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Septic Tank Inspection Checklist

Before the Inspection
Take/attach photo(s) of as-built drawing
Date of Last Septic Tank Inspection
Date of Last Septic Tank Pumping

Have there been any repairs on the septic tank?

Specify

During the Inspection

Are you inspecting with someone—who marks off this checklist as you go and calls a professional if you encounter problems?

Are you wearing protective clothing (e.g. rubber gloves and eye protection)?

Have you assembled the tools and materials needed for the inspection?

Have you reviewed the safety rules (e.g. fall and trip hazards)?

Septic Tank

Are the risers watertight with no visible leaks?

Test the water tightness of risers by running a hose on the outside.

Are the risers free of cracks or visible damage?

Is the tank free of strong, overpowering odor?

Where is the liquid level in the tank?

The tank may be leaking.

The pipe may be blocked.

Does the scum layer look like living, healthy soil?

The floating scum layer in a septic tank is composed of oil, fat, soap scum, hair, and even paper products like facial tissues that float before they sink. The scum layer forms naturally and acts as an internal lid for the contents of the septic tank that keeps air out. This allows bacteria to thrive and break down waste in the tank.

Is the scum layer well below lid opening?

Can you clearly see baffles above the scum layer?

Baffles are septic tank components that slow wastewater entry sufficiently to ensure the distillation of solids, and prevent their release (as well as the release of scum) into the drainfield. In doing so, they protect the absorptive quality of the soil and prolong the life of the septic system as a whole.

Are baffles free of clogs and leaks around the seals? (If concrete—Is it intact and not corroded?)

Did you clean the outlet baffle filter?

Scum and Sludge Measurements
Scum

Inlet scum

Outlet scum

Total scum height (in inches)

Sludge

Inlet sludge

Outlet sludge

Total sludge height (in inches)

Does your tank need pumping?

Septic tank pumping is required when the total scum height is more than 6 inches, the total sludge height is more than 12 inches, and the total scum and sludge exceeds 18 inches.

System Type

Gravity Drainfield Septic System

Are there no strong odors?

Are there no mushy or swampy areas or surfacing effluent (liquid wastewater)?

Is there no standing water inside the inspection port(s)?

Does the system have a distribution box?

Is it accessible?

Is the distribution box free of solid waste, scum, and clogs?

Is the distribution box free from cracks and leaks?

Does the effluent appear to be flowing evenly into all drain pipes?

Pressurized Drainfield Pump Tank

Are there no strong odors?

Are there no mushy or swampy areas or surfacing effluent (liquid wastewater)?

If inspection ports are present, is there no standing water after 2 hours?

Is the riser water tight and free of cracks and damage?

Is the pump tank free of solids?

Is the pump tank free from corrosion or damage?

Is the electrical junction box intact and free of corrosion and damage to the wires?

Is the control panel free of leaks, corrosion or loose wires?

Did you change the battery in the control panel?

Are the floats attached to the float tree and not hung up on anything?

Does the alarm sound when the alarm float is lifted?

If there’s a basket screen present, is it intact and not collapsed?

Sandfilter Drainfield Pump Tank

Are there no strong odors?

Are there no mushy or swampy areas or surfacing effluent (liquid wastewater)?

If inspection ports are present, is there no standing water after 2 hours?

Is the riser water tight and free of cracks and damage?

Is the pump tank free of solids?

Is the pump tank free from corrosion or damage?

Is the electrical junction box intact and free of corrosion and damage to the wires?

Is the control panel free of leaks, corrosion or loose wires?

Did you change the battery in the control panel?

Are the floats attached to the float tree and not hung up on anything?

Does the alarm sound when the alarm float is lifted?

If there’s a basket screen present, is it intact and not collapsed?

Mound System Pump Tank

Are there no strong odors?

Are there no mushy or swampy areas or surfacing effluent (liquid wastewater)?

If inspection ports are present, is there no standing water after 2 hours?

Is the riser water tight and free of cracks and damage?

Is the pump tank free of solids?

Is the pump tank free from corrosion or damage?

Is the electrical junction box intact and free of corrosion and damage to the wires?

Is the control panel free of leaks, corrosion or loose wires?

Did you change the battery in the control panel?

Are the floats attached to the float tree and not hung up on anything?

Does the alarm sound when the alarm float is lifted?

If there’s a basket screen present, is it intact and not collapsed?

After the Inspection

Are all openings covered and lids secured?

Are all tools washed and sanitized?

Are septic system maintenance records updated?

Completion

Additional Comments

Corrective actions have been assigned and inspections have been scheduled.

Inspector Name & Signature
Other Inspector
Name & Signature

Septic Tank Inspection Checklist

Created by: SafetyCulture Staff | Industry: General | Downloads: 15

A septic tank inspection checklist details exactly what inspectors should do before, during, and after assessing the condition and operation of a septic system. Use this checklist to ensure the proper maintenance of the septic tank and determine if it needs pumping based on its scum and sludge level. This checklist includes system-specific items and septic tank inspection best practices and definition of terms.

