February 20, 2015

PSMA Septic Inspection

Septic Tank Inspection

Septic Tank Inspection

“The Industry Standard”

In Pennsylvania there are no laws or regulations governing onlot wastewater treatment system inspections.  Anyone can call themselves an inspector and take your money. Likewise, there is no government-set method for inspecting these systems. PSMA/NOF’s Inspection Standards and the related processes are described as the “industry standard.”

What is inspected?

  • Treatment Tanks
    • The homeowner is responsible to expose the septic tank lids and to schedule a septic pumper to arrive at the time specified by the inspector.
    • Once liquid levels are observed and the absorption area inspected, the tank is pumped and inspected.  The tank is inspected for physical damage and deterioration that will compromise its functionality, structural stability and safety.
  • Distribution Systems
    Septic Drainfield Probing

    Septic Drainfield Probing

    • The pump/siphon tank (if one exists) is filled to the point of setting off the septic alarm in the home at which point the pump is activated and observed for proper operation.
    • The pump/siphon tank is pumped along with the treatment tank and inspected for the same defects mentioned above.
  • Absorption Area

    • The absorption area is probed using a metal probe rod to determine the amount of dry aggregate (crushed stone).  This measurement is compared to the PSMA standard to determine if the absorption area is functioning properly.  If a problem is found at this stage, the treatment tank will not be pumped.  This will preserve the condition of the system for another inspector should the seller choose to obtain a second opinion.

Don’t be caught by the “dye test myth”

Often we get the request to “just do a dye test” to evaluate the septic system.  While dye can be used as a useful tool, it does not prove anything other than a connection between two points… nothing more, nothing less.