Septic Inspections

Septic Testing:

All septic tests are conducted within the IOWPA Standards set by Indiana Rule 410 IAC 6-8.3, .  This is the rule, or “code” for all septics in Indiana.  As a certified installer & inspector I will inspect your system & attempt to identify the parts of the system.

So what are we going to do?

  1. Pull permits, if time & permits are available.
  2. Identify the onsite system, & ensure the system is what the permit allowed for.
  3. Identify any failures in the system, if the system is in failure & presents a community hazard the local health department will be notified, not because the state requires it.  But, because it is a community health hazard & I live in the community.
  4. Provide you an IOWPA report.  

How do we do this?

  1. Occupant interview
  2. Visual observation of the system, including waste lines in the home.
  3. Probing of the system to identify the parts.
  4. Visual inspection of system, such as opening lids & visually checking the levels of the system.  When access is available.
  5. Sketching of the system
  6. Dyes are sometimes used, but usually to help identify greywater or daylight drains, these are drains that do not go to your septic & discharge to the environment without treatment.


What is a failure?
As defined by the rule. 410 IAC 6-8.3-33 “Residential on-site sewage system failure” defined Sec. 33. “Residential on-site sewage system failure” means a residential on-site sewage system that exhibits one (1) or more of the following:

(1) The on-site sewage system refuses to accept sewage at the rate of design application thereby interfering with the normal use of residential plumbing fixtures.

(2) Effluent discharge exceeds the absorptive capacity of the soil, resulting in ponding, seepage, or other discharge of the effluent to the ground surface or to surface waters.

(3) Effluent is discharged from the on-site sewage system causing contamination of a potable water supply, ground water, or surface waters.

A failed residential on-site sewage system is a health hazard

Does the home need to be occupied?

No, I can still identify the system, ensure that the system is what was permitted.  The system can also be checked for past failures.  The one thing that can happen for a system that has been vacant for sometime, is the level of fluid in the tank can lower do to evaporation.  This will interfere with the fluid observations of the system, but not the inspecting of the system.  For example, if you have a system that dumps into a gravel pit instead of an absorption field, it will not matter if the system is dry or wet.  I still can identify & report to you that the system does not have the appropriate field.

Will you put dyes in my system?

Probably not.  If you have an approved septic then it should take around 2 days for the water / waste from your fixtures to reach the field.  But, if I suspect a grey water drain, then I might use the dyes to help find the outlet.

Are grey water systems allowed?

Yes, if they have a tank & absorption field to be properly treated.  If they just drain out to the garden, sink hole, stream, or yard, No.  If it touches your butt, then it needs to go to the septic field.  So everything must go to the septic field, because hopefully you do wash your hands in sinks.  The only exception is probably the dishwasher, which should never touch your butt, but still needs to go to the septic field.

Will you pump the tank?

No, I do not drain tanks, we can schedule the tank to be drained for the inspection.  This takes a little coordinating, but can be scheduled.  You will have to pay for the pumping of the tank to the tank pumper.  You should have the tank pumped when moving in, so you know the last time the tank was pumped.  Tanks should be pumped every 3-5 years.

Should I have it pumped for the inspection?

That is a tricky question.  It is not required to be pumped.  But, for a thorough inspection you should have it pumped.  But, during a real estate transaction, you may not be purchasing the after all inspections are complete, so you have just done a maintenance item for the home owner.  

Will you dig up the lid?

Probably not.  I am there to inspect the system & verify that the system that should be there is there.  I do enjoy looking at the scum level of the tank, but making holes in people’s yards usually does not make them too happy for a real estate transaction, when the system is not failing & working properly.  If the tank riser is to the surface I do open it when possible.

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