What Is Used For Dye In Septic Tank?

Various liquid and powder dyes are available; the most widely used dye is powdered Flourescein. Some dyes may be toxic so only use dyes that have NSF certification (NSF.org). The septic tank or distribution box is the best place to introduce the dye into the system.

  • Two common dyes used for tracking in septic disposal systems are chemically name Uranine and Rhodamine B. Let’s take a closer look at these two dyes. Uranine dye (fluorosine #4) is the most common dye used today.

How long does septic dye last?

While you should get 20 to 30 years out of your system if you care for it well, a design flaw, neglect, or misuse could…

What is the best chemical to put in a septic tank?

Rid-X Septic Tank Treatment Enzymes Rid-X helps to prevent septic backups by continuously breaking down household waste — the natural bacteria and advanced enzymes start working immediately to attack paper, protein, oils, and grease. One pouch of is a one-month dose for septic tanks between 700 and 1,500 gallons.

What is a septic tank dye test?

A dye test is a way of inspecting your sewage system. A small amount of fluorescent (Fluorescein) dye is flushed down the toilet or put into your septic tank or distribution box. Over the next several days, the ditch, catch basin or surface of the ground will be inspected for evidence of dye.

What chemicals are used in septic tanks?

There are several types of septic tank treatments, including inorganic acids or alkalis, hydrogen peroxide, organic solvents, and biological additives.

How much water is used in a septic dye test?

Volume of Liquid Septic Dye to Use: 1.6 oz (liquid) per 1,000 gallons of septic tank volume.

How is a dye test performed?

Dye testing involves placing a non-staining water soluble dye tablet in the drain or downspout of your property and flushing it with water. The area is then examined for the appearance of traces of dyed water. PWSA will determine whether or not the property is located in a combined sewer area or a sanitary sewer area.

Is baking soda good for septic tanks?

Will baking soda hurt a septic system? Baking soda and other common household solutions such as vinegar are not harmful to your septic system. Harsh chemicals such as bleach and ammonia can disrupt the good bacteria in your septic tank and should not be used as part of a septic treatment.

Do septic tanks need additives?

Septic tanks are designed to take care of waste disposal on their own — no additives needed. With regular septic tank pumping and inspections, a septic system should last decades. A septic system is used primarily in rural areas without access to city sewer systems.

How do I increase bacteria in my septic tank?

What Can You Do to Promote Septic Tank Bacteria Growth? Bacteria will grow naturally in your septic tank. You promote growth of bacteria by flushing more solid waste down into the tank all the time.

How long does it take to get dye test results?

If a dye test is needed, the timeline is dependent upon multiple factors. PWSA will reply to the Dye Testing Results Form within 10 business days of receipt as well. In other words, this time period will be longer if the property requires a dye test or corrective actions.

How do you test a septic drain field?

In order to test the overall health and liquid capacity for your leach field, it is necessary to perform a hydraulic load test. This is done by running water at a certain rate over an allotted period of time. A failure occurs when water back-drains to the source before that allotted time period is up.

How do you do a flow test on a septic system?

Perform a Dye Test Pour the dye into one or more of the sinks, bathtubs or toilets. Run the water immediately after pouring the dye. Run water from one or several faucets to achieve the desired flow rate of between 3 GPM and 5 GPM. Run the water until you’ve reached the needed water volume for the test.

What is the best bacteria to put in septic tank?

Much like your stomach, septic tanks need good bacteria and enzymes to break down the solids that pass through it. These beneficial bacteria and enzymes can come from several sources, but our favorite is actually rotten tomatoes. These naturally occurring enzymes are proteins called Pectinase or Pectinolytic enzymes.

What are the signs that your septic tank is full?

Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:

  • Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
  • Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
  • Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
  • You Hear Gurgling Water.
  • You Have A Sewage Backup.
  • How often should you empty your septic tank?

How do I keep my septic tank healthy?

Do’s and Don’ts when maintaining your septic system

  1. Regularly inspect and maintain your septic system.
  2. Pump your septic tank as needed.
  3. Keep your septic tank lids closed and secured.
  4. Be water-wise.
  5. Direct water from land and roof drains away from the drainfield.
  6. Landscape with love.
  7. Keep septic tank lids easily accessible.

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 indicators of leaks or clogging, such as backups in the toilet and drains, sewage aromas, 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 note of any concerns 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 real state of your system, you’ll need to have a thorough septic tank inspection performed.

If you’re serious about purchasing the property, you should inquire with the seller about their willingness to have the system pumped and inspected at a fee 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.

