Sewer and well inspection

I am going to be doing my first septic dye test and well inspection soon. Is there anything I should be looking for? What report forms does everyone use for these inspections? I cannot find any.

I am a certified septic inspector here in Maine. The state has a form to use for septic system inspections. I have incorporated the terms of the form in the reporting software I use (HomeGauge) to make a template for my septic system inspections. I recommend you check to see if your state has a form it recommends or requires.

I made a checklist for my well system inspections and am working on preparing a template within HomeGauge for the inspections.

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Can you explain the protocol for doing these inspections, Richard? I believe InterNACHI has some basic info but many states and counties are different in what they require. Good luck!

You are joking right ? If you are asking a question like this what the heck are you doing offering this service.

  1. you are not being fair with the paying client
  2. you are being fair to yourself for potential lawsuit

I guess you could look for crap on the ground


What will be your inspection process?

Richard, I think you are from Pennsylvania. If so its my understanding the state does NOT have licensing for private septic or well inspectors. Having said that what type of classroom training do you have to do this.

Like the David Moroconi gentleman stated IF you’re asking the question it sounds like you’ve had no formal training AND if thats true … You have opened yourself AND the client to a butt load of liability


I would recommend that you sub this out to someone that has the experience to do this. And then Be There when they do it. They may even charge more than what you will be paid by the client. Think of it as an education expense. (And I see nothing wrong with adding it to your InterNACHI education / Corse records).
I have had a few years experience (back in the day) pumping, installing and servicing septic systems and I would say the best course of action is to always recommend your client have the seller pump the tank and take their poop with them and also request all records of service. (My opinion is that the buyers should not be paying for the seller’s sewer bill) It is also IMO, just part of leaving the home “Broom Clean” when vacating the home. …It is also nice to have the seller have the burden of finding and marking the location of the tank!!! (90% will have no idea and in my area if there are county health record maps, they are wrong)

At least in my state UT and in Western Colorado (where I worked installing and servicing septic systems). Most times the systems have not been regularly pumped, and many even 30-40 years old have never been pumped. I would also say 90% of people only pump the tank when they have back-up and that means solids have already entered the drain field and nobody is going to be able to tell to what extent the drain field has been compromised unless you are either seeing water on the ground or a problem with flow noticed at the drains.

If you as an inspector, do not have a documented history (on paper) showing when and how often the tank has been pumped you will have no idea if the field has been compromised and to what extent. A field that will handle the water of 2-3 people may not handle a family of 6. So disclaimers need to be written into your report.

I always recommend my clients request have the seller pump the tank especially if they do not have Written Records (invoice) of it being pumped within the past couple of years and I also recommend they get a copy of the record to see if there is any information on problems.


:face_with_raised_eyebrow: :thinking: :rofl: :joy: :laughing:

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I should have mentioned it’s just a septic dye test. I will not be opening up the septic tank.

What does a dye test show if the tank is not opened?

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A septic inspection without opening the septic tank. I’m thinking of doing some home inspections without actually looking inside of the home.:crazy_face:


Look into virtual (remote) inspections, I hear NACHI has a course you can take and get certified.

Right LOL.

You MAY see the dyed H2O on the surface after NINE hours running water

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I am a certified septic system inspector here in Maine and I use dye in many of my septic system inspections as a diagnostic tool, e.g. to determine if all waste water is going to the septic system. However, when I do I always open the tank as part of the inspection. A dye test by itself is NOT a septic system inspection. It can take hours for dye to show itself on the surface if there is a leak in a tank or the field is malfunctioning. Dye can also be used to determine where the drain line for a floor drain or downspout terminates. I respect those who do not use dye when they inspect a septic system. IMO, those who claim a dye test is itself a septic system inspection need to be trained as to what a proper septic system inspection involves.

Have you ever found a sanitary drain line that did not go to the septic and how long does it take you to test each fixture in the home?

Not that uncommon to find grey water drain lines not going to a septic system. I can think of three examples within the last few months. Usually very apparent in a one story hour with a basement with drain lines exposed. More of an issue with house built on a slab which is where the dye is very helpful. I use 2 different color dyes (red for grey water and yellow for toilets) and run the fixtures I need to to determine what is going to tank and what is not. Can take a few minutes if I am the only one at the inspection as I have to hustle from the fixtures after I start to drain or flush to get to the tank to see if the dye makes it. Probably takes 10 to 15 minutes longer to perform a full septic inspection when I decide dye test would be helpful if it s a modest sized home with 2 baths and one kitchen. Unfortunately using dye does not always help locate where a drain line is exhausting if not to the tank. When I cannot determine where the drain is exhausting I recommend further inspection. I also advise clients that grey water has to go to an approved system and if there is no system, or one is not going to be installed, that grey water has to be connected to the drain line to the septic tank. the last few times I encountered this it appeared someone had replumbed the grey water lines after the house was built and septic system was installed and I could not determine where drain lines exhausted. In one of the cases all plumbing fixtures in house drained to the septic tank except the clothes washer and utility sink in an addition with drain line going into slab floor. First determined drain line was not going to the septic when I drained the utility sink which was connected to drain line for clothes washer.


That is about the most useless test that has ever been done… Yep!
Why do inspectors still keep on doing them?

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To use up all those dye tablets they bought…

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Agree! It tells you mostly nothing… Huh?