Kansas City Metro Area Missouri & Kansas
(Average fee: $95 - $400)
A conventional onsite wastewater system, which is also known as a "septic
system" is an individual wastewater treatment system that uses the soil to
treat small waste water flows. They are typically found in a rural area or
in residential neighborhoods with large acreage lots (usually 3 acres or
more) or other areas where public sewers are not available. All septic
systems are individually designed for the specific site, but most are based
on the same principles.
A conventional septic system is made up of a septic tank (with baffles and
possibly an effluent filter), a distribution box, a soil absorption field
(also called the drain field), and various connecting pipes and distribution
connections. The septic tank allows the heavy solids and the lighter scum
materials in the wastewater to separate from the liquids. The function of
the tank is to hold the solid waste material and prevent it from reaching
the soil absorption field. The solids in the tank are partially decomposed
by bacteria and the rest is later removed by "pumping" the septic tank.
Treatment of the wastewater occurs in both the septic tank and the
Signs of Septic System Failure:
drains in the house empty slowly or not at all?
sewage back up into the house through drain lines?
there any wet, smelly spots into the yard or foliage?
the dishwasher or laundry drain into the yard or a "dry well"?
the septic tank effluent piped so it drains to a road ditch, a storm sewer,
a stream, or
is it connected to a farm drain tile?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you have a septic
system problem. As in many states, it is illegal in Missouri and Kansas
to discharge domestic wastewater except into an approved community sewer or
into an onsite wastewater system that is properly designed, located, and
installed according to the state sanitary code, the city or county building
codes and standards, and the Federal Clean Water Act.
Common Causes For Septic Problems
lack of maintenance (tanks should be cleaned by pumping every 3-5 years)
Improper design or construction (amateur installations not sized or designed
Physical damage (driving, paving, or building on top of the onsite
water (sump pumps, downspouts, and foundation tiles should not drain
Altering the system or house (add-ons can change what the system was
The two methods used to conduct a septic inspection are visual and
The visual septic dye test is
combined with "pushing" the waste system. This test involves the running
of 3 plumbing fixtures simultaneously for 30-45 minutes to see if there is
any slow-draining fixtures, backups, or surface breakouts. It also
involves flushing colored dye into the waste lines looking for leaks. This
type of test is acceptable to most lenders and is the most affordable.
This test costs $75 if done at the same time as the home inspection.
The destructive septic inspection
involves excavating the tank, opening the access ports to look into the
tank, opening the distribution box, using a rod to measure the levels of
the scum and solid wastes in the tank, and in many instances, it involves
pumping the tank if the baffles and filter are not visible. Many sellers
will frown on this type of test and unless the buyer will pay for the
test, it is rarely done. The cost of this test is about $400-$450.
The costs of repairing or replacing a
defective septic system can be very expensive and can range from $1,500
(repairs to drain lines) to $6,000 (replacing a failed system). Do not take
the inspection of the system lightly. Use only highly trained installers or
inspectors that are either registered or licensed by their state or county.
The Holmes Company Inspectors are state and county registered septic
installers in both Missouri and Kansas.
Holmes Inspection Company for septic system testing today!