New Hampshire Septic System Inspections
Many residential and commercial buildings have a septic system. As of the writing of this, septic system inspection standards (on a State Level) do not exist, but are supposed to be coming soon. That is why having a proper septic system inspection on your potential commercial property is so important. We have been inspecting septic systems to the level (and above) that the State is proposing for many years.
Residential septic systems are an important part of your home and how it works. That is why we take a “whole house approach” to septic system inspections. When hiring a septic inspector, if he is only looking at the outside or taking only a glance at your interior plumbing systems, then he is not seeing the whole picture. Running the water at every sink, shower, faucet, and sewer ejection point, seeing how the water flows, enters the tank, the D-Box, and eventually the leach field is critical to understanding potential issues and preventing possible septic failures and sewage backups.
We also utilize sewer cameras to provide you with a thorough and complete inspections. With our sewer cameras we are able to pinpoint areas of distress and damage that may have otherwise been missed. With this additional feature we are able to provide more value to the inspections and ultimately save you money. For instance, many times a break in the pipe or damage may be present, but difficult to find. Many people spend hours (and in very difficult situations – days) trying to find where the issue is. Utilizing sewer cameras we are able to pinpoint the exact location of issues and save time and money when fixing an issue.
Commercial buildings have special needs when it comes to waste management, and not knowing those needs or not knowing if your system is adequate/functioning properly can cost tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. That is why when we inspect a septic system we hold to the highest national standards for inspecting septic systems. To help our clients understand how we inspect their septic system better, we have laid out our inspection method below. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have on our process.
Sample Septic System Inspection Reports
The Proper septic inspection method
Evaluate the plumbing components inside the building:
We inspect all of the interior plumbing fixture for proper connections. I also make sure all the waste lines are properly discharging into an approved waste system. Water treatment systems can be harmful to septic systems and We evaluate where the discharge of these systems go.
Examine the inside of the treatment tank:
Most commercial buildings have an initial treatment tank. We open the tank and examine the inlet and outlet baffles and determine the volume of the treatment tank. We inspect the visible parts of the tank for cracks, water infiltration, corrosion, and leakage. We also take a sample from inside the tank with a sludge sampler. Similar to what is used in waste water treatment facilities. By examining the sample We can determine the amount of sludge, liquid level and scum layer. This allows me to understand whether the tank is healthy and if it needs pumping.
The Distribution Box (D-Box):
The D-Box is an important component in your septic system that keeps thins evenly distributed. We inspect the distribution box for corrosion, leakage and cracks. We also make sure the D-Box is level to ensure equal flow to each pipe in the leaching field.
EDA, ( Effluent Disposal Area ) or leach field.
The leach feild is not the hardest working component of a septic system, but it is one of the most vital. will determine the location and size of the EDA. Test hole’s are hand dug in different locations throughout the EDA. This allows me to examine the condition of the EDA as well as how much saturation is present. A full evaluation of the EDA is critical in determining the overall condition of the septic system.
My New Hampshire septic system report is comprehensive and easy to read. I include digital photographs for a better understanding of the system, components and condition.
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services video, Septic System Management for Homeowners.
Definitions of septic system components:
Treatment tank: Holding tank for all of the home’s waste, Pumping is required.
Baffles: Inlet and outlet baffles are located inside the treatment tank to divert waste to the bottom of the tank.
EDA: Effluent disposal area, or commonly know as the leach bed.
D-Box: Distribution box, distribute effluent to individual laterals in the EDA.
Sewer laterals: Piping used throughout the EDA to disperse effluent.
Dry Well: An underground pit surrounded by septic stones. Early version of an EDA
A whole House Approach
Is your septic inspector checking the interior of the home plumbing system? Is all of the plumbing in the home discharging into the septic?. Below are two pictures of a recent New Hampshire septic inspection where I found the homes laundry , laundry sink and backwash for the water treatment system discharging onto the neighbors property. The discharge pipe was buried under leaves and the whole area was completely saturated with grey water. Not only is this a pollution problem, but one for the septic as well. Since this grey water had been diverted away from the septic system for so many years correcting this will add an additional load to the present system which is already aging.
Anyone who does septic inspections should be doing a complete inspection of the homes plumbing system to make sure it’s plumbed appropriately. Discharge of grey water onto the ground can be expensive to correct.
My approach to septic inspections is to look at the home as a system, This means I check not only the septic system, the plumbing, but also the well. I record how much the well produces, IE, gallons per minute (GPM) and pounds per square inch (PSI), before and after the septic inspection, this gives you an idea on how well your water supply produces water and whether or not it can keep up with demand. I also conduct a hydraulic load test where I introduce a certain amount of water through the home’s plumbing system. This also tests the home’s plumbing drains where I check for leaks, or, in the case shown below, inappropriate discharge of grey water onto the ground.