Hypothetical question: Well or Septic

Hypothetical question:

All else being equal, if you had a choice between buying a park with private septic or a park with a well, which would you choose and why?

cost: I think a well is probably cheaper to maintain and replace?
legal issues: I think a well and septic probably have equal legal drama?

thank you.

I personally think there is more risk (regulatory / health) and downside to a well if something goes wrong. If one septic system goes out you may have to replace it with a new one for 10K maybe, but a new well can cost 100K or more depending on the water quality, and ever changing state / federal requirements. It’s unlikely all septic systems will go bad at the same time so you can absorb and spread that cost out more.

This is sort of a trick question and well / septic scenarios are equal sometimes. In a lot of cases you will have a 100 foot well with terrible water quality, but the septic systems are fine - or you will have a 600 foot well with great water, but a 10-unit septic system that has not been maintained. You will know which one will be the problem child if you do your diligence…

I think they can be about equal cost wise but septic can be more problematic.
If I were to pick one to have it would be the well. But then if the well went bad you may not be able to fix that problem so maybe septic. But the septic can be a never ending string of one problem after another, environmental issues etc. So maybe well, no maybe septic…

I’ll take what I get based on my DD and cap rate. High return is very motivating.

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Wells don’t really scare me at all. Septics would be fine for a home I owned, but not a MHP.

@GJS , as per your question:

  • “Hypothetical question: Well or Septic”


  • Septic Systems - (With These Requirements: 1 Septic System Per MH Lot & Septic System Is Sized Correctly Based On Bedrooms & Large Enough Lots To Drain The Septic Tanks)

If the Well is bad…then the Water is bad…AND the Government could shutdown your entire MHP.

If you have 1 Septic System per MH Lot and that 1 Septic System is bad, then only 1 MH Lot has the issue (if the MH Lots are large enough).

I would do a 1 MH Lot Per 1 Septic System with a Septic Tank & Drainlines sized correctly on large lots.

We wish you the very best!

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Frankly, I’m scared of both but at some point I’ll probably have to learn “on the fly” or “on the job” or “trial by fire” how to deal with it. The potential liability of bad water making people sick scares me more than the potential liability of sewage problems at this point, though.

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Interesting viewpoint. I see it the other way. In a 50 lot park you’re looking at maintaining 50 septic systems VS only one or two wells.

Pumping 50 septic systems every 5 years X say $250 a pump out adds up.

But then again you have to continually maintain wells.

Also, cost to install 50 Septics VS cost to install one well.

Now I’m just rambling lol.

I am curious what @carl thinks about this from a well operator’s perspective…

We recently installed a new sate approved water system. The wells both commercial costs were $5,000 and $5,500 per well. We were able to secure enough water at a shallow depth of 580 feet plus built a concrete tank which was much cheaper than metal. The problem was the wells had to be 500’ from a highway, septic tank, and lateral lines–in the future IF you need a new well you might not have a choice to find the space!!! Since we are near a lake we just installed a septic system $8,500 designed for just a single??? family home. The system has 1500 gallon tank, a 1,000 gallon tank with a aeration motor plus a 500 gallon tank that pumps out to sprinkler hose. We have no city sewer system near by. The costs to operate wells is much cheaper since the cost for a 125 unit park is $250 per month versa city water $5,000. Septic tank systems with EPA moving standards is really had to pin down costs and a sewer plant is just a money pit. A septic system correctly put in can be reasonable to operate and trouble free but I personally prefer city sewers with a well system. Yes, $250 cost per month for water divided by 125 units EQUALLS??? Water meters for us are not cost effective.


I’m pretty much in full agreement with Carl on this.

I owned 10 units (5 duplexes) all on well and septic. Most well issues were minor and easily repaired. The Septics were far more expensive to repair when they had an issue. Dosing pumps in the septic tanks can be very problematic (not all systems need pumps).

All good points, the bottom line is that it depends. I have parks with both, but it has quite a bit to do with the state, city, county you are in, as some have very stringent regulations on one or the other. From an operational standpoint, wells present more immediate issues. When your well stops working, no one has water so you had better be prepared to deliver water to your residents. Septic tanks in the short term can be pumped until you come up with a fix. In Many locations wells will cost you about $10/ foot to have drilled. Septics on the other hand can be very costly. currently I am replacing part of a septic system in one of my parks, this will cover 15-20 units and it is going to cost me no less than $80k. ( this is not an ideal situation with limited space and it is in Ca, so take that into account.)

As per MikeC comments, we were required to have a system that will provide water 24 hours per day what ever happens. For example needed two wells: if one was down the other could provide the needed water. Needed at least two boosters pumps again one down the other one would automatically come on. Also need the system on a generator that could handle all the electrical load if the normal power was off. Again I would vote to have wells over a septic system but never a sewer plant. The only slight advantage with a sewer plant is when you need to go to city sewer at least the connection might be easier than connecting separate septic tank locations.