Parks on well water

I’ve seen a lot of posts about this topic, but nothing in recent years. Want to get some current feedback.

I’ve found a lot of good deals on parks (from a numbers sense) but most of them are on well water (which is why I think they’re such good deals, they are less desirable). I know @frankrolfe isn’t a fan of well water and it seems to stem from a liability standpoint. If the chlorinator breaks you’re in for a headache because the tenants could be getting poisoned by too much chlorine or too much bad stuff and not enough chlorine to kill it.

My experience with wells has always been with friends that lived in the country and lived off a well. I never actually heard of chlorinating a well until the Bootcamp, as most people prefer well water for its taste/purity compared to city water quality from degrading infrastructure. The only downside I’ve ever experienced with a well is that it could someday run dry.

However, I’m curious to hear from park owners that have parks on wells. Is it something that’s always in the back of your mind? Do you treat the well? Do you get it tested? If so, how often? Do you carry extra insurance? Do you plan to switch?

There’s also the complexity of having well water and septic as the septic does leech into the ground that the well is technically a part of. Wondering if the well is set back far enough/deep enough from the leech field that it isn’t an issue?

Or do I have a huge blind spot when it comes to regulation? Again, my experience is private wells for one or two homes, not a park/neighborhood where the government may have a prying eye.

I don’t have any on wells, but my partner does and has no qualms with owning parks set up that way or buying more set up that way. Municipal water isn’t an option for most of his on private water. It’s also very geography specific – private water is standard is some markets, so regulation in those areas may be more understanding to the park owner supplying his/her residents with well water.

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yes, good point. glad to know.

I have a small (16 unit) park just north of Tampa, FL. When it was first purchased it only had 9 used lots, which meant it fell below the threshold for inspection other than a quarterly test. The water was safe but had a ton of iron in it and we ended up with about $5000 in filtration to get the water to my satisfaction. Once it hit 16 units/over 25 people then the County required a certified operator, extensive testing for the first year moving the expense side to ~225 per month for the operator and 3 or 4 thousand in testing over the year. After the first year it should be around 300 per month for the operator and testing. That isn’t to bad in a place where lot rents are 400+ per month. It is nice to have the operator maintain the chlorination and filtration system - a lot more peace of mind than someone guessing.

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Two of our parks, 54 lots and 94 lots, both had well water when we purchased them. One of the communities we have since connected to city water while the other is still connected to well water.

This is a pretty big topic, but I will say that wells should not immediately drive you away from purchasing a community. Here are a few thoughts.

  1. Many of your questions and concerns will probably be state-specific. I am in PA, so I can only speak to PA.
  2. If a community is large enough, you will need to have at least two wells, which will alternate being used throughout the day. If you community does not, the state may require you to add one.
  3. I am also required to have a backup generator on sight, which should prevent any stoppage of water and wastewater access.
  4. The cost of running each of my systems is about $25,000/year. Due to the need for daily checks, both of the communities on wells cost the same even though one was half the size.
  5. Be sure you are very aware of the water and sewer lines in your community before you buy it. This could end up being a deal killer. Running all new lines could run you over 100k+.
  6. There will always be extra expenses due to pumps, lines, chemicals, blowers, lift stations, etc. This is why most people avoid private systems, but if you plan accordingly, it is no big deal. However, you need to be aware that you will be receiving more calls throughout the year due to your ownership of the systems.
  7. You will need to make sure no tenants park on the grass, due to damage to the lines.

Honestly, it all comes down to investigating the systems ahead of time and being aware that private systems will take a little more work. Do not let private systems scare you off. Good wells and wastewater plants can last up to 100 years! Just do your due diligence. Get a plumber to come in to check out the systems and give you their thoughts on the current state of the system and where he thinks you will need to spend some money in the short and long term.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

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Very helpful! This is a very small park so hopefully my research will show expenses to be slightly less than what you’re working with. Very good insight, thank you for the info.

Hello Hannah

We have all 3 parks on well water. There are pros and cons. Its all about the maintenance and keeping up with necessary requirements.

One of our parks we pay extra to have someone licensed to do daily testing, and all the necessary requirements. It’s definitely worth it as it saves you the headache and money. You definitely have to find someone trustworthy. The headache we just experienced is our manager of 17+yrs did not do the necessary requirements and they almost made us go to city water and just the transition would have cost thousands plus the monthly charge would quadruple. Luckily we found a licensed operator who has been a lifesaver.

If anything we prefer parks on well for alot of reasons

We have a park on well water and have owned it for 18 months. So far, there have not been any problems. We have 2 wells on site in 2 well houses. There are no chlorinators, backup generators, or other specialty equipment other than the pumps and the heaters.

Operational cost is about $400 per month to pay a licensed well operator (required by state law), $70 in lab fees, and $200 to $300 for electricity. Repairs are extra.

Law requires monthly, annual, and every 3 year testing depending on the item being tested for.

The well operator takes all water samples, sends to lab, and manages the tests. He also files all compliance reports with the state. Any park operator could learn this, but there is technical knowledge needed, and it is nice to have an expert in case a serious condition arises.