Can a septic inspection company repair your septic system?
- Warning: Be wary of septic inspection companies that perform septic tank inspections provide repairs to septic systems. A major concern for many homebuyers and sellers comes from septic inspection companies that repair the septic systems that they test. This presents a conflict of interest.
How is a septic field tested?
Full Inspections In a full inspection, inspectors will remove the cover to the septic tank and check the water level. The inspector may use a dye test during this part of their inspection. In a dye test, the inspector will introduce dye into the water that is being drained to see how much of it enters the septic tank.
What are signs of septic tank problems?
7 Warning Signs Your Septic System Is Failing
- Gurgling Pipes. They would occur when you run water in the house (e.g. when using the sink or shower) or flush the toilet.
- Bad Odours. It’s never a pleasant experience when this occurs.
- Water At Ground Level.
- Green Grass.
- Slow Drainage.
- Blocked Pipes.
Who is responsible for maintaining a septic tank?
Homeowners. If you’re an owner-occupier and your property has a septic tank, it’s very straightforward: you are fully responsible for your septic tank. If there are any issues with it, it is up to you to fix them.
How do I know if my septic tank is good?
5 Signs You Should Have Your Septic Tank Pumped
- Odor. As your septic tank fills up, there is less and less space for the odor causing gases in your tank.
- Surprisingly Lush, Green Lawn Over Drainfield.
- Standing Water.
- Sewage Backup.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?
The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.
What is the most common cause of septic system failure?
Most septic systems fail because of inappropriate design or poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (those with a drain field) are installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes, or high ground water tables.
How can you tell if your leach field is failing?
The following are a few common signs of leach field failure: Grass over leach field is greener than the rest of the yard. The surrounding area is wet, mushy, or even has standing water. Sewage odors around drains, tank, or leach field.
Are septic tanks still legal?
Septic Tanks Explained… Septic tanks cannot discharge to surface water drains, rivers, canals, ditches, streams or any other type of waterway. you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.
Who pays to empty septic tank?
It is not unusual for the tenant (you) to be responsible for the upkeep of the tank. That is, you will be responsible for ensuring you maintain the septic system and pay for pump-outs. This is, generally speaking, perfectly normal.
Do septic tanks need servicing?
Septic tanks should be inspected every 1 to 3 years. Whenever you move into a home with a septic tank, the tank should be pumped and inspected. Septic Tank maintenance is important because continued neglect of a tank may result in system failure or the need for replacement of the soil absorption area.
How do I clean my septic tank naturally?
You can mix about a 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar and 2 tablespoons lemon to make your own natural cleaning agent. The baking soda will fizz up to help get the dirt and grime in your tub and drains. It’s a great cleaner and your septic system will thank you!
How often does a 1000 gallon septic tank need to be pumped?
For example, a 1,000 gallon septic tank, which is used by two people, should be pumped every 5.9 years. If there are eight people using a 1,000-gallon septic tank, it should be pumped every year.
How long does a septic system last?
A septic system’s lifespan should be anywhere from 15 to 40 years. How long the system lasts depends on a number of factors, including construction material, soil acidity, water table, maintenance practices, and several others.
Septic Inspections When Buying or Selling a Home
You could be perplexed as to why you might want an aseptic examination before selling your house. Alternatively, are you purchasing a new home that has a septic system? Get professional information on septic systems and collaborate with a seasoned real estate agent throughout the process. Prospective home buyers typically engage an inspector to do a thorough assessment of the property before making an offer on it. The examination will typically involve a visual evaluation of the house’s structure as well as a search for pests.
Septic inspections are extremely important for your health and the health of anybody else who lives in your house, so homeowners should make a point of scheduling them on a regular basis.
In case you are buying or selling a home, the septic inspection will be an important part of the process.
What is a septic system?
One in every five homes in the United States is equipped with a septic system, yet you’d be shocked how many people are unaware of what they are. A septic system is a system that is designed to remove waste from a home or building. During normal operation, it collects and filters water and garbage from the washer, sinks, showers, and toilets before returning it to the sink. The mechanism then re-distributes the energy back into the earth. The entire procedure contributes to the reduction of water and soil pollution.
How often should you get a septic inspection?
The majority of specialists agree that you should get your septic tank examined at least once every three to five years. The examination normally takes place around the same time that you should have your septic tank pumped by a professional septic tank cleaning provider. In order to keep your septic tank healthy and in excellent functioning order, it is required to pump it regularly. Even though professionals recommend that homeowners get their septic tanks tested every five years, many homeowners wait considerably longer than this period.
At that point, inspectors will frequently recommend that you repair or replace your septic system, which can cost thousands of dollars if not done properly.
How is a septic inspection done?
