Clermont County Public Health offers a septic system inspection service for homeowners who would like to have their septic system inspected. This inspection can be requested by the homeowner at any time, however, it is most commonly requested by potential home buyers so they can have a Household Sewage Treatment System (HSTS) inspected prior to purchasing a home. In some cases, an inspection is required by the lending institution as part of the loan process and in other cases, the buyer requests an inspection from the seller. Regardless of how the inspection is generated, it is always a good idea to gather as much information as possible about the HSTS prior to purchasing a home.
Clermont County Public Health maintains a database that has information about past inspections and Operation Permit Inspections. This information can show trends such as reoccurring problems or consistent passing assessments. Reoccurring problems should raise a red flag for the potential buyer. If the system consistently passes the operation permit inspection and there are no issues, then that may indicate the system has been well maintained, but unfortunately, even that is no guarantee. Never assume that just because a system passed its last operation permit inspection that it is operating properly. A system’s operation can change relatively quickly and a system that was operating properly at the last assessment may develop problems by the next one.
When a loan inspection is conducted by Clermont County Public Health the inspector attempts to gather as much evidence as possible about the performance of the HSTS. Many things can affect the performance of an HSTS and these things also affect the inspector’s evaluation of the system. If a home has been vacant for several weeks or more the lack of water usage can make a marginal system appear to be operating. Likewise, a home being sold during the dry months of the year can mask a problem that shows up during the wet months. A home where the system is working fine but is only occupied by one or two persons may not be able to handle the waste flows from a larger family. Below are some phrases you are likely to see on a Loan Inspection report and what they mean.
The system is undersized by today’s standards. – What this means is that the system is older and if it were to be installed under the current regulations it would be bigger with more capacity. This should be telling you that you will have to watch your water usage so that you do not flood the system.
The system is saturated. – This is saying that the area over and around the soil absorption portion of the system is soft and saturated with water. This could mean that the system is struggling to treat the wastewater it is receiving from the home or that the area the system is in is a wet area, which could adversely affect the system, causing it to fail in the future. If it is the dry time of year, such as late summer or early autumn and the system is saturated, that is a bad sign.
The system appears to be operating correctly. – This is a good thing and it is in the best interest of the new homeowner to keep it this way through routine maintenance and vigilantly watching what goes into the system. Unfortunately, it is not a guarantee that the system will continue to operate correctly. This is a good place to reiterate the caution about being aware what time of year the home is being inspected and the current ground conditions.
To request a Loan Inspection download the Loan Inspection/Homeowner Request Form. For more information please contact us.