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  #376  
Old 10/23/17, 5:37 PM
Peter C. Russell's Avatar
Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Alton Bay NH
Posts: 5,307
Default Re: Proper method for inspecting septic systems

Here's a 15 year old Elgen sand filter system in poor to failing condition.

We video scoped the main sewer line and found the D-Box which was full of dirt and sludge. Two inspection holes were dug in the middle and end of the EDA which has three rows. The first hole (beginning) was flooded and the filter submerged. The second hole (end) was flooded to the top of the filter. Black sand was removed from both holes.

We cleaned the D-Box out and the system was functioning but going from two older people to a family of five will kill this system in short order. This system is being used daily with no adverse conditions known to the owners. Luckily, the sellers were there and saw the issue's and agreed they would replace it right away.

I know I've said it before but if someone did a flow test on this system it might have passed without showing any signs of failure. The septic tank was also pumped last month prior to the owner listing their home and the pumper told them the system was in good condition so they were quite surprised. The only way to truly do a proper septic inspection is to actually see what's going on under ground.
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Russell Inspection Services LLC
New Hampshire state license # 57
New Hampshire licensed septic evaluator # 18
Level II Thermographer, ITC
Building Science Thermographer, ITC
Commercial Inspector, ITA

www.newenglandthermalimaging.com
www.russellinspectionservices.com
www.nhsepticinspection.com
www.nh-commercial-building-inspector.com

Serving Alton, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Laconia, Gilmanton, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor and the entire Lakes Region

Last edited by prussell; 10/23/17 at 5:42 PM..
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  #377  
Old 11/8/17, 6:08 AM
Peter C. Russell's Avatar
Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Alton Bay NH
Posts: 5,307
Default Re: Proper method for inspecting septic systems

Another Elgen sand filter system in poor condition. This one is 16 years old, effluent ponding and black sand was observed in both inspection holes.
In addition, the PVC laterals were crushed in both inspection holes due to the weight of the back fill. In NH, prior to 2002, thin walled PVC was used which would crush and eventually split open due to the back fill, after 2002 the rules changes to correct this issue. Although these laterals were crushed they have not split open and effluent is still able to pass through.

In the second photo you can see staining above the filter which indicates effluent regularly rises above the filter and pipe during heavy water usage and slowly drains back down to just below the filter.

Due to the age and poor condition of the EDA we recommend replacement be considered.

Note: We often find with systems like this that are in poor condition and the listing agent and sellers say "it's not in failure" or "I've never had a problem with it" and don't want to replace it. We always use roof shingles as a comparison. We tell our clients, you can look at a roof, know it's nearing the end of it's life expectancy but you certainly wouldn't wait until it starts leaking to replace it, same with septic systems. The conditions are there to show it's in it's later stages of life and should be replaced to prevent back ups in the home or break out at the ground surface. Both of which are considered health hazards.
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Russell Inspection Services LLC
New Hampshire state license # 57
New Hampshire licensed septic evaluator # 18
Level II Thermographer, ITC
Building Science Thermographer, ITC
Commercial Inspector, ITA

www.newenglandthermalimaging.com
www.russellinspectionservices.com
www.nhsepticinspection.com
www.nh-commercial-building-inspector.com

Serving Alton, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Laconia, Gilmanton, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor and the entire Lakes Region

Last edited by prussell; 11/8/17 at 6:52 AM..
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  #378  
Old 12/15/17, 6:43 AM
Peter C. Russell's Avatar
Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Alton Bay NH
Posts: 5,307
Default Re: Proper method for inspecting septic systems

Well winter is upon us and this morning it's 3 degrees out.

Once the ground freezes we rely heavily on our sewer camera to assist us so we can do a thorough inspection.

Here's an example of a pump up system with a D-Box and six row, large diameter pipe EDA. We access the D-Box and video scoped each lateral as well as digging inspection holes around the laterals.

We took some great images inside the laterals which showed very little scum and although 14 years old this system was considered to be in it's early stages of life.