  1. They can use this information to calculate how long they should let the water flow in order to fill the septic tank.
  2. Alternatively, the inspector will use a dye tablet and run the faucet.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Again, though, just because damage occurs does not imply that the dye will reveal the presence of damage.
  6. In rare instances, it has been observed in surrounding waters as much as five days after the initial sighting.
  7. Some inspectors choose to return a few days later to double-check their findings.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 Dye Test Procedure step by step guidelines

  • POSTING a QUESTION or COMMENT concerning the procedures to be followed while testing a septic system is encouraged.

InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Step-by-step instructions on how to conduct a septic loadingdye test. Before, during, and after the test; how much septic dye should be used; how to report septic test findings; and dangers and cautions associated with the test The following are the steps in a septic loading dye test: With the introduction of this article, the Septic Loading and Dye Test process for assessing the function of septic systems, with particular emphasis on the state of the effluent disposal section, also known as a leach field, seepage pits (or drainage field), is described.

For this topic, we also have anARTICLE INDEX available, or you may check the top or bottom of the page.

HOW TO PERFORM a SEPTIC DYE TEST – How to Properly Conduct a Septic Loading and Dye Test

Lenders frequently require septic system loading and dye tests, which entail running a particular dye down a toilet or other drain in conjunction with a specified amount of water sufficient to put a functioning load on the absorption system. It is possible to identify dye in waste water if waste water seeps to the ground surface (a sanitary situation indicative of significant septic failure), assuming that the septic system is operating at normal rates. On a failed system, dyed effluent normally emerges within 20-30 minutes, but it might take up to five days for it to manifest.

Dye tests may still be done on a property even if no wet patches are discovered (or if wet areas are manufactured by running water into the septic system) during an inspection to fulfill the criteria of some lenders.

Consequently, a dye test is not indicative of the overall status of the system on its own.

Why do We use Septic Dye during a Septic System Test?

Flushing a particular fluorescent dye down a toilet or other drain is the method used for septic dye testing. Nothing happens as a result of the dye being applied. The test water is stained with septic dye: Septic dye is just a colored indication that may be used to distinguish water found outside from water that has come from the fixture where the dye was injected. In the absence of any tracer dye, we may nevertheless carry out a septic system loading test on the same system. Nevertheless, if the test results in the release of sewage effluent from any location on or near the test site, the inspector may be vulnerable to an argument that the liquid visible outside the test site did not originate from the tested property’s septic system.

  • The presence of a pre-existing wet area might suggest the presence of an ongoing septic system failure, or it could signal the presence of other concerns such as uncontrolled surface runoff or local ground water.
  • Take caution, since someone attempting to deceive the septic inspector may have added bleach to the water supply or even straight into the toilet or septic tank prior to the inspection beginning to deceive the inspector.
  • Some strategies for detecting this type of error (or, on rare occasions, purposeful dishonesty) are detailed in detail at CHEATING ON WATER TESTS (in English).
  • Assuming that the septic system is operating at normal rates, dye may be seen in the waste water if it is rising to the surface (an unclean state indicative of seriousseptic failure).
  • It is impossible to identify every septic failure with a septic loading and dye test, but this procedure uncovers many problems that would otherwise go unreported by a homebuyer until shortly after moving in.

Pumping the septic tank and performing septic loading and dye tests are complementary to and should be performed prior to any other inspection processes that are performed.

