Buying a house with a septic tank

Sponsored Post¦ Considering buying a house with a septic tank, but not sure what that entails? You’re certainly not the first person to have alarm bells ringing in their head as soon as a septic tank is mentioned. Not being on the mains sewage/drainage system is actually rather normal for rural locations, though. It shouldn’t really cause you any problems, but there are things you need to know first as you don’t want any costly problems or mistakes to occur!

The rules

It’s the owner of a property with a septic tank’s responsibility to make sure that the drainage system isn’t discharging into a watercourse. It shouldn’t harm the surrounding environment or cause pollution! If this happens, you could be fined as there are Government regulations (the General Binding Rules) that need to be adhered to.

In an ideal world, the person who is selling a house with a septic tank should have made sure that it complies with all laws and regulations are. Alas, this isn’t always the case. However, if it is something you’re going to be responsible for sorting out it should be agreed between you and the seller and listed as a condition of sale.

Pros and cons

With a property with a septic tank, you’re not connected to a main sewer so you won’t need to pay bills to a water or sewerage company! However, you will need to have your septic tank emptied roughly every year. If it has a sewage treatment plant, you’ll also need to have that serviced approximately every year too.

Avoiding nasty surprises

There are some things you need to find out before you agree to purchasing a house with a septic tank. Firstly, you should find out if the septic tank and its pipework are in good condition and if the current owners have had it emptied regularly.

You should also get approximate costs for emptying the septic tank, as well as how much it will cost to service the sewage treatment plant if there is one present.

You also need to find out whether the septic tank is for your property only. This is unusual, but if it is shared with another property or two you’ll need to find out about what the arrangement is regarding emptying and maintenance. Also, does the drainage system go outside of the property’s boundaries? If so, that could affect any future maintenance or repair work that needs doing.

If it uses a soakaway drainage field, you should also consider whether there is enough room for a replacement one if and when it fails. They have a lifespan of between 5 and 20 years, can’t usually be repaired and you can’t just pop one in the same place.

 

Most surveys won’t cover looking at the septic tank system in much detail. As such, it would be prudent to get a specialist survey done before buying a property with one.

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