Septic inspections may be divided into two categories.
If you are buying or selling a home, the home inspector will most likely do a visual assessment of the property. In order to do a visual examination, a few questions must be asked, such as the age of the house, how often the owner pumps the septic system, and when the previous inspection was performed. The inspector will next flush all of the toilets in the house and run all of the water in the house to ensure that the water pressure is enough and that everything is draining correctly. At the end of the inspection, the inspector will walk out to the drain field to ensure that there is no standing water, which might indicate the presence of a cesspool.
Even though a visual examination is convenient and quick, a comprehensive inspection may provide you with a more complete picture of the overall condition of the septic system.
A thorough inspection contains all that a visual inspection does, but it also goes above and beyond that level of service. This is the inspection you’ll want to have done every three to five years, at the absolute least. Inspectors will remove the lid from the septic tank and assess the amount of water in the tank during a comprehensive examination. The level of the water might indicate whether or not the water is draining adequately. The inspector will next run water through the home to ensure that it is correctly draining from the house to the septic tank and that the water level within the tank does not rise as a result of the additional water being introduced into the system.
Dye tests are conducted to determine how much dye is incorporated into the water that is draining and how much of it makes its way into the sewage treatment plant.
Inspecting the backflow level will reveal whether or not there is an issue with your drain field.
Morse Engineering and Construction can provide you with further information.
Buying a House? Make Sure You Get a Septic System Inspection!
If you are in the process of purchasing a home, you are aware that there are several phases involved in the process. You put money together for a down payment, go to open houses, chat to sellers and real estate agents, and ultimately discover a place you love to call home. The exciting part is about to begin. There are several steps involved: making an offer, getting pre-approval, scheduling a home inspection, and eventually, after heaps of paperwork, claiming ownership of the property. But hold on a minute!
- You might be asking why you would need to get your septic system inspected.
- Septic systems that are in poor working order can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair or replace.
- When a roof leak occurs or a break in the foundation occurs, you would want to be aware of the situation.
- “All OK, but I’ve already completed a house inspection and a dye test.” “Doesn’t that suffice?” While these inspections may be sufficient to meet the criteria of a lender, they are insufficient to provide a full evaluation of a septic system.
A septic system examination performed by a Pennsylvania Septage Management Association-certified inspector is the only method to determine the exact status of a septic system.
What is a septic system inspection?
Performing a septic system inspection entails a thorough examination of all of the components of a septic system. The inspector will determine the location and condition of the septic tank, distribution box, and absorption area and make recommendations. In this process, he will uncover and evaluate all of the mechanical and electrical components of the system, including septic lines, baffles and filters, pumps and floats, alarms, and so on. During the inspection, he will open the septic tank (digging up the lids, if required) in order to check the wastewater sources from the home to the septic tank and physically inspect the septic tank at its operational level, according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
If the home has been vacant for an extended period of time or if the number of people living in the home is expected to increase, the inspector will conduct a hydraulic load test to determine whether the septic system’s absorption area is capable of handling the anticipated daily wastewater volume of the home buyer’s family.
- For septic systems in Pennsylvania, this implies that the inspector must have received training and certification from the Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA), which has created a set of requirements for an objective septic system assessment.
- Each PSMA septic system inspection finishes with the delivery of a thorough report.
- However, while this analysis does not provide a guarantee, the findings drawn from it may be able to save you thousands of dollars in septic system repairs or replacement.
- If you do not have a PSMA inspection and report, you run the danger of inheriting the financial burden of substantial septic system repairs or perhaps the installation of a whole new system completely.
Septic System Inspection vs. Home Inspection
Inspections of the inside and exterior of a home are performed by professionals who are well-versed in the identification of typical faults. They will inform you if there are any evident issues with the roof, windows, electrical system, interior plumbing, foundation, or any other visible components of the house. A house inspection, on the other hand, is just a visual assessment that is non-invasive. Consequently, house inspectors only report on the components of the home that they can physically see, and nothing else.
- This implies that the septic system is not included in the scope of a standard house inspection.
- There is a good chance that they may flush the toilets a few times to ensure that the system is not actively backing up, and they may even remove the cover from the septic tank (if they can find it).
- How can a home inspector tell you what condition your septic tank is in if there isn’t a pump truck available to empty it?
- Despite the fact that home inspectors are well-versed in many aspects of the property, they are neither equipped nor prepared to conduct a thorough examination of a septic system.
Therefore, a house inspection is insufficient for determining the condition of a septic system. Rely on a PSMA inspector that specializes in septic systems to provide you with the most thorough and insightful septic system inspection available.