Septic System Testing Articles

  • It is necessary to flush down a toilet or other drain in order to conduct septic dye testing. Nothing happens as a result of the dye itself. The test water is stained with septic dye: Septic dye is just a colored indication that may be used to distinguish water found outside from water that has come from the fixture where the dye was injected. Septic dye is not toxic. We could still do a septic system loading test even if we did not employ a tracer dye. Nevertheless, if the test results in the release of sewage effluent from any location on or near the test site, the inspector may be vulnerable to an argument that the liquid observed outside did not originate from the tested property’s septic system. The use of a thorough pre-test inspection can help to avoid the majority of these issues by taking note of the pre-test circumstances, which should include any existing damp or smelly regions as well as the absence of such places. The presence of a pre-existing wet area might suggest the presence of an ongoing septic system failure, or it could signal the presence of other issues such as uncontrolled surface runoff or local ground water. Septic dye can frequently (but not always) assist in distinguishing between the two groups of bacteria. Take caution, since someone attempting to deceive the septic inspector may have added bleach to the water supply or even straight into the toilet or septic tank prior to the inspection beginning to deceive him or her. Even if the septic test results in an effluent breakout, bleach and other site circumstances may be able to “conceal” the dye from view. CHEATING ON WATER TESTS describes several strategies for detecting this type of error (or, on rare occasions, purposeful dishonesty). The real “test” is based on the amount of water that is injected into the system. Assuming that the septic system is operating at normal rates, dye may be seen in the waste water if it is rising to the surface (an unclean state indicative of major failure). Whenever suspect wet areas are observed, if the system has no documented history of maintenance, if the area is known to have problem soils, or if other historic or site conditions raise concerns about how well the system is performing, we recommend that the system be subjected to an inspection using dye. It is impossible to detect every septic failure with a septic loading and dye test, but this procedure detects many problems that would otherwise go undiscovered by a homebuyer until shortly after moving in. Pumping the septic tank and performing septic loading and dye tests are complementary to and should be performed prior to any other inspection processes that are completed.
  • PRE-TEST CHECKS FOR SEPTIC SYSTEMS
  • OUTSIDE SEPTIC PRE-TEST INSPECTION
  • PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF SEPTIC DISRUPTIVE FAILURE
  • LOOK FOR SEPTIC COMPONENTS
  • DIFFICULT SEPTIC SITES
  • RECENTS SEPTIC WORK
  • PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF SEPTIC DISRUPTIVE FAILURE
  • LOOK FOR SEPTIC COMPONENTS
  • DIFFICULT SEPTIC SITES
  • RECENTS SEPTIC WORK
  • STAY AWAY FROM SEPTIC DYE POWDER CATASTROPHY
  • KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR INSIDE
  • SEPTIC DRAINFIELD INSPECTIONTEST
  • SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
  • SEPTIC FAILURE SPOTS
  • SPOTTING SEPTIC DYE BREAKOUTS
  • SEPTIC DRAINFIELD INSPECTIONTEST
  • TEST VOLUMES AND DYE AMOUNTS
  • SEPTIC DYE TEST REPORT
  • SEPTIC DYE TEST WARNINGS
  • SEPTIC TEST OVERALL REPORT
  • SEPTIC TEST FINAL OVERVIEW
  • SEPTIC SYSTEM BASICS
  • SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION CLASS
  • SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTIONTEST GUIDE-HOME
See also:  How Often Should A Septic Tank Be Pumped For Family Of 2? (Best solution)

Follow the instructions in theINSIDE SEPTIC DYE TEST STEPS section of this page, or choose a topic from the closely related topics listed below, or view the completeARTICLE INDEX.

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INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES:ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS

SEPTIC DYE TESTatInspect – STEP BY STEP An online encyclopedia of building and environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, and issue avoidance guidance is available at pedia.com/building. Alternatively, take a look at the following:

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Questions, answers, or comments on the procedures to be followed while testing a septic system are welcome. We encourage you to use the search box just below, or if you prefer, you may make a question or remark in theCommentsbox below and we will get back to you as soon as possible. InspectApedia is a website that allows you to search for things. Please keep in mind that the publication of your remark below may be delayed if it contains an image, a web link, or text that seems to the program to be a web link.

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Septic Loading & Dye Test Procedure Complete Details

  • Send us your question or comment on septic testing techniques, such as how to execute a loading and dye test on the septic system. We will respond as soon as possible.

InspectAPedia does not allow any form of conflict of interest. The sponsors, goods, and services described on this website are not affiliated with us in any way. Procedures for septic dye testing are outlined below: In this article, we will show you how to do a loading dye test on your septic system. This septic testing technique is utilized by the majority of home inspectors and septic test experts. Step-by-step instructions on how to conduct a septic loadingdye test. This article series gives a step-by-step approach that explains how to check and test a septic system in further depth.

For this topic, we also have anARTICLE INDEX available, or you may check the top or bottom of the page.

HOW TO PERFORM a SEPTIC DYE TEST – How to Properly Conduct a Septic Loading and Dye Test

In order to perform Septic System Loading and Dye Tests, which are frequently required by lenders, the dye must be flushed down a toilet or other drain along with a known amount of water sufficient to place a functioning load on the absorption system. It is possible to identify dye in waste water if waste water seeps to the ground surface (a sanitary situation indicative of significant septic failure), assuming that the septic system is operating at normal rates. On a failed system, dyed effluent normally emerges within 20-30 minutes, but it might take up to five days for it to manifest.

  1. Dye tests may still be done on a property even if no wet patches are discovered (or if wet areas are manufactured by running water into the septic system) during an inspection to fulfill the criteria of some lenders.
  2. Consequently, a dye test is not indicative of the overall status of the system on its own.
  3. Keep an eye out for: The dangers and safety issues covered at this meeting must be understood by anybody assessing septic systems.
  4. Nothing happens as a result of the dye being applied.
  5. The real “test” is based on the amount of water that is injected into the system during the process.