Signup for a free iAuditor account to download and edit this checklist. It will be added to your free account and you will be able to conduct inspections from your mobile device.

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Septic Tank Inspection Checklist

Before the Inspection
Take/attach photo(s) of as-built drawing
Date of Last Septic Tank Inspection
Date of Last Septic Tank Pumping

Have there been any repairs on the septic tank?

Specify

During the Inspection

Are you inspecting with someone—who marks off this checklist as you go and calls a professional if you encounter problems?

Are you wearing protective clothing (e.g. rubber gloves and eye protection)?

Have you assembled the tools and materials needed for the inspection?

Have you reviewed the safety rules (e.g. fall and trip hazards)?

Septic Tank

Are the risers watertight with no visible leaks?

Test the water tightness of risers by running a hose on the outside.

Are the risers free of cracks or visible damage?

Is the tank free of strong, overpowering odor?

Where is the liquid level in the tank?

The tank may be leaking.

The pipe may be blocked.

Does the scum layer look like living, healthy soil?

The floating scum layer in a septic tank is composed of oil, fat, soap scum, hair, and even paper products like facial tissues that float before they sink. The scum layer forms naturally and acts as an internal lid for the contents of the septic tank that keeps air out. This allows bacteria to thrive and break down waste in the tank.

Is the scum layer well below lid opening?

Can you clearly see baffles above the scum layer?

Baffles are septic tank components that slow wastewater entry sufficiently to ensure the distillation of solids, and prevent their release (as well as the release of scum) into the drainfield. In doing so, they protect the absorptive quality of the soil and prolong the life of the septic system as a whole.

Are baffles free of clogs and leaks around the seals? (If concrete—Is it intact and not corroded?)

Did you clean the outlet baffle filter?

Scum and Sludge Measurements
Scum

Inlet scum

Outlet scum

Total scum height (in inches)

Sludge

Inlet sludge

Outlet sludge

Total sludge height (in inches)

Does your tank need pumping?

Septic tank pumping is required when the total scum height is more than 6 inches, the total sludge height is more than 12 inches, and the total scum and sludge exceeds 18 inches.

System Type

Gravity Drainfield Septic System

Are there no strong odors?

Are there no mushy or swampy areas or surfacing effluent (liquid wastewater)?

Is there no standing water inside the inspection port(s)?

Does the system have a distribution box?

Is it accessible?

Is the distribution box free of solid waste, scum, and clogs?

Is the distribution box free from cracks and leaks?

Does the effluent appear to be flowing evenly into all drain pipes?

Pressurized Drainfield Pump Tank

Are there no strong odors?

Are there no mushy or swampy areas or surfacing effluent (liquid wastewater)?

If inspection ports are present, is there no standing water after 2 hours?

Is the riser water tight and free of cracks and damage?

Is the pump tank free of solids?

Is the pump tank free from corrosion or damage?

Is the electrical junction box intact and free of corrosion and damage to the wires?

Is the control panel free of leaks, corrosion or loose wires?

Did you change the battery in the control panel?

Are the floats attached to the float tree and not hung up on anything?

Does the alarm sound when the alarm float is lifted?

If there’s a basket screen present, is it intact and not collapsed?

Sandfilter Drainfield Pump Tank

Are there no strong odors?

Are there no mushy or swampy areas or surfacing effluent (liquid wastewater)?

If inspection ports are present, is there no standing water after 2 hours?

Is the riser water tight and free of cracks and damage?

Is the pump tank free of solids?

Is the pump tank free from corrosion or damage?

Is the electrical junction box intact and free of corrosion and damage to the wires?

Is the control panel free of leaks, corrosion or loose wires?

Did you change the battery in the control panel?

Are the floats attached to the float tree and not hung up on anything?

Does the alarm sound when the alarm float is lifted?

If there’s a basket screen present, is it intact and not collapsed?

Mound System Pump Tank

Are there no strong odors?

Are there no mushy or swampy areas or surfacing effluent (liquid wastewater)?

If inspection ports are present, is there no standing water after 2 hours?

Is the riser water tight and free of cracks and damage?

Is the pump tank free of solids?

Is the pump tank free from corrosion or damage?

Is the electrical junction box intact and free of corrosion and damage to the wires?

Is the control panel free of leaks, corrosion or loose wires?

Did you change the battery in the control panel?

Are the floats attached to the float tree and not hung up on anything?

Does the alarm sound when the alarm float is lifted?

If there’s a basket screen present, is it intact and not collapsed?

After the Inspection

Are all openings covered and lids secured?

Are all tools washed and sanitized?

Are septic system maintenance records updated?

Completion

Additional Comments

Corrective actions have been assigned and inspections have been scheduled.

Inspector Name & Signature
Other Inspector
Name & Signature