Once the frost gets 5-6 inches in the ground the camera is a great tool for inspections.
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Russell Inspection Services LLC
New Hampshire state license # 57
New Hampshire licensed septic evaluator # 18
Level II Thermographer, ITC
Building Science Thermographer, ITC
Commercial Inspector, ITA

www.newenglandthermalimaging.com
www.russellinspectionservices.com
www.nhsepticinspection.com
www.nh-commercial-building-inspector.com

Serving Alton, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Laconia, Gilmanton, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor and the entire Lakes Region
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  #379  
Old 1/27/18, 6:30 AM
Peter C. Russell's Avatar
Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Alton Bay NH
Posts: 5,307
Default Re: Proper method for inspecting septic systems

Here's an interesting find. Home was built in 1928 and appears to be the original stone drywell. This drywell was constructed using small stones and granite and was covered with a large stone.

The drywell was approximately 6-7 feet in circumference and we guessed the depth to be about the same.

The home was used as a vacation home for many years and the last occupants (elderly couple) lived there full time for the last 40 years.

Because of the large stone covering the top of the drywell we were unable to access the inside. We used the sewer camera to inspect it, pre and post load test, and found it to be in good condition.

We also believe this is original to the home as the original cast iron sewer lines were still in service. The treatment tank had been updated at some point and a PVC line was installed from the tank to the drywell.

Pictures are kind of grainy but you can see the condition is above average for the age. The oldest functioning drywell, prior to this one, I've inspected was 65 years old. Time to update my list.
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Russell Inspection Services LLC
New Hampshire state license # 57
New Hampshire licensed septic evaluator # 18
Level II Thermographer, ITC
Building Science Thermographer, ITC
Commercial Inspector, ITA

www.newenglandthermalimaging.com
www.russellinspectionservices.com
www.nhsepticinspection.com
www.nh-commercial-building-inspector.com

Serving Alton, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Laconia, Gilmanton, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor and the entire Lakes Region
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  #380  
Old 2/1/18, 5:02 PM
Peter C. Russell's Avatar
Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Alton Bay NH
Posts: 5,307
Default Re: Proper method for inspecting septic systems

We didn't have to dig to recommend system replacement for this one.
Also recommended saving the historic artwork!!
Attached Thumbnails
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Russell Inspection Services LLC
New Hampshire state license # 57
New Hampshire licensed septic evaluator # 18
Level II Thermographer, ITC
Building Science Thermographer, ITC
Commercial Inspector, ITA

www.newenglandthermalimaging.com
www.russellinspectionservices.com
www.nhsepticinspection.com
www.nh-commercial-building-inspector.com

Serving Alton, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Laconia, Gilmanton, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor and the entire Lakes Region
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  #381  
Old 2/8/18, 5:05 PM
Peter C. Russell's Avatar
Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Alton Bay NH
Posts: 5,307
Default Re: Proper method for inspecting septic systems

Winter can be challenging when inspecting septic systems but with the right tools it can be done.
Of course one of the most important tools to have is a copy of the plan, if available.
We are seeing about 4 inches or so of frost on top of systems but we haven't been stumped yet!!
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Russell Inspection Services LLC
New Hampshire state license # 57
New Hampshire licensed septic evaluator # 18
Level II Thermographer, ITC
Building Science Thermographer, ITC
Commercial Inspector, ITA

www.newenglandthermalimaging.com
www.russellinspectionservices.com
www.nhsepticinspection.com
www.nh-commercial-building-inspector.com

Serving Alton, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Laconia, Gilmanton, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor and the entire Lakes Region
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  #382  
Old 3/17/18, 7:15 AM
Peter C. Russell's Avatar
Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Alton Bay NH
Posts: 5,307
Default Re: Proper method for inspecting septic systems

Not getting into this tank. Tank is located under a deck and uncontrolled water run off from the roof has caused ponding/ice under the deck including the tank cover. As luck would have it we just removed our roofing torch from the truck. Re-inspection when conditions improve!