Whenever suspect wet areas are observed, if the system has no documented history of maintenance, if the area is known to have problem soils, or if other historic or site conditions raise concerns about how well the system is functioning, we recommend that the system be subjected to an inspection using dye.

Pumping the septic tank and performing septic loading and dye tests are complementary to and should be performed prior to any other inspection processes that are performed.

WHEN TO PUMP THE SEPTIC TANK – After, not Before Septic Tests are Performed

When following up on a loading and dye test (which primarily evaluates the absorption system, leach field, or drain field), we recommend that this extra step be carried out, unless the septic tank has been drained within the last several months. If you are purchasing a home that has a septic tank and absorption system, you should have the tank opened, cleaned, and inspected by a professional septic contractor before completing the purchase. This will provide you with limited but important additional information about the condition of the system tank as well as the condition of the leach field.

During the tank’s pumping process, inquire of the pumping contractor about the size, kind, and condition of the tank and its components, as well as whether he or she observed any signs that the system requires repair or that the tank or leach system is nearing the end of its useful life.

There are further information concerning the topic of septic tank pumpouts being used to conceal a septic problem or failure at the following link: WHEN NOT TO PUMP A SEPTIC TANK: Home purchasers should be aware of the risks associated with septic tank pumping.

Where to Buy Septic Test Dye

For septic drainfield breakout effluent indicator, where can I obtain septic dye? (The first two links below will take you directly to the manufacturer’s website where you can purchase septic dye):

  • A septic dye test dye powder made by Pylam Pyla-Tel Fluorescent Green Septic Dye Test Dye Powder, manufactured by Pylam Products Company, Inc., 2175 East Cedar Street Tempe, Arizona 85281-7431 (Pylam Products Company). Toll-free number: 480-929-0070 or 800-645-6096 Fax number: 480-929-0078 Emails:[email protected] Website:
  • Pylam Pyla-Tel Fluorescent red septic dye test dye powder
  • Pylam Pyla-Tel Fluorescent red septic dye test dye powder
  • Depending on where you live, septic dye test powder may be packaged and resold by local plumbing or chemical providers. Consider the following example: we purchased repackaged septic coloring powder from Duso Chemical in Poughkeepsie, New York. Trace A Leak dye pills – take careful not to use too much so that the septic test is legitimate – read instructions. AMOUNTS OF SEPTIC TEST VOLUMES AND DYE
  • Trace A Leak liquid septic dye (fluorescent yellow.green) – Tool Experts –
  • Septic, Cesspool Yellow Fluorescent tracer dye (powder) – home inspection supplier
  • Trace A Leak liquid septic dye (fluorescent yellow.green) – Tool Experts –
  • Trace A Leak liquid septic dye ( Safety Data Sheet for a Substance Tramfloc, Inc. source of septic system testing tracer dyes, Website:
  • Bright Dyes Inc. source of septic system testing tracer dyes, Website:
  • Pollard Water source of septic system testing tracer dyes, Website:
  • Tramfloc, Inc. source of septic system testing tracer dyes, Website:
  • Septic Dye Technical Data Bulletin from Tramfloc
  • Septic Dy Safety data sheets for septic coloring powder and tablet products are available on request
  • Also read the REFERENCES section at the bottom of this page for information on test pit preparation and other septic testing publications.

Reader Q A – also see the FAQs series linked-to below

Deb, thank you for posing such a good question. The term “legal” does not apply in this case because there is no legislation governing the specifics of a septic dye test. A septic tank must be fully loaded – at operational level – before a septic loading and dye test can be performed on it. This implies that the liquid level must be up to the bottom of the tank’s outflow line when the test is performed. Furthermore, if the system has been in regular operation for a week or two after reaching the “tank full” milestone, it would be a more realistic testing scenario.

See also:  How Can I Find My Trailers Septic Tank? (Question)

While there is no universally applicable time frame such as “5 days,” the amount of wastewater that enters the septic system on a daily basis is a function of the number of people who live in the house and their water-consumption patterns.

Septic tank loading and dye testing should be performed by a trained professional who knows how to safely access the tank (doing so incorrectly can be fatal).

Check to see whether the house has been occupied and in normal usage for a week or two since the tank was at its lowest level, or 3) would, at the very least, validate that the tank is full, execute the loading and dye test, and offer a suitable warning regarding the limits of the test in determining the status of the drainfield What is the minimum amount of time that you must wait before having a dye test performed in order to be legally permitted to have your septic tank drained out?

