I’m looking at a house in which I’m told the septic system needs to be replaced. I’m wondering if there are any hidden concerns when faced with this kind of problem. I was figuring between 20-25K for replacement. Any advice on how to proceed and what to look out for would be great! Thanks.
Make sure you can get a permit to replace or “repair” the septic. In some places newer environmental regulations will not let you put in a new septic system or replace an old one. Again, in some places, local officials will provide permits to “repair” an old septic system by essentially replacing it when regulations prohibit a new or replacement system. Also, get at least 3 estimates for the work. Ive had estimates vary as much as 5 thousand dollars for essentially the same work.
Here in Michigan I have had quotes of between 5000-8000 and finally had the work done for less than 3000 by a licensed contractor with health dept approval. You probably don’t need replacement of the tanks, just the drain field. If you can locate the drain field then look for an alternative location and put in a second drain field. The drain field will get plugged after a period of time, when that happens just switch to the other one and let the first one sit for 2 yrs and by then you can switch back to the original.
You have to know whether the septic needs to be replaced because the system is old, or whether the system failed because the area has bad drainage or a high water table.
Some septic systems can not be repaired.
I suggest that you have a couple of septic installers look at the area. If they do a lot of work, they will know whether that area is a good area for septics or the area has a lot of septic failures.
$25k might be the very minimum a new system would cost in my area, because the county has gotten really strict and wants every system to be way over-built. The days of the $5k system are gone forever in my area.
Sometimes when you have a system inspected, the inspector will say it needs to be replaced. If you know what you are doing, there are ways to repair some systems (not all) for a lot less money. But you must be very careful about buying a house with a bad septic system.
My recommendation is to be extremely cautious about buying anything with a failed septic system.