What is a Septic System?
A traditional residential waste-water system, or otherwise known as a “Septic System” is a single, separate waste-water treatment system. The “Septic System” uses the onsite soil to treat small waste water flows. Most times “Septic Systems” are found where public sewers are not available, such as rural areas, However, “Septic Systems” can be found in residential areas serviced by public sewers, where the public sewers were installed after the home was originally built. While each “Septic System” is individually designed for the specific site, they are mostly based upon the same principles.
A traditional “Septic System” is made up of a septic tank, a distribution box, a drain field which provides soil absorption, connection pipes and distribution pathways.
The septic holding tank provides an environment where the lighter, gray water scum and the heavier solids in the waste-water separate leaving liquid material. Primarily, the Septic Tank “holds” the heavier waste material and prevents it from reaching the drain field. In a functional Septic system, only the liquid material is carried to the drain field and thereby absorbed by the soil.
The heavier waste material, contained inside the holding tank, are in part, broken down by bacteria in the holding tank. Any remaining heavy material, (not broken down by the bacteria), is periodically, (every 2-4 years), removed or “Pumped” out of the Septic Tank by a qualified Septic Service. Treatment of the waste-water occurs in both the septic tank and the absorption field.
A breakdown of the Septic System can cause sewage to back up into the house, drains to empty slowly or appear “plugged”, Wet spots and or unpleasant or noxious orders in the grass or vegetation on the property to name a few.
What is a Septic Dye Test?
In our opinion, the best method to determine the condition of the Septic system is to have a septic services company perform a complete evaluation of the septic system. This usually requires the septic and possibly distribution tank covers are opened, the septic tank is pumped and a camera/video inspection of the system is performed. This type of testing is somewhat destructive (as landscaping maybe damaged as covers are opened, equipment is placed on-site etc.) and is much more expensive than a Septic Dye test. Contact a septic services company to understand this type of inspection, its value to you and cost to perform. Should this type of testing not be an option for your real estate transaction, then a Septic Dye Test maybe a viable option for you.
A Septic Dye Test is a low cost, non-destructive way of testing Septic treatment systems. It is not a full evaluation of a sewage treatment system, but does provide valuable information regarding the present performance of the system. The Septic Dye Test is a “point in time test” and does not provide a guarantee of the present, or future, performance of the system.
The septic dye test is suited for the evaluation of septic systems in real estate transactions as the test does not result in damage to the property and creates little disruption to the current homeowners while the test is being performed.
The Septic Dye Test is carried out by placing a harmless fluorescent dye into the waste-water in the home. In addition, a prescribed amount of water flow is placed in the homes waste system over a period of time. Visible components of the home waste system and Septic System are then observed for evidence of dye or sewage liquid waste.
At the conclusion of the test, a written report of the Septic Dye Test results is provided to the client.