Septic System Inspection vs. Dye Test
Dyes are used in a dye test to check that wastewater is appropriately routed into the septic tank and not elsewhere on the land. Dyes are brightly colored and non-toxic, and they are safe to use. In layman’s terms, a dye test demonstrates that water can travel from point A to point B. At the time of a dye test, a technician will flush dye tablets down the toilet and down the drain, check to verify that the right wastewater sources are entering the septic tank, and walk about the property looking for dye.
- In the absence of a dye test, it is impossible to determine the size or condition of a septic tank.
- Dye tests provide little information on the operation of critical septic system components such as baffles, pumps, floats, and alarms, among others.
- When purchasing a property, don’t take a chance on a future filled with septic system failures and expensive repairs.
- to conduct the work for you.
Don’t Forget The Septic Inspection When Buying a House
Septic system inspection is mandatory if you are planning to purchase a property that contains a septic tank. There are several things that may go wrong with septic systems, and with any sort of system, there is the potential for various problems to arise. Is it necessary to have a septic examination performed before purchasing a home? Before closing on a home, you should find out if there is an issue with the septic system that has to be addressed. The problems that might arise with a septic system can range from basic repairs to extremely sophisticated replacements that can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.
How The Septic System Works
A septic system installed on a home property can be used in place of a municipal sewer system in some cases. In the United States, 25 percent of residences have decentralized systems, also known as septic systems, which are permanent components of our nation’s wastewater infrastructure, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It all starts with the sanitary pipe that runs from the home and delivers waste water to the septic tank at the bottom of the hill. This big container is normally composed of concrete, fiberglass or steel, although it can also be made of plastic or aluminum.
- This tank collects wastewater from the home and allows particles to settle to the bottom of the tank, where they form a “sludge” layer that can be seen on the bottom of the tank.
- This scum layer forms a seal, which helps to keep air out of the tank, allowing bacteria to grow in the tank below.
- The area between the sludge and the scum is referred to as the effluent area.
- A T-shaped outlet is located inside the tank, which allows effluent to flow into the leach field by gravity, while baffles prevent scum and particles from passing through the tank and into the leach field.
- This box permits the effluent to flow uniformly into the proper chambers of the leach field, therefore reducing the risk of contamination.
- The final outcome is the same regardless of the method employed: the delivery of effluent into the leach field.
- There are a variety of various alternatives available when it comes to the sorts of chambers that may be employed.
- Leaching’s ultimate goal is to enable effluent to trickle down into the subsoil, where microorganisms in the top layers of soil continue to break down elements from the tank.
- Leach Field in a Residential Setting As you can see, a septic system is involved in a great deal of activity.
- A large number of homeowners are completely unaware of the importance of providing continuous maintenance, care, and cleaning for their septic systems.
- The results of the examination will be used to decide whether or not the tank needs to be emptied.
The cost of inspection and pumping might range between $300 and $500, depending on the location and size of the tank. The cost of maintenance is substantially less than the cost of repair or, in the worst case scenario, replacement of the equipment.
The Septic Inspection
If you’re doing the inspection as part of a house purchase, you’ll want to synchronize the scheduling of this test with the date of your regular property inspection to ensure that both tests are completed at the same time. Thus, if there are any issues with the plumbing systems of the home, these may be brought to the notice of the home inspector and documented in the inspection report. Additionally, grouping these inspections together will help you stay on schedule for any inspection contingency-related deadlines that you may be up against in the future.
At this point, you’ll be gathering documentation and obtaining answers to any queries you may have in preparation for the real inspection.
Because the system is underground, no examination can locate everything without excavating, which is unfeasible given the system’s location.
Here is a list of questions you should be prepared to answer before the inspection begins:
- Is it possible that the system has ever been pumped? This one is significant since it is the only genuine maintenance issue that the seller would be required to have completed
- It is also the most expensive. The seller’s knowledge of the location of the septic system is critical because if the seller does not know where the septic system is located, it is doubtful that they have performed continuous maintenance. Septic System Location Map – Regardless of whatever institution is in charge of supervising septic systems in your region, they should have a map of the septic system location given by the original home builder on hand. This is a critical piece of documentation for the septic inspection. It should not only display the position of the tank, but also the location of the leach field and the number of leaching Chambers
- If there is any available history on the system’s maintenance – for example, something like:
- The frequency at which the system has been pumped
- What type of contractor was employed
- Obtain any maintenance records that may exist
- Have there been any issues
- If so, have they been resolved?
- Where have all the covers gone? -Manhole coverings should be installed over the tank’s chambers to prevent water from entering the tank. This will be the method through which the technician will get access to the tank in order to test and/or clean it.
Putting together this information will serve two purposes: first, it will assist the technician who will be inspecting the system in knowing what to check for, and second, it will provide you with an understanding of how the house seller maintained the system.
