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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I have recently had a second modular home put on my 10 acre

Customer Question

Hello, I have recently had a second modular home put on my 10 acre almond ranch in Capay California. The contractor set up the water system from the well in a way that I believe is not providing potable water to both houses. State law requires that modular homes have a fire sprinkler system in each home. This has been completed as require by the contractor. The well that was drilled is able to provide the first house with enough water to operate the inside fire sprinkler system. With the additional house installed, the well cannot provide enough water to operate both systems. The contractor installed a 550 gallon storage tank that will provide the required amount of water. Now here is my concern. The well pump fills the 550 gallon storage tank and a pressurized bladder tank and then provides water to both houses from these tanks through a single outlet. It then runs to a two stage high pressure pump that can provide the required quantity and pressure for the time required to operate the fire safety systems. From the single pipe exiting the high pressure pump the line goes into a "T" and off to each house. At the house the water goes into a manifold and provides water to the domestic water system and the fire safety system. The high pressure pump comes on at low pressure with a signal from the house requesting it. It comes on with a drop in pressure when the domestic pressure requires it and provides a higher pressure when the fire system requires it. The 550 storage tank is vented to atmosphere and allows dirt and whatever access into the tank. The water system is not filtered or purified due to the requirements of the fire sprinkler system. A filter and decontamination system is not available to handle the pressure or flow if a fire were to develop and would stop the water flow by reducing the flow and quantity of water or fail altogether. I have drawn plans for a system that would pump from the well into two separate pressurized bladder tanks, one for each house. The well pump would also keep the water level in the 550 storage tank correct. Anti backflow valves would be integrated into the lines to keep the water separate after it entered the bladder tanks and storage tank. A low pressure pump would be installed from each bladder tank, through a filter system and an ultraviolet decontamination system. Then off to each house through lines installed separate from the line for the fire sprinkler system. The high pressure pump would still come on with a signal from either house to pressurize the fire system and the well water would be provided to each house filtered and decontaminated and potable. As a note the system in place has already burned up (2) two stage pressure pumps and we have had to replace the well pump also. I do not know of any permits that may be required, whether or not our insurance co. would cover us if I modified the system and how or who I would contact to approve the new design of the system for the safety and approval of all those required. Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The contractor that set up the original system has washed his hands of any concerns and to my knowledge I am responsible for the condition of the water from the well. Hope this all makes sense as described. It has been rather confusing and difficult to explain to anyone so far. Thank's again, Michael Thibeau
Michael J. Thibeau
Capay, Calif. 95607
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.

Dear Customer, the Yolo County Building Department does actually exercise oversight over your municipality, and you can contact them directly here:

The above link has a direct cite to the California Building Code, the primary goal for fire suppression devices is to ensure that appropriate flow is met. If you have a dual pump system in place with a low pressure to meet demand for your potable water needs, and a high pressure to meet your fire suppression needs, each fed from separate systems, that should not be a problem, but you can speak with the Yolo Building Dept. for a more detailed review of your plans to ensure you are compliant.

Working with a plumber from Woodland or West Sacramento that specializes in modular units may be more helpful than trying to find a builder that is local to you (much like we often refer clients to larger municipalities for attorneys that specialize in specific areas of law when local general practice attorneys are not able to meet their needs).