Septic Inspection for Real Estate Transactions

It is becoming more and more common place today for either lending institutions or buyers to request an evaluation of the properties on lot Private septic system. Below are some important facts you as an informed realtor should know about today's septic system evaluation.

Fact: The Pennsylvania Septic Management Association (PSMA) is the only agency that certifies inspectors and utilizes guidelines for septic evaluation. You should always ensure that the inspector you recommend is PSMA certified and a member in good standing.

Fact: A PSMA evaluation is an evaluation of the entire system. Opening the tank, inspection of the absorption system, waste lines, etc. all should be done for a thorough evaluation.

Fact: A dye test is not a proper Septic evaluation. Dye testing provides only limited information and should only be used to supplement a PSMA evaluation if a problem is suspected.

Fact: Sometimes a level 1 inspection only offers limited information. If the evaluation with limitations does not provide enough information for either the buyer or lending institution further testing may be required. Individuals should know this going into the evaluation.

Potential limitations are:

  • Tank or absorption system inaccessibility
  • Long term property vacancy
  • The need for pumping after initial review.

Fact: The evaluation is not a warranty or guarantee that the system will properly function beyond the date of evaluation.

Fact: An HHI septic evaluation base cost is $135.00. Hand digging or pumping, if needed, is an additional cost.