Frequently Asked Questions About Property Transactions
1. I am buying a rural property with an on-site
system, what should I ask the vendor?
2. I am selling a property with an on-site system, what should I tell the buyer?
3. What should I look for when assessing a property?
4: What are some of the signs of problems or failure of an on-site system?
If you are buying a property with an on-site system, you should ask the following questions:
- How old is the system?
- Does the system have a permit? Ask for a copy.
- Is the septic system working properly (no sewage back-up, foul odours noticed)?
- Where is the septic tank and leaching bed?
- How often has the tank been pumped? By whom?
- Have there been any repairs? If so, what did they consist of? Who performed them? What was the cost?
If you are selling your property, you should give the buyer the following tips:
- Pump the tank every 3 - 5 years;
- Do not pour hazardous chemicals down the drain, harmful chemicals will pass through the system and may end up in the groundwater;
- Do not use septic tank additives (not proven effective, may be harmful);
- practice water conservation (less water used, the less your system has to treat);
- Don't use a garborator;
- Must have a permit to repair a system;
- Must contact local inspector if putting an addition onto the house, or adding a Jacuzzi or pool etc.;
- Divert roof drains away from the tank and drainfield (can overload >saturate= the soil in the area).
Look for the following items when assessing a property with an on-site system:
- Presence and location of the septic tank and the leaching bed;
- Accessibility of tank for maintenance;
- Roof drains directed onto the leaching bed;
- Leaching bed has been shaped to shed water;
- Trees and bushes are planted away from the leaching bed.
Signs of system problem or failure include the following:
- Sewage ponding in the leaching bed;
- Sewage back-up into the house;
- Sinks and toilets draining slowly;
- Sewage odours;
- Spongy or mushy ground in the leaching bed;
- Lush green growth or uneven growth of grass on the leaching bed .