For home buyers purchasing a home with a septic system

When considering the purchase of a home, most buyers request a whole house inspection to ensure the structure integrity and safety of their future home. One area that is frequently overlooked and that is not included in the whole house inspection is the household sewage treatment system (septic system).

A malfunctioning or failing septic system could cost unknowing home buyers thousands of dollars to repair or replace. Hamilton County Public Health helps home buyers avoid unforeseen repair or replacement costs by offering a septic system inspection service prior to the purchase of a home. The service is voluntary and is available within the Health District’s jurisdiction (excludes city limits of Cincinnati, Springdale and Norwood).

To request an inspection, click here, or call Water Quality staff at 513-946-7966. Once an inspection fee has been collected, an assigned Environmental Health Specialist will conduct a records search to determine if the system’s inspection certificate is up-to-date, as well as to identify any system complaints.

The Environmental Health Specialist will then visit the home to determine:

  • that the system is operable and provide comments on any issues noted during the inspection
  • what repairs or replacements would need to take place in order to make a malfunctioning system operable
  • accessibility to public sewers

The home buyer must be present and access inside the dwelling must be available. If any of the following conditions exist, the inspection will not be conducted until the necessary work and/or time has been fulfilled:

  1. All access risers and distribution boxes are not at grade.
  2. Brush or grass over the system exceeds 12 inches in height.
  3. The septic tank or aeration system has been pumped within 30 days of the evaluation request.
  4. The house has not been continuously occupied for the last 30 days. If the home is currently vacant, an evaluation can proceed after the home has been occupied for a minimum of 30 days.*
  5. Snow depth exceeds two (2) inches.

A report containing inspection findings and recommendations will be mailed to the homebuyer upon completion of the inspection.

Please note: The evaluation results are rendered without complete knowledge or observation of some the individual components of the home sewage treatment system and applies only to the date and time the evaluation is made. The opinion does not grant or imply any guarantee or warranty of the future performance of the home sewage treatment system.

*Does not apply to stand alone aeration treatment units.