Well and Septic/Point of Sale

Well and Septic/Point of Sale

  • The Carin Whybrew Project
  • 08/18/22

Barry, Eaton, Ingham, and Shiawassee

Point of Sale Ordinance Program

Barry, Eaton, Ingham, and Shiawassee Counties have in place a Point of Sale (POS) program. The Counties encourage sellers to have well and/or septic systems inspected when the property is placed on the market for sale. Ingham and Shiawassee County Sanitary Codes require arsenic testing of the water in addition to the standard tests for coliform (bacteria) and Nitrates. The following are items that are the owner/seller's responsibility. Do not schedule inspections until all utilities are on, including running water from all faucets and the inspector is able to flush toilets to avoid additional costs.

Inspection of the well and/or septic systems by an Inspector approved by the County. Payment for Inspection including the County fee is payable at the time of inspection. County fees differ from County to County, call our office for prices. We are sorry we are unable to accept payment at closing.

Water samples taken, include arsenic testing.

The real Estate Agent and/or seller/buyer will be notified within 72 hours if the good test positive for Coliform and/or nitrates and requires chlorination.

Wells requiring chlorination require a second water sample test to ensure water quality. There is an additional charge for this service.

Pumping of the septic system with septic maintenance record faxed to Johnson Inspection Service at the above number. Do not fax septic maintenance records to the County.

Any well and/or septic findings that do not pass County Ordinance and are repaired by the owner/seller require verification by Inspector. A second inspection needs to be scheduled after work is done and there will be a fee, payable at the time of re-inspection. Those items are fixed by licensed professionals, owner/seller needs to fax an invoice verifying work done to Johnson Inspection Service, LLC at fac 1-866-755-4430.

Well, Inspection Includes

  • Inspect the construction and isolation distances of the well.
  • Inspect the performance of the good pump and pressure tank.
  • Water samples are collected from the home and sent for laboratory analysis.

Sewage Disposal System Inspection

  • Determine the route of the plumbing from inside the home to the drainage area. Locate septic tank.
  • Locate drain field, collect soil samples, and inspect drainage stone. Prepare site plan.

Submitted with the report will be a site plan complete with measurements, water reports, septic maintenance records, and any repair records. County approvals will be sent to the owner or record. If Real Estate Agent or lender needs a copy, please notify Johnson Inspection at the time of scheduling. The final application and all report records will not be sent to the County until pump records are received by Johnson Inspection Services, LLC. The County has 5 business days after receipt of all records from Johnson Inspection Service, LLC to issue their decision. This process takes approximately 21 working days.

For more information contact Ingham.org

Johnson Inspection Service, LLC

Septic Tank and Drainfield Operation and


by Michael P. Vogel, Ed.D., MSU Extension Service Housing Specialist.

Households not served by public sewers usually depend on a septic system to dispose of wastewater. There are many different types of septic systems designed to fit a wide range of soil and site conditions. These include mound systems, sand filter systems, and pressure distribution systems. This should help you understand the operation and maintenance of a conventional gravity-flow septic

A conventional septic system consists of two main parts: the septic tank and the soil drain field (also referred to as a leach field, absorption bed, or absorption field). At the head of the drain field, a distribution box or a manifold distributes wastewater to several absorption trenches. Some locations require that newly installed drain fields include a designated replacement areak1/2should the
the existing septic system needs an addition, repair, or replacement, the replacement area can then be used.

How the System Works

The septic tank. A septic tank is a large, underground, watertight container, typically about 9 feet long, 4-5 feet wide, and 5 feet tall that is connected to the home121/2s sewer line. While typically designed with I, a 000-gallon liquid capacity, the size of the tank is legally determined by the number of bedrooms in the home. (Septic tanks come under the legal supervision of counties in Montana.) Septic tanks may be rectangular or cylindrical and may be made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene.

Raw wastewater from the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room flows into the tank where the solids separate from the liquid. Light solids, such as soap suds and fat, float to the top and form a scum layer. This layer remains on top and gradually thickens until you have the tank cleaned. The liquid waste goes into the drain field, while the heavier solids settle at the bottom of the tank where they are gradually decomposed by bacteria. But some non-decomposed solids remain, forming a sludge layer that eventually must be pumped out.

Septic tanks may have one or two compartments. Two-compartment tanks do a better job of settling solids and are required in some areas for new installations.

Tees or baffles at the tanki41/2s inlet pipe slow the incoming wastes and reduce disturbance of the settled sludge. A tee or baffle at the outlet keeps the solids or scum in the tank. All tanks should have accessible covers for checking the condition of the baffles and for pumping both compartments.

