Much of the inspection regimes below were developed from the EPA CoD on SmallWastewater Treatment Systems (2010) with further reference to other valuable sources.
Septic Tank/Percolation Area Treatment Systems.
Initial System Adequacy Inspection.
For the purpose of this project, I will not be discussing the theory or process of characterisingsites or selecting appropriate wastewater treatment systems in any depth, for the main role of this project is to assist in post-installation inspection, maintenance and performance of systems. However, as mentioned above, an initial system adequacy inspection must becarried out for all systems lacking documentation in this respect so that an inspection regimecan be developed. This Initial System Adequacy Inspection Checklist has been included inthe first part of Figure 1.Discussion of Checklist in order:If there is no Site
System adequacy evidence: (that is, evidence that shows that the system inplace was installed in accordance with regulations and guidance from the local authority)there will have to be a full site characterisation and possible site works process- We are notdealing with this process in this project as stated above. However, if there is evidence, the oldsystem must simply be thoroughly checked to assure it is running smoothly- hence the rest of the inspection checklist questions.Check for Location of system: Not all systems are easy to find, and some owners will noteven know where there system is. In the case that there is no sketch of the systems location,the system must be located and a sketch drawn and kept for later inspections. The method forfinding the septic tank is by flushing a radio transmitter unit down one of the house toiletsand located using a special radio receiver, proving quite a useful method for worst-casescenarios (Inspectapedia, 2006).If the septic tank system is not
easy to access (near the earth surface), then ‘manhole risers’
should be added to the expenses and placed to facilitate in later inspections. These will bringthe manhole access to the eart
h’s surface and should ensure easy access for the inspector but
no way for children or other persons to access the septic tank.For the initial inspection, the tanks capacity should be calculated, recorded and related to themaximum human occupancy in the adjacent house- this will ensure that only adequately sizedtanks are being used in houses that may have been extended or have had new/bigger familiesmoved in. If the capacity is found to be lacking, a new system or upgrade must be discussed.Are there any odours around the septic tank/percolation area: The presence of odours can bethe first give-away of system failure or inefficiency.Is there sign of surface ponding: this can be a give-away of system failure also, such as burstpiping, leaking tanks or failure of the soil to allow adequate percolation. The test to find if this surface ponding originates from the septic tank system is the red dye test (Inspectapedia,