Click for the BBB Business Review of this Water Wells - Inspection in Lake Echo NS
   
  Septic Systems
Septic Tank Locating :: Buyer Beware!!!

Can you answer these questions?

  • Do you know where the septic tank is located?
  • Do you know where the septic field is located?
  • What is the purpose of your septic inspection?

Septic Disposal System is composed of two parts, the septic tank and the septic disposal field. This requires the work of a Qualified Person licensed by Nova Scotia Environment (NSE). Any repairs are to be conducted by a Qualified Installer based on the recommendations of a Qualified Person. Does the person conducting the septic inspection have Errors and Omissions Insurance who is conducting the work? Are they Licensed with NSE?

A list of Qualified Persons can be obtained from NSE at (902) 424-7773 or at wwns.ca (click on "Members Directory" and select "County", press "Search", then scroll through the names.)

House to the septic tank pipeline video inspection does not require the services of a Qualified Person and can be conducted by anyone so Buyer Beware!!! when using these people. If you do not see the Pipeline Inspection Company or name of the Person who works for the Pipeline Inspection Company listed above on the WWNS website or listed with NSE claiming to be conducting Septic Inspections, Buyer Beware!!!. Do they have Errors and Omissions Insurance for providing advice on the septic system and Commercial General Liability Insurance for releasing sewer gases into homes or damages to the septic pipe when removing and or installing the cleanout plug or toilet for video inspection work or removing and installing septic tank covers?

It has come to my attention there is a lot of misinformation being provided with respect to on-site septic systems for first time buyers from certain individuals in the septic industry. I have been informed by various Realtors and first time buyers that a certain Septic Pumper (who is not on my list under septic pumpers mentioned below) has been providing conflicting information confusing them and clients who know nothing about septic systems. The Septic Pumper has been indicating to first time buyers a "Non-Invasive Septic Field and Surrounding Area Inspection with dye test" is not required, that the septic tank should be pumped out first and/or then maybe do a scope from tank to field.

Various problems with this approach are:

  • the tank is buried and no one knows where it is so it will have to be located
  • some septic pumpers not indicating the type of tank or disclosing problems with the septic tank after it has been pumped (I was personally contacted by a lady from England who bought a property locally who had septic leaching all over the ground after she moved in and was only provided a receipt indicating septic tank had been pumped prior to closing as part of the agreement, no one told her it was a rusted barrel with a top that fell apart when tank was dug up to be pumped out)
  • there are many properties where the tank is too deep to be able to run the camera from the tank outlet to the septic field
  • tank outlet cover is not easily accessible or present
  • camera inspection from tank to field can only be as far the tee-connection, may be able to negotiate camera one way or the other past the tee-connection but there are no guarantees
  • camera inspection in the pipe is only as good as to the absence of any sludge or liquid in the pipe which would obstruct any visual observations in the pipe
  • camera does not tell us anything about seepage from the septic field to areas down slope of the septic field such as surrounding water bodies, ditches, etc.
  • we have done video inspections in pipes where a certain Septic Pumper mentioned above had a client in tears and indicated there was a problem with the septic field when it was just a tree root pushing up on the pipe exiting the septic tank to the septic field and the other side of the pipe and drainage into the field indicated no problems
  • we have done inspections where the tank had been leaking at a crack in the concrete structure of the septic tank and the effluent level in the septic tank before it was pumped out was 2 feet below the outlet pipe and it was not mentioned by the Septic Pumper, so no liquid or limited effluent was ever reaching the septic field and the camera inspection from the septic tank to the septic field indicated no sludge challenges in the pipe, however the septic dye test showed wet areas with no odour where effluent had leached out of the septic tank onto the ground up slope of the septic disposal field
  • I have been informed by buyers that the certain Septic Pumper mentioned above, when retained by the sellers to pump out the septic tank made the most ridiculous statement "it is natural for septic to flow back into the septic tank from the septic field and they have sometimes had to come back twice within days to the same property to pump out the septic tank." THIS IS BS. The danger is that the sellers and the sellers agent wrote into the contract the Septic Pumper's statement to assist with the sale, however the buyer retained our services and were able to terminate the deal based on our inspection and information contradicting the statement by the Septic Pumper.

There are 4 levels to licensing of individuals for septic in Nova Scotia, so be careful where you get your advise:

  • Septic pumpers at the bottom of the list, are licensed by NSE to only pump out septic tanks and there are only a small group who will actually write down the observations they see with recommendations and only have Commercial Liability Insurance so they are not Qualified Persons to provide advise which would hold them accountable unless they had Error and Omissions Insurance. Qualified pumpers on file with Atlantic Water Investigations Limited who conduct this work are:

    • AB Septic Tank Pumping - (902) 456-5011
    • Clyde Snook of Snooks Septic Service - (902) 860-0790, (902) 826-2845
    • Conrad's Septic Services Ltd. 902-827-5900
  • Septic Installers next level up are licensed by NSE who are qualified to dig into the septic field, conduct repairs and install septic systems that have been selected by Qualified Person Level 1 and Level 2, only have Commercial Liability Insurance; Companies on file with Atlantic Water Investigations Limited who are licensed and qualified to install alarms and conduct this work (who as of this date are licensed & qualified installers) are:

    • Trent Eisenhauer of Trentstar Excavating - (902) 789-3444
    • Fred Dunphy Construction - (902) 435-4171
    • John Boulay Jr of Moving Your Earth Construction - (902) 456-6442
    • Glenn Baker Contour Excavation & Septic - (902) 209-2125
       
  • Qualified Person Level 2 are individuals licensed by NSE who can select pre-engineered systems for 3 or 4 bedrooms that meet the regulatory separations distances, must have Errors and Omissions Insurance and are accountable for any advice they provide; contact NSE at (902) 424-7773 and or click here to view the list

  • Qualified Person Level 1 is an engineer licensed by NSE to select and design septic systems for malfunctioning septic systems on residential properties, small lots, municipal, institutional or commercial properties.  QP1 Engineering Companies on file with Atlantic Water Investigations Limited who conduct this work are:

    • Steve Williams of MacWilliams Engineering
      109 Chain Lake Drive, Halifax, NS, B3S 1B3; Tel: (902) 450-1414 / Fax: (902) 450-1424
    • Jeff Pinhey of Land Design Engineering Services
      2325 Clifton Street, Halifax, NS, B3K 4T9; Tel: (902) 221-2368 / Fax: (902) 425-0906
    • Tom Giovennetti of Civ Tech Engineering and Surveying Limited
      Tel: (902) 434-4600/ Fax: (902) 434-9856
    • ... or contact NSE at (902) 424-7773 or click here to view the list.