Post Construction Site Evaluation

Post Construction Site EvaluationA visit made by the builder or septic tank contractor after the job is completed can impress the residents and provide opportunity to ask questions about the system. If the visit is figured into the bid for the job, a regular practice to add this step to every job can lead to a positive relationship with the homeowner.

The homeowners may not know the location of the septic system or how to manage the operation of an onsite septic system. The occupants must be advised the septic tank has an effluent filter for a reason, and it must be serviced periodically to prevent sewage backups. Checking the final grade, roof runoff pattern, operation of pumps and alarm (if present), and other items regarding the home construction can promote satisfaction to a job well done and possibly provide opportunity for additional work if needed. If a downspout is directing runoff where it was not intended to or if excessive fill cover was added to the site, these can affect system performance and should be corrected. Knowing the number of residents and if multiple loads of laundry are being spaced can be a relief instead of a warning for possible system overuse. Poor treatment to the wastewater can occur when excessive flows reduce the retention in a septic tank and saturate the drainfield more than the amount it is designed for.

During the initial visit to look at the system, did you discover that the septage is the same color as the paint on the house? Was there sewage surfacing on the ground because the pump and alarm were unplugged? Where is grease discarded that is generated in the kitchen? What is the temperature setting for the hot water heater? Are there abnormal odors noted i.e. sewer gas, strong chemical odor? How often is the garbage disposal used? Is the homeowner aware there is an effluent filter in the tank that should be cleaned periodically? Are there signs of system overuse? Where was the vehicle parked that was used to move the furniture into the house? Are occupants using daily medications or is there a chemotherapy patient in the home?

The visit could provide an opportunity to offer service to the system in years to come. A contractor that includes a visit to examine the work completed has an advantage to warranty the work performed and to solicit service as needed. A maintenance contract may be agreed to inspect the system periodically and to service the system on a regular basis.

Story by Albert Royster

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