Rural Community Water and Septic

David Oesper

This is a cohousing community in rural Pennsylvania, but perhaps of interest and relevant to the desert SW...

Hundredfold Farm is a rural PA cohousing community of presently 10 single-family homes (15 maximum). Due to our location, we did/do not have access to municipal water or sewer services. And since we are clustered, individual wells and septic systems were not an option. Two wells provide our drinking water, but since they are low yield wells water conservation is key here. Our community septic system is an artificial wetland housed in a greenhouse for which the state allows us to reuse a portion of the treated effluent within the homes as toilet flush water. We are the only folk in PA with such a system. The cost for us is equivalent to the construction of a conventional community septic system. Operational costs are primarily utility costs (about what you pay each year for gas and electricity of a single-family home) plus periodic repairs. Being mostly gravel, plastic pipe, and low power pumps, it doesn't cost much to take care of. It is a licensed wastewater treatment facility, so effluent testing is required. That's a few thousand bucks a year. Happy to chat more and to share info if it is helpful. I would warn that every state's regs are different, so what worked elsewhere may not work for you. Bill @ Hundredfold Farm

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