8

A good civil engineering firm would be your first stop.


#9

Sewage is far more complicated (and expensive) to clean to current environmental standards than raw water. It depends on your location. Given that you already have municipal sewer available, it is unlikely you will get permits for any kind of septic tanks and leach fields.

Take a tour through your local plant and you will see (and smell) why it is so expensive. In our area, a small treatment plant for 48 sites costs about $500K. At that cost it would take well over 10 yrs to recoup your money because of ongoing maintenance, preventive maintenance, electricity, chemicals, licenses and inspections.

Sewage is usually calculated as a multiple of water usage. It would be far cheaper for you to forgo a couple of rent increases and install individual meters and bill the tenants directly for their usage.

Steve (A former municipal wastewater treatment plant operator)


#10

In New York if there is sewer available you have no choice but to hookup.


#11

Most state agencies do not allow the construction of new or additional wastewater plants that are in the “services area” of existing sewage treatment plants (STP’s). The regulatory community wants to see exisitng STP’s expanded to capture any additional capacity created by new users. This is related to the federal NPDES discharge monitoring requirements, and other issues related to water qualirt.