When You May Want a Septic Tank Inspection and What the Inspector Looks For

24 June 2021
 Categories: Home & Garden, Blog


If you own a septic tank, you should have it inspected occasionally. Since the tank is underground, you have no idea what shape it's in until the tank is inspected by a professional. Here's a look at septic tank inspection services and the parts of your septic system that are checked.

When to Have a Septic Tank Inspection

A common time to have a septic system checked is when you're buying or selling a house. As a buyer, you want to ensure the tank is in good shape so you won't have to replace it soon. As a seller, you may want to know if the septic system is in good condition so you can use that as a selling point and so you're not surprised by problems found during a buyer's inspection.

Your state might require periodic septic tank inspections that have to be filed with the state. Even if they don't, it's still a good idea to have an inspection done every few years to make sure your tank is working correctly. You'll also need an inspection if your septic system shows signs of trouble, such as sewage collecting in the yard, sewer odors in your house, or lush rapidly growing grass over the drain field.

How a Septic Tank Inspection Is Done

The septic inspector checks the lid on your tank to make sure there are no cracks and they also check the tank itself as well as the drain field. First, the tank has to be pumped out so the inspector can see the sides of the tank. This might involve hosing down the tank and mixing the sludge to get the tank as clean and empty as possible.

Once that's done, the inspector can look inside the tank using a camera. They look for cracks, corrosion, and tree roots and make note of any problems found. A septic tank should be watertight, and that's one reason regular septic tank inspections are important. A leak releases toxic sewage leak out and contaminates the soil and groundwater.

The video camera can be passed through the drains that exit the tank to visualize the baffle to make sure it's in good shape. The camera can also see inside the drain field lines to look for clogs and other problems in the field.

When the septic contractor pumps out the tank, they also watch for backflow that indicates a possible problem with the drain field. They may also run the camera through the sewer drain that goes to your house to provide a complete inspection from your home to the drain field.

If problems are found with your system, the inspector can let you know about repairs you need to make, such as filling cracks in the concrete tank or clearing out tree roots. If no problems are found, your system may go for several more years before another inspection is needed.