What Is a Septic Inspection and What Happens During a Septic Inspection


A septic system must be well maintained to ensure its seamless functionality. When your home’s septic system is in top-tier condition, you will experience less disturbance and more secure living. It also enhances your property’s overall value and interior environment. Therefore, Main Choice Inspection should be your first choice when considering septic inspection services. Whether you’re a homeowner or a potential buyer, understanding what a septic inspection entails and its importance can save you from costly repairs and potential health hazards down the road.

Through this blog, we will walk you through several important factors you might have missed before. From guiding you on what a septic inspection is to discussing its key components, and benefits, this blog is your ultimate guide to septic system inspection. So let’s get into it:

What Is a Septic Inspection?

A septic inspection evaluates the condition and compliance of an on-site wastewater treatment system consisting of a septic tank and drain field. It’s used in areas without centralized sewer systems. The drain field disposes of treated household wastewater. A septic system inspection services from a professional company involves the following steps of assessment:

Visual Inspection

During the visual inspection of the septic system, the inspector examines its major components, including the septic tank, distribution box, and drain field. Moreover, they look for signs of wear, damage, or deterioration.

Tank Pumping 

In many cases, the septic tank needs to be pumped to assess its condition and allow for a thorough inspection. This goes unnoticed commonly; that’s where a professional septic system inspection comes in. During the inspection, the experts will assess what is required and detect any clogging or buildup. After that, they will also determine the level of sludge and built-up scum.

Flow Test

Once the inspector is done with visual inspection and tank pumping, it’s high time he conducts a flow test. For this purpose, he may run water through the system to observe how well it drains into the drain field. This helps identify any blockages or issues in the drainage process.

Soil Percolation Test

For the next step, the inspector might extend his service to conduct soil percolation or a “perc” test, if needed. This test determines how well the soil can absorb water from the drain field. Through this test, the inspector will also know about the suitability of the soil for wastewater disposal.

Functionality Assessment

Through a functionality assessment, the septic inspector will assess whether it’s properly functioning as it should or not. In addition, he will also look for signs of defects such as sewage backup, slow-draining fixtures, foul odors, or water pooling in the yard.

Documentation Review

After all required tests, the inspectors review any necessary maintenance, record or document their findings, and recommend any solution according to their expertise. Moreover, he can also guide you through the history of your septic system and declare whether it has been properly maintained. Read more about the 3 situations in which you must not skip inspections. 

Key Components of Septic System Inspection

A comprehensive septic system inspection involves assessing various key components to ensure the system’s proper functioning and compliance with regulations. Here are the essential components typically examined during a septic system inspection:

Septic Tank

During a septic tank inspection, the experts assess its structural integrity, which may include signs of cracks, leaks, corrosion, or any other wear and tear. Moreover, this septic inspection also checks the level of accumulated sludge and scum layers inside the tank. You can also expect an assessment of the inlet and outlet baffles for any damage or blockage during this septic system inspection.

Distribution System

When conducting the septic inspection, the experts determine the condition and proper functioning of the inside distribution box. Moreover, they ensure that the wastewater is distributed evenly to the drainfield. The inspectors will also look for any clogs or built-ups hindering the effluent flow.

Drainfield or Leach Field

Drainfield septic inspection involves everything that needs a watchful eye. The inspector determines the soil condition to determine if it is suitable for wastewater absorption or not. It also involves checking the equal distribution of effluent or wastewater to the leach field. Moreover, they also look for any pooling water or overly wet areas in the drainfield. Besides that, the inspectors also detect any foul odors, which could indicate issues with the drainfield.

Pipes and Connections

This involves inspecting pipes for leaks, damage, or clogs that might impede the flow of wastewater.

Effluent Quality

Septic system inspections also assess the clarity of the effluent leaving the septic tank; cloudy or murky effluent could indicate a problem.

Surface Inspection

The inspector checks for any visible signs of sewage backup, wastewater ponding, or wet spots around the septic system.

Pumping and Maintenance Records

The septic inspections review records of past pumping and maintenance to assess the system’s history and care.

Functional Testing

The inspector will conduct a flow test to observe how well the system handles a sudden influx of wastewater. He will also assess toilets, sinks, and drains for proper drainage and signs of backup.

What Happens During a Septic Inspection?

Do you often wonder what happens during a septic inspection? Well, to be concise, the following is the gist of what happens during a septic inspection:

Visual Inspection

The inspector will visually assess the components mentioned above to identify any visible signs of damage, deterioration, or malfunction.


Various tests may be conducted, such as dye tests to check for leaks in the system, water level measurements, and flow rate assessments.


The inspector will document their findings and may provide you with a detailed report, including recommendations for repairs or maintenance.

Benefits of Regular Septic Inspection

Regular septic inspections offer several important benefits for homeowners and property owners who rely on septic systems for wastewater treatment. Here are some key advantages to scheduling regular septic inspections:

Early Problem Detection 

Regular inspections help identify potential issues with the septic system before they escalate into major problems. Detecting problems early can save you from costly repairs or system failures.

Efficient Water Usage 

Inspections can identify if there’s excessive water usage or leakages in your plumbing, helping you address water conservation issues and potentially lowering your water bills.

Optimal System Performance

A well-maintained septic system operates efficiently, effectively treating wastewater and preventing backups or odors that can disrupt daily life.

Avoiding Health Hazards

A malfunctioning septic system can pose health risks due to sewage backup, contamination of groundwater, and the spread of harmful pathogens. Regular inspections help mitigate these risks by ensuring proper functioning. 

Longer System Lifespan

With proper care and maintenance, a septic system can last for many years. Regular inspections help extend the system’s lifespan, delaying the need for a costly replacement.

How Often Should You Consider Septic System Inspections?

The frequency of septic inspections depends on factors such as the system’s age, size, usage, and local regulations. As a general guideline, inspections of residential properties are recommended every 3 to 5 years. However, for commercial properties, you may need annual inspections due to higher usage.


This blog has given you a better understanding of what is a septic inspection and its importance. It also provided you with a brief overview of what happens during a septic inspection. If you’re interested in learning more about our septic inspection services, contact Main Choice Inspection today.