Septic inspections are a critical part of any home purchase, sale, or refinance in our area. A failing or even illegal system can cost the new homeowner tens of thousands dollars in repairs. We work with homeowners and realtors to make sure the septic system is properly inspected to help ensure your home sale goes smoothly.
When faced with the prospect of a septic inspection, many of our customers have similar questions. We hope this guide will answer a few of the more common questions.
What is a septic inspection, and why does it matter to my home sale
Simply put, a septic inspection is an evaluation of the home's waste water disposal system to ensure it is functioning properly, and complies with the relevant county building codes. A septic tank and leach field can degrade over time, and a septic system may have been installed without meeting the proper building codes, especially in older homes and more rural areas. A failing or illegal system can cause a nightmare for a new homeowner, and potential litigation for the seller and real estate agent. The seller may not even know that their system is failing, or installed improperly.
Who performs a Septic Inspection? Who do I call?
Most licensed septic pumpers can do a Septic Inspection, unless the Septic Inspection is requested for a government loan. With a government loan (ie: Cal-Vet, VA, FHA), the County Health Department or a licensed sanitarian is also needed to sign off Septic Inspections. So depending on who is requiring the inspection, it may vary on who to actually call for your Septic Inspection. So check with your loan officer or bank as to whether a sanitarian is needed or not.
For the inspection itself, what do you do and why?
We have conducted thousands of septic inspection over the years. These are the typical steps for most inspections:
- If needed we will locate the septic tank location, and dig down to uncover the tank lids.
- We then note what the septic tank and lids are constructed of to determine the quality and durability of the tank and lids.
- A check the water level in the tank is made to determine possible leach field problems. This would be indicated by a water level higher than the outlet pipe or evidence of seepage into the soil through the lids of the tank. If the water level is low in the septic then it could be evidence of a seam leaking septage out of the tank.
- We then check around the leach field area, if known, to determine possible problems indicated by seepage in the soil, odor, or any other problem that could be attributed to the leach field.
- The condition of the Inlet and Outlet Tees are examined to determine possible problems such as missing, broken, a stoppage, roots or anything else that could cause a potential issue.
- We then pump out both compartments of the septic tank, and measure the tank to determine size and gallons pumped.
- If water is available the tank is washed out so a check can be made for any structural problems, cracks, roots, ect.
- We will determine the condition of the tank's baffle and what material it is constructed made from.
- If possible, we will request for the owner or tenant to flush the toilet so we can make sure the main septic line is free-flowing between the house and the septic tank.
- Notes are made of any repairs that are needed to bring the system up to current county codes, and we make any recommendations and/or comments to insure that the system will be in good working order.
- If there are any problems with the system we then contact the necessary parties (homeowner, real estate agent, etc.) to explain and/or show them of the issues discovered.
- If no problems are discovered during the inspection, and after all of the inspected items are noted, we will then re-cover the tank lids
What is required in a Septic Inspection?
The following information will be included in a Septic Inspection.
- Owners Name
- Owners Address
- Address of the Septic Tank
- Assessors Parcel Number
- Septic Tank Capacity
- Date and Quantity of Pumping (Both compartments)
- If Tank has not been Pumped Within Three Years, it must be pumped as part of the inspection
- Condition and Construction Material of the Septic and Lids/Cover
- Condition of the Inlet & Outlet T
- Condition and Construction Material of the Baffle and Baffle Vent Space
- List any Repairs Performed to any Part of the Sewage System
- List any Abnormalities Observed in or Around the Septic System (Septic Tank Overfull, Missing Structural Items, Wet Spots, Etc.)