Water, sewer, electrical, telephone, and other services may be unavailable, may not operate at urban standards, and repairs may take longer than in cities. Monthly surcharges may be added to cover the costs of extending municipal services to rural areas.
- Telephone communications can be a problem. If you have a private line, it may be difficult to obtain another line for fax or computer modem use. Cell phones may not work in all areas.
- If sewer service is available to your property, it may be expensive to hook into the system. It may be expensive to maintain the onsite system you use.
- If sewer service is not available, as can be the case in rural areas, you must use an approved on-site septic system or other treatment processes. The type of soil you have available for a leach field will be very important in determining the cost and the function of your system. Have the system checked by a reliable sanitation firm and ask for assistance from the Grant County Health District (GCHD).
- If you have access to a supply of treated domestic water, the tap fees can be expensive. You may also find that your monthly service can be costly when compared to municipal systems.
- If you do not have access to a supply of treated domestic water, you will have to locate an alternative supply. The most common source of water in rural areas is a private well. Private wells are regulated by the Washington State Department of Health, Drinking Water Division (WSDOH). The cost for drilling and pumping can be considerable. The quality and quantity of well water can vary considerably between locations and seasons. It is strongly advised that you research this issue very carefully. Contacts should be made both with the GCHD and the WSDOH. The Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE) also has a role in the permitting and regulation of private wells and can provide additional input.
- Not all wells can be used for watering landscaping and/or livestock. If you have other needs, make certain that you have proper approvals before you invest. It may also be difficult to find enough water to provide for your needs even if you can secure the proper permit. Contacts should be made with both the Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Department of Ecology.
- Electric service may not be readily available in every area of Grant County. It is important to determine the proximity of electrical power, as it can be very expensive to extend power lines to remote areas.
- It may be necessary to cross property owned by others in order to extend electric service to your property in the most cost-efficient manner. It is important to make sure that the proper easements are in place to allow lines to access your property.
- Electric Power may not be available in two-phase and three-phase service configurations. If you have special power requirements, it is important to know what level of service can be provided to your property.
- If you are purchasing land with the plan to build at a future date, you run the risk that electrical lines (and other utilities) may not be available to accommodate you if others connect ahead of you.
- The cost of electric service is usually divided into a fee to hook up to the system and a monthly charge for energy consumed. It is important to know both costs before making a decision to purchase a specific piece of property.
- Power outages in outlying areas can be more detrimental than in more developed areas. Loss of electric power can mean loss of water from a well, loss of heat, and loss of the food in your freezer and refrigerator. If you live in the country it is important to have a contingency plan in the event of power outages.
- Trash removal is available everywhere in Grant County, but in some cases, you may need to make special arrangements with your provider. Recycling is available at the landfill in Ephrata and in many communities. The burning of trash is strictly regulated by the local fire district and the Department of Ecology.