View Full Version : Septic Systems

08-08-2008, 11:11 AM
We have found a great deal on a house a couple miles from where we live now. Beautiful place with a 4 car garage (I see another 40 in my future). We were surprised that this house in the middle of the south east metro area has a septic tank and leech field.

The house is 3 years old, so I am sure the system itself is in good shape.

I know to have it inspected before a sale and that you need to have it pumped out every two years.

Apparently, all the homes in this neighborhood have septic tanks. They are larger .8 of an acre sized lots while all the subdivisions around it have city sewer.

This is new to us. I know Mtn homes typically have these with wells, but us city dwellers?

Lets assume for discussion that it all checks out and the inspection checks out, should I be concerned about having a septic system? Is this enough to walk away from what otherwise is a perfect house for us.

Any insight would be appreciated


08-08-2008, 03:45 PM
You have to be careful what you flush/wash down the drain. Grease won't degrade and can plug up the system (clean plates & pans into trashcan before putting them into the sink). Toxic chemicals (think: cleaning) should be used sparingly. Only flush things that are degradable (no feminine napkins, cigarettes, etc.).

When we moved in, we had the system pumped within a few months, simply so we knew where we were starting from.

08-08-2008, 04:01 PM

I have lived with a septic system for the last 14 years. They are fine if properly engineered, installed, and maintained. You really don't need to pump them every two years in my experience. My last system was pumped once in 9 years and that was because we were selling the house and thought it was the right thing to do for the new owners.

We currently live in town (Broomfield) on 2.5 acres and have a septic system. All of my neighbors have septic and a new subdivision to our east has $1.5-$3m homes all with septic.

I think it is important to look into:

*The leech field; where is it, will its location impact the use of your property, are there any critters (prairie dogs) digging it up.

*How far is the leech field form the septic tank? Sometimes there is a big distance between the two because the soil near the septic would not perc. This can also impact your usable land.

*What is the size of the tank and leech field? This could impact your ability to remodel or add onto the house. You want reasonable septic capacity to start. If you have to upgrade the septic for a new bathroom and/or bedroom this could add $10K or more to the project. If you entertain a lot the septic capacity can also be an issue.

Call local septic companies to see if they actually installed the system. I have done this with success in the past. They can give you a much better assessment of the system than a generic septic inspector. If you have lots of concerns about the septic make the seller provide a warranty backed up by insurance in the sale. I did this on my current house and was very happy I did.

PM me if you want further info and we can talk on the phone. BTW-you can buy my '73 40 for that big new garage of your.:thumb:

08-08-2008, 09:33 PM
I too have lived with septic systems for the last 20 years, both in Texas and in Colorado now. I have never had one pumped out either. Water and enzymes have kept my systems working. With your larger family you should not have any issues because just the shower use will be enough to keep things going.

08-08-2008, 10:37 PM
Thanks for the input guys, I feel much better

08-09-2008, 07:08 AM
We were told that the Seller is responsible for pumping out and having the septic system up to snuf here in colorado. But since we were buying a bank owned foreclosure that it did not apply. Any how you may want to ask your agent (if you have one or search local sale laws) about this little piece of mind. Sounds like a great place, a 4 car garage, cool.

08-09-2008, 08:13 AM
Also lived with one from 7 to 18. Never had a single issue.

08-09-2008, 09:43 AM
Same as Robbie, the seller had to get it pumped out then re-certified. The inspector found a cracked lid, so they had to replace the whole thing.. so not sure if it's Colorado or county-dependent, but you could find that out by searching the county's web site of where you're looking.

If it's not on the seller, you could always try to write that into the contract and make them do it anyway... either way, you're going to want the thing inspected before you close. But don't worry about it, I've lived more of my life with septics than without.

08-09-2008, 11:01 AM
We had the County Health Department inspect ours prior to purchase. Despite our home inspector finding some issues the county checked it off.

Like anything just make sure its working correctly before purchase.

Then be prepared to make a few habit changes regarding what you send down the drain. :thumb: