Where should the inspector begin the
The inspection should start with the real estate listing
document, not in the back
The listing form determines how many bedrooms the buyer thinks
he is buying. This is important. In most states, onsite systems are sized based on the number of bedrooms in the structure. Once the number of bedrooms being offered is
known, the next inspection point is the initial
system permt. This document stipulates the number of bedrooms the system was built to accommodate.
By comparing the listing statement with the
permit, the inspector can determine if the number of bedrooms “grew” and whether or not the system grew with it. If these two numbers do not agree, the
seller has some ‘splainin’ to do.
This seemingly minor discrepancy (bedrooms being sold vs. bedrooms originally approved) can lead to a municipal requirement for the system to be expanded. Expansion requires
soil testing and permitting - if expansion is even possible.
The alternative is to reduce the number of rooms used as bedrooms. Should all parties agree to a lower number of bedrooms to match the permitted number,
this should not be a “wink-wink, nod-nod” action by the buyer and seller. Here’s why...
Undocumented bedrooms signal increased sewage flows to an essentially “undersized” system. Increased flow is bad. Even in good soils, too much flow is a major
cause of system failure.
Choosing to manipulate the inspection outcome through fancy bedroom counting will likely not hurt the seller, but it could bring great harm to the
Once the basic system capacity is known, the inspector should move to the back (or front) yard to find and expose the septic tank.
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