As well as currently being a Licensed New Hampshire & Massachusetts Home Inspector, Paul Maida held a Title V Septic System Inspector's License until 2012. If you are buying a home, consider an indepent company that will dig up the tank to perform their inspection.
In the New England states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, there are many homes that utilize individual waste disposal systems or Septic/Sewage Disposal Systems.
Maintenance of these systems is often forgotten because they are underground ("out of sight and out of mind"). Septic systems are an effective method of collecting, treating, and disposing of homeowner wastewater, provided they are properly sited, installed, and maintained. A properly maintained septic system can last a very long time, but a well-sited, properly sized and installed system will fail if not properly maintained. A failed septic system creates problems such as noxious odors, lowered property values, surface water contamination, and groundwater pollution and may be a health hazard. Repair and replacement costs are considerable.
How the septic system works:
- Waste material from the house enters the septic tank and
- Heavier solids settle to the bottom and form a sludge layer.
- Lighter wastes such as oil and grease rise to the top and form a scum layer.
- Between these two layers is liquid wastewater.
When waste enters the tank, bacteria begin to break down the solid materials. This break down reduces solids, but also leaves a residue behind in the tank. As time passes, this residue builds up, and must be removed to prevent it from entering the drain field and clogging the system. The center liquid layer flows slowly from the tank into the drain field. Perforated pipes allow the liquid to be equally distributed in a gravel-filled disposal field. Once the liquid reaches the disposal field, it soaks into the soil. The soil then acts as the final filter for treatment of waste received from the septic system.
9 Bartlet Street #261
Andover, MA 01810
PO Box 12
Hampstead, NH 03841