I know many of you do not typcially work with Septic Systems, but in my area, there are many "rural" areas where Public Sewer is not available and must use Septic Systems Did you know there are differences between selling homes with septic sewer systems versus the more common public sewer system.
Cities and towns, and their immediate surrounding areas, will be on sewer systems that are maintained by the local public works department. If a neighborhood is outside the area serviced by the local sewer system, the homes will generally use a septic system to handle their sewage and waste water. Older homes have "conventional" Systems and newer homes are typically built with "Sand Mound" Systems.
There are things everyone should be aware of when selling and purchasing a home with a septic system. Often a Buyer won't even consider a home that doesn't have Public Sewer. But knowledge is power. The more you know about Septic Systems, the better informed-decisions you can make. Don't be “frightened away” by homes with septic systems, just because they have never had any experience with them. If properly maintained, septic systems can last the life of the home.
It is very important that the seller is aware and discloses whether they have a traditional septic system which should be pumped every 3 to 5 years versus a “holding tank” septic system which has no drain field and may need to be pumped much more often. Sellers need to know exactly where the system is located to avoid accidently drilling into or covering the system. If you purchase a home with a Septic System, there are best practices for septic system maintenance. At a minimum, do NOT flush paper towels, baby wipes, cigarettes, coffee grounds, cat litter, medications, or hazardous materials. Avoid dumping grease, oils or fats down the drain as they may solidify and contribute to blockages. A neat trick I picked up at a seminar was flushing a dime sized piece of baker’s yeast every three months to maintain healthy bacteria growth. Don't ignore your Septic System. Schedule regular septic pumping serivce and stay ahead of any potential issues. This is the best way to prolong the life of your septic system.
Buyers should always have the septic system inspected to make sure it is functioning as it should be before they purchase the home. Normally the buyer pays for all the inspections. However, per the Agreement of Sale, if it is required by the inspection company, the seller, at the seller’s expense must pump the septic tank. The buyer might opt to have a Hydraulic Load Test when the property has been vacant. The test verifies that the system can efficiently receive and filter a volume of liquid that would normally pass through the tank on a “peak flow” day.
Again, a well maintained septic system should last the life of the home! Take advantage of not having a monthly Sewer bill. Personally I lived with a Septic for the first 55 years of my life and had very good experiences with my systems.