A Good Well and Septic System inspection Begins With a Seller Questionnaire

So you are buying a house with a well and septic system and you don’t know here to begin? A good home inspector can be an advocate for the homebuyer to guide them to making the right decisions regarding their well and septic system prior to the sale. Old Line Home Inspections is certified by the Maryland Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association (MOWPA) to do proper well and septic inspections for property transfers in the State of Maryland following the procedures that have been put in place by the Maryland Department of the Environment. If the well and septic system is over 40 years old, inaccessible at grade or if the house has been unoccupied for a year or more, Old Line Home Inspections will partner with an environmental testing expert to do the system evaluation. We will act as an advocate for our clients to make sure they get they get the most complete well and septic inspection available.

File Search and Homeowner/Occupant Interview

The first thing that the inspector needs to do is locate the county records if they are available and begin their assessment based on the historical findings they uncover.

The next step is the homeowner or occupant interview which it is frequently the most important part of the inspection because the information pertaining to the OSDS’s current or past performance may only be revealed by interviewing them or by having them complete a questionnaire.

A good homeowner/occupant well and septic questionnaire should include the following questions:

  1. Is the property vacant or occupied?  If unoccupied, for how long?
  2. When was the last septic cleaning and what was the cleaning frequency?
  3. Name of the person or company that cleaned your tank last.
  4. Is the septic tank accessible at grade?
  5. Where is the absorption system located? (i.e.-Drainfields, Seepage Pits, Mound)
  6. List of any known repairs made on the system in the past and repair details.
  7. Does the washing machine or other greywater lines such as a utility sink or water conditioning discharge to any other place other than the treatment tank?
  8. How many bedrooms in the home and has there been any recent additions made to the home?
  9. Is there a garbage disposal?

After the homeowner/occupant questionnaire is completed the inspector can get started on assessing the physical condition of the well and septic system. If the questionnaire is unfinished or incomplete than the inspection will be much more exhaustive and depending on the condition of the system may require a full tank pump out and/or sewer scope inspection. This goes well beyond the scope of a State of Maryland property transfer inspection but an aging or damaged well and/or septic systems can be very expensive to replace. The homebuyer needs all the information they can get from an inspection to be sure they are going into the purchase with their eyes wide open.

If you want to know more about our professional home inspection services here at Old Line Home Inspections, please contact us at (410) 236-3027 or click here to schedule an appointment.