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beginners with well/septic - advice needed

Posts: 2
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i know very little about plumbing and septic.
my husband and i have come upon a great ferrocement house we are looking to make liveable and i'm not sure where to start.
there is well and septic connections but i don't know what i'm looking at.

question: any suggestions on what/how to start first?

i know septic is the white pipe, water is above.

behind the first picture is what was the bathroom.

you can see where the toilet was, not sure what the other pipe is for.

septic line.

grey water irrigation i assume.

i'm so ignorant about this i guess i don't even know what to ask. i'm reading books and searching online for every resource but i still don't know where to start.

Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Anya Gaultney : Welcome to Permies, like the joke about 'this must be a great place for a picnic' all these Ants can't be wrong! We ARE 17,000+ strong and can help !
You are an equal member here, give us a chance and we will help ! - You will always remember your first post here !!! - (love your first name ! )

With out trying to scare you, it would probably be a good idea to have your water tested! If you are on municipal water, You should go to a Municipal water district
meeting and respectfully ask them to explain the local water district annual report, they will most likely not be able to tell you if there are petroleum products or
methane in the municipal Water supply - because the federal law does not consider testing for these !

Your First picture was almost certainly a sink hook up Most likely a vanity sink not a kitchen type sink ! With different supply lines it could be a kitchen sink hookup, or
a washing machine hookup!

2nd Picture ) Small diameter drain- 1 1/4''? going out thru the wall horizontally - no apparent water hookups ? Laundry sink?, for soaking clothes before washing !!?!, Do
the right hand Pale blue 3/8ths lines (?) go through the wooden section shown? Or, are they cut off and only look like they are going through the wooden section ?Drain
on the extreme right side of picture with no water hookups shown (?) (possible) drain for a tub ? 40% chance !?!

3rd picture Left Definitely Toilet - Drain Waste and Vent D.W.V.connection, probably damaged flange , if usable- needs simple toilet wax ring, and flange to toilet bolts,
washers, nuts sold as a package any hardware store ! No Water supply shown needs cold water only - can be fed from a Stored Gray water system ! Drain in lower right
of picture Probably The remains of a Vanity sink totally contained within a Vanity cabinet, no waterlines shown- 80% possible

4th picture other side of wall shown in Picture #2 ?, 1 1/4'' drain ? No sign of supply lines coming out through wooden section of wall !?!

5th picture - closer picture of picture #4 - Here it looks like 1 1/2'' regular D.W.V. plastic pipe ! Grey Water Drain ? 60%

6th picture- Can't tell if this is part of a Septic or if someone has separated the 'Gray Water' from the Septic, looks like a Grey Water drain . Legal with some restrictions
by local codes ! 65% Hope this helps !

For the future Good of the Crafts ! Be safe, keep warm ! As always, your questions and comments are solicited and are Welcome ! PYRO-MAGICALLY- Big AL !

Posts: 86
Location: SW Wisconsin zone 4
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You need to figure out where the toilet waste is supposed to be ending up at. In pictures 4 & 5, that looks to me like 3" or 4" sewer pipe, which would be coming from the toilet. Does the property have municipal hookup for waste water & sewage? Or is it an on-site septic tank and drain field? Or, a sealed holding tank? Can you find out from the previous owner? A septic tank or holding tank would be buried in the ground, with a capped pipe coming up through the surface so the tank can be emptied. Could be anywhere from right next to the house, to dozens of feet away.
Sink drains would be the smaller pipes, 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" diameter. Generally they would go into the main septic line before leaving the house.
anya gaultney
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Thank you for the responses!

to answer some questions, this house is part of a co-op group that is off the grid, so the well and septic are not connected to the city lines.
the well connects to the entire community right behind this house. the water quality is ok, just needs filtration and isn't recommended for drinking currently anyway.

i've been told by another community member that there is septic drainage on the property, but not much is known about it. it does need a tank installed and i will likely be looking into ferro cement septic tank construction in the future.

al - the second picture is what i thought. the pipe to the left is a sink hookup i'm pretty sure. the pipe leads outdoors - you can see it leads to nothing in pic 4 and 5. and the other pipe in pic 2 was a tub connection i believe. the grey tubes are cut at the end and don't extend beyond the wooden door.

i suppose i need to search the property for the septic pipe connection. i know where the well connection is, but the lines from the well to the house is where i need an expert.
we've emailed a couple of local ferrocement experts and are waiting to hear back.

thanks again for all the great info.
Posts: 1602
Location: northern California
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Instead of going to all the trouble and expense of having a septic tank installed or building one yourself, why not start a simple humanure compost system? There are plenty of easy designs out there that can be set up in a few days at most....It looks like you may already have at least one greywater seep with the gravel.....just set up several more from every greywater source and plant them up! Of course this is assuming you have no "big brother" peering over your shoulder. Personally I wouldn't live anywhere where that was the case. But I also hid a humanure bucket in my apartment closet for ten years and nobody who I didn't want to know about it ever knew......
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