Code of the West - Utility Services

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Utility services-such as water, sewer, electric and telephone-may be unavailable in rural areas, or may operate at a lesser standard than in cities. Also, repairs and maintenance may take longer and could be more expensive.
ELECTRIC SERVICE - Electric service is not available to all areas of the County. Because costs to extend power lines can be prohibitive in certain areas, some property owners use a generator or alternative power sources such as solar or wind-powered systems. The cost of electric service includes a fee to tie into the existing utility system, and a monthly usage charge from the local utility company. There may also be underground trenching costs, material costs, and electrician fees. In some cases, it is necessary to cross your neighbor's property to bring power to your property (either overhead or underground lines). It is important to verify the existence of existing easements, or to obtain the proper easements prior to construction of the power lines. Since electric power may not be available in three-phase configurations in some areas, it is important to determine your power needs and level of service availability. Also, due to ongoing development and limited utility line capacity, electric power that is available today may not be available when you decide to build.
POWER OUTAGES - Power outages can occur in outlying areas more often than in more developed areas. Loss of electricity can interrupt your well water supply, interrupt your communications systems, cause food to spoil in refrigerators and freezers, and possibly damage computers and electronic equipment. It is important to be able to survive in rural areas without utilities for at least a week in severe cold weather.

WATER - If treated domestic water service is available, the tap fees and monthly service fees may be more expensive than municipal water systems. If direct water service is not available, you will need to find an alternative water supply. The most common means is to haul water, or have it delivered by a commercial outfit. Hauling water can be an arduous task and requires a vehicle and/or a trailer large enough to carry a very large water tank. Depending on how much water your family uses, the tank may have to be filled frequently.

WELLS - Another alternative water supply is to drill a well. Drilling and pumping costs can be considerable and, in some cases, prohibitive. The quality and quantity of well water may vary considerably from location to location, and from season to season. Well permits must be obtained from the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Coconino County Community Development Environmental Quality Division.

SEWER/SEPTIC SERVICE - Sewer service is not available in most rural areas and, if it is, it is generally more expensive to tie into the system than in cities. If sewer service is not available, you will need an approved septic system or other treatment process. The type of soil available for a leach field is very important in determining the cost and function of a new septic system. In some cases, a standard septic system will not work (based on soil conditions) and an alternative septic system is required. Alternative systems can be very expensive (they could exceed $20,000). If there is an existing septic system on the property, it should be checked by a reliable sanitation service. Some existing septic systems may have been installed without the required permits and, therefore, could be inadequate. You are strongly urged to work with a private engineer and the Coconino County Community Development Environmental Quality Division-to determine the adequacy of an existing system, the type of new system you might need, and associated costs.

TELEPHONE SERVICE - Rural telephone services can range from full telephone service-to cellular phone service only-to no service at all. It may also be difficult to obtain additional telephone lines for fax or computer modem use.

TRASH REMOVAL - Trash removal can be a challenge in a rural area. In some cases you may be able to contract with a private solid waste hauler, or there may be a dumpster located within an acceptable distance from your home. In more remote areas, the most viable option may be to haul your trash to a landfill or a solid waste transfer station. It is important to know that it is illegal to create your own trash dump, even on your own property. Residential recycling pick-up is not available in most rural areas.