Utility Services

Water, sewer, gas, electric, telephone and other services may be unavailable or may not operate at urban standards. Repairs can often take much longer than in town.


Electrical service is not available to every area of Riley County. It is important to determine the proximity of electrical power and what power source provides service to your area. It can be very expensive to extend power lines to remote areas. Many times it is cost prohibitive to bury the lines due to rock near the ground surface. It may be necessary to cross property owned by others in order to extend electrical 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 be built to 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.

The cost of electric service is usually divided into a fee to connect to the system, and then 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 can occur in outlying areas with more frequency than in more developed areas. The duration of the loss of power is usually longer in a rural area than in town. A loss of electric power can also interrupt your supply of water from a well. You may also lose food in freezers or refrigerators. It is important to be able to survive for up to a week in severe cold with no utilities if you live in the country.

Heating Sources

Most rural areas do not have access to natural gas. Be prepared to consider alternative fuels such as propane, electricity, wood pellets, wood or heat pumps. Electric furnaces may be expensive to operate in your area. You should plan on an auxiliary heating backup for those incidents of power outages.


Telephone communications may be a problem. If you have a private line, it may not permit the use of high-speed computer modems. Cellular phones may not work equally well in all areas.


Local service providers should be utilized. Some providers do not provide service in the more rural areas. Open burning of paper and boxes is considered an option during certain conditions. A burn permit is required for any open burning (except cooking and ceremonial fires).


Central sewer service is generally not available in rural areas. Wastewater is most commonly treated on site with a septic tank-lateral field system or wastewater stabilization pond (lagoon). Alternative systems using aerobic treatment technology are also permitted. If an on-site wastewater disposal system is already available, the Riley County Planning & Development department must inspect the system to determine if it will serve your needs.


If you do not have access to a public water supply, you will need to drill a well. A permit must be obtained from the Riley County Planning & Development department before drilling any domestic well. 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. Nitrates, coliform bacteria, and agricultural chemicals may be present in rural groundwater supplies in Riley County. It is strongly advised that you research this issue very carefully.

If you have access to a public water supply, i.e., rural water district, connection fees can be expensive. You may also find that your monthly cost of service can be more costly when compared to municipal systems.