The Drainfield. Further treatment of wastewater occurs in the soil beneath the drain field. The drain field consists of long underground perforated pipes or tiles connected to the septic tank. The network of pipes is laid in gravel-filled trenches (21 1/23 feet wide), or beds (over 3 feet wide) in the soil. Liquid waste or effluent flows out of the tank and is evenly distributed into the soil through the piping system. The soil below the drain field provides the final treatment and disposal of the septic tank effluent. After the effluent has passed into the soil, most of it percolates downward and outward, eventually entering the groundwater. A small percentage is taken up by plants through their roots or evaporates from the soil.

The soil filters the effluent as it passes through the pore spaces. Chemical and biological processes treat the effluent before it reaches groundwater, or a restrictive layer, such as hardpan, bedrock, or clay soils. These processes work best where the soil is somewhat dry and permeable and contains plenty of oxygen for several feet below the drain field. The size and type of drain field depend on the estimated daily wastewater flow and soil conditions.

Tips for Using Your Septic System

Even a properly designed and installed septic system cannot treat wastewater if the tank is not used and maintained properly. Here are a few tips for installing and using your septic system:

  • For future maintenance and to avoid deep root planting and other damaging activities in the drain-field area, make an accurate diagram showing the location of your tank, drain field, and replacement area.
  • Keep a record of pumping, inspection, and other maintenance. Include name, address, and phone numbers for installers and pumpers.
  • To simplify tank access for inspection and maintenance, install a watertight concrete riser over the septic tank.
  • The area over the drain field should be left undisturbed, with only a mowed grass cover. Roots from nearby trees or shrubs may clog and damage your drain lines.
  • Keep automobiles and heavy equipment off the drain field.
  • Do not plan any building additions, pools, driveways, or other construction work near the septic tank, drain field, or the replacement drain field area.
  • Do not put too much water into the sea.

Water overload occurs when the drain field is flooded with more water than it can effectively absorb, reducing the ability of the system to drain wastes and filter sewage before it reaches groundwater. It also increases the risk that effluent will pool on the ground surface and run off into surface water or down nearby water well casings. Typical indoor water use is about 5o gallons per day for each person in the family. Water-saving devices such as low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators, toilet dams or low-flow toilets can greatly reduce water flow into the system. Strategies such as taking short showers, spreading out laundry loads over the week, and never allowing rainwater from downspouts to enter the septic system will also help.

  • Do not flush non-biodegradable materials such as plastics, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, and applicatorsiZ1/2they rapidly fill up the tank and will clog the system.
  • Restrict the use of your kitchen garbage disposaliZ1/2it increases the number of solids in the tank, making them slower to decompose.
  • Do not pour grease or cooking oils down the sink drain because they solidify and clog the soil absorption field.
  • Doraj,1/2t allow paints, motor oil, pesticides, fertilizers, or disinfectants to get into your septic system. They can pass directly through the septic system and contaminate groundwater. These chemicals can also kill the microorganisms which decompose wastes and can damage the soil in the drain field.
  • Do not use caustic drain openers for a clogged drain. Instead, use boiling water or a drain snake to free up clogs. Clean your toilet, sinks, shower, and tubs with a mild detergent or baking soda rather than the stronger and potentially system-damaging commercial bathroom cleansers.
  • If a water softener is used in the home, the salt recharge solution should not be allowed to enter the system if the predominant soils in the drain field are very fine-textured and drainage is very slow. In these situations, sodium in the softener recharge solution may damage the soil structure in the drain field and plug the system. If you have a water softener, the size of the absorption field must be increased to accommodate the additional flow.

How will I know when to pump the tank?

The frequency with which you will need to pump depends on three variables: the size of your tank, the number of people in the household contributing to the volume of your wastewater, and the volume of solids in your wastewater. If you are unsure about when to have the tank pumped, observe the yearly rate of solids accumulation in the septic tank. The solids should be pumped out of the septic tank by a licensed septic contractor. Most county health departments recommend that the accumulated solids in the bottom of the septic tank be pumped out every three to five years although if the tank is large and the household is small a tank can function longer without requiring pumping (see Table 1).

Table Y. Estimated Septic Tank Pumping

Frequencies in Years

Tank size* Household Size (number of people)

(GALS) 1 2 3 4 5 6
500 5.8 2.6 1.3 1.0 0.7 0.4
750 9.1 4.2 2.6 1.8 1.3 1.0
900 11.0 5.2 3.3 2.3 1.7 1.3
1000 12.4 5.9 3.7 2.6 2.0 1.3
1250 15.6 7.5 4.8 3.4 2.6 2.0
1500 18.9 18.9 9.1 4.2 3.3 2.6
1750 22.1 10.7 6.9 5.0    


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