Septic System Inspection
A septic system receives, treats and disposes of unwanted wastewater and solids from a building’s plumbing system. Solids are partially broken down into sludge within a septic tank and are separated from effluent (water) and scum (fat, oil and grease). Effluent regularly exits the tank into a drain field where it is naturally filtered by bacteria and reentered into the groundwater. Scum and sludge must be pumped periodically and should never enter the drain field.
Guardian Angel Inspections provide septic system inspections for residential septic systems.
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When should a septic system be inspected?
The septic system should be inspected once a year, including as soon as the house is put on the market for sale. This will enhance the home’s value and avoid any liability issues that might result from a malfunctioning system. It is in the interest of a prospective buyer to insist that the septic system be inspected before they purchase the home if it has not been done recently.
What will we look for?
- An “as-built” drawing of the house should include the tank’s location. These drawings are often held in local health and zoning agencies. Old systems might not have any such record.
- The previous homeowner can be contacted.
- Newer tanks contain risers that rise visibly above the ground surface.
- A thin metal rod can be inserted into the earth and used to probe a suspected area. It is important to do this gently and only in soft, wet soil to avoid damaging the tank and associated pipes. A shovel can also be used.
- A metal detector is used if enough tank components are metal.
- A small radio transmitter is flushed down the toilet and followed with a receiver.
- The greenest grass in a yard is often directly above the septic tank.
What are baffles?
- solids covering the baffle. This should be reported immediately, as it indicates overflow.
- erosion from chemicals and water flow.
- evidence of previous overflow.
- sewage level should be several inches below the baffle top. A lower level indicates leakage and a higher level indicates blockage.