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Septic System

  • There is (y/n)__________ a septic system for the subject property.
  • The inspector is very limited in evaluating a septic system because most of the components are underground and/or not visible, such as the drainage lines, the holding tank and the leaching fields or seepage pits. Also, the inspector has no accurate knowledge of what the past maintenance history has been for the septic system.
  • It is highly recommended that you obtain all building department permits, surveys, plot plans and approvals for the septic system. The life expectancy of a septic system is about 30 years depending upon the type of construction materials used and the maintenance given to it over the years. The repair costs and costs to re-build or move a septic system are very high!!
  • It is highly recommended that you have a licensed septic contractor pump clean and internally inspect the septic system prior to closing. The dye testing performed during a home inspection is very limited and does not always reveal a septic system that has failed or is on the verge of failure. When the system is pumped out clean, the septic contractor can internally inspect the holding tank and the drainage lines coming into and out of it. This gives him a visual look at the interior of the tank and often the septic contractor will provide a written report for this service. Another benefit for you to get the septic system pumped clean prior to closing, is that if you do buy the house, then they will be moving in with a cleaned out septic tank that should not need any maintenance for quite some time. A septic contractor can also partially dig up the leaching field area to do a more extensive evaluation. This will allow them to determine if the leaching fields or septic drainage pipes are clogged.
  • Septic systems MUST be cleaned at least every 2 to 3 years to properly maintain them. It should be more frequent than every two years if there are a lot of people in the house or if the homeowner does a lot of entertaining and often has guests/parties at the home. It is highly recommended that you obtain all documentation of the past septic maintenance records for future use. Many times a neglected septic system will be pumped clean just because the house is being put on the market for sale. It is similar to driving a car for many years without changing the oil. The car will run on dirty oil, but it will cost you money in wear and tear and it will eventually die prematurely due to the lack of maintenance given to it.
  • The Owner or Realtor stated that the date the septic system was last pumped clean was ________________. They also stated that the septic system was pumped out and cleaned approximately (#)__________ years before this last cleaning.
  • The septic system was tested by turning on (#)__________ faucets for about (#)__________ minutes. All toilets were flushed (#)__________ times during the testing. A harmless, colored dye designed for septic testing was flushed down the toilets at the beginning of the septic test. The dye did (y/n)__________ how up on or around the property. If the dye is seen or there is a septic odor in the lawn during the testing, then this indicates a problem condition with the septic system and a licensed contractor needs to evaluate the septic system.

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