Well flow testing and septic dye testing.

Currently in my areas I have been getting calls about Well Flow Testing and Septic Dye Tests. I cannot find anyone to contract these services to. I do not have a lot of knowledge about either and I did take the InterNACHI Well and Septic Inspection course but still do not feel confident in offering these services yet. I have been looking around for more courses on these service but have had no luck. Is there any more info or courses on Well Flow Testing and Septic Dye Testing that someone could direct me to. *


Well flow is pretty straight forward. Get your flow rate to 3 gallons/minute and let it run for an hour. I check rate every 15 minutes.If you are going to be doing flow tests you should be prepared to also offer water quality testing. I have a local lab that I use for quality testing. They have set me up with everything needed for sampling. Would recommend finding a lab in your area for water testing. Although there are plenty of guys that use national companies for testing.

As for septic, I personally don’t do dye testing. I don’t think it gives a conclusive assement of the system. These are potentially expensive repairs and I don’t want to assume the liability of giving someone information on the system using inconclusive data. I have several septic guys through out my service area that I sub out the inspection to. I’m sure there must be some septic guys I your area that you could forge relationships with. Or you could find the training needed to conduct proper inspections yourself on the septic. I think pumping out the tank to inspect it is a needed step in the process though and that takes a pump truck.

Thanks Chip that helps a lot. I appreciate it!

Best of luck & GO STEELERS!

Educate yourself from reliable sources such as the local municipal authority as to what is required in your area to inspect septic systems.
Septic dye testing is of no value to most home inspectors clients as it can take weeks to show up at grade if there is a breakout somewhere in the field. In winter under snow even a worse case , buyers simply do not have the time before signing off. As for inspecting a septic system generally you do not want the tank pumped as you can not load test an empty tank. There are several good threads on septic inspections here though and it can not hurt to read up on them.


Educate yourself so you can inspect well and septic systems on your own.

As far as septic systems, go the Ancillary Inspections part of this forum and read anything Peter Russell has posted. Lots of good information!

The only way dye is going to show up outside is if the system is in total failure and it bubbles up out of the ground.
I’m not saying not to use dye but educate yourself on how systems in your area work and what happens when they are working properly or in failure.

Happy to share what I’ve learned and if you want to, kick me an email or call.


check this like out for more information:http://www.psma.net/septic_system_inspections.cfm


Septic system inspections IMO carries more liability than your normal home inspection. First check with your E&O insurance provider, some exclude septic inspections and others charge extra to cover that service. Absorption fields are difficult to inspect. Many factors determine if the absorption field is adequate. If you take some training you will see soil is composed of many layers and each layer has unique properties, including the ability to absorb water and the ability to allow water to pass through. There are several types of septic systems, each have their own unique characteristics, which is related back to the soil’s unique properties and lot sizes. I am sure in your state like mine you will see a wide variety from advanced waste water treatment systems that require an engineering design to raw sewage draining into a ditch. In the wetter months November to April the ground is usually wet so the soil’s ability to absorb the septic effluent is greatly reduced. So declaring a septic system good in August when dry may come back to bite you in April when the soil is saturated. Another big issue is when the buyer’s family size is greater than the seller. For example two older people have lived in the house for the past 10 years with no septic issues. The buyer’s family has four people and depending on their lifestyle may put two or more times the water volume into the absorption field. Guess who gets a phone call. Don’t forget what the new owners put down the drain has a big influence on the overall performance of the septic system, so there is plenty of blame to go around when a system fails. So get training, get insurance and get a good septic inspection agreement. Good Luck.:slight_smile:

A “3 gallons per minute and run it for an hour” attitude will get you in trouble. Before testing well flow you need to know the depth of the well, size of the casing (ID), and the static water level. Without this information, just running the well for an hour tells you absolutely nothing.

My personal well is 8 inch casing, 7.25 ID, 220 feet deep, pump at 212 feet and my static water level depends on the time of year. Currently the water level is at 15 feet, during the summer it is usually around 25 feet. So just my casing alone is holding 438 gallons above the pump. So the question is, using the above recommendation, how does running 180 gallons of water tell me anything, when it doesn’t even come close to emptying the capacity of my casing? **It doesn’t.

**And make sure you don’t drain all that water into the septic drain field…

Stephen is absolutely right I constantly have to tell clients the only way to test the flow and recovery properly is to pump the well dry with a large gas powered pump and then measure recovery. Something I simply am not equipped to do nor have time for and something most sellers would not permit.

Definitely need to get an agreement signed by the seller on a flow test just in case the well gets pumped dry and does not recover. Any area with a lot of building going will have dropped water table levels, and the inspector will get blamed.

I have found that its about setting expectations up front:

State what you are doing for them, do it and stop there.

When offering that ancillary service, I make it clear it is for functionality of well flow and static pressure, at time of inspection.

Get a static reading and then conduct a flow test timed in a bucket with graduation marks. (I run three times to get an average).

Often times there is a well log available through your county health department to forward on to the buyer.