  1. Ella Thank you for posing such a thought-provoking subject.
  2. However, this was not the case a month later.
  3. In this case, it’s a confirmation test to ensure that the fluorescent septic dye in question is actually what’s being discovered.
  4. Are results not showing up in the predicted time frame, but something green (or greenish) was found in the water over a month later normal, and is it conceivable that there is a problem with the test findings?
  5. In most areas, such a system would be unlawful, and in any case, it would be poisoning the stream and the surrounding ecosystem.
  6. It’s possible to put dye into the sewage system and wait for it to show up in the creek – this article series provides a list of companies who sell septic dye goods.
  7. See alsoREPAIR OF FLOORED SEPTIC SYSTEMS.

I live near a stream, and I believe that my septic tank is leaking into the creek.

I’m not sure if it’s a septic system or if it’s intended to discharge into the stream, but I’m not sure either.

The level of my tank rises in tandem with the level of the stream.

Tank capacity is 500 gallons.

[email protected] is the email address I use.

In order to conduct a front load test, it is necessary to determine how much of the earth surrounding the site or on top of the septic system will be disturbed in addition to the dye.

I’m not sure why it came up as Anonymous, but it’s [email protected], and I’m not sure what happened.

March 3 is the date on which we will take ownership of the house.

That is an excellent question.

It appears to me to be a disclaimer designed to convey the message that you should not hold the inspector responsible if the septic system is found to be inoperable.

The dye test, on the other hand, is not intended to do this.

I believe it is reasonable to expect the inspector to be more explicit given that you have paid for this examination.

Inspecting officers used a blue dye to test for septic tanks during the examination.

What exactly does that mean? Continue reading atSEPTIC TEST PRIOR TO TESTING. Select a topic from the closely-related articles listed below, or browse the entireARTICLE INDEX for more information. Alternatively, consider the following:

Recommended Articles

  • SEPTIC LOADINGDYE TEST PROCEDURE-HOME
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  • PLUMBING LEAK DETECTIONSHUTOFFDEVICES
  • SEPTIC LOADINGDYE TEST PROCEDURE-HOME
  • INSPECTION OF THE SEPTIC SYSTEM TESTING LAWS AND PROCEDURES
  • PRE-TESTING SEPTIC CHECKS
  • OUTDOOR SEPTIC PRE-TESTING INSPECTION
  • PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF SEPTIC DISRUPTIVE FAILURE
  • LOOK FOR SEPTIC COMPONENTS
  • DIFFICULT SEPTIC SITES
  • RECENTS SEPTIC WORK
  • A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO THE INSIDE SEPTIC DYE TEST
  • INSIDE SEPTIC DYE TEST STEPS
  • STAY AWAY FROM SEPTIC DYE POWDER CATASTROPHY
  • KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR INSIDE
  • SEPTIC DRAINFIELD INSPECTIONTEST
  • SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
  • SEPTIC FAILURE SPOTS
  • SPOTTING SEPTIC DYE BREAKOUTS
  • SEPTIC DRAINFIELD INSPECTIONTEST
  • TEST VOLUMES AND DYE AMOUNTS
  • SEPTIC DYE TEST REPORT
  • SEPTIC DYE TEST WARNINGS
  • SEPTIC TEST OVERALL REPORT
  • SEPTIC TEST FINAL OVERVIEW

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Dye Testing for Septic Systems

Clover County Public Health employs non-toxic, liquid powder tracking dye to locate where wastewater from a residence is being discharged into the environment. It is a strong fluorescent green color when the dye is released to a stream, ditch, or surface of the earth after traveling through the system. Aside from confirming whether or not domestic appliances and laundry facilities are linked to the system, dye testing may also determine whether or not two residences are connected to a single system.

  • Dye testing is also used to prove that a system is not failing.
  • The procedure for conducting a dye test is determined by the type of information that the staff is attempting to collect.
  • Without risers on the tank, our team will require entry to the residence and, once inside, will flush the dye down a toilet or into another conveniently accessible drain once the color has been removed.
  • Once the dye has been placed into the system or drain, it is necessary to run the water for 10 to 15 minutes in order to force the dye through the system and down the drain.

It is possible that the dye will appear relatively quickly in some circumstances, such as a tank with a straight pipe. In other cases, the inspector will have to return the next day to check for traces of dye at the probable discharge site.

