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Septic Tank Inspection Checklists

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What is a Septic Tank Inspection?

A septic tank inspection is a periodic assessment of a residential or commercial septic system’s condition and operation. Local health departments across the U.S. require homeowners and property managers to ensure the proper maintenance of their septic tank to increase its lifespan and protect groundwater from deadly contaminants. Home inspectors also report failed septic systems which can significantly reduce property value.

What is a Septic Tank Inspection Checklist?

A septic tank inspection checklist is used as a guide to properly maintain a septic system, prevent expensive repairs, and immediately take action to mitigate potential septic tank issues. This article features:

  1. what to do before, during, and after a septic tank inspection;
  2. powerful mobile inspection app for trouble-free maintenance and reporting; and
  3. free septic tank inspection checklists you can download, customize, and use.

The Ultimate Guide to a Septic Tank Inspection

A septic tank inspection seems easy to perform, so property managers and home inspectors tend to do it on their own. However, even a septic tank inspection performed by licensed contractors can be fatal when done wrong. Here is what you should do before, during, and after a septic tank inspection:

Before a Septic Tank Inspection

1. Verify the septic system information

Make sure to confirm with the local health department when the septic tank was last pumped, if there have been any repairs, and how old it is. Refer to previous inspection reports and validate the documents with the seller, realtor, or other reliable sources.

2. Determine the system type

Knowing exactly what the septic system is—gravity, pressurized, sand filter, mound, cesspool, or dry well—helps inspectors easily look out for common defects. Taking note of the number of rooms in the property and how long it has been vacant or occupied also aids in the accuracy of inspection results.

3. Identify the location of the system

The septic system as-built drawing indicates specifically where the septic tank, opening lids, and observation pipes are located. Bring it onsite for an efficient inspection process and be accompanied by someone before commencing the septic tank inspection.

During a Septic Tank Inspection

1. Wear rubber gloves and eye protection

Inspectors should wear adequate protective clothing to avoid excessive inhalation of toxic fumes and direct contact with disease-causing bacteria. Prepare the proper tools for a septic tank inspection, including a tape measure for scum and sludge measurement. Prevent trip hazards during the inspection by keeping all tools in one area.

2. Keep open septic holes in front of you

Upon opening the lid, remember NOT to put your head inside nor enter the septic tank. Avoid turning your back from septic holes or leaving them open because it increases fall risks, leading to unwanted injuries (or even death).

3. Use a septic tank inspection checklist

Property managers, home inspectors, and licensed contractors should use mobile-ready septic tank inspection checklists to properly assess septic systems and view the report as soon as you complete the inspection. Easily follow each step—from taking or attaching photos of as-built drawings to capturing your digital signatures for validity and accountability. Identify common defects and training gaps from inspection results automatically collected over time.

After a Septic Tank Inspection

1. Ensure proper waste disposal

Inspectors should clean up after covering all openings and securing all lids. Sanitize all tools and wash your hands. To extend the good working condition of a septic system, minimize using chemical cleaners, lessen washing greasy or oily materials down the drain, and never put additives in the septic tank.

2. Address corrective actions

The septic tank should be pumped when defects are identified through the visual observation, hydraulic load test, or dye test. Fix leaks and clogs before they worsen repair expenses in the future and replace the septic system after its usual 25-year lifespan.

3. Maintain records and inspection reports

Schedule regular maintenance checks to prevent excessive strain, microbial mat build-up, and poor soil conditions in the septic tank. Keep all inspections reports for future reference and analyze inspection results to mitigate potential septic system issues.

Septic Tank Inspection Checklist App

Septic tank maintenance and drafting, submitting, and managing inspection reports can be challenging and time-consuming. iAuditor can enable property managers, home inspectors, and licensed contractors to perform trouble-free septic tank inspections.

  • Capture photo evidence of failed items and assign corrective actions
  • Easily create and use checklists anytime, anywhere, and on any mobile device
  • Send/receive notifications for scheduled maintenance checks and inspections
  • Automatically generate and share septic tank inspection reports onsite. Preview sample report.
  • Use for free with small teams. Unlimited reports and storage, integrations, and real-time analytics for premium accounts.


Shine Colcol

SafetyCulture staff writer

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.