If you're buying a house that has a septic system, you'll probably need an inspection of the system to get a mortgage or insurance. If you already own a home with a septic system, local health codes will probably require a septic system inspection every few years to ensure your system isn't contaminating the groundwater. Here's a look at some things the inspector checks.
The Septic Tank
The septic tank has to be checked carefully for signs of damage because a crack could allow toxic gases or sewage to leak in your yard. The septic system inspection may be done along with pumping out the tank so the sides of the tank can be seen easily. The inspector checks the lid, baffles, and contents of the tank. They might do a dye test to see how water in the tank flows and do a backflow test to make sure sewage doesn't flow in the wrong direction.
The inspector also ensures the tank is the right size for the size of your house and that nothing has been built too close to the tank or drainfield since the last inspection.
The Distribution Box
Water leaves the septic tank and flows to the distribution box where the water spreads out to enter pipes that lead to the drainfield. The inspector makes sure this area is working properly and that all the pipes get an equal amount of water rather than some pipes being clogged off. The wastewater is supposed to be evenly distributed between all the drainfield pipes so the water can filter through the soil properly.
The inspector also checks the drainfield for clues it isn't draining. They might even do tests or take samples to ensure the soil is able to filter wastewater. Sometimes the soil in the drainfield gets compacted and needs to be treated so it can drain properly again. If the inspector finds compacted soil or biofilm, the drainfield might need to be repaired before it can pass the inspection.
When a septic system inspection is complete, you'll know if there are problems with cracks in the tank, roots infiltrating the system, or other problems that need to be addressed. If you're buying a house, the owner may need to make repairs, and you can work out the details before closing on the house. If you already own the septic system, the health department will allow a set amount of time for you to complete repairs before an inspection is done again.
To learn more, check out a website for a service that offers septic system inspections, such as wpcomstaging.com.