Washer Waste Water

I did a four point earlier today and saw that the washing machine drained right at the house underneath the crawlspace. Question #1 Would you report this in the additional notes section of the report on a four point? Question #2: This home has a septic system. The washer should drain to the septic system, right? :mrgreen:

I asked the Pa DEP about grey water use a while back. It seems that Pa doesn’t allow for any discharge into the environment without proper treatment first. So it seems that it depends on the state’s position. Find out.

BTW, what you describe sounds like more a busted hose than an intentional thing. Because of how dumb it would be to intentionally do that.


There should usually be a separate well for gray water, allowing it to soak into the ground. Much of the bleaches, etc. are harmful to the bacteria essential to the proper operation of the septic system.

It was intentional. I asked the sellers and they claimed that they were told to leave it that way it is better for the septic system. Would you put this in a four point as an active plumbing leak?

Hi Paul,

I would not report it as a problem. I see this all the time. I wouldn’t run my washer into a septic if I had one.

Missouri allows the discharge of gray water on top of the ground with older septic systems. It sounds like by January first, Missouri is not going to allow it unless there is a variance.
I am sure it is different in your state.
I do not see that if it was draining outside a home inspector would need to report it unless the inspector is performing a septic inspection.

here it is discharged into the septic and what You are describing is very wrong…i think You should check with the local municipality…jmo…jim

I think what Paul is concerned with and me too is, “drained right at the house underneath the crawlspace”. Wouldn’t this create a damp location and potential moisture related problems? I think how much it is used would make a lot of difference.

Even though this is in Florida, mostly sand, how about in other areas, clay based?

Any water (especially washer waste water) discharging in or next to a building gets a red flag from me.

If this house is on septic, the washer waste water needs to be installed into a drywell away from the home.

Hi James,

I am not allowed to inspect the septic system as a home inspector in Florida. The inspection must be performed by a state licensed septic contractor. I can only identify that it is there and determine if anything is backing up. So we don’t inspect septic systems in Florida.

While it may be very wrong in your area it is a very common practice in this area. You also won’t find many homes with a septic that have a garbage disposal or a dishwasher.

You also should understand that a four point is not a home inspection. We are looking for specific items to report on. It doesn’t go into as much detail as a regular home inspection. As an example I don’t remove the dead front from any panel during a four point. I don’t walk the roof during a four point.

Take a look at the Nachi four point form as it lists most items that we are required to look for. The only thing wrong with the Nachi form is the question that Bruce referred too. It asks if there are any other damages (which IMHO leaves the inspector open to a great deal of liability if the answer isn’t worded correctly).

I also know from Bruce’s question that the home is over 50 years old or he wouldn’t be using the Nachi form and taking on so much liability.

So it very well could have been legal to divert the water from the washer away from the septic 50 years ago.

It just shows that everything we do isn’t so black and white.

If laundry discharge was harmless, you would wonder why so many jurisdictions are against open drainage of grey water. In my area, the health authority can shut you down and fine you for using a grey water system. They are concerned with ground water contamination. :mrgreen:

From the response I got back from the Pa DEP and talking with ‘others’, Grey water is a ‘gray area’. Meaning what ever isn’t potable, or black water, is grey. So if you allow any gray, all gray is allowed. One source of water contamination is laundry water. I spoke specifically with the DEP about rinse water, and they said a big no. From their studies, fecal coliform can be present, and typically is, from laundry water. So this could lead to surface/runoff water contamination.

Now my conversation with the DEP is 6+ years old, but I’ve not known that they lift regulations after in place. No job security. :wink:


p.s. The introduction of water into a crawl space violates common sense. :wink:

Hey Greg,

How are you finding whether there is solid conductor aluminum. I’d love to not pull the cover on 4 points! :slight_smile:

HI Blaine,

I remove a few of the cover plates for outlets and switches and look to see what type of conductor is there.

Not many things stink worse than old laundry drain water, not to mention the humidity that would come up from the damp crawlspace and the germs that would breed in the stagnate water.