The On Site Inspection
Putting together this information will serve two purposes: first, it will assist the technician who will be inspecting the system in knowing what to check for, and second, it will provide you an idea of how the house seller maintained the system during the home selling process.
- Bill Gassett discusses the Massachusetts Title 5 Septic System Law
- Luke Skar discusses home inspection tips for buyers. Find out how to analyze home inspection priorities with the help of the Shelhamer Group. The Ultimate Home Buyers Timeline – Danny Margagliano
- The Ultimate Home Buyers Timeline
Septic System Inspections
Nick Gromicko, CMI®, and Kenton Shepard wrote this article. A septic system is a system that collects, processes, and disposes of waste water and solids that are generated by a building’s plumbing system. When the solids are partially broken down into sludge, they are separated from the liquid effluent (water) and scum in a septic tank (fat, oil and grease). Effluent is discharged from the tank on a regular basis into a drainfield, where it is naturally filtered by microorganisms and re-enters the groundwater supply.
The septic system should be tested at least once a year, and it should be done immediately before putting the house on the market for sale.
Prospective home buyers who have not recently had their septic system checked should insist on having the system checked before they acquire the property, since it is in their best interests.
When it comes time to examine or pump the tank, this is typically not a problem. If a homeowner does not know where his or her septic tank is, inspectors can utilize the following tips to help them identify it:
- The placement of the tank should be depicted on a “as-built” design of the home. These designs are frequently kept on file by municipal health and zoning departments. It is possible that older systems do not have such a record. It is possible to get in touch with the prior owner
- Modern tanks are equipped with risers that protrude clearly above the ground surface. It is possible to probe a suspicious location using a thin metal rod that has been placed into the soil. It is critical to do this carefully and only on soft, damp soil in order to prevent harming the tank and its accompanying pipelines. Another option is to use a shovel, although this will need a little more effort. If a sufficient number of tank components are made of metal, a metal detector can be utilized. A tiny radio transmitter that can be flushed down the toilet and followed by a receiver can be used to communicate. The grass that grows the most lushly in a yard is frequently seen just over the sewage tank. Snow melts more quickly above the tank than it does in the rest of the yard. While they are not failsafe techniques of finding a place, they have been shown to be beneficial in the past.
What kinds of things may InterNACHI inspectors be looking for?
- Find out when the tank was last pumped by looking at the date on the tank. The sludge level should ultimately indicate if a tank has to be pumped, although having a record of past pumping dates might be useful as a reference. Using a “sludge judge” or a similar instrument, determine the amount of sludge present. It is normal for sludge to collect on the tank bottom, but it should not take up more than one-third of the tank’s total capacity or climb to the level of the baffles. The septic tank and drainfield should be located far away from wells and streams, for obvious reasons. Make certain that the system is large enough to accommodate the household it serves. A 1,200-gallon tank is normally required for a four-bedroom house, for example. The number of people that live in the house determines the size of the tank that is necessary. The tank’s capacity in gallons may be computed based on the size of the tank. For rectangular tanks, the capacity in gallons is equal to the product of the length, breadth, and depth in feet multiplied by 7.5. For circular tanks, the capacity in gallons is calculated as 3.14 times the radius squared x the depth in feet multiplied by 7.5. Check the ground surface for any liquid waste that has found its way to the surface. This is an unclean state that signals that the system is overburdened and needs to be repaired. In order to prevent wastewater contamination of groundwater and groundwater from flowing into the tank and causing it to overfill, make certain that it is waterproof. The presence of a riser lid should be checked for cracks and the integrity of the lid should be checked as well. Check to see that the baffles are securely attached to the tank’s inlet and exit pipes. It is recommended that each drain line receives the same quantity of wastewater. By opening the distribution box, you will be able to see what they are made of. If the box becomes tipped or blocked, it will distribute effluent in an excessively large amount, and it may even flood areas of the drainfield.
Find out when the tank was last pumped by entering the date in the search box. While tank pumping should be determined by sludge level in the end, knowing when tanks have previously been pumped might be beneficial as a reference. Using a “sludge judge” or a similar instrument, determine the amount of sludge in the tank. In the tank bottom, sludge builds up, although it should not take up more than one-third of the tank’s entire volume or climb to the level of its baffles. The septic tank and drainfield should be located far away from wells and streams, for safety reasons.
- A 1,200-gallon tank is normally required for a four-bedroom house, for example.
- Using the tank’s measurements, it is possible to determine its capacity in gallons.
- For circular tanks, the capacity in gallons is equal to 3.14 x the radius squared x the depth in feet x 7.5.
- A hygienic situation is present, and the system is overburdened as a result.
