Septic Inspections

Why Inspect?

Minor maintenance repairs to a septic system are relatively inexpensive and affordable for most homeowners, but no one wants to discover major components or the entire system needs to be replaced. These repairs are costly.

Tank Replacement: $1,500 to $4,000
Entire System Replacement: $10,000 to $40,000

How not to Inspect

How to Inspect “The Industry Standard”

Pennsylvania does not have rules, regulations or laws that specify how on-lot PSMA Logowastewater treatment systems must be inspected. Unlike home inspectors, septic inspectors can literally create their own standards and inspect according those guidelines.

The inspection standards and procedures developed by the Pennsylvania Septage Management Association (PSMA) and the National Onsite Wastewater Education and Research Foundation (NOF) are the recognized “Industry Standards” for performing septic inspections. The Home Inspection Guru inspects according to the recognized “Industry Standards” as set forth by PSMA/NOF.

What is inspected?

Preparation (Homeowner Responsibilities)

  • The homeowner is responsible for providing the inspector with the installation documentation, and the repair and pumping history for the system.
  • The homeowner must locate and mark the tanks, and absorption area.
  • All tank lids and inspection ports must be dug open and completely accessible for inspection.
  • The homeowner must schedule a septic pumper to arrive on site to pump the tanks at a time specified by the inspector.

Treatment Tanks

  • After confirming the tank(s) and absorption area have the proper liquid levels, the tank(s) are pumped and inspected for physical damage and deterioration that will compromise its functionality, structural stability and safety.

Distribution Systems

  • The pump/siphon tank ( if one exists) is over filled to trigger and confirm the tank alarm functions.
  • The pump/siphon tank is pumped and inspected for deterioration and defects.

Absorption Area

  • The absorption area is probed to measure the liquid level in the aggregate (crushed stone).  The measurement is compared with the PSMA standard. If the measurement is found to be unsatisfactory the treatment tank is not pumped to preserve the condition of the system.  The owner can hire a contractor to evaluate the condition and repair/replace the system or hire another inspector for a second opinion.