quick question - septic dye

I am thinking of adding this service to my business, but when I read alot of the posts on the board, half HI’s say it’s a good idea…easy money, half HI’s say its a bad one…just looking for legal trouble.

The split is because, one cannot technically evaluate a septic tank without draining it and viewing the walls. I completely agree with this, but I feel there must be someway around it.

My question is, does anyone have a bulletproof contract that basically states that this service does not inspect the septic tank and only truly evaluates the working process of the leech bed. Something to protect us. I’d love to add the service, but I surly don’t want to dish out $20,000 for a brand new system.

Thanks for your time Members Board …and have a Happy Holiday!

Hi John,

I may be wrong here, but septic system evaluations are specially licensed in most states and I am certain that PA is one of them. (I believe PSMA is the regulatory authority in your state)



In my neck of the woods the Septic System is permitted, inspected and approved by the local Health Services Dept. through the local BID.
I’ve never seen any value in this add-on service, considering the potential liability. It comes down to a personal “comfort zone” decision, I think.

Hi all,

John, here’s a link to the PSMA site regarding dye/load testing





Thanks for your response. I should have probably re-worded my statement a little better. I didn’t mean to come off as I was just going to jump into it, I planned on attaining the psea a getting the proper certifications.

I guess the point of the post was more contract or legally based.

The point I’m trying to get to is…when people call for the septic dye test, should one mention that it really does not test the vault, just the leech bed and they (as the inspector) don’t want to be held liable for the vault in which they did not evaluate.

I hope this makes sense.

Hi John,

I am far from being any kind of expert in this area, but my gut feel is that a dye test is at best not in anyway representative of the whole systems overall condition, and as such I would not want to rely on that test as being indicative of anything.

IMO, there is way too much liability connected to septic inspections, unless you are able to evaluate the whole system, tank, distribution box and leach field.




Your market may vary.

Our office has yet to receive a request for a Dye test of a Septic System.

Our only offering is a PSMA Inspection performed by PSMA Certified Inspectors.


So…when you get a call for a septic inspection, you call PSMA and basically sub it out to them?

If so, do you make any money (as middleman) on the service?


PSMA is a Fraternal Organization. It is not a company.

We schedule the inspection and have a certified inspector provide the service.

In Florida we are not allowed to do the dye test. In my opinion you dont really need it. Just go to the field and use your nose. Usually you can smell a bad drain field.

In the early 90s I worked for the Building Inspector of America and I was trained to do septic/dye tests.
The procedure was to flush the dye down the toilet and flood the system, usually 50-60 gallons of water per bedroom. After that was completed I would go outside with a fiberglass probe about 5 feet long and find the tank and then identify where and how big the field was.
Surprisingly a lot of systems failed the test, I would see the dye come up thru the ground or could feel the field was saturated with the probe.
Downfall of this test is if the system had been pumped recently it wouldn’t work. These days I would never sell this kind of test, let the experts do the right way by digging up the cover and opening the tank.

Hope you had a good holiday.
Can you expand on your post or post a link, I do not disagree with it I am just looking for more info for my web site. Had a client get real anal about this.