Reporting Septic Problems to AHJs

Originally Posted By: jremas
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Does anyone know if there are any laws or mandates that would require a home inspector to report unsatisfactory septic systems to local AHJs? I do have on particular AHJ who requested verbally that he be notified immediately any problems within his jurisdiction. Other areas have no requirements. What does everyone else do?? To tell the client in a written report is one thing but to go another step would be…??? Do we have a legal obligation??






Jeff Remas
REMAS Inspections, Inc.
Northeastern PA & the Poconos
www.NEPAinspector.com

570-362-1598

Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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Never heard of this before… To me, it’s troublesome. My suggestion is to seek the advice of an attorney. I do not believe there is an obligation, law, or mandate in any municipality. It is the AHJ’s job to find this stuff, not yours. He is the code expert, and is paid to do it.


Where may it end, and what's next? Electrical panel? Illegal deck? Rotten plumbing? Think about what this guy is asking for. Are you now a code enforcement official? What if you're right, or what if you're wrong?

What sort of "septic" things would he want to know about? Tank needs pumpong? Effluent in top of sod? What about a sewer odor in the basement? Steel tank? Insufficient capacity for number of occupants or bathrooms? Hmmm...

Again, seek the advice of an attorney to see what your legal obligations are. Remember, your BIGGEST obligation is to yourself and to your family. With lawsuits flying around from everything from coffee that's too hot, to kids getting fat from eating BigMacs, nothing would surprise me. Even frivilous lawsuits need to be defended, at your own costs. Some jacka$$ filing a suit can still cost you $15,000 to make it go away...

When he pays for the inspection, then he's entitled to review your findings. You are a consultant paid for someone for your time. Period. You are not working for him.

Ba careful


--
Joe Farsetta

Illigitimi Non Carborundum
"Dont let the bastards grind you down..."

Originally Posted By: gbeaumont
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Hi Jeff


I have to agree with Joe on this one, although no one wants to be in the possition of getting on the wrong side of an AHJ, your only concideration is to the client who is paying for the report. I cannot believe that any authority can request a copy of any part of a home inspection report without supeaona.


However there bis another possible concideration, due you have any duty of care to the publics health ? if you see a system that has totaly failed and represents an immediate public health threat would or should you treat it any differently from a major gas leak or similar ??


I will be very interested to see how this thread progresses ![icon_confused.gif](upload://qv5zppiN69qCk2Y6JzaFYhrff8S.gif)

Regards

Gerry


--
Gerry Beaumont
NACHI Education Committee
e-mail : education@nachi.org
NACHI phone 484-429-5466

Inspection Depot Education
gbeaumont@inspectiondepot.com

"Education is a journey, not a destination"

Originally Posted By: jremas
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Ok here is an example. On several occasions I have come across pipes that lead down to the drainage ditch along the road/highway and with some dye (I rarely use dye) I was able to connect point A (toilet) with B (pipe into drainage ditch).


2nd example, dye showing up in recreational lake.

3rd example, dye coming out of pipe right into a stream.

Actual examples, I find them. One of the pipes was about 200 yards away from the tank down a hill by the road. You must walk the property before and during a septic evaluation and look for these things. Just probing the absorbtion area does not cut it. PROOF........

To answer Joe F, of course we will never report bedrooms, tank needing pumped or alarm not working but the above examples directly affect the general public. I do not report to any AHJs because none of them have put it in writing and I let the repair contractor take the responsibility of notifying the SEO when applicable for repairs.

I was trained, however, to check with the local AHJ that I am performing septic evaluations to see if they require us to disclose our findings. The HI law only covers the HI report so this is in another category by itself, so don't hide behind that...............

This thread should get pretty big on this sensitive subject. Another factor is the loss of business if you are known as an inspector who always runs to the AHJ and reports any breakout or serious waste issues.


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Jeff Remas
REMAS Inspections, Inc.
Northeastern PA & the Poconos
www.NEPAinspector.com

570-362-1598

Originally Posted By: jremas
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Well now, let me add something after calling the PSMA and talking with the director. IF we were in NJ, there is a whole different set of rules AND we would have do disclose any septic problems. However, in PA we are not obligated to disclose anything to the SEO. Remember, our client is the potential buyer of the property and we are a guest of the seller. The confidentiality would have to stay between the inspector and the buyer/client. It is then up to the buyer as to how they want to handle the situation. We are under no legal obligation to disclose any information to the SEO/AHJ. Please check with your own state laws/rules and regulations. As far as a problem that would be a public health hazard(contamination of waters of the commonwealth), consult with your attorney for the answer to that question.


Joe and Gary are correct in their opinion for my state, I just don't know about the other 49 except for NJ.

When you think about it, this would be the same as handing your home inspection report to the local code enforcement officer/AHJ if you noticed some violations during an inspection.


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Jeff Remas
REMAS Inspections, Inc.
Northeastern PA & the Poconos
www.NEPAinspector.com

570-362-1598

Originally Posted By: jmyers
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I consider all of my reports confidential. As for the AHJ I would have to politely decline that request just as I would do with any other person with exception to the client. The only time there is any deviation from that is at the request of the client.


I would believe I would ask the AHJ to wait for the permit application to be made for repairs to the system.

Joe Myers


Originally Posted By: jhagarty
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Joseph Hagarty


HouseMaster / Main Line, PA
joseph.hagarty@housemaster.com
www.householdinspector.com

Phone: 610-399-9864
Fax : 610-399-9865

HouseMaster. Home inspections. Done right.

Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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The buyer has more rights after transfer of the property. I disagree with you, Joe H, with regard to the seller being custodian after contracts have been signed. The seller is still the legal owner of the property, and as such, is entitled to full benefits of ownership.


That would include anything that party wished to do the the owned property all the way up to transfer at sale. Of course, if they purposely do something to alter the property that runs contrary to the terms of the sales contract, they would be in violation of the terms of the contract, which would give the buyer certain rights in law and equity.


--
Joe Farsetta

Illigitimi Non Carborundum
"Dont let the bastards grind you down..."

Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
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Let’s deferr to our resident realtor in PA…


Oh, Nick.... what do you think about this?


--
Joe Farsetta

Illigitimi Non Carborundum
"Dont let the bastards grind you down..."