An underground, video camera drain scope allows us to examine your main sewer pipe in real-time to
determine the condition inside the pipe.
The drain scope will identify pipe characteristics such as:
The material of the drainpipe.
There is a wide range of drainpipe construction materials such as cast iron, clay, Orangeburg, PVC, and concrete. Many drain systems are constructed of multiple materials. Each one of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages. The type of materials discovered in your drain system can help determine material longevity, maintenance issues, and costs for repair/replacement.
Overall condition of the drain system leading from your house to the city sewer tap or septic tank.
The sewer drain scope will provide evidence of pipe maintenance, pipe replacement, or additions to the pipe system.
Most importantly, the sewer drain scope will provide us the condition of the pipe system now. If there is pipe damage or obstructions that inhibit proper flow, we will provide video evidence of the problem and exactly where it is located within the pipe.
Sewer drain scope inspections find problems like these:
Broken, cracked, or collapsed pipes.
Offset pipe – sewer pipes that have become misaligned due to shifting soil, frozen ground, soil
settling or other factors.
Blockage – grease buildup or a foreign object restricting or prohibiting proper flow and/or cleaning of the pipe.
Corrosion – the pipe has deteriorated and/or broken, causing sections to collapse and restrict water flow.
Pipe belly – a section of the pipe that has sunk due to ground or soil conditions, creating a valley
that collects debris.
Leaking joints – the seals between pipes have broken or separated, allowing water to escape
into the area surrounding the pipe.
Root infiltration – tree or shrub roots have infiltrated the sewer line, preventing proper water
flow and pipe cleaning.
Obsolete pipes – existing pipes that are constructed of substandard or outdated material that may have deteriorated or corroded beyond safe usage.
SEPTIC DYE TEST
A septic dye test is a non-invasive procedure using a fluorescent dye flushed toilet to determine the condition of the components of the system. Once the dye test has been flushed, water is run into the system from a faucet to flush the dye into the septic tank and to the leach field. A septic dye test can expose obvious leaks and inadequacies in the system and indicate the need for repairs or alterations. However, because this is a visual inspection, the inspector can only report on what is observed aboveground. The test will not tell you what is wrong in the system. Results from a dye test can be seen in as little as 3 hours or as long as 3 days.
WELL WATER TEST
A well water test is a test for basic water potability. Test for levels of lead, bacteria (total coliform), nitrites, nitrates, pH, total alkalinity, and total hardness.
For more information, head to https://www.epa.gov/privatewells
Starting at the house the inspector will first try to establish that the sanitary pipe used to deliver liquid to the system is functional and intact, this is done by performing a flow test. This test involves adding dye to the system then turning on all the water in the house to "add or charge the system" with enough water to support the number of people the system was designed to support for 24 hours, this is generally a couple of hundred gallons. If little or no water flows into the tank there is a problem with the plumbing in the home or with the sanitary line. Much like the sanitary line on a traditional municipal sewer system, this pipe can become displaced or cracked creating an opportunity for tree roots or other debris the clog the pipe and create flooding inside the house. If this is the case the line may require a sewer line inspection (sewer scope).
On the other hand, if the water in the tank rises quickly, there's most likely a problem downstream. What should happen during this test is the water entering the system should force the effluent out through the baffles and onto the leach field.
The flow test is the most substantial part of the septic test because it touches so many aspects of the system and verifies that the liquids are moving through the system in the correct manner.
The next test should be on the tank itself and the levels of accumulated scum, effluent, and sludge, and solids. While the solids are intended to remain in the tank until they are pumped out a good amount of those solids will turn into sludge and move to the bottom of the tank.
The inspector will start by measuring the depth of the top scum layer. Once this is done they then measure the underlying sludge layer. These two layers should be similar in depth each accounting for about 30% of the total tank volume, the rest of the space should be dedicated to effluent. If this is not the case the inspector will be looking for bigger problems later on in the leach field.
The effluent needs to account for a larger percentage of the system because the solids in the tank need time to settle. It is important to keep the solids and the scum out of the distribution area or leach field. These can cause the field to clog and fail, resulting in a very expensive repair.
The final area the inspector will examine is the leach field. This is first done by performing a visual inspection. Looking for any wet areas where water might be resting, they will also be smelling for foul orders created by problems as well.
Finally, the inspector will use a probe to test the leach field for hydraulic stress, this simply means is the leach field flooded. If the probe holes rapidly fill up with water there is most likely a problem with the system.
Another point of potential failure in a septic system is at the distribution box. As the name suggests, the distribution box is responsible for distributing the effluent evenly throughout the leach field. Problems with the distribution box are usually due to settling or clogging.
As you can now see, there is a wide range of potential problems that can occur with a private residential septic system. While most systems continue to work just fine for years, inspection at the time of sale is a wise choice.
1995 U.S. Census data report that over 10 percent of all systems back up into homes or have wastewater emerging on the ground surface and that more than half the systems in the United States were installed more than 30 years ago when onsite rules were nonexistent or poorly enforced.
- 1995 U.S. Census
You want to find out about any potential problems before you close on the property. By making the septic testing a part of the inspection process, you have the ability to get the home seller involved in any subsequent repairs through the inspection objection contingency.