Septic Inspection?


#1

I have contacted to the local department of environmental quality and they advised me that they could come and visually inspect the park and give a letter of compliance but that it is in effect worthless. They said things could change tomorrow. They cant guarantee how long a septic system will last. I asked if a septic inspection would help and they advised that either the system is working or its not and its a waste of time and he would not suggest it. They have stated it is a creeping failure and proper maintenance is the key and no inspection is going to give me that piece of mind or insurance. The department had records of a few violations in the last 30 years and they were repaired by adding more drain field line. The department stated they will work with landlords to allow them to repair septic systems and its very rare than a system can not be repaired.

The department stated the owner has been on top of it or there would of been more complaints or repair permit requests.

I have called a few septic inspection companies and they all say to inspect 35 tanks would be a waste of time and money and if there has not been issues in the past or recently that its unlikely to uncover anything. They said the only way to really inspect would be to pump all 35 tanks and then still they will not get into the drainfields because they do not want to disturb a functioning drainfield.

I have talked to the septic company currently maintaining the park and he has not had any issues since he has taken over pumping 5 years ago. He stated they are on a pumping schedule depending on usage.

The cost to dig up and pump a tank is around 300 per tank x 35= over 10k. That 10,000 could be put into a reserve for actual septic problems down the road. From everything I have read, I should have every last inch of septic inspected. However, what am I expecting to uncover? I don’t see the owner doing anything unless it was apparent there is an issue with a septic tank or drainfield. If it was something critical it should be obvious or would of been in the environmental department records?

I am kind of lost at this point regarding getting a septic inspection. What should I do here?


#2

We typically pump all of the tanks prior to taking over and have these tanks inspected. I want to give you a hypothetical situation that we’ve seen more than once. Sometimes owners don’t necessarily repair… sometimes, an owner might decide to install a pipe to send grey water into the woods next to their property, therefor bypassing a non-operable leach field and make it appear operable. I’ve seen this more than once on both septics and lift stations (serves as a relief if the pumps go out).

I would also say that you should know what your leach field is made out of too. Just had a septic inspection recently on a park and uncovered 7 of the 40 leach fields had orangeburg lines.

It’s just a thought. I tried cheaping it out on a septic inspection once and it really bit me in the butt.


#3

The owner has stated it was orangeburg in the 1960s but all systems had to be replaced because the orangeburg decinegrated and caused many issues. He stated the systems were upgrade to concrete tanks, pvc, and corrugated pipe drain fields.

Also, if it makes a difference, the seller lives next door to the park and has no intention to sell his home.

What was the cost to inspect 40 tanks?

Also what about randomly testing 7 or 8 tanks and not do the 35?


#4

Shawn with all you good question and gaining insight, if this is your first park with septic pass. Buying parks with septic you are always paying forward and you never know what will or can go wrong and unless if is a truly an excellent buy; plus 10 cap leave it for someone that sleeps comfortable at night with potential unwelcome phone calls. The real money is made in the price you pay plus plan out at buying how soon you can double your money and how EASY to sell. Our last park we tripled our money in 17 years with wells and septic but we operated and managed the system ourselves and knew the pitfalls. Actually we put in a new state approved water system for the property.


#5

The cost was around $12,000 for the full inspection of 40 tanks. Given the information the seller provided you, you are probably ok to spot check. If only to verify the information that the seller has told you. You may request records of those upgrades and/or speak with the company who did the upgrades as well.

I try to have simple rules that I like to follow so this is generally my rule on private utilities, “If the seller I’m buying from feels as if he might be a slumlord, then I don’t consider the park.” You can usually get a good feel for people by analyzing their character. The types of people most likely to put in illegal modifications or not properly maintain their infrastructure, are usually the types of people who either aren’t experienced or the types of people who do not take care of their things, such as their investment.