Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a long term homeowner, if your home is on a septic system you should become familiar with routine inspection and maintenance. You don’t want your first interaction with your septic system to be due to a bad odor or standing sewage water in your yard. Septic systems can be one of the most expensive parts of a home, so it’s important to prevent issues before they happen. This is where working with a professional septic inspector comes in.
Locating Your Septic System
It is not uncommon for homeowners to be unaware of the the location of their septic system. However, in order to be a proactive homeowner, it’s imperative that you are aware its location and keep your eyes and nose open for any unusual changes. Your septic inspector Here are a few ways that your inspector may locate your septic tank:
Obtaining an “as built” drawing of the house from the local zoning or health agency. The previous homeowner may have this information, so if you are purchasing a home, be sure to inquire upon purchasing.
Some newer systems contain above ground components, making the location known
If the entire system is underground, the inspector may find it using metal detector or a thin metal rod to probe the suspected location
Oftentimes the greenest grass in the yard is over the septic system, this can be a good jumping off point
What Does a Professional Septic Inspector Look For?
Upon consulting with a septic inspector, it is helpful if you are able to provide the date that the system was last pumped. However, if you do not have this information, the inspector should be able to get a general idea of how long it has been since the system was pumped by the sludge level. In general a septic inspector will assess the following things upon a first inspection:
Location of the septic system. Is the system located an adequate distance from wells and natural bodies of water?
Tank size. Is the tank the proper size to serve the size and number of occupants living in your home?
Inspect the septic drainfield for any signs of liquid waste. This is an indicator that the tank is overloaded. The tank should we watertight, as not to contaminate any groundwater or surrounding areas.
Check for any cracks in lids, pipes or other tank components.
Inspect drain lines to ensure that they receive equal flow and that there are no clogs or backups.