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?

 

Q1. I am buying, what should I ask the vendor?

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?

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Q2: I am selling a property with an on-site system, what should I tell the buyer??

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).

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Q3: What should I look for when assessing a property?

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.

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Q4: What are some of the signs of problems or failure of an on-site system?

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 .