We perform septic inspections for real estate sales or general inspections to see the current condition of your septic system.
Currently the state of CT does not require any license or procedure to inspect a septic system. Anyone can call themselves a septic inspector. We hold a septic installers license which is the highest form of septic license available.
I have seen a lot of "inspectors" that do dye tests or flow tests. A dye test is performed by flushing a colored dye down the drain and running the water for a long period of time. The inspector will then walk around the yard and look for any wet spots with the color dye that was used. If no dye shows up the system passes inspection. None of the distribution boxes are exposed with this test. There could be collapsed or severely deteriorated d-boxes, broken pipes, or leach fields that are failing and the system will still pass the inspection. Opening the distribution boxes is very important. When a house is vacant or used part time for a extended period it gives the septic system time to rest. A previously failing septic system with completely saturated leach fields will dry up and pass a flow test because that house was vacant for a long period of time. When that house becomes occupied again the septic system will back up in a short period of time. That is why opening the distribution boxes is very important. The previous effluent levels can be determined by looking in the box.
My inspections usually take 2 hours to complete, sometimes longer if no as-built is available. As far as scheduling an inspection the more notice you can give me the better. This gives me time to visit the health department so i can get all the records on the septic system. I start my inspection in the house. I look for water treatment systems or sump pumps that are plumbed into the septic system. I also look for other septic pipes leaving the house. This could indicate another septic system for that house. I will locate and uncover the septic tank. I inspect the overall condition of the tank, condition of both baffles, and look for any signs of previous backups. Below is a picture of a standard concrete baffle.
From this point i locate the first distribution box ( depending on the age and design of the system sometimes there are no distribution boxes in the system) and uncover it to check the overall condition of the box and past effluent levels in the field. The most common problem with distribution boxes is deterioration. Below is a picture of a distribution box in good condition.
From this point I move on to the remaining d-boxes. Deping on the design of the system there could be multiple boxes that need to be uncovered. If I notice anything questionable in the system I will use a camera to inspect the pipes. If there is a problem or question about previous effluent levels in the field I will dig next to the field to check the soil and effluent levels. Once completed I will provide a detailed report of my findings.