60+ year old septic system

Discussion in 'Septic Tanks' started by Dan G, Nov 22, 2019.

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  1. Nov 22, 2019 #1

    Dan G

    Dan G

    Dan G

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    I have no experience with septic systems or plumbing in general and I was hoping to get some input on a property I am looking to purchase. The property is in Massachusetts and, consequently, required to pass a Title V inspection. I negotiated into the purchase contract that the seller pay for the Title V (it is an estate sale and the seller didn't want to pay any money out of pocket, originally). The sale is contingent upon the septic system passing Title V. Here is where it gets tricky.

    I am actually hoping that the property fails the title V and we can renegotiate the purchase price or I can walk away without losing my deposit. The reason passing Title V concerns me is because the property still has the original septic system back from when the home was built in 1957. I am worried it might pass by the skin of its teeth and then fail soon after I buy the house and begin using the system (hasn't been used since the owner passed back in May of 2018). The house is also built on ledge, which I'm afraid will greatly increase the price of a new septic system.

    How realistic is it that a 62 year old system will pass a Title V and how much longer can it realistically last? There's no record of service or pumping, so I can only assume that the system was not well maintained. I understand that it is nearly impossible to speculate but, to me, 62 years seems like an pretty big outlier.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Nov 23, 2019 #2

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    I would speculate that if inspected and reported properly, it shouldn't pass.
    There is a lot more to the passing than just showing that it's operating with no problems. For example, age and material of tank, relationship of ground water to the system, etc., etc.

    You should touch bases with a certified inspector if you want a good answer to your concerns of it passing. Or even the local health dept.

    I was always under the impression that the seller was responsible to provide a new system when required, prior to the sale, unless other arrangements have been made.
     
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  3. Nov 24, 2019 #3

    Dan G

    Dan G

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    Thanks for the response!

    Good to know that they will consider the age and condition, as well. I am going to be present at the inspection but it sounds like it is a good idea to reach out and inform myself prior to.

    A title v is a requirement in massachusetts and the responsibility of the seller but it is an estate sale and they are reluctant to pay out of pocket. They wanted to write into the contract that the buyer pay the inspection as a result of the house being sold below value, as is.
     
  4. Nov 24, 2019 #4

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    Well best of luck.
    just read that a new septic system can cost up to $50K if ledge involved.
     
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  5. Nov 24, 2019 #5

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    Not sure what they are called, but there is a type of mini treatment plant that can be installed instead of a new septic field.
    At least in Illinois.

    I lived in a neighborhood with many aging septic systems, some were 70 or 80 years old.
    Some neighbors chose this system instead of digging a new leach field.

    All I remember is that after the retrofit to this new type of system, there was an approx six foot wide dome about two feet high that was added to the back yard.

    Hopefully some pros on here can add more info on this system.
     
  6. Nov 25, 2019 #6

    wood4d

    wood4d

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    We are all guessing but I dont think anyone believes a 60 year old system will pass modern requirements. BUT, if you are buying the house as is, you need to figure it in that its going to cost $.
     
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  7. Nov 25, 2019 #7

    Dan G

    Dan G

    Dan G

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    Yeah - my cousin's septic system and well cost over 60k! in a neighboring town due to ledge.

    The "as-is" effectively just meant they didn't want to pay for the Title V. If we can move forward after the septic inspection, I will be having a full quality/flow test on the well and a thorough home inspection. Doesn't change the fact that the house is a fixer-upper and gonna cost me a few buck in repairs, for sure.

    I think I will probably walk away from the deal if I have to put in some kind of above ground septic/treatment plant. I'm worried about the effect that would have on re-sale. Worth considering though for the right $.

    Thanks again for all of the help!
     
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  8. Nov 26, 2019 #8

    Mitchell-DIY-Guy

    Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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    Some years back, my father and sister sold the family home in a well-to-do suburb in Massachusetts. They called the town inspector for the septic inspection. He came out, tested and it failed. He closed his book and said basically the following:

    "I am not going to write this up because if I do, there could be all kinds of costly ramifications for you. You've not noticed any problem here because you only have one person living in a 2500 square foot home, meaning very low demand. So, here's what you do: call a septic repair place (he provided a number of names of those whose work is well known in this town) and have them "scope" it. I bet you have a cracked pipe or something quick and easy to repair. Once you do that, call me back."

    So, my father calls one of these guys, they put a camera inside, and sure enough where a pipe entered a tank (or may exited who knows), the pipe had cracked and separated. So, they quickly fixed that (and it wasn't much money to do so) and then they called back the town inspector. This time, it all passed and the house was sold with little fanfare. That septic system was about 35 years old at the time.
     

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