About Septic Dye Testing

Septic Dye Testingis a non-invasive procedure that is sometimes used to determine the condition of the components of a home’s waste system. A septic dye test can expose obvious leaks and inadequacies in the system and indicate the need for repairs or alterations. It involves the introduction of a fluorescent dye into the septic system, which is “traced” to ascertain that the septic system can handle the volume of waste that is currently being put through it. This test is usually performed by a home inspector or a member of a local or state health department.The septic dye test is sometimesREQUIREDas part of a Septic Certification by a lending institution before financing can be obtained from them for a home purchase. This article will provide a brief overview of the septic dye testing procedure, it’s benefits and limitations, and how it may affect your home inspection and home purchasing experience.

Different Types of Septic Inspections

It is regarded to be part of the septic system’s routine maintenance inspection when a dye test is performed on the septic system. The techniques are non-invasive, do not necessitate excavation, and are typically confined to what can be seen above the ground level of the ground surface. There will be an observation of the many components that make up the standard waste-handling system, including the septic tank, distribution boxes, leach field, and any associated aspects of the home’s plumbing and water fixtures.

A septic contractor is responsible for doing a Functional Maintenance Inspection.

It may aid in the identification of system flaws as well as the determination of whether or not the system is operating as it should.

It is entirely up to the buyer to decide which sorts of inspections to order, regardless of whether or not the lender requires them.

How a Typical Septic System Works

Non-typical systems such as seepage pits and cess pools are not covered in this article since they are considered to be outside the scope of this publication. The vast majority of septic systems that were installed in accordance with current code criteria are anaerobic systems. This implies that trash will be broken down in the system without the need for an additional supply of air to be introduced. Waste is transported from the residence to the septic tank by means of a pipe (typically three inches in diameter) “or bigger) in which microorganisms decompose the waste is present.

Solid waste is broken down into a liquid form by bacteria, which floats to the surface of the septic tank and is disposed of there.

Leach lines are lengths of pipe, often constructed of perforated PVC, that are used to transport liquid waste and deposit it into the absorption field after treatment.

It is necessary to excavate to a depth of 18 inches during the installation process “In most cases, the trenches are filled with porous gravel or aggregate, and the leach lines are set on top of this.

The gravel or aggregate aids in the creation of a reservoir for the liquid waste and the prevention of debris and clay from clogging the leach lines. Additionally, some of the liquids are intended to be transported to the ground surface, where evaporation can help to remove some of the moisture.

How a Septic Dye Test is Performed

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.

  1. 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).
  2. The goal is to completely flood the absorption region with water that contains the dye solution to achieve maximum absorption.
  3. It is important to note that the house inspector makes this conclusion based on the facts that he has at hand.
  4. More on this later.
  5. It is possible that dye will come to the surface at other locations, such as the tank inlet and any inlets or outputs to distribution boxes that are linked to the system.
  6. It may, however, take longer for the dye to reach the surface – sometimes as long as three days.

A Septic Certification should never be issued in less than 3 hours following the start of the septic dye test, because anything less would compromise the integrity of the test.If dye is observed on the ground surface, the home inspector or health department should be notified immediately.If dye is not observed on the ground surface, the home inspector or health department should be notified immediately.

Limitations of Septic Dye Testing

Since this type of septic inspection is a VISUAL inspection, it has many limitations. A home inspector or health department official can only report upon what is observed above-ground, which does not always give an accurate evaluation of the health of a septic system. Some home inspectors will not perform a septic dye test due to these limitations, because so many factors can influence the results.One of the biggest factors that could affect the results of a septic dye test comes down to seller disclosure. In order for a septic dye test to give an accurate result, an assumption is made that the septic tank is full, and has not been emptied (pumped out) recently. If the tank has been recently pumped, it may not be full; therefore, the water that is run into the system to move the dyed water is simply filling the septic tank, and not pushing waste through the leach (absorption) field. If the entire septic system is not inundated with the dye solution, the test results are unreliable.Unfortunately, some home sellers do not disclose that the tank was recently pumped, and the integrity of the septic dye test is thereby compromised. Another factor that can affect the results of a septic dye test is the visibility of the ground surface in the area of the absorption field. If the area is overgrown with grass or weeds, any dye that migrates to the ground surface will not be easily observed. This can be a problem in the case of a foreclosed home that has not been maintained, or a home that has been on the market for a long time.In some cases (and not ALWAYS) the dye can discolor vegetation in the absorption field after a few days, since the dye is carried along with the water that the plants utilize in the area. If an area is overgrown with vegetation, it should be mowed before the septic dye test and cleared of debris so that the ground surface is more readily visible, assuring a more accurate test result.

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When a system fails, the indicators are typically visible: seepage develops at the soil surface, sometimes accompanied by a smell of septage, which indicates that the system is deteriorating. An examination performed by a skilled and accredited expert from the Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA) will nearly always reveal current or future problems with the on-lot sewage system. Testing your drinking water for coliform contamination may potentially reveal problems with your water distribution infrastructure.

