Do I Really Need a Septic Inspection?

Yes, Homeowners Should Get Their Septic Systems Inspected

‘Do I really need a septic inspection?’ Homeowners or landlords might be asking this question right now. If you have a private septic system instead of a shared city sanitation line, the answer is yes, you do need one. When your septic system is working properly, you probably don’t even think about it because there are no problems. But if you don’t have a septic inspection done regularly, it will become apparent that your system isn’t working properly.

So, if you already own a home that has a septic tank, Montgomery Sanitation wants you to know the facts. There’s an easy answer to the question, ‘Do I really need a septic inspection?’ If you’re buying a new home, you should definitely have a professional perform an inspection.

Montgomery Sanitation is Very Experienced with Septic Inspections

Montgomery Sanitation has been providing septic tank inspections for new home buyers for many years. The good news in Virginia is if a septic system fails inspection during the buying process, the buyer can terminate the sale. Virginia property owners who have alternative septic systems have been required since 2011 to have a certified operator inspect the site.

We Recommend Septic Inspection Every Three to Five Years

Most septic tank experts recommend homeowners should get their septic tanks inspected every three to five years. In Montgomery Sanitation’s experience, we usually perform the inspection around the time that we pump the tank. We pump the septic tank to keep your septic tank healthy and in satisfactory working order. When we make the inspection of your septic tank, we make sure all of the components of the tank are running smoothly.

Waiting Longer Than Five Years Could Prove Costly

Despite what Montgomery Sanitation recommends, many homeowners wait much longer than five years for our septic inspection. Many wait until their septic tank malfunctions to have our septic inspector perform an inspection. But the septic tank could reach a point of no return. Our inspector might have to recommend you repair or replace your septic system, which can cost thousands of dollars. In these tough economic times, why would you even risk having to sink that much money into a new septic system? According to Home, an installation is much costly than an inspection.

Septic tanks cost between $3,061 and $9,795, or $6,400 on average. A typical 1,000-gallon tank installation for a 3-bedroom home ranges from $2,100 to $5,000. Materials cost between $600 and $2,500 without labor. A complete septic system, including a leach field, tank and piping, costs $10,000 to $25,000. Installing a leach field costs $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the type.”

Source: 2021 Septic Tank & Leach Field Installation Cost Guide – HomeAdvisor

A Walkover Inspection is the Most Common Type of Inspection

There are multiple ways that Montgomery Sanitation can inspect and evaluate your septic system. The most common, and easiest, form of inspection is a septic walkover inspection. It’s really what the term suggests. Our technician will walk over the septic system in search of any obvious signs of drain field leaks. If we find a leak, or leaks, during the walkover inspection, we let you know what needs repair. If the inspector finds a problem before you buy a home, you might want to reconsider buying the home.

Our Septic System Evaluation is the Most Comprehensive Check

Montgomery Sanitation also provides a septic system evaluation. This type of inspection is the most comprehensive of our septic system inspections. Our technicians will find the septic tank and uncover it in addition to uncovering the distribution box. We will also evaluate the inlet line, septic tank, outlet line, and distribution box during the septic system evaluation. Our technician will water test the drain lines to determine the condition of the septic system. We finish up the septic system evaluation by writing a full report and provide a sketch of the system.

Virginia Requires a Yearly Alternative Septic System Inspection

As we wrote earlier, Virginia requires homeowners to have a certified operator perform an alternative septic system inspection. Montgomery Sanitation is a certified alternative septic system operator. We can perform the required annual alternative septic system inspection in and around the New River Valley. We are experienced in performing these detailed inspections. There are various alternative septic system types. The most popular we’ve seen include aerobic treatment, media filters (peat moss, sand, textiles), or a combination of the two.

Here is What Our Inspector Will Do During a Septic Check

There are some questions our inspector will ask homeowners during the inspection: What is the age of the house? When was the last inspection? How old is the septic tank? The inspector will also check the house’s water pressure and drainage by flushing the toilets and running water from the faucet. We might even add dye to the water to see how much of it ends up in the septic system. We will check the drain field to see if the drain field has standing water and there are no cesspools. Our inspector will finish the inspection by running the pump to check the absorption area for backflow.

Keep a Record of Septic System Inspections

At Montgomery Sanitation, we recommend keeping a record of your septic inspections. These records will let you know when your next inspection should happen. The notes will also help you keep track of maintenance or repairs that we made. They will answer the question, Do I really need a septic inspection?


Give Montgomery Sanitation a call at (540) 382-2205 or Follow us on Facebook. Talk to our team today to find out more about why you need a septic inspection.