Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Think You're Doing It Wrong

We live in the suburbs on the peninsula in the Bay Area in California. Our neighborhood is "old" -- houses built in the mid to late 1940s. Some of the houses even have wells in the back yards. These are vestigial -- the water table has long since dropped and the water quality there probably isn't the best.

But recently the city has been sending out notices to home owners stating that we need to schedule an inspection to be sure the well is either capped or being used correctly (backflow preventer/etc.).

And that's fine. It's a pain that we have to do the scheduling and have someone home and what not, but I can absolutely see why you don't want anyone using a well to accidentally pump sewage or whatnot down into the water table.

Today the inspector came to our house and I just cannot believe what he told us. Luckily, ours is capped so this won't apply to us, but: In order to NOT USE a well on your property, you have to get a $700 permit which gives you the ability to hire someone for $7k to properly remove the well. In what world would anyone be motivated to do things properly and by the book when it costs an extra $700 just to get a permit to do _what the city wants you to do_?

If the city didn't want you to remove or cap the well, then maybe I could see adding the financial barrier. But we're trying to do the right thing. We don't want a well. I know many of our neighbors won't be able to spare almost $8k to meet the city's requirements.

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