Note: If there is that much ice on top of the tank one would wonder how much surface water is adding loading to the system.
Attached Thumbnails
Proper method for inspecting septic systems-dscf3102-jpg  



Russell Inspection Services LLC
New Hampshire state license # 57
New Hampshire licensed septic evaluator # 18
Level II Thermographer, ITC
Building Science Thermographer, ITC
Commercial Inspector, ITA

www.newenglandthermalimaging.com
www.russellinspectionservices.com
www.nhsepticinspection.com
www.nh-commercial-building-inspector.com

Serving Alton, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Laconia, Gilmanton, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor and the entire Lakes Region

Last edited by prussell; 3/17/18 at 7:20 AM..
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  #383  
Old 4/19/18, 7:52 AM
Peter C. Russell's Avatar
Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Alton Bay NH
Posts: 5,307
Default Re: Proper method for inspecting septic systems

Often the discussion of tank inspections come up so myself along with a fellow board member and colleague decided to present a discussion on tank inspections this year at the Granite State Designers and Installers Associations spring conference. Tank inspections are a large part of our training program and includes not only treatment tanks but pump chambers as well.

Here in NH we typically do not pump tanks for the septic inspection opting rather to see the tank in a steady or operational state. We typically will do hydraulic load tests during the inspection therefore like to have the tank full. During the initial conversation with the client we typically ask for the sellerís disclosure regarding location, tank maintenance and when the last time the tank was serviced and by who.

Once onsite we open the tank for a visual inspection, we typically photograph the interior of the tank checking the baffles and the overall condition of the tank, especially to see if off gassing/hydrogen sulfide or other gasses are deteriorating the tank. Additionally, we focus on the outlet baffle to determine the condition.

Many times we discover leaking tanks which may be caused by a crack, leak at the seam where the two-halfís come together, or a missing plug installed by the manufacture to allow water to drain out of the tank while being stored and prior to installation. All tanks that are intact should have the liquid level at the bottom of the outlet pipe any lower is an indication of a leaking tank.


Some leaking tanks are so severe that effluent drains off almost immediately. Other tanks are slow to drain. Based on information disclosed by the seller and our onsite evaluation we will make a recommendation for pumping or further evaluation.

Currently the board of licensure is developing a standard of practice which we donít believe will require tank pumping. Iíll keep an eye on this and have been attending most board meetings. The following pictures are from the discussion we had at the conference that shows different degrees of tank failure from a tank that has significant structural failure to subtle leaks in a tank found in a season home to an active leak that was found in a tank in current use.
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Russell Inspection Services LLC
New Hampshire state license # 57
New Hampshire licensed septic evaluator # 18
Level II Thermographer, ITC
Building Science Thermographer, ITC
Commercial Inspector, ITA

www.newenglandthermalimaging.com
www.russellinspectionservices.com
www.nhsepticinspection.com
www.nh-commercial-building-inspector.com

Serving Alton, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Laconia, Gilmanton, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor and the entire Lakes Region

Last edited by prussell; 4/19/18 at 12:12 PM..
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  #384  
Old 5/11/18, 6:15 AM
Peter C. Russell's Avatar
Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Alton Bay NH
Posts: 5,307
Default Re: Proper method for inspecting septic systems

Continuing on tank inspections. Here's pictures from a commercial building we recently inspected. 16 units with laundry facilities.


The system calls for a 3000 gallon treatment tank with a 2000 gallon settlement tank. The top of both tanks are at grade in the dirt driveway (sees a lot of abuse, especially snow plows). The system was installed 14 years ago and the tanks are re-inforced to carry the weight of vehicle traffic. Current owner has been pumping regularly ever two years.


This is a great system as the primary tank stores most of the solid waste while the second tank allows for more treatment, but more important, settlement of fine particulates that would otherwise migrate out to the effluent disposal area (leech field)



Both tanks were found to be in good condition. Some corrosion from off gassing of hydrogen sulfide was observed but is considered minimal. The second photo is a great example of how the hydrogen sulfide (heavier than air) settles to the top of the floating scum layer.


14 Years exposed to the vehicle traffic and abuse from a snow plow and these tanks were holding up really well.
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Russell Inspection Services LLC
New Hampshire state license # 57
New Hampshire licensed septic evaluator # 18
Level II Thermographer, ITC
Building Science Thermographer, ITC
Commercial Inspector, ITA

www.newenglandthermalimaging.com
www.russellinspectionservices.com
www.nhsepticinspection.com
www.nh-commercial-building-inspector.com

Serving Alton, Alton Bay, Wolfeboro, Laconia, Gilmanton, Gilford, Meredith, Center Harbor and the entire Lakes Region

Last edited by prussell; 5/11/18 at 6:27 AM..
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