- The presence of a riser lid should be checked for cracks and the integrity of the lid should be ensured.
- By opening the distribution box, you will be able to see what they are made up of.
- The baffle is covered in solids. This should be reported as soon as possible because it implies overflow. There is evidence of prior overflow due to chemical and water erosion. Ideally, the sewage level should be several inches below the baffle top of the drain. A lower level implies leakage, whereas a greater level indicates obstruction.
Inspectors should be familiar with the following facts so that they may advise their clients about the various ways in which they might cause harm to their septic system:
- The only thing that can be flushed down the toilet is bath tissue. Tampons, paper towels, cigarette butts, and diapers should all be disposed of in the garbage. In order to prevent microorganisms in the septic system from being damaged by household chemicals such as gasoline, paint, medicine, antifreeze, or pesticides from being flushed, they should never be put down the toilet or down the sink. In little volumes, detergents and bleach can make their way into the plumbing system. There should be no driving on or near the drainfield unless absolutely necessary. Their weight might cause damage to subsurface plumbing without them realizing it. There should be no other vegetation grown over the septic tank and drainfield. Roots from trees and huge bushes can create harm that is not visible. People are not permitted to excavate or construct structures on top of a drainfield. Ensure that any water drainage from rains, sump pumps, or any other source of surface water is routed away from the drainfield. An over-saturated drainfield can cause the water treatment process to be slowed down and plumbing fittings to get clogged. Fixing leaking faucets and toilets as soon as they occur is a simple method to extend the life of a septic system and avoid having to pay for an expensive replacement. Any waste of water in the home should be avoided at all costs. Taking shorter showers and avoiding using the garbage disposal are two examples of strategies to conserve water.
- It is not recommended that inspectors enter the septic tank to search for cracks. Tank interiors are extremely filthy, and entering should be avoided at all costs. The fracture will most likely be located at the level of the effluent, which will have drained from the tank via the crack if one is there. An effluent level that is much lower than the level of the tank outflow is a clear indicator of the presence of a fracture. A tank that has flaws that enable sewage to escape into the surrounding soil is effectively a cesspool and should be removed as soon as possible
- If the water comes from the tank, it indicates that the septic system is overburdened and has to be repaired. Sometimes, inspectors will use a dye that is flushed down the toilet to confirm that the water is coming from the residence and not from somewhere else. Despite the fact that this metric might be beneficial, it is not an accepted means of testing the operation of a septic system. A malfunctioning septic system will be confirmed if dye from the flushed dye shows in the puddle
- However, a working septic system is not guaranteed if dye does not appear. It may take many days for the dye to develop, and it may be too diluted to see properly
- It is outside the scope of a standard house inspection to evaluate a septic system, and this needs specialized skills. Laws differ from one jurisdiction to the next, and inspectors should be well-versed in them before providing this job. They should disclaim all responsibility for any component of the septic system examination that they did not do
Septic systems are meant to manage hazardous waste, and they may pose major health risks to both residents and inspectors if they are not properly maintained. Precautions include the following, in no particular order:
- Solid waste should be removed from septic tanks by a professional septic tank pumping service, not by an inspector. No one else should be allowed to enter a tank unless they are a licensed and properly equipped professional. Noxious gasses such as methane can induce asphyxiation and death in a matter of minutes. When a septic tank begins to exhibit indications of fragility, proceed with extreme caution! Collapse has the potential to be deadly. Keep an eye out for tanks with rusted metal, improvised lids, or anything else that seems to be in unsafe condition.
In conclusion, septic system inspections should be conducted on a yearly basis to verify that the system is operating properly. The septic tank is the most expensive household fixture, and it will have a much shorter lifespan if it is not properly cared for and maintained.
Septic Inspections FAQs
As a result, it is recommended that you monitor your septic system once a year to verify that it is operating properly. The septic tank is the most expensive household fixture, and if it is not maintained properly, its lifespan will be drastically reduced.
Holmes Inspection Company – Kansas City Home Inspector: Septic System Testing
|Serving the Kansas City Metro Area MissouriKansas816 455-8787||(Average fee: $95 – $400) A conventional onsite wastewater system, which is also known as a “septicsystem” is an individual wastewater treatment system that uses the soil totreat small waste water flows. They are typically found in a rural area orin residential neighborhoods with large acreage lots (usually 3 acres ormore) or other areas where public sewers are not available. All septicsystems are individually designed for the specific site, but most are basedon the same principles.A conventional septic system is made up of a septic tank (with baffles andpossibly an effluent filter), a distribution box, a soil absorption field(also called the drain field), and various connecting pipes and distributionconnections. The septic tank allows the heavy solids and the lighter scummaterials in the wastewater to separate from the liquids. The function ofthe tank is to hold the solid waste material and prevent it from reachingthe soil absorption field. The solids in the tank are partially decomposedby bacteria and the rest is later removed by “pumping” the septic tank.Treatment of the wastewater occurs in both the septic tank and theabsorption field.Signs of Septic System Failure:|
- The drains in the house are slow to empty or may not discharge at all. Is sewage backing up into the house through the drain pipes
- And Is there any standing water or rotting vegetation in the yard or foliage? Are there any drains in the yard or a “dry well” for the dishwasher or laundry? It is necessary to determine if septic tank effluent is routed to a road ditch, a storm sewer, a stream, or is linked to a farm drain tile.