Provide property occupants with a Materials Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) document from the manufacturer of the dye being used and obtain a signed document stating that the current occupant has read and understands the MSDS and consents to the use of the dye during the inspection process when employing tracer dyes during the inspection process.

Despite the fact that they have been on the market for many years, there is insufficient evidence available on their carcinogenicity, and the directions for use are not precisely defined.

Information on the use and availability of various dyes and tracers in the state of Pennsylvania is provided in this information sheet. Because dye tracing is a complicated method, it is not advised that this fact sheet be used as a “how to” guide for performing it.

Types of Dyes and Tracers

Uranine and Rhodamine B are two commonly used dyes for tracking in sewage disposal systems that have chemical names that are related to one other. Consider the following two dyes in further detail.

Uranine dye(fluorosine4)

Is the most widely used dye in the world today. It has a greenish-yellow color and is not used in any other commercial products. Uranine is a water-soluble compound that becomes unstable when exposed to light, heat, or when subjected to bacterial contamination, powerful oxidizing or reducing agents, among other things. Because its retention in soil is similar to the earth’s renovative qualities, this dye is favoured above most other dyes and tracers used for tracking because of its retention in soil.

  1. Water samples should always be obtained prior to the introduction of uranine into a system, in order to ascertain the system’s background uranine levels.
  2. As soon as the background level has been determined, the dye is put into either the septic tank or the toilet system.
  3. Depending on how well the absorption field is operating, Uranine may begin to emerge around the system within minutes of its administration, or it may take several hours, and in some cases days, for it to begin to show.
  4. While it is true that uranine is not detected quickly, this does not rule out the possibility that it is present.

Rhodamine B

Is an alternate dye that is utilized in the tracking of septic systems. Rhodamine was a chemical compound that was widely utilized in the cosmetics business. Its distinctive red tint makes Rhodamine B an excellent choice for coloring lipsticks and rouges. Given its high affinity for clay particles in the soil, it is not as successful at identifying faulty on-lot systems as other methods of verification. Rhodamine B, on the other hand, is frequently utilized when the background levels of uranine are high.

Because it is a recognized carcinogen at certain doses, the Food and Drug Administration has now controlled its usage in the cosmetics sector.

In terms of septic system tracking, the Environmental Protection Agency does not place any restrictions on Rhodamine B’s usage at Label-Specified Levels, according to the agency.

Similarly to Uranine, Rhodamine B is injected into the system and emerges within minutes or hours following the injection of the substance. As a result, it should always be checked in a water sample taken from surface outfalls or taps, as it may or may not be visible.

Handle with Care

Despite the fact that the use of dyes and tracers is not controlled at the amounts mentioned on the label, like with other chemicals, you should always use caution while handling them. Although distributors of these compounds use a variety of trade names, practically all of the dyes on the market include Uranine or Rhodamine, so always observe the label’s recommendations for use and any handling warnings that may be indicated on the package. Several tradename goods, forms, colors, and general directions for dyes from four businesses are included in the table below.

Tracer and Dye Sources

Company Tradename Forms Color
Bonneau Dye Corp. 10815 Briggs Road Cleveland, OH 44111 216-252-7171 800-767-6363 Bonn Trace Liquid, Powder Fluorescent purple, green, bright red, red, yellow
Kings Cotes Chemicals, Inc. 3334 South Tech Blvd. Miamisburg, OH 45342 800-394-0678 Kings Cotes Dye Tracing Products Tablets, Donuts, Cakes, Powder, Cones, Liquid Fluorescent yellow green, violet, orange, and red; high intensity blue
Norlab, Inc P.O. Box 380 Amherst, OH 44001 216-282-5265 Liquid Powder Tracing Dye Liquid Powder Fluorescent yellow green, violet, orange, and red; high intensity blue
Presto Dyechem Co., Inc. 60 N. Front St. Philadelphia, PA 19106 215-627-1863 800-338-2322 Tablets Powders Liquids Fluorescent green and red; brilliant blue

Confirming Cross-Contamination

Despite the fact that dyes and tracers can be used to confirm various forms of septic system failures, the following three things should be taken into consideration;

  • Dyes and tracers are the most effective tools for determining whether or not wells have been contaminated by neighbouring septic systems
  • Using dyes and tracers to track sewage discharge in groundwater and surface water systems is complicated and difficult to anticipate
  • Even though the dye or tracer does not show, this does not rule out the possibility that untreated sewage is polluting surface and groundwater systems.

