Septic Issues That Could Sink Your Home Sale

Septic Issues That Could Sink Your Home Sale

 The real estate market is still exploding in Arizona and there has never been a better time to sell your home. If you are on septic, there is one extra step you need to take and that is booking your ADEQ septic inspection. This should be booked as soon as you list the home for sale. Why? Just because the system appears to be working fine, it may have serious issues that have not been detected yet, and won’t be, until the system is properly exposed and examined by a licensed and certified ADEQ Inspector.

Don’t worry, these inspections are good for up to six months from the date of service. It is a requirement in Arizona that you have this inspection before selling your home. Not only does this give the buyer a peace of mind, but it also prevents your home sale from sinking if you end up having a septic system that is failing and/or needs a repair or replacement.

Potential Reasons for a Not Functional ADEQ Report of Inspection

Root Invasion: This is a classic reason why a seemingly functional septic system can fail an ADEQ Septic Inspection. Because the tank is underground and full of water and sewage, roots are often undetected for long periods of time. The presence of roots is an instant indication that the septic tank is no longer watertight or that the disposal field has been infiltrated. If the root invasion point is repairable, we can enter the tank, cut out the roots and seal the entry point (typically through bad lids or unconnected inlet and outlet sewer line connections to the tank). Great for the tree, but not great for your septic system. Roots in the Arizona soil will travel long distances to find water. That is why it is incredibly important to make sure you are not planting any trees/shrubs/bushes near any part of your septic system. Here are some photos of root growth we have found during ADEQ Septic Inspections.


Corroded Septic Tank: Corrosion of the septic tank is something that we often see in older systems. Corrosion is the result of age and/or poor maintenance of the septic system. There is an incredible post through Pumper.com that details what it means to determine the structural integrity of the septic tank during ADEQ Septic Inspections.  A great rule we follow during our inspections is that if the concrete shows signs of corrosion and flaking, we provide photos and information about where and the extent of the issue. Severe corrosion will result in the requirement of replacing the septic tank.  For a plastic tank, if the lid or access hole is misshapen it is an indicator that the tank has been structurally deformed.

Driveway Placed Over The Septic System: Another issue we find is some people are parking and driving over their septic tank and/or disposal field. If you have a driveway on or near your septic tank or disposal field and you drive or park over it, it will cause damage to your system as it starts to weaken the structural integrity of the septic tank and will cause settling, cracks in the tank, bows in the sewer lines, and cave-in of disposal fields. The setback standard for all septic tanks from driveways is a minimum of 5 feet.  (see all setback requirements for Maricopa County here).

Excessive Solid Buildup: Last but not least, we urge you not to forget the three P’s. Only flush pee, poo, and (toilet) paper. Trust us when we say those “flushable” wipes are NOT what the package claims. Flushable wipes are bad for both septic and sewer, they are not biodegradable and are a huge cause of septic issues. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SEPTIC OR SEWER-SAFE FLUSHABLE BUTT WIPES. (sorry to shout, but had to say that loud for the doubters). There is an incredible study completed by Michigan State about the “flushability” of these things.  Additives are a hot topic in the septic industry. Take our advice when we say, do not use these. Additives disrupt the healthy bacteria that your septic system needs to properly function, and they just do not work! Just save your money. Proper pumping and maintenance are key to a healthy system.  If you have a garbage disposal, keep in mind that adding solids to your septic system causes a buildup of scum (grease) and sludge (food waste) in your tank. 

When you make Priority Pumping your go-to septic company, you can trust that we will thoroughly check your septic system during each maintenance pumping service, recommended every 2-3 years. Our entire team, yep, even our office staff, are certified ADEQ Septic Inspectors and we guarantee a thorough inspection of every system, complete with photos. We don’t inspect the easy way, we ALWAYS do it the Right way! 

Picture of Tanya Wilson

Tanya Wilson

Tanya Wilson is the owner and CEO of Priority Pumping. She loves the wastewater industry and all of the opportunities for consumer education.

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