How to Inspect Septic Systems

This thread is dedicated exclusively for those students currently enrolled in the InterNACHI course titled, “How to Inspect Septic Systems” located at How to Inspect Septic Systems Course - InterNACHI.

Students are free to pose questions and comments here and join in the conversation with other students. The thread will be monitored by the course program manager.

Contact: Director of Education, Ben Gromicko

Thank you.

Ben, you guys did a great job on this course. I also took the septic evaluators course here in NH and found much of the material the same.
Thanks, my inspections fees have increased dramatically since adding this service.

Thank you.
In 2007, 20 percent (26.1 million) of total U.S. housing units were served by septic systems.

There are two types of inspections of septic systems:

  • **MAINTENANCE **inspections; and
  • FUNCTIONAL inspections.

The routine maintenance inspection is designed for home inspectors to:

  1. perform a routine maintenance inspection using visual-only, non-invasive inspection techniques; and
  2. report to their client:
  • the location of the system components;

  • how the system works, and

  • maintenance recommendations.

Inspection and maintenance is key to ensuring that septic systems function properly. This training is for everyone with an interest in inspecting and maintaining functional onsite wastewater (septic) treatment systems.

Hello Ben Gromicko,

I am taking the How to Inspect Septic Systems . Do i need any other licensing in the state of florida ?

I believe Florida strictly regulates septic inspections.

New regulations have restricted home inspectors from perform septic dye inspections, unless the home inspector is also a master septic tank contractor, registered septic tank contractor, or state licensed plumber.

Please visit

Regulation text

This looks like a great course. Since a lot of houses with septic systems have wells, does NACHI offer any advanced well inspection training other than the basic plumbing?

We do not have a well inspection course. Good idea. Now, it’s on the list.
But we do have a couple good videos:

I live in Iowa and am wanting to add this to my inspection service. From the state’s site: Completed the “Basics of Onsite 101” class offered by the Onsite Wastewater Training Center of Iowa or an equivalent class approved by the department.

So is this course approved by the state of Iowa? Thanks

Taking this course today. Wish me luck!

Starting course. :smiley:

Beginning final exam for "how to inspect septic systems.

I’m taking the course. I have been doing septic inspections for 5 years and this is a good course.

The Septic course I felt was a great course. The area I am located in does not have a lot of Septic systems. So, I do not have exposure. This course has gave a understanding of how the Septic System works. Should be taken by all even if your area does not have these systems.

Very good course. It was interesting to hear the opinion of the contractor in the videos describe how he has seen the septic systems evolve from his fathers time up to the present. Better engineering design, closer scrutiny by Health Depts. and
more rigorous record keeping all contribute to a more efficient and effective septic system.

Hello all,

I’m beginning the septic system portion of this course. There will be many systems to inspect here in NH…

I “inspected” septic tanks when I started and I do not anymore. I have seen so many variations of tanks and systems. I have been around construction my whole life and I think I am out of my element with these. Way too much liability based on how much is visible. A new septic tank can cost $20k. I do not want that liability at all. I have spend a couple afternoons trying to locate a couple different tanks without success. There are a couple local companies here that offer a visual inspection service for $150 plus mileage. I tell everyone to call those guys. I will do a dye test but that doesnt really say much at all about a tank.

I have a local septic contractor that does the inspection for $100. He’s coming out next week to pump my tank. I’m going to pick his brain a little to see what’s involved. I think they just locate the access points on the tank and locate and do a visual of the leach field. I’ll see what’s involved. Can’t be too involved for $100.

I dont understand how they could possibly know there the finger systems are but they do. They can have this part of the inspection process.

Here is a picture of an older style septic tank. With this tank age is obviously a big factor with determining the integrity of the system. Taking into consideration the age, the usage is also another big factor. The amount of occupants and daily usage will help the inspector make a better determination. It is always safe to recommend considering finances to replace the entire system. Maintenance records would also be an important tool for the inspector. Using those few pieces of information helps paint the big picture.

Septic Tank Image for interNachi Cert.jpg

With septic systems, good routine maintenance is crucial to the life and functionality of the system. Routine maintenance can save a lot of money down the road. Today’s septic systems usually have better access for maintenance. Public health and safety is another very important part of a septic system. Local regulations are becoming more strict. One of the hardest parts of inspecting a septic system is locating all the components without damaging any of them. Gathering any documentation on the system can help immensely with the inspection process.