The Inspection Process

In most Pennsylvania real estate transactions, it is the seller's responsibility to locate the treatment tank(s) and absorption system, provide access to the manhole cover on the tank(s) and to empty the tank(s) at the time of the inspection. We can assist in making these arrangements if desired.

The current owner of the property will be asked to complete an Authorization and Information sheet before the inspection. This will provide us with information such as the age of the septic system, current usage and past service history.

The following steps describe the inspection of a typical gravity-distribution style treatment system. See "Types of On-lot Treatment Systems" for more information on other types of on-lot treatment systems.

During the inspection, the inspector will:
  1. Walk the property and note the location of all system components, any on-lot water wells present, and any lush vegetation, surfacing effluent or other indications of system malfunction.
  2. Inspect the treatment tank noting the condition of the visible interior portions and the operating level.
  3. Probe the absorption area to determine the amount of standing effluent.
  4. Verify that all fixtures in the house discharge into the treatment tank.
  5. Run water from fixtures in the house and observe any changes in the treatment tank level.
  6. Observe the tank as it is being emptied, noting any runback from the absorption system or the ground surrounding the tank.
  7. Inspect the interior of the treatment tank after it has been emptied, noting the condition of the inlet and outlet baffles and checking for any other cracks, holes or other defects which were previously concealed.

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