The Utilities of Shelter

The Septic Story

The Way of the Buddha:
Develop Sanctuary With Working Utilities.

Septic and sewer utilities transform the wastes of life and return them to the earth in a useful form. Here is wisdom.

A quote from my book, Grasshopper StickieNotes, version 9.9.2, which can be found only in the dark moist recesses of my frontal lobes.

Our first Offer to Purchase had the contingency regarding a wet-weather percolation test. I included an aerial map with sites where the tests should be done.

Our septic story began with the Offer to Purchase our land. We would never buy a piece of land if it could not pass a proper percolation test for a septic system. We made such a successful test a contingency in our offer to purchase. You can see the statement we used on page 7, of 9, in our Offer.

If you are thinking of buying a parcel of land in the Klamath River Country Estates (KRCE) for a home - any home - you are an idiot if you do not insist on a successful wet-weather percolation test being done - BY THE SELLER!

We ultimately paid $12,000 for the land, plus closing costs (another $670) and the money spent on searching for the land (estimated at $6,000), about $18,670 total. If we had done that without having a percolation test done, then we would have been STUPID. If you buy a lot without a successful "wet-weather" perc test and then do a perc test after closing the sale and find that it fails - you have NO RECOURSE. You cannot build a home on that land. You are stuck. You are stupid! You deserve to own a worthless investment.

If a seller, or the Realtor, shows you a letter from the County Environmental Health Division stating that the property passed a percolation test be very careful! The letter may have been true at the time it was written. But, the laws and rules have changed over the years - and, they keep on changing. Call the Environmental Health Office at 530-841-2100. Ideally you should visit their office at 806 South Main Street, Yreka, California for an opportunity to get clear and accurate information. You will need the APN number for the parcel since that is the only way the office staff can find the file easily. Get the APN from the seller and/or Realtor. I personally NEVER trust sellers or Realtors, and I was one once.

Since the early 2000's the Siskiyou County Division of Environmental Health has required a wet-weather percolation test in the KRCE. The wet weather testing season occurs January 1st through April 30th of each year only after 50% of the annual average precipitation has fallen. The season will NOT start if the 50% point has not been reached by April 30th. You may find the "Wet Weather Testing Guide" (if the link does not work: try here:) and the current "Wet Weather Rainfall Totals" (if the link does not work: try here:) for Siskiyou County in the Land Use Resource Center.

The April 30th deadline is a fact that should give a Buyer cause to reconsider buying land 'in a rush'. See our contingency statement. It specifies the test has to be done before April 30th. If it could not have been completed by that date, then the Offer would have been 'null and void'. Let the sale go.

I know people in the KRCE who bought their land back in the 1960's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and even the early 2000's. Many bought without doing a percolation test. Some had bought land that DID pass a regular percolation test 'back in the day'. If you own land in the KRCE and did not yet build a home on it - your percolation test is almost certainly no longer valid! You would have to get a wet-weather percolation test done before you can apply for a building permit now.

If a seller tries to sell a parcel of vacant land in the KRCE that did pass a perc test before the early 2000's, he or she CANNOT represent it as having passed a perc test based on a no-longer-valid perc test letter. That could be considered as FRAUD. The California Department of Real Estate (CalDRE) rules and regulations state that ANY seller of real estate must properly inform a buyer of the true state of affairs regarding the land they are selling. Failure to do so can lead to arrest and fines and/or jail time.

BUYERS: BEWARE of buying vacant land in the Klamath River Country Estates (KRCE). Realtors are legally obligated to know the laws and conditions related to the property they are selling. Even if they do not know the law/rules/conditions, they are legally liable for failure to inform the buyer. You can sue them. You have to prove they misled you. Put everything in writing. Oral communication is not useful without unbiased witnesses to the communication. Even with reliable witnesses you may lose your case. WRITTEN communication is your 'best friend'.

Sellers may not know the law/rules/regulations either. The California Department of Real Estate (CalDRE) does NOT excuse an unknowledgeable seller from the responsibility of providing true and accurate information about the property they are trying to sell. However, the CalDRE does NOT prosecute; it refers information to law enforcement about a case when requested and YOU must do the leg work with the County District Attorney's Office to bring charges. Do NOT do this without being very certain of your facts. You could be counter-sued just for suggesting a person is fraudulent in their words and actions. You have to prove your case!

Do NOT blame the Klamath River Country Estates Owner's Association (KRCEOA) for your own failure to get accurate information about the land you want to buy BEFORE you buy. The KRCEOA does sell parcels that it has legally taken away from owners who fail to pay their Annual and/or Special Assessments. The KRCEOA is ONLY responsible for accurately representing the information related to the parcels that it sells directly, or indirectly, to buyers. Ultimately, the BUYER is responsible to verify the information about the land that he or she is buying.


Terms Of Use: This website contains information about the development of the land and home of Liza and Will Jensen. We make it public to help others in their own home development projects.

Information about the Klamath River Country Estates (KRCE) is of a public nature and is put here for your convenience. It can be helpful if you are considering buying land in this subdivision.

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