Septic Tank Surveys and Inspections

What you need to know

Septic Tank Surveys and Inspections

What you need to know

Inspection Services for Home Buyers

Arranging a septic tank system and soakaway drain field inspection is perhaps the most important thing that you must do when purchasing a rural property.

The cost of replacing the sewage system can amount to thousands of pounds and the sewage system does not form part of the normal house survey. Septic tanks can become dangerous over time and inspections are essential.

A septic system hangs in a delicate balance between input, processing in the tank, and output being absorbed into the drain field. Without a proper inspection, you are leaving this continuity of the balance up to chance and risking a great amount of potential expense as a result.

Fixing a problem with the septic tank can be expensive, but it is a lot better to find out before you buy the property than afterwards.

Septic tank inspections are essential if you want to avoid problems when you move in.

Get your septic system professionally inspected by our team. Give us a call and book your appointment soon.

Surveys and Discharge Consent for House Sellers

If you are selling a house with off-mains drainage, you will require a discharge consent from the NIEA. This is one of your property certs and a solicitor will not be able to sign off on a draw down without this.

Discharge consents include conditions outlining the quality and quantity of waste discharges. These conditions have been drawn up to ensure that the waste can be absorbed by the receiving water without damaging the aquatic environment or breaching national or European Commission (EC) standards. The department maintains registers of discharge consents. These are open to public inspection.

DTS offer discharge consent submission including percolation tests and maps throughout Northern Ireland. We can also offer, a full drainage assessment for peace of mind for homeowners and sellers alike.

  • Full discharge consent submission

  • Maps required for application

  • Ground percolation tests where required

  • Supply of appropriate treatment system

  • Carry out tests and tracing to ensure storm and sewer connections aren’t crossed as this is against regulation

  • Condition of the septic or treatment tank

  • Evidence gathering and a written explanatory report

  • CCTV of the drainage system to check for any faults

Our Survey Reports include:

These reports will satisfy both mortgage lenders and solicitors.
Home buyers may not be aware that a survey could provide all of the above information which is extremely important.
The water company could be forewarned about defects on their asset, saving time and money on repairs and preventing the buyer from inheriting problems.

Most RICS building surveyors do not carry the equipment to carry out an in-depth survey to a critical part of the structure, everything else can be properly inspected apart from the drainage system.

Buyers are often left in the dark about the condition of drains which are often out of sight, out of mind and can often be in a very poor condition.

Insurance companies are often covering defective drainage as they are unaware of the true condition, a growing number now request a drain survey before offering cover.

  • Structural Condition Reporting/analysis

  • Mis-connections identification and reporting

  • Drainage system ownership – Private / Water Company

  • Mapping – drawing to show drainage system locations and components

  • Detection of Vermin / Rat infestation within the drainage system

Start your project with a FREE Quotation

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A good Septic Tank System Inspection includes:

  • Making sure that the septic tank system complies with NIEA regulations and does not discharge into a ditch, stream, land drain or surface water drain.
  • Checking that the design and size of the septic tank is suitable for the size of your property.
  • Checking the tank for water after it has been fully pumped of all its prior contents. The surveyor will require that you shut off the water in your house. Water flowing into the tank from your house when you have no taps or appliances being used indicates that there is a problem with your drains leaking ground water into them. If there is water flowing in from the drain field outlets, you have a problem with the drain field; further inspection will be required.
  • The septic tank should be inspected for signs of ‘backing-up’ from the drain field soakaway in the past.
  • The inspection should check that there are no cross connection of services and no rainwater is entering the system from the gutters and drains.
  • A good and thorough check of both the baffles and the ‘T dip’ pipes of your system. Baffles are installed on the tank during the building of the tank in the factory and allow sewage effluent to flow between the chambers. Concrete baffles must be checked for cracks cause by external stress, as this could create a major problem for your system down the road. T pipes are the fittings on the inlet and outlet of the tank. They can be plastic or crockery pipes and they must be checked for damage, strength and stability also.
  • The Vendor MUST disclose the discharge point or soakaway drainfield area, under the current NIEA regulations, as septic tanks are not allowed to discharge into ditches, streams or any other watercourse. If the Vendor does not know, then they must undertake a Septic Tank Survey.
  • An assessment should be made of the overall condition of the tank, the risers and the lids and covers. The cover inspection is particularly important as septic tank gases contain Hydrogen Sulphide which turns into Sulphuric Acid in contact with air. This corrodes both metal and concrete over time and the covers become very unsafe. Hundreds of people die in septic tanks each year due to the collapse of septic tank and cesspool covers. Never stand on the cover of a septic tank – it may be the last step you ever take!
  • The system should be checked to make sure that certain appliances do not discharge into the septic tank.

We are experienced

We have over 23 years of experience in the industry

DTS specialise in consent to discharge applications and full drainage surveys for both pre and post house sales. We carry out on-site assessment surveys on existing septic tanks and waste water treatment plants. We offer a comprehensive service from survey to supply and installation often covered via insurance. Unlike dealing with the insurer direct and getting a “settlement” we aim to make sure the adequate funds are available for completion.

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