If you responded yes to any of the questions above, you most likely have a septic system problem. Like many states, it is illegal to discharge domestic wastewater anywhere other than into an approved community sewer or an onsite wastewater system that is properly designed, located, and installed in accordance with the state sanitary code, the city or county building codes and standards, as well as the Federal Clean Water Act. The Most Common Causes of Septic System Issues
- A septic system problem is indicated if you responded yes to any of the above questions. Like many states, it is illegal to discharge domestic wastewater anywhere other than into an approved community sewer or an onsite wastewater system that is properly designed, located, and installed in accordance with the state sanitary code, the city or county building codes and standards, and the Federal Clean Water Act (as amended in 2010). Septic System Problems Have a Variety of Causes
Visual examination and destructive inspection are the two procedures that are utilized to conduct a septic inspection:
- The use of a visual septic dye test in conjunction with “pushing” the sewage system is recommended. This test comprises the operation of three plumbing fixtures at the same time for 30 to 45 minutes to determine whether there are any slow-draining fixtures, backups, or surface breakouts. Besides that, it entails flushing colored dye into the waste pipes in order to detect leakage. This form of test is acceptable to the vast majority of lenders and is the most economical option available. It costs $75 if the inspection is done simultaneously with the home inspection. The destructive septic inspection includes excavation of the tank, opening access ports to look into the tank, opening the distribution box and using a rod to measure the levels of solid wastes and scum in the tank
- In some cases, pumping the tank is required if there are no visible baffles or filter. This sort of test is frowned upon by many vendors, and unless the buyer agrees to pay for the test, it is rarely performed. The cost of this examination is around $400-$450.
All About the Percolation Test Required for a New Septic Tank
Septic systems enable you to construct a house or business on even the most distant of lands that are not already served by a sewer system. A septic tank’s suitability for a particular property, on the other hand, requires more than simply the owner’s willingness to spend the money to install one. Prior to granting approval for a permit for the installation of the system, your county will need that you do a percolation test, which is also known as a perc test. Learn everything you can about this test before it is conducted so that you are well prepared for the procedure.
- A percolation test determines how well the earth drains in a specific area of a building’s foundation.
- It may be necessary to conduct a number of percolation tests before determining the best site for a septic tank.
- What is the procedure for testing percolation?
- It is necessary to dig a hole of specific depth and fill it with water before measuring how long it takes for the water to completely drain into the surrounding soil in each test.
- The soil’s water absorption rate will not be reliably measured if the holes are too small.
- Contractors often dig at least two pits at opposing ends of the intended drainage system to ensure that the entire region drains at an appropriate rate during the project.
- The majority of percolation tests are performed prior to the construction of a new septic tank.
In certain situations, relocating a system necessitates the performance of a percolation test as well, as the new location may have different soil drainage characteristics.
If you want to save money and learn more about your property’s drainage system before paying for any expert maintenance, you may dig your own percolation test pit.
If you decide to dig your own pit, make sure to slope all of the sides to both prevent the surrounding earth from collapsing and to allow you to escape if you do fall into the pit.
It is safer to slope all four sides of the task while doing it by hand with a shovel rather than using a machine.
If you fail a percolation test, you will be unable to construct a typical septic tank in the region where the test was conducted.
We at Walters Environmental Services invite you to schedule a professional percolation test with us now to determine whether your site is suitable for the installation of a septic system.
The Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Dye Testing
BlakeDavidTaylor / iStock / IStock.com As they age, septic tanks can experience damage that is not immediately visible, but which can nonetheless result in problems such as sewage backups or poisoning of drinking water supplies. Using a septic dye test, it is simple to identify serious issues without the need for more invasive inspection procedures. Although frequent, a dye test is far from comprehensive; thus, before scheduling one, make sure you understand the limits of this test.
