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Thread: What is it? (Septic system??)

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    DIY Junior Member pharmakon's Avatar
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    Default What is it? (Septic system??)

    Went and looked at a home today. The listing states it is on well and septic system. In the middle of the front yard there is this 5 foot slab with a large pipe sticking out. Too small to be a manhole. I opened the lid and it was stuffed with insulation, I didn't pull it out to see what was under it. At first I thought it was the tank itself, but then I saw the eroded dirt under the corner of the slab so it isn't a tank. I thought it might be hidden by a raised planting bed or something, but not sure if that would look just as awkward in the middle of the yard.

    We like the house, but this thing is big and really sticks out in the middle of the yard. Anyone know what it is, and if so what would be required to get rid of it or at least make it less obtrusive? If it helps the house was built in the late 70's.

    Thanks!

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    DIY Member ImOld's Avatar
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    My first course of action would be to find the septic system if you think what you posted is not it.

    There are many configurations of septic systems and especially engineered ones.

    I needed a engineered system on land in the Colorado mountains that didn't look like any septic system I ever saw.

    You might also want to check and test the well water system as you could get burned there.

    Bear in mind you never know what a homeowner may do to anything when faced with a problem they really don't understand.

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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    I think it is a well enclosure with a slab. The insulation is in there to keep the cold air away from the water pipe that comes out of the well head. Plant some bushes around it. You might want to fill in up to the level with the slab but not so water will stand around it. I would grade around it and make it smooth and then plant bushes around it.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Underground propane tank? We have something similar, albet a little lower and without the slab. But we wouldn't cover the hookups or gauge with insulation.

    If you're thinking about buying this place, you sure as heck want a professional to analyse: (1) any well water system (and test the water); and (2) any septic system. Those are two potentially-ruinous expenses that you absolutely must bring to ground through a professional analysis by someone bonded and insured so you can be made whole in the event that they are wrong.
    Last edited by wjcandee; 01-18-2014 at 12:07 PM.

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    DIY Junior Member pharmakon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight. If we end up with an accepted offer I will definitely have the septic and well both checked out during the diligence period. I imagine these will need to be done by pros within the specific field and not just a general home inspector, right?

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    DIY Junior Member Lowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pharmakon View Post
    Thanks for the insight. If we end up with an accepted offer I will definitely have the septic and well both checked out during the diligence period. I imagine these will need to be done by pros within the specific field and not just a general home inspector, right?

    In our County, The Health Dept will inspect well and Septic prior to sale. I think you can request this from Seller.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    There are home inspectors (and/or folks like septic system engineers) who have expertise in certain disciplines and who don't have a dog in the hunt as far as repairs are concerned: i.e. they're not also going to be proposing to do the work. However, some folks who also do the work have sterling-enough reputations that they aren't going to try to sell you something you don't need. In my jurisdiction, I can think of three different inspector/engineers I would trust to evaluate a septic system in a home I was going to purchase, as well as a couple of septic system companies that I think would give me a straight answer. The engineers often aren't that expensive; you just have to find them, i.e. through yellow pages, Angie's list, or questioning the local building department for the names of engineers who routinely file paperwork with their department (they might be loathe to offer a straight-up "recommendation", but might feel it appropriate to tell you some names of folks who do a lot of work in their jurisdiction). Certainly, if one recommendation was to do work or make changes, I would also get a second opinion, or perhaps the homeowner who was trying to sell the place would be incentivized to come up with a second opinion.

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    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell View Post
    In our County, The Health Dept will inspect well and Septic prior to sale. I think you can request this from Seller.
    That's a nice service. I don't believe they'll do that in our jurisdiction so it didn't occur to me. Definitely worth seeing if you can get an authority to do it.

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    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Don't let some home inspector fool you into thinking they know everything about everything. Get an experienced well guy and septic guy out there to do a thorough inspection.

    Two things you need with a house is water and a way to get rid of it.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Around here, having a professional well inspection, water test, and septic inspection are often terms of the real estate sale that are requested to be paid by the seller in the contract.

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    For questions like what it is, I would start by asking the owner. Your real estate agent might be the person to pass the question through if you are using one.

    I am thinking well, but propane, or even butane, sounds reasonable too.

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    DIY Junior Member pharmakon's Avatar
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    Unfortunately it is an REO (foreclosure), so I am not able to get much info from the seller about the property. As an REO property, it is being sold "as is" so definitely buyer beware, but I love the neighborhood and the price is right. I just need to make sure I get everything checked out as thoroughly as possible I guess. I will talk to my realtor about what is customary in the state for who pays for these, but it is likely I will need to to cover myself. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Attached is a link to all NC Environmental Health Offices by county. They may have information on both the well and septic system on your property. Most counties do septic and well verifications if requested. Permits are required for wells and septic systems in NC and the counties keep records of installation permits and repair permits.


    http://ehs.ncpublichealth.com/docs/ehsdir2014.pdf

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Just "looking" at a picture tells us absolutely NOTHING about what its purpose could be. We are guessing so it could be anything from the entrance to a fallout shelter to the silo for a small ICBM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Member ImOld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Just "looking" at a picture tells us absolutely NOTHING about what its purpose could be. We are guessing so it could be anything from the entrance to a fallout shelter to the silo for a small ICBM.
    You must be as old as I am if you remember fallout shelters

    As another reminder OP, professionals must check your well and septic.

    NOT, home inspectors.

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