Sunshine Coast home inspections frequently encounter septic systems. Here’s what you should know about them.
Septic systems are found throughout the coast islands (Bowen, Passage, Gambier, Keats) as well as in the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD). Whereas North and West Vancouver, Gibsons and Sechelt all have municipal sewer systems.
They are used to treat and safely discharge domestic wastewater, when the property is not connected to the city or town municipal sewer system. A septic system contains a septic tank, distribution box and a leach field, plus all the interconnecting piping. Under normal usage, a septic system can last up to 30 years before some repair or replacement is required, with associated costs varying from $3,000 in repairs to $30,000 for a high-end new system. However, the septic tank does require maintenance which consists of pumping it out, usually every 1 to 3 years, depending on usage. Pump-out costs are between $300 and $600.
Home inspectors do not do septic system inspections. There are septic companies that are qualified to provide this service. The inspection will review the system’s condition, if it’s properly located with respect to a well (if there is one) to avoid cross-contamination, if there are roots clogging the drainfield and if the slope and piping are in working order.
It is standard practice for the seller to include the tank pump-out as well as the septic system inspection report as part of their document package, before the closing date. Be sure to contact your lender in advance to know their requirements as they may require a copy of the septic system’s inspection report.
Septic systems are a standard feature of properties outside of municipal boundaries. When well maintaned, they are trouble-free and operate with miminal homeowner attention. Just be sure to know their condition as part of your due diligence process.