What a Septic Dye Test Can Tell You
GOCMENA image courtesy of IStock.com The septic dye test is one of the most straightforward techniques of identifying problems with the septic system. In addition to checking for septic effluent (liquid sewage) leaks caused by damaged pipes or improper installation, it can also be used to ensure that a new domestic appliance or drain is properly connected to the septic tank system. The inspector who does the test merely has to inject dye into the septic system and then wait to see if the dye rises to the surface to reveal itself.
- The test is often offered as an add-on service by licensed home inspectors, but in some areas, you may be required to use the services of a professional septic inspector.
- In order to avoid failures caused by poor installation, even brand new septic systems should be thoroughly examined.
- In most cases, dye test failures are caused by leaks or clogs, and when they do occur, the system is already exhibiting signs of leaks or clogging, such as backups in the toilet and drains, sewage odors, and standing water around the tank and drain field.
- Any coloured effluent on the soil surface can be obscured by recent rain or snow, a covering of leaves, and tall grass, to the point where neither you nor the inspector detect it at all.
- Generally speaking, septic systems need to be pumped and inspected every three to five years, and this is frequently done at the same time.
- This should include a list of any issues that were discovered and any repairs that were completed.
- A septic dye test should be sufficient to satisfy your home loan lender, but if you want to know the true condition of your system, you’ll need to have a full septic tank inspection performed.
If you’re serious about purchasing the house, you should inquire with the seller about their willingness to have the system pumped and inspected at a cost that you and the seller can agree on.
The Septic Dye Test Process
courtesy of IStock.com / AlekZotoff A septic dye test is performed by introducing dye to the septic system, which is commonly green or red in color, flushing the system with water, and then waiting to see if the dye emerges anywhere above ground in the system. Any leaking effluent is visible and traceable because to the dye used. It is possible that the dye will appear in your yard, the drain field, or a nearby river if there is a problem with the system. The house inspector begins by establishing the capacity of the septic tank, after which he or she calculates the amount of dye necessary to color the specified volume of water.
- They can use this information to calculate how long they should let the water flow in order to fill the septic tank.
- Alternatively, the inspector will use a dye tablet and run the faucet.
- Afterwards, they’ll let the water flow for around 10 to 15 minutes to force the dye through the septic system and into the drain field.
- An obstruction in the system, such as a damaged pipe, inlet, outlet, or other component, may allow the colored effluent to escape and travel to the soil surface at the location of the obstruction.
- Again, though, just because damage occurs does not imply that the dye will reveal the presence of damage.
- In rare instances, it has been observed in surrounding waters as much as five days after the initial sighting.
- Some inspectors choose to return a few days later to double-check their findings.
- If you’re thinking about buying the house, a failed dye test might jeopardize your ability to obtain a loan unless you have a strategy for replacing the dye used in the test.
- A septic dye test alone will not be sufficient proof that a septic system is in functioning order, but it will show you if any severe difficulties are present and may assist you in obtaining a house loan.
In the event that you’re considering having a system dye tested, consult with a house or septic system inspector who has received specialized training in both performing and interpreting the test.
Septic Tanks: Frequently Asked Questions
No. In reality, certain chemicals or therapies may cause more harm than benefit to your system, and may even speed the demise of your system. Some jurisdictions have outright prohibited their usage.
- The use of additives does not obviate the necessity for regular pumping and maintenance of your septic tank, despite claims made in advertising. A number of products may simply push solids and grease from your tank into the drainfield, where they can cause the most damage by clogging up the air spaces between gravel and soil particles, slowing and eventually stopping the cleansing of wastewater
- Others may simply push solids and grease from your tank into the drainfield. In order to reestablish the bacterial equilibrium of a septic tank, no biological additions are required because bacteria already exist in human excrement. Contrary to popular belief, you should never put yeast, dead animals, or raw flesh to your aquarium. Use caution when adding chemical additions, such as caustic hydroxides and sulfuric acid, as they can kill beneficial microorganisms in the tank and affect its capacity to absorb or treat liquids
- They can also contaminate groundwater.
Will DHEC use a percolation or ‘perc’ test to determine if my property will work for a septic tank?
No, we haven’t utilized these tests since the late 1970s since they aren’t particularly accurate when it comes to evaluating septic system installation locations. Perc tests are used to determine how quickly water will drain out of a hole once it has been poured in. An area that passes the perc test during the dry season but fails the perc test during a wet stretch, when the water table is closer to the ground surface, is known as a saturated zone. Some locations in South Carolina have passed perc testing in the past, but have ended up having septic systems that are unable to function effectively during wet seasons.
Will DHEC inspect my septic tank upon request?
No, you’ll need to engage a qualified septic system professional to examine your system before you can proceed. The majority of your queries will be answered by our knowledgeable staff, who may also be able to provide some useful technical assistance.
Am I legally required to have my septic system inspected regularly?
