Utility Services

Water, sewer, electrical, telephone and other services may be unavailable or may not operate at urban standards. Repairs can often take much longer than in towns and cities. Please review your options from the non-exhaustive list that follows.


2.1 - Telephone communications can be a problem, especially in some areas of Franklin County. If you have a private line, it may be difficult to obtain another line for fax or computer modem uses. Even cellular phones may not work in all areas.

Water & Sewer

2.2 - 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.

2.3 - If sewer service is not available, as is generally the case in rural areas, you will need to use an approved on-site septic system or other treatment process. The type of soil you have available for a leach-field will be very important in determining the cost and function of your system. Have the system checked by a reliable sanitation firm and ask for assistance from the Environmental Health Division of the Benton-Franklin Health Department (BFHD).

2.4 - If you have access to a supply of treated domestic water, the tap fees can be expensive. You may also find that your monthly cost of service can be costly when compared to municipal systems.

2.5 - If you do not have access to a supply of treated domestic water, you will have to locate an alternative supply. The most common sources of water in rural areas are private wells. Private wells are regulated by the Washington State Department of Health - Division of Engineering (WSDOH). The cost for drilling and pumping can be considerable. The quality and quantity of well water can vary considerably from location to location and from season to season. It is strongly advised that you research this issue very carefully. Contacts should be made with both BFHD and WSDOH, Division of Engineering. The Department of Ecology also has a role in the permitting and regulation of private wells. You may want to consider contacting them for additional input.

2.6 - Not all wells can be used for watering landscaping and/or livestock. If you have other needs, make certain that you have the 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 WSDOH and the Washington State Department of Ecology (WSDOE).

Electrical Service

2.7 - Electric service may not be readily available in every area of Franklin County. It is important to determine the proximity of electrical power, as it can be very expensive to extend power lines to remote areas.

2.8 - 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.

2.9 - 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.

2.10 - If you are purchasing land with the plan to build at a future date, there is a possibility that electric lines (and other utilities) may not be large enough to accommodate you if others connect during the time you want to build.

2.11 - 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.

2.12 - Power outages can occur in outlying areas with more frequency than in more developed areas, particularly if power lines are difficult to access. A loss of electric power can interrupt your supply of water from a well. Interruptions in power may cause you to lose the food in your freezer or refrigerator and may cause problems with computers as well. If you live in the country, it is important to be able to survive a week or longer in severe cold with no utilities.

Garbage Service

2.13 - Trash removal is available in most areas of Franklin County, but some removal can be more expensive in rural areas than in metropolitan areas. In some cases, your trash dumpster may be several miles from your home. Your only option maybe to haul your trash to the disposal site yourself. Recycling is more difficult because pick-up is not available in most rural areas. Check with Franklin County Burn Control, to see if you can burn trash in your area.