This article explains what inspections and tests should be performed after we have determined that a building is actually connected to the public sewer system. In the previous sections of this article on determining if a building is connected to a public sewer or to a private septic tank and drainfield, we explained how to find out if public sewer service is even available on a given street and we gave clues for finding out if a particular building has been connected to the sewer mains.
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to the author. Technical reviewers are welcome and are listed at "References."
This is a chapter of SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION & MAINTENANCE COURSE an online book on septic systems.
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When a Building is Probably Connected to Sewer What Should be Checked?
Sewer Connection Inspection Guide for buildings Built After Sewer System Installation
Action guide when buying a building where a Sewer System is present and the building is the same age or newer than the public sewer system
- The building is probably connected to the sewer: one would expect that a building that was constructed after a local sewer system was installed on its street would be connected to that system. To do otherwise would be costly and unusual.
You should be able to confirm this connection with your municipal building department.
- Inspect the drain system: After confirming that everyone asserts that the home is connected to the sewer line, your home inspector should still test the building drainage system for evidence of leaks or blockage.
The inspector may also check for the presence of a main trap or house trap where the waste line leaves the building.
Remember that usually the sewer line between the building and the sewer main is owned by and is the responsibility of the property owner.
If the sewer line is old, damaged, or clogged, its repair will probably be at the expense of the owner.
- Check the tax bills to see if there is an assessment for sewer costs; check construction records to confirm when and how the building was connected to the sewer system.
- If there is any chance that the building is older than the public sewer system that it is connected to, see
Sewer Connection Inspection Guide for buildings Built Before Sewer system Installation
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Technical Reviewers & References
Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman
Click to Show or Hide Citations & References
- New York State Department of Health, "Appendix 75-A Wastewater Treatment Standards - Individual Household Systems", [PDF] New York State Department of Health, 3 February 2010, retrieved 3/1/2010, original source: https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/nycrr/title_10/part_75/appendix_75-a.htm
- Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf.
- Pennsylvania State Fact Sheets relating to domestic wastewater treatment systems include
- Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-161, Septic System Failure: Diagnosis and Treatment
- Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-162, The Soil Media and the Percolation Test
- Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-l64, Mound Systems for Wastewater Treatment
- Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-165, Septic Tank-Soil Absorption Systems
- Document Sources used for this web page include but are not limited to: Agricultural Fact Sheet #SW-161 "Septic Tank Pumping," by Paul D. Robillard and
Kelli S. Martin. Penn State College of Agriculture - Cooperative Extension, edited and annotated by
Dan Friedman (Thanks: to Bob Mackey for proofreading the original source material.)
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
- Inspecting Septic Systems: Online Book, Inspection, Test, Diagnosis, Repair, & Maintenance: our Online Septic Book: Septic Testing, Loading & Dye Tests, Septic Tank Pumping, Clearances, details of onsite waste disposal system inspection, testing, repair procedures.
- Advanced Onsite Wastewater Systems Technologies, Anish R. Jantrania, Mark A. Gross. Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is a Consulting Engineer, in Mechanicsville VA, 804-550-0389 (2006). Outstanding technical reference especially on alternative septic system design alternatives. Written for designers and engineers, this book is not at all easy going for homeowners but is a text I recommend for professionals--DF.
- Builder's Guide to Wells and Septic Systems, Woodson, R. Dodge: $ 24.95; MCGRAW HILL B; TP;
Quoting from Amazon's description: For the homebuilder, one mistake in estimating or installing wells and septic systems can cost thousands of dollars. This comprehensive guide filled with case studies can prevent that. Master plumber R. Dodge Woodson packs this reader-friendly guide with guidance and information, including details on new techniques and materials that can economize and expedite jobs and advice on how to avoid mistakes in both estimating and construction. Chapters cover virtually every aspect of wells and septic systems, including on-site evaluations; site limitations; bidding; soil studies, septic designs, and code-related issues; drilled and dug wells, gravel and pipe, chamber-type, and gravity septic systems; pump stations; common problems with well installation; and remedies for poor septic situations. Woodson also discusses ways to increase profits by avoiding cost overruns.
- Country Plumbing: Living with a Septic System, Hartigan, Gerry: $ 9.95; ALAN C HOOD & TP;
Quoting an Amazon reviewer's comment, with which we agree--DF:This book is informative as far as it goes and might be most useful for someone with an older system. But it was written in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then. In particular, the book doesn't cover any of the newer systems that are used more and more nowadays in some parts of the country -- sand mounds, aeration systems, lagoons, etc.