Septic Dye Test Protocol

These protocols are recommended instructions for performing a dye test on on-site sewage treatment systems in residential premises that have been inhabited for at least 30 days in a row. There is no requirement to follow these recommended processes; sections of this protocol may not be practical owing to site circumstances, visibility/availability of components, economic considerations, and other factors. In the event that any state or municipal rules or regulations pertaining to septic system testing conflict with this procedure, the latter shall take precedence.

A dye test is a non-invasive way of assessing private sewage treatment facilities that is reasonably inexpensive and easy to do.

This test does not give a guarantee as to the current or future performance of the system under consideration.

A septic dye test is particularly well suited for evaluating septic systems for real estate sales purposes because it does not result in damage to the property, as would be the case with excavation, and because it causes the occupants’ use of the home to be disrupted to the greatest extent possible during the test.

The Central New York Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors® Inc.

As a result, we developed a dye test methodology that is both cost-effective and rigorous enough to offer reasonable assurance that improperly treated wastewater is not surfacing.

1.

Any modification to the system that occurred within the past 30 days is considered an acceptable cause to postpone the dye test.

If the client does not study any paperwork related to the system(s), it should be encouraged to do so in order to ensure that the system was approved by the right authorities when it was installed or upgraded.

2.

Allow the system owner to sign a statement outlining the system’s history, if at all feasible.

Inspection of the waste treatment system In addition to visual inspection of visible internal piping to identify the expected number of treatment systems, assessments should involve dye testing, a written report, and a written report should be included.

3.1.2 Check for the discharge of storm water into the sewage treatment system (footing drains, sump pump, downspouts, and so on).

Check the siphon for signs of backlog by flushing the toilet on the lowest level.

3.2.1 It is not necessary to excavate, probe, or snake in order to complete this task.

3.2.2 Look for signs of prospective issues (odors, sewage seepage, wet soil, lush vegetation, and so on).

Inspection of the regions close to the absorption area for signs of failure or breakout is required at 3.2.4.

Make a note of whether or not there is an alarm system.

Keep an eye on the pump’s operation.

3.2.6 Keep an eye out for any drainage pipes on the property that may interfere with or be interfered with by the treatment system (s).

3.3 Dye testing is carried out (3) Inform the owner (if one is accessible) of the needed water volume and rate of flow for the dye test.

The goal is to get the system as close to its short-term capacity as possible while avoiding excessive consumption of the water supply.

Ideally, there should be 50-75 gallons of water each bedroom (plus a maximum of 50 gallons for each whirlpool tub), with a minimum of 100 gallons available.

The needed volume should be divided proportionally amongst the systems being tested in order to simulate normal use patterns if the property has distinct (multiple) discharges.

Using unique color dyes for each fixture or separate residence may be beneficial if there is any ambiguity about whether or not a fixture or a separate habitation should be connected to the system.

3.3.5 It is important to follow the dye manufacturer’s recommendations.

Make the best decision you can based on your experience.

3.3.7 Visually inspect the area for any potential other sources of effluent, such as a neighboring property.

3.3.9 Flush the toilet on the lowest level to look for signs of a system backup in the siphon.

3.4.2 The nature of the dye testing should be included in the report, including the flow rate, time of flow, total volume of water, and point of entrance of the dye and water, among other things.

A system that fails the dye test if any of the following requirements are met, including any “gray water” systems, is said to have failed: There is either 1.

evidence of wastewater discharge into a river.

3.4.6 The report should contain any exclusions or restrictions to the testing that were discovered throughout the process.

3.5 Remarks: The Dye Test Has Its Limitations A dye test will not be able to detect all sorts of wastewater treatment system malfunctions.

Surface effluent can be obscured by snow, ice, plants, and leaf cover, among other things.

Neither of these tests is performed as part of a Sewage Treatment System Dye Testing procedure.

When the ground is frozen, septic dye tests are not valid since the dye will not be able to reach the surface of the ground.

There are 4.2 vacant homes.

​Scheduling If the property is inhabited, dye tests are more reliable, and snow cover may mask certain visual indicators, sellers and purchasers may need to plan on doing testing prior to listing or after closing.

Actual septic tank capacity and condition can only be established by pumping and visual examination, which is not always possible.

Steel tanks have a lifespan of 20-25 years before rusting and collapsing.

Tanks made of concrete or fiberglass may fracture, and baffles may get destroyed, enabling particulates to enter the absorption field. After the dye tests but before shutting, it is strongly suggested that the septic tank be flushed and visually inspected to ensure that there are no problems.

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