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Photograph of a septic cleaning contractor opening a septic tank for inspection and pumping.Guide to Levels of Septic System Inspections & Tests

  • SEPTIC INSPECTION LEVELS - CONTENTS: Guide to types of septic system inspection & testing by level of depth & detail. Guide to levels of septic inspections: visual inspections, loading & dye test septic inspections, & Level 0, 1, & 2 Septic System Inspections
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about levels of septic system inspection and testing - what are the different approaches to septic system inspection and testing and how far should you go in testing?
  • REFERENCES
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Septic Inspection & Testing Levels Defined:

This article describes the parameters of different types and levels of septic system inspections, including pre purchase home inspections of a septic system that rely on visual inspection alone, septic loading and dye tests, and more thorough septic system level 0, 1, and 2 inspections.

We give in-depth information about conventional septic tanks, drain fields, septic pipes, and septic waste handling. This septic system inspection article provides additional links to complete details about septic system inspection, test, repair, and design articles, including our online septic systems book.



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Levels of Septic System Inspection and Testing

Sketch of a failed septic system on a difficult steep rocky site.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Watch out: Anyone inspecting septic systems MUST be familiar with the hazards and safety concerns discussed at SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS [Above photograph shows the start of a septic dye test.]

Our term "septic system inspection level" refers to the thoroughness of the septic system inspection ranging from level 0: very basic to level 3: about as much inspecting and testing as can be achieved without compeltely digging up the entire system.

Each higher septic system inspection / testing level adds information about the condition of the septic system and increases the confidence in its assessment.

The septic inspection level system is cumulative: that is, each septic system inspection or test level presumes that the steps in the lower level(s) have also been performed.

Article Contents

LEVEL-0 Septic Inspections - Basic Visual, Loading & Dye Test - Home Inspection Procedures

The minimum quantities of water and septic dye needed are discussed in a separate chapter
at Septic Loading and Dye Test Procedure Details - a chapter of "Inspecting, Testing, & Maintaining Residential Septic Systems".

ADDITIONAL LEVELS OF INSPECTION for real estate transactions and for problem diagnosis and bidding prior to actual repair work.

Level 1 Septic System Inspections - Visual, Open Covers, Inspect Equipment, Loading & Dye Test

Photograph of septic dye test - You are at the (C)Copyright Protected 2006-1986 Septic System Information Website - Septic Tanks, Septic Fields, Septic System Repairs, Septic System Design - this sketch is a Septic tank

A level 1 Septic Inspection can be performed by a home inspector or other expert. Some municipalities require this test be performed only by specifically licensed septic contractors or engineers. This is the Pennsylvania PSMA definition for level-1.

If septic tank pumping is required, such as in PA, the inspector should be present before, during, and after tank pumping in order to observe important indications of septic system condition such as damaged or missing baffles, baffle overrun, abnormal septic tank levels, or backflow into the septic tank during pumpout.

Also see our Inspecting, Testing, & Maintaining & Designing Residential Septic Systems - Septic Systems Online Book

Level 2 Septic System Inspection Includes - Visual, Open, D-Box, Pump & Inspect Septic Tank

septic tank being pumped in winter in New York

Because a Level-2 septic inspection requires septic tank pumping, the inspector should be present before, during, and after tank pumping in order to observe important indications of septic system condition such as damaged or missing baffles, baffle overrun, abnormal septic tank levels, or backflow into the septic tank during pumpout.

Also see our Inspecting, Testing, & Maintaining & Designing Residential Septic Systems - Septic Systems Online Book

Level 3 Septic System Inspection Includes - visual, open, pump, soil percolation, site engineering

wet drainfield

This article series answers just about any question you might have about buying or owning a house with a septic system. Septic system inspectors should also see the septic inspection and testing details found
at SEPTIC DYE TEST PROCEDURE. Septic testing class presentations, photos, sketches, tables, links to products and consultants are provided.

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Continue reading at SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION WORK SHEETS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see SEPTIC TANK ACCIDENT REPORTS

Or see SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS and also see SEPTIC TANK GRASS or SNOWMELT - clues indicating septic system failure

Or see SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE - home

Or see SEPTIC DRAINFIELD INSPECTION & TEST - home

Or see SEPTIC LOADING & DYE TEST PROCEDURE - home

Or see SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS

Or see SEPTIC TANK INSPECTION PROCEDURE - home

Or see TYPES OF SEPTIC SYSTEMS - master list

Suggested citation for this web page

SEPTIC INSPECTION LEVELS at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to SEPTIC SYSTEMS

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