Septic Inspections & Septic Certifications
ADEQ Certified License # 8665ITC
Residential & Commercial Septic Inspections
For Estimates & Service, Call 480-304-5611
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” – Benjamin Franklin
Green Arrow Environmental Services, Inc is an ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality) qualified and certified septic inspector to perform septic inspections and septic certifications for ownership transfers when a property containing an Onsite Wastewater Treatment Facility (OSWTF), commonly referred to as a septic system is sold or transferred. A septic system generally consists of two components: the septic tank and the disposal or absorption area. The septic tank can be made of concrete (precast), fiberglass or polyethylene. The disposal area has many synonymous terms which include absorption area, drainfield, leaching area or leach bed, etc. This area can consist of a seepage pit, trench, bed or other approved method.
As of July 1, 2006, according to Arizona Administrative Code, A.C.C. R18-9-A316, any person selling or transferring ownership of any property that is serviced by an onsite wastewater treatment facility (conventional or alternative), must retain a qualified inspector to inspect the facility (septic system) within six months prior to transferring ownership of the property. Previously only newer systems were required to be inspected. With the adoption of this new rule, ALL septic systems are required to be inspected BEFORE ownership (sale or transfer) of the property occurs. In order to accomplish this, we are here to help you through the entire inspection and transfer process to help you ensure that you are in compliance.
What’s involved with a septic inspection?
First, the buyer or seller will choose the company or inspector to hire and pay to perform the septic inspection who will provide the certification for the transfer of ownership of the septic permit on the property. Next, the septic inspection involves properly obtaining the documentation needed to accurately identify the septic system and permits on the property through a septic system public record request. This is generally done through the county in which the property is located and the inspector or qualified company will assist you with the proper method of requesting this documentation.
Once at the property, the inspector will generally provide the following scope of work during the septic inspection which could consist of a minimum of 2 hours. All septic inspectors MUST use the same standardized form provided by ADEQ called Report of Inspection when performing the septic inspection. Locating the septic system is done with the use of the documentation received from the county and if it is not available, Green Arrow Environmental Services, Inc. uses electronic locating equipment commonly used to find and locate underground utilities. Also, water probes are a great tool to penetrate the ground quickly and accurately map out a septic tank – not so helpful if there is no running water. Most septic tanks are buried at least a foot to three feet or more underground and in most cases at least 10 feet away from any building structure. Once the septic tank is located, the inspector provides the labor and/or equipment to dig or slightly excavate the surface above the septic tank in order to access the lid or lids to the septic tank. Older style concrete septic tanks may have a slide back lid, one 18″ lid (round or square) near the center of the septic tank with additional 4 x 4 square access ports at each end of the tank. Newer style septic tanks have two 24″ round lids – one is for the inlet (solids) side of the tank, the other is for the outlet (effluent) side. In either case, it is more important to access the largest lid to properly access the inside of the septic tank, inspect the internal components and pump out, clean and remove the contents of the septic tank.
Once the lid is removed, this begins to tell the inspector many things about what has been going on inside the septic tank. A good inspector will note the liquid level inside the septic tank then perform a flow test to monitor when the liquid level rises and determine if the septic tank is draining properly. Once the flow test is complete, the inspector will make note of how much scum (floating matter) is inside the tank. A pole or tape measure is generally required for this step. At this point, a determination will be made whether or not the septic tank needs to be pumped. About nine times out of ten, the septic tank is always pumped. Green Arrow Environmental Services, Inc. owns and operates their own fleet of pump or vacuum trucks. All work is done in house with no subcontracting to control costs and ensure the same inspector is working on this extremely important septic inspection of a major component of the plumbing system in a septic system environment.
Now, with the contents pumped out of the septic tank, special note is made to the type and condition of the baffles that are inside the septic tank. They are checked for corrosion, concrete deterioration, clogging, and/or collapse of any piping, etc. The septic tank is checked for cracks, roots, or anything that could compromise the structure of the septic tank. Older style tanks are generally oval by design and have concrete baffles and may have only one compartment to the tank. Newer style septic tanks if made of concrete or precast, are rectangluar and have two compartments. If the system was installed in 2001 or after, the outlet side may also have an effluent filter which prevents floating matter from entering the drainfield or absorption area. It is extremely important that the effluent filter is removed, washed off and reinstalled correctly. Installing incorrectly will cause serious issues with the septic system, including a back up sewage inside the house or establishment.
For future use and reference, the inspector will draw the general layout (map) of the septic system which will be provided in the Report of Inspection on page 7. This is invaluable when maintaining your septic tank and having it pumped out every three to five years. First, it will help save you money when having a professional company like Green Arrow Environmental Services, Inc. comes out to pump out your septic tank. The map will quickly identify where the septic tank is located so there is additional cost of locating the septic tank again.
After going through a variety of other checklist items on the inspection report about the septic tank and the internal components, the lids can be put back on the septic tank and the tank can be buried. A good inspector will ensure they return the yard to as near original condition as possible. Landscaping obstacles such as boulders, curbing, trees, bushes, concrete or pavers etc. generally may add additional costs to the septic inspection due to the additional hindrances of accessing the septic system they can cause.
Once the onsite inspection of the septic system is completed the inspector will need to properly fill out to very important documents that can either be emailed, faxed or mailed. These documents include the Report of Inspection which is the actual inspection report that will need to be provided to the buyer for their review of the septic system. The other document is the Notice of Transfer or N.O.T. which includes information from the Report of Inspection. The N.O.T. is generally filed with the appropriate county after signing and close of escrow. These forms are generally received within 24-48 hours after the onsite septic inspection takes place.
When completing a thorough septic inspection as detailed above, the cost of the inspection can vary based on the scope of work, landscaping obstacles involved and the size of the septic tank. Estimated costs for a thorough septic inspection can range from $500-$1,200.
IMPORTANT NOTES – Septic inspections and the accompanying report are good for six months from the date of inspection. Also, the Notice of Transfer requires a fee of $50 to be paid to the county upon submittal of all properly filled out documentation. This fee is in addition to the pricing mentioned above and is paid directly to the county.
For more questions about septic maintenance or septic inspections and costs, please call us at 480-304-5611.