Septic Tank Inspections
Cost of Septic System Inspections Proves Valuable in Diagnosing Septic Problems Early
Not knowing enough about the condition of your septic system can be costly. Careful examination by a trained professional can accurately diagnose any potential problems in their early stages before they lead to expensive emergencies or larger repairs. The cost of periodic septic tank inspections and septic tank pumping is just a fraction of the cost of replacing all or part of a septic system. When Do You Need Premier Pumping To Inspect Your Septic System?
Homeowners often need to have their septic systems inspected to obtain permits for constructing home additions or adding new buildings to their property. An inspection determines whether the system will be affected by the new construction, and if it will be able to handle any increased sewer volume.
Septic System Inspection is required by homeowners when selling a home in Massachusetts – this is called a Title V Inspection. It is the duty of the homeowner to have this inspection completed and paid for. Pumping during inspection is very important so that the inspector can get a full view of the whole tank and make sure it is all in proper working condition. Premier Pumping Service will assist in the pumping of your tank but also retrieve the “As Built” plans located in the Board of Health (BOH) office for both the homeowner and Premier Pumping Service records. In Massachusetts inspectors must be certified by the state to do inspections.
In Massachusetts, real estate closings have been delayed or terminated because of inspection findings. Premier Pumping Service is very aware of this issue on real estate transactions. Educating all parties involved in how septic works, and how the inspection reports impact on the sale can turn any real estate transaction into a positive outcome.
Routine inspections and maintenance, along with proper operating habits, significantly increases the potential that a system will function well for many years.
Why Should You Have Your Septic System Inspected?
Protect your investment in your home and property
Make sure it is functioning properly
Fulfill legal or lending institution requirements for property transfers. Some local regulations and lending institutions require that systems be inspected prior to property transfers, just like termite and structural inspections
Protect the health of your family and neighbors
Extend the life of the system
Protect wells and other local drinking water sources from contamination
Protect life in local rivers, lakes, and coastal waters and prevent the need for costly rehabilitation efforts
Comply with environmental and health regulations
Homeowners can be held liable for problems and nuisances associated with failing systems
When should septic systems be inspected?
Conventional septic tank/soil absorption systems are the most common type of on site system serving individuals in the U.S. It is in the homeowners’ interest to have their septic systems inspected regularly, even when regulations do not require it. Septic systems serving restaurants or other businesses or institutions must be inspected more frequently than residential systems because they usually treat wastewater that is higher in strength and volume.
It is especially important for homeowners to schedule annual inspections for new septic systems and systems that are new to the mas users to monitor how quickly the layers of sludge and scum accumulate in the septic tank with normal use. If sludges cum layers are allowed to become thick, solid materials may flow from the septic tank into the soil absorption field, clogging the pipes and soil and causing the system to fail.
Annual inspections help homeowners estimate precisely how often they need to have their septic tank pumped out to avoid this problem. Inspections can also uncover any cracks, flaws, or other problems with the system, and they can help homeowners find out if they are using their systems wisely. For example, inspections can reveal if food scraps, or other inappropriate items, are being washed down the drain regularly, or if too much water is being used, which can overburden systems.
It is not unusual for regulations or lending institutions to require that on site system inspections be performed within a given time of the sale or transfer of property. This requirement sometimes can be waived if the owner has kept detailed records of past system inspections and maintenance. For their own protection, consumers should insist on a thorough system inspection before purchasing a home, whether or not it is required by local regulations; and once the home is purchased, they should maintain detailed and up-to-date records of all system inspection and service visits.
Major Changes and Repairs
Homeowners often need to have their on site systems inspected to obtain building permits for constructing home additions or adding new buildings to their property. An inspection determines whether the system will be affected by the new construction and if it will be able to handle any potential changes in the amount or strength of the wastewater from the extra rooms or additional occupants. Inspections also may be required before making system repairs and other changes to the property that can affect the system. Changes in the use of a property, for example, from seasonal to year-round occupancy or from residential to commercial use, also affect on site systems and inspections are often required before such changes are approved.
What if there is a problem with my system?
Inspections may uncover relatively minor system issues, such as tanks that need to be pumped and baffles that need to be repositioned or replaced, or they may bring attention to plumbing problems, such as leaky fixtures. However, in the event that an inspection reveals a more serious problem that requires repairing or replacing part of your system, you may want to contact your local health department for information and advice. Although inspectors may offer suggestions concerning repairs or different technologies to help your system, you will need to confirm which options are appropriate and allowed in your area.
For example, local health officials can confirm which options are most practical and cost-effective and which alternative treatment technologies are allowed by local regulations. You also need to know if your system must be repaired within a certain time, if you need a permit, and if your water supply needs to be checked for contaminants. Usually, the most serious problem is a failed system. The exact criteria for system failure varies from place to place depending on local regulations, but it usually indicates that operating the system in its current condition poses a threat to public health or the environment. Depending on the problem and conditions at the site, you may be advised to replace part of your system or to provide additional or alternative treatment. Responsible contractors and/or local health officials can help you sort out the most practical solutions for your situation.
Even if an inspection does reveal a problem that needs to be addressed, homeowners should feel reassured that because of the inspection, they know more about their system and how to operate and maintain it properly to avoid more problems in the future. After all, the cost of periodic inspections and pumping is just a fraction of the cost of replacing all or part of a system. Routine inspections and maintenance, along with proper operating habits, significantly increases the potential that a system will function well for many years.
One way homeowners can aid the inspection process and save considerable time and money is to provide the professionals performing the inspection with as much information about the system as possible. An “as-built” drawing of the system or reports from previous inspection or maintenance visits, for example, will help the inspector locate the system and inspect it thoroughly. Other helpful documents include operating manuals or manufacturer information for system components. Gathering this information in advance and having it on-hand at the inspection will help homeowners save time answering the inspectors’ questions, and it may save the expense of someone else having to do the research.
It is important for someone living in the home to be present during the inspection to answer any questions the inspectors have about the habits and lifestyle of the system users and to let the inspectors in the house to examine pipes and flush toilets. Another good reason for homeowners to be present is to oversee the inspection as an added precaution to ensure that everything is done thoroughly and correctly–for example, that any soil or sod that is removed is replaced neatly. Ask Questions
Inspections are an excellent opportunity for homeowners to learn about their system and how to best care for it. It is a good idea to follow the inspector to observe and ask questions. Some health officials and other on site system professionals are very good about taking the time to interact with homeowners and educate them about proper system operation and maintenance. However, like any group of people, different inspectors have different personalities and priorities, and it sometimes will be up to the homeowner to ask for this information. What is a Septic Certification?
This is a written document stating that an on site wastewater system has been inspected and was to be in satisfactory operating condition in accordance with established standards. Unfortunately, there is no government agency in Massachusetts providing certification or licensing requirements for septic inspectors. It is strongly recommended that only inspectors that volunteer for optional training be used to inspect your septic system.