point-of-sale-septic-inspectionWhen you make the decision to get a septic system inspection for your real estate transaction, it’s very important that you have some idea of what to expect. One of the most crucial points in this process is hiring a qualified septic professional separate from a standard home inspector. A septic contractor will be able to give you an honest and thorough assessment of your septic system and help you best understand what condition it is in. The septic professional will typically have a list of steps that he follows to ensure that your system is thoroughly inspected.

  • Locate, Map & Uncover Tank
    The septic tank and access point must be located by the professional, unless the system has already been mapped. Note that if you are not aware of your tank location, that some professional may charge an additional fee for the location and mapping of your system. During this time, your inspector will search for the location of the drainfield and tank by inserting a tool into the ground to locate the system. During this time, your inspector will also search for indications of leaks or drainfield issues that are typically indicated by dark green grass or a change in the type of weeds growing.
  • Pumpout & Observe Tank Conditions
    When a tank is operating properly, there should be a separate layer of scum, gray water and sludge at the bottom and the tank should be operating at the appropriate levels. Once operating levels and layers have been confirmed, your inspector will begin pumping out the tank. After the tank has been pumped, the inspector will shine a light inside in order to inspect the condition of the inside of the tank. The septic inspector will also check and clean the effluent screen at this time to ensure that it is properly filtering all solids and preventing them from entering the drainfield. During this portion of the inspection, the inspector checks to ensure the tank is water tight and there are no cracks. Water lines above the appropriate level can sometimes indicate drainfield malfunction. (Note: If the liquids are not at the proper operating levels, then further investigation of the system is warranted.)
  • Your Drainfield
    Unless your inspector finds signs that your drainfield may be malfunctioning, they will probably not dig into your drainfield. If there are signs like bright green grass or certain types of weeds growing, then a simple soil test or probing the ground may suffice. Other examples of things that may result in the need for drainfield repair are parked vehicles over the drainfield site or trees in the area surrounding the drainfield. Drainfield repair is typically only required when systems are not properly maintained.
  • Replacement of Soil & Sod
    It’s important that the septic professional communicate how they will dig to access the tank. The sod should be cut out cleanly and all dirt placed on a tarp. After the inspection all of the dirt and sod should be replaced in the same spot so there is minimal surface impact.

The entire septic system inspection process is very involved and could take as long as 6-8 hours to complete. This inconvenience should be considered minor, as septic inspections reveal a lot of information about your system and will give you the peace of mind in knowing that your system is properly maintained and suits your water use. Crews Environmental has been conducting septic inspections for over 25 years.

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