Sewer or Septic

I recieved this e-mail from an agent today. I’m curious if others just go by the MLS or try to identify what the building is connected to.

Gary I have a question for you, I had a property where the listing agent showed the property being on sewer, but it was truly septic. Appraiser was the only one that caught it till right before closing, I spoke to my inspector and he stated that he uses the MLS listing for his info!!!

Can you tell me if this is a normal practice?

Never is it a good idea to use the listing!

No, it is not ordinary practice. Inspector is required to determine, to the best of their abilities, if it is sewer or septic.

I’m in an area of Virginia that has alot of both (septic & sewer).
I normally look at the listing info, and then check the county/city assessment info prior to completing the inspection.
Almost every city/county has real estate assessment info on their websites.
I like checking the info prior to arriving at the home; gives me a good idea what the home is like.
The comment by PC, “Inspector is required to determine”, just does not work or is not possible all the time.

I stopped relying on any mls information. They don’t seem to know how to read county records and a simple mis-stroke on filling out the online form and the error can become an issue if stated as fact in your report.

You cannot except the home inspector to know because most systems are underground. A lot of public systems have septic tanks at each home in my area. If the buyer does not order a septic inspection, I am not going to take the time to look at it. I will mention verbally there is a septic tank if I discover one.

The only time I use MLS listing info is as cut and paste in my confirmation before onsite occurs.

I like to look through the pictures–sometimes it can be telling.

But mainly, I use the MLS to get the seller’s Realtor’s phone no. so I can arrange entry.

Other than that the MLS information is not…well…informative.

Here in AZ this is excluded in the SOP. I’m curious how others do it because I inspect properties in Northern AZ that are always on a septic and a few around Phoenix that could be one or the other. I might just start excluding it totally.

In Illinois we’re not required to identify if property is on private or public sewer, so I don’t.

Usually I can tell if it’s on a septic system and verbally make client aware of related maintenance issues. Actually most of the time they already know there is a septic tank.

I also do not determine the water source.

According to the ASHI SOP inspectors are NOT required to determine:
“whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private”

The NACHI SOP says the opposite…what’s more correct??? I was taught here in Maryland that we shouldn’t even attempt to determine these things, for it can get you into a lot of trouble if you’re wrong. I don’t want to pay to have anyone’s system converted one way or the other.

Disclaim in every Report…
Unless you know actually and factually…

Hi Gary

What the hell is a realtor emailing you about what “my inspector” and/or his/her inspector stated?..canning his/her inspector?—:smiley:

Regardless, if the property is out in the boondocks, and I can’t find a clean-out, I usually question someone regarding whether the shaq is on a septic or public system just out of curiosity.

I state in the report where the cleanout(s) are located, but not what its connected to, because as you know we can’t determine much even removing the caps looking downward.

A couple times in the past nobody really gave it any thought, I couldn’t find any cleanouts, then they had to have a septic tank company inspect the system when they thought is was connected to a public sewer.

In this area (like my own property)
There are no exterior vents or caps (clean outs)
This is typical of construction in this area whether Septic or Municipal Sewer…
A General response
is not sufficient…

A Disclaimer within the report
is Required…

Your local mileage may vary…

Typically identifying if a septic system is connected to a sewer or on-site septic facilities is beyond an inspection. My state requires an inspector to identify if it’s Public, Private, or Unknown.

The MLS or other online sources can be used, but the inspector should state the source and that the client verify that (e.g. tax records/bills) prior to the close of the transaction.

And a good question is why the agent is asking you now … :shock:

[quote=“joverholser, post:11, topic:63412”]

According to the ASHI SOP inspectors are NOT required to determine:
“whether water supply and waste disposal systems are public or private”

What the heck is an ASHI?!:wink:

Determining if the home is serviced by private waste water system or public sewage is NOT required by InterNACHI’s SOP because there really is no surefire way of determining that with absolute certainty during a home inspection.
2.6.I.A is referring to supply, not waste. You should be able to determine if the water supply is private or public. There are any number of indications as to which it is that would be evident during a home inspection.

Nick just to let new HI’s know. Sometimes the pump and pressure tank are not in the basement but outside in what I call a “dog house.” All that can be seen on the inside is the water line. If you find no water meter in the home you must look for the pump and pressure tank outside. If the line is poly or plastic make sure you have a ground rod somewhere outside or in the crawlspace connected to the main service panel.

** Nick just to let new HI’s know.**

** Good reminder, thanks Kevin**

… Roy

Yes, good point to remember. Also consider that some areas have water meters buried outside near the street.