If you want to examine your septic system, you will need to engage a qualified septic system professional. The majority of your queries will be answered by our knowledgeable team, who may also be able to provide some valuable technical assistance.
What kinds of inspection requirements may be found in local ordinances?
No, you’ll need to hire a registered septic system professional to examine your system before you can start using it. The majority of your queries will be answered by our knowledgeable staff, who may also be able to provide some useful technical assistance.
Why should I spend the money to have my system inspected regularly if not required by law?
No, you’ll need to engage a qualified septic system professional to examine your system. However, our knowledgeable staff can answer many of your concerns and may even be able to provide some useful technical advise.
What is an alternative septic system, and are they legal in South Carolina?
Alternative systems make advantage of more recent technologies. Some people choose to treat wastewater with sand, peat, or plastic instead of soil. Others make use of wetlands, lagoons, aerators, or disinfection systems to combat the problem. A variety of electrical and mechanical components such as float switches, pumps, and other similar devices are frequently employed in alternative systems. Alternative systems need more regular and meticulous maintenance, but they can occasionally be used to establish a septic tank on land that does not have soils suited for typical septic systems or when the subterranean water level is too high for a traditional system to function properly.
Will a high-efficiency toilet help my septic system work better?
Toilets account for anywhere between one-fourth and one-third of total home water use. The majority of typical toilets in older homes consume 3.5 to 5 gallons of water every flush on average. Toilets that are modern and high efficiency consume 1.6 gallons or less of water every flush. The installation of a high efficiency toilet might alleviate your concerns about your septic system being swamped by domestic water.
Placing a block in the toilet tank of an older toilet can also help to reduce the amount of water used for every flush. Find out how to save money by minimizing the quantity of water you use in and around your house with our money saving suggestions.
Septic Tank Alerts Septic Tank Alerts
Septic Dye Test
Testing with septic dye is a non-invasive process that is used to assess the overall status of the components of a home’s waste disposal system. A septic dye test can reveal evident breaches and limitations in the system, as well as the need for repairs or system modifications, if performed properly. In this procedure, a fluorescent dye is introduced into the septic system, which is then “traced” to ensure that the septic system is capable of handling the volume of waste that is currently being processed through it.
Wastewater from underground pipes, connections, and septic tanks can rise to the surface and seep into the drain field if it is not treated properly.
Pathogens and other potentially harmful substances are carried by the sewage.
Sewage leakage can also pollute water sources, making them unfit for drinking, swimming, bathing, or general household use.
Septic Dye Test is a critical part of maintenance inspection
A septic dye test is considered to be a normal maintenance check of the septic system and is performed as part of this inspection. No excavation is required, and the operations are often confined to what can be seen above the ground surface, making them non-invasive. It is meant to be a visual inspection of the various components of a typical waste-handling system, including the septic tank, distribution boxes, leach field, and any connected aspects of the home’s plumbing and water-supply fixtures.
septic dye test can detect unhealthy sewage leaks
- Drainage systems, toilets, sinks, and other plumbing are backing up into the house. Tubs, showers and sinks drain at a snail’s pace
- The Plumbing System Is Making Gurgling Sounds
- The presence of standing water or damp areas around the septic tank or drainfield. Bad odors emanating from the vicinity of the septic tank or drainfield
- Even in the midst of a drought, the septic tank or drainfield should be covered with lush, bright green grass. Algal Blooms in the vicinity of ponds or lakes Exceptionally high concentrations of nitrates or Coliform Bacteria in water wells
septic dye test uses a fluorescent dye solution
The septic dye test makes use of a fluorescent dye solution to visually assess whether there is an issue with the septic tank. During the testing process, the dye is flushed down a toilet that is (supposedly) linked to the septic system under investigation. The amount of dye that must be applied is dependent by the size of the septic tank that is being utilized. Tank sizes range from 500 gallons to several thousand gallons, and a bigger septic tank will, of course, need the use of more dye than a smaller tank.
The dye is flushed into the septic tank and subsequently into the absorption (leach) field by running water into the system through a faucet (which is presumably also linked to the septic system).
The goal is to completely flood the absorption region with water that contains the dye solution to achieve maximum absorption.
During the inspection, the home inspector will use a formula to establish how much water needs to be pumped through the system, taking into consideration the size of the tank and the length of the absorption field.
PA Department of Environmental Protection
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), it is highly necessary that septic systems are maintained and inspected in order to preserve the public health and the environment in the state of Pennsylvania. It is possible for groundwater sources to become contaminated with E. coli and other contaminants due to the lack of or faulty maintenance of an on-lot septic system. The fact that many of the houses who rely on septic systems also have private wells that provide clean drinking water makes this a critical point to make.