Georgia, procedures to inspect septic systems are as varied as the number of inspectors providing the service. Unfortunately, typical septic tank/soil absorption systems are designed and installed in a manner that resists easy access, and more importantly, resists regular maintenance. Out of sight, out of mind.
In Larimer County, Colorado, the local Department of Health and Environment policy is to require that the septic tank access hole be exposed, and the sludge be removed from the tank so that the inspector can visually inspect the condition of the inside of the septic tank. The inspector then does a visual inspection of the surface of ground above the leach field to determine if there is evidence of surfacing sewage effluent presently, or in the past. The home owner is interviewed to estimate the flow rate of sewage the system has received, asked if the system has ever failed, and asked about the maintenance the system has received in the past. The inspector then makes a determination as to the adequacy of the system to treat the estimated volume of sewage generated in the home.
The procedures for septic system inspections in other jurisdictions may include only a visual inspection of the surface of the ground in the vicinity of the septic tank, and the leach field. The inspector sniffs the air to determine if the tell tale odor of sewage is present, and asks the home owner if they have had any problems with the system. If problems are not obvious, or admitted, the inspector then approves the system for continued use. This inspection process is a joke, and produces no credible information for the mortgage lender, nor the new home owner with which to make a decision. JWA