- See the section on Utility Companies in Part III.
- Sewer system: Find out if the property may be hooked up to an existing sewer system. If not, you will need to install a septic system (see Part II of this article).
- Sewer step system: Sometimes a sewer system is connected to a special septic system on the property, which provides a septic tank and pump, which pumps into the sewer line instead of pumping into a drain field. This is called a “step system” and is required when a sewer system does not have the capacity to carry the full load. If this is the case, find out from the sewer company or sanitary district exactly who administers the process of design, approval, construction, testing and inspection. Also ask how much time each step is likely to take.
- Sewer pump: Sometimes the sewer main is located above the level of the lowest plumbing fixture. In that case, gravity will not take the sewage into the main sewer line and a pump is required. At the property line, you may find a stub designed to be hooked up to a holding tank and pump. If this is the case, the sewer company or sanitary district can provide you with the required specifications for the pump. A plumber or the manufacturer of pump systems can help you choose your pump, which will need to be installed by your excavator, plumber and electrician. Include this in the design stage of your project, since the location of the pump should be planned in advance.
- Water Well: If you plan to put in a well, consider consulting a water witcher (dowser) or well driller regarding the best location and the cost. Neighbors who have put in wells can tell you about their experience, though it might not apply to your particular property. Some well water is over-acidic or contains contaminants such as bacteria or sulphur (which adds a disagreeable smell to the water). There are special filters available for these problems.
- Regional water authority: Visit your local water district office and ask the questions in the Utility Companies section at the beginning of this article.
- Water meter size: Ask what size stub (pipe) is provided at the water meter vault and all the sizes of water meters which it can accommodate. Then describe how long the water line between the meter and the building will need to be. Find out which of the water meter sizes will work for that distance and for the number of plumbing fixtures you plan to install. (If you don’t get as many answers as you would like, consult a plumber as well.)
- Water meters and fire sprinklers: Fire sprinkler systems are designed around the water pressure available at the water meter. If you are going to have such a system, mention this to the water authority or plumber when you are discussing water meter size.
- Insufficient water meter size: If the pipe provided for your water meter is not large enough to accommodate the size water meter you need, a new larger pipe will need to be installed from the main to the property line. If the road is paved, you will need to either tunnel under the pavement or dig up and then replace the pavement. You may need the services of an engineer to tunnel under a major road.
- Spring well: If the source of your water will be a spring well, see Water Rights in Part VI of this article.