Wednesday, January 21, 2009

King County Now Requires Septic Systems to be Inspected at Time of Sale

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In the news recently, I found out that King County now requires all septic systems to be inspected at time of sale. Here is an excerpt from the bulletin issued by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS):

"January 16, 2009. In King County, the seller of any single or multi-family residential property served by an on-site septic system is now required to have a monitoring and performance inspection prior to transfer of title. King County will require the inspection and report to be completed by a King County licensed On-Site System Maintainer (OSM). A copy of the inspection report must be submitted to the Health Department and the buyer prior to transfer of title. The new requirement is set forth in King County Board of Health Code Section 13.60.030."

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Here is in interesting factoid about septic systems from

"Most septic systems are conventional systems that use gravity to distribute the effluent from the tank. When site conditions are not appropriate for a conventional system, other types of systems, such as low pressure distribution or mound systems are sometimes used.

Septic systems cannot dispose of all the material that enters the system. Solids that are not broken down by bacteria begin to accumulate in the septic tank and eventually need to be removed. The most common reason for system failure is not having these solids removed on a regular basis. When the holding tank is not pumped out frequently enough, the solids can enter the pipes leading to and from the tank. This can cause sewage to back up into the house or cause the drainage system to fail as the pipes and soil become congested. These problems are often costly to fix, pose a danger to public health, and are a significant source of water pollution. Seepage from inadequate or failing septic systems can contaminate both ground and surface waters. The industry recommends having a licensed company clean your septic tank every two years to perform preventative maintenance."

One thing I should note is that septic systems can be very costly to redesign and replace. According to Evergreen Septic Design, they can range anywhere from $5,000.00 to over $20,000.00 +. Therefore, regular maintenance is important. Some septic system companies recommend pumping the septic system every 2 to 3 years and others say every 5 years. I, personally, would err to the side of caution and do this every 2 to 3 years. The cost to do so is minimal and would be worth the money saved in having to redesign and install a completely new system.

I found a wealth of information about septic systems on Evergreen Septic Designs' website, so if you are interested in learning more about septic systems, this would be a good place to start. Other information resources include Amman Septic Designs Inc, and King County.

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