Determining septic or city sewer system

I inspected a house for a friend about 2 years ago. On MLS listing it said city sewer. There was no sign of a septic tank. There was a ABS cleanout in the backyard. There was also a room added on to the back patio. Without a permit built on the 4 inch slab no footings. Last month they were having sewer backup problems. So we got a snake from Home Depot and could not get it unclogged. They called a professional plumber. The plumbers scope the sewer lines and come to find out they had a septic tank that was full. The plumber was even amazed that there was a septic tank in the ground. On top of that the septic tank was under the room that was added on to the back of the house. And the home has cast iron piping under the ground that will need to be replaced soon
Is this something I should have caught. They are getting a lawyer.

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We can’t see underground, Daniel. And not in our SOP https://www.nachi.org/sop.htm 3.2. IV M. However, if I saw a cleanout in the backyard I may have recommended further investigation or a sewer scope, or such.

Good luck.

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I also get suspicious if the main drain line exits the foundation mid wall instead of under the basement slab.

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Thanks for the info

Yes, there might be an issue of the sellers lying on the property disclosure form, so best to be in legal hands. Yes, very hard for you to know about it; the system could have had a reversal put in to bring the sewer line to the street and city hookup, in which case the cleanout in the backyard might have been left.

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If the plumber couldn’t tell, there’s no reason you should have been able to tell. This is one reason why I tell inspectors not to repeat things from the listing in the report that they don’t independently verify (e.g., The house is connected to the city sewer). Disclaim onsite wastewater treatment systems, whether you think there is one or not, unless you specifically inspected it.

Seller has a disclosure issue, unless they can make a case that they were unaware…

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Also, Daniel, you can contact InterNACI’s free attorney for help via fastreply@InterNACHI.org .

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I either ask the realtor. And if they don’t know I’ll call the county or the city to find out if they’re hooked up

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Roy has a good idea here above.

Asking an agent…not so much. IMHO The majority want the deal to close. period.

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I feel this is my job here in North Florida where I’m at. Septic systems play a vital role in the nitrates that are in our Springs and rivers.
It could cost over $10,000 at the minimum. To bring an old septic system up to current standards.
So I want to know for my clients if it City or septic.

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The realtor did not know. she was going by the listing also. The neighbor on one side said they have on the neighbor on the other side said they have city. After talking to more people The hole street is on septic. there is no manhole covers on the street. The city was going to put it in but they didn’t get enough home owners that would pay to connect to the city sewer. So they didn’t put it in on that street.
According to my friend the lawyer is not going to go after me.

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Screw a bunch of lawyers on this topic.
I feel it’s important to the client to know that they’re on City or septic .
Just call out what you know and go from there

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Phoenix is a major city. there is new home and older home’s in that area on city sewer. it’s only a few streets that the city didn’t put in sewer. I had know clue. and the listing said city not septic

Well it is in the city :stuck_out_tongue:

Some friend, eh?

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I assumed it was to go after the seller/agent

Here ya go Stephen:

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Ahh, missed that.

…or say in your report that the documents with which you were provided stated that the home was on public sewer. As long as you don’t present yourself as the source of information you should be OK.

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Never ever thought I’d say this, but thank God for the loonies up here in Massachusetts.
Totally on the seller to provide a complex Septic inspection report (we call it Title V) OR provide the town sewer sign off sheet.
No closing without either. Takes it nicely off our plate

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