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What chemicals do I NOT want near my well?

 
pollinator
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So, brief backstory:
A neighbor is trying to develop his land and wants to take out an easement on our property so that he can put in a well.  Since that is an "encumbrance", normally money changes hands... but...

Our own well is at the bottom of a hill right next to his driveway.  Since he is looking to develop, we are concerned about the issue of chemicals and runoff.  We are thinking a wise course may be to trade his easement in exchange for an agreement to not use certain chemicals on that hillside.

Of course to do that, we'll need a list of which chemicals we want to restrict.  This is what I was hoping you guys could help with.

Right now we are wondering about:
1) Asphalt - if he decides to pave his drive (first rural'd problems, I know)
2) Ice melt if he does pave it and then needs to get rid of the ice
3) Any (which?) herbicides/pesticides he decides to spray there

Are these valid?

More importantly, what specific chemicals would you guys restrict if you were in my place?
 
gardener
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Nitrate pollution is one of the more common chemical pollutants in wells. It's usually from fertilizer.

You may run into a bit of an issue with all this, though.  He might think this stuff is overly restrictive and will harm his future property sale-ability.  This is a tough one and may require a fair bit of tactful negotiation.  I sold country real estate for many years, and I haven't seen a personal well agreement or easement that restrictive - which doesn't mean that you don't have the right to do it, but you are on uncommon ground and may experience pushback from many angles because most people haven't heard of this yet.

The biggest problem in the end with these sorts of agreements is often how to enforce them.  What would be the remedy is someone broke the no-pesticide rule, for example?  This is where these agreements get particularly touchy.  Sometimes an agreement can be made up, but be technically unenforceable due to other laws or circumstances.

You also may wish to check with your zoning and your State's pesticide preemption laws.  In many states, in certain zoning (usually forest or agricultural zoning) there are laws saying that people cannot sue for pesticide injury or damage in many circumstances...even just by the zoning of the property.  These laws are often called "Right to Farm" or "Right to Forest" acts.  See if one applies to your zoning before going too far, because it might change how you want to approach this scenario.

Sorry to make this more complicated, but it is complicated.  I wish you success!
 
pollinator
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What if you gave him 'your current" well that is by his driveway. And he can pay for you to have a new well that is by your house/driveway vs by his house/driveway. Personally I would prefer that over hoping that the guy who rents/lease/inhert/buys his house 4yrs from now keeping a promise that he doesn't care about. Then you having to trespass and harass on the new person to prove that they are breaking the promise, then getting a court date and everything, only to find out the person only has to be a yearly fine/fee of $100. In which case they really wouldn't stop and then they might report you for everytime you overwater, play your music over 50 decibel, light a fire, etc.
 
pollinator
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If S. Bengi's idea is at all practical, it sounds optimal to me.


If not, I wonder if you could achieve your goal with a combination of earthworks/berming/ditching to channel his driveway runoff away from the well, and a covenant banning any chemical use of any sort in a much more limited area directly adjacent to the well?

Do you have an sat. pic to help folks understand the layout a bit better?
 
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If your new neighbor will have farm animals, I would suggest keeping them away from the immediate vicinity of the well. Especially above the well if the property has a slope.
 
steward
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K Eilander wrote:
Our own well is at the bottom of a hill right next to his driveway.



What kind of well? Is it a shallow well, or a sand point well? Is it a deep well going hundreds of feet down through just subsoils or into bedrock?
 
master pollinator
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James asks an important question. The actual catchment area for groundwater supplying a well is usually very large. If the well is properly cased and sealed, there should not be a direct impact from runoff.

That said, a system that diverts direct flow away from the well head is still a reasonable precaution.
 
Kim Goodwin
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S Bengi wrote:What if you gave him 'your current" well that is by his driveway. And he can pay for you to have a new well that is by your house/driveway vs by his house/driveway. Personally I would prefer that over hoping that the guy who rents/lease/inherit/buys his house 4yrs from now keeping a promise that he doesn't care about.



This is a really good idea if it's possible in your state.  I would think it could be.  Sometimes there are laws restricting (or making the legality very specific) the transfer of water rights - so make sure you actually talk to your state/county/jurisdiction's well master.  It might require a lot line adjustment.  In some states this can create a technically new lot and that can get complicated, but is important.  (If you are in Oregon, I'd recommend you talk to an actual planner, because Oregon laws can get really, ridiculously complex on this matter.) Both of your properties would likely be better off if each one had it's own well on it's own property.

Please make sure you do it however is required for it to be legal, though, please.  Otherwise very annoying situations can come up later on if you or the neighbor go to sell.

Good luck!!  Some great ideas came up on this thread.  Everyone here has had good insights.
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