Seeking Advice On Septic Systems

3 Replies


So I am looking at putting an offer on an 8 unit apartment building in the Seattle, WA area.  My only hesitation is that the building is on septic... does anyone have experience with multifamily septic systems?  What kind of maintenance cost are associated with being on septic?

Should this be a big concern for me? I feel like it can lead to problems down the road. 

Hans  - I certainly don't have experience with multifamily septic systems, but I have been apart of building a few single family septic systems.

Septic systems are sized based on the number of bedrooms. Leach fields are sized on how the soil perc tested and the size of the tank. A new septic tank or recently pumped tank will be empty and will first fill up primarily with liquid once the tank is full with liquid it slowly drains into the leach field as solids (mainly from the toilet) come into the tank they displace the liquid eventually all the liquids will be replaced with solids (full tank). If the tank is not pumped at or before capacity it eventually overflows into the leach field where it will plug up leach field...eventually. 

Just make sure the tank gets pumped at regular intervals 2-5 years (depending on size and usage, could be more or less frequent). If the system is under sized (to many bedrooms) the tank will need to get pumped more frequently.

The other thing to consider are roots from trees and bushes they have a way of getting into (clogging) septic lines.

I would try and find out when the last time the tank was pumped, and when they recommend pumping. I would also suggest getting a camera down in that septic line to see if there are any problems with the leach field and/or pipe (ground may have shifted, possibly resulting in a broken line, or if there are any roots impeding drainage)

Absolutely require the seller to provide a clean bill of health for the system.  You might also reserve the right to choose the provider.  Not all septic companies are created equal.  Let me know if you need a good referral.

Thanks for sharing the knowledge!

@Jacqueline Cliff could your PM me your referral?  It would be much appreciated.

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