If you're buying a home in Alaska, you're likely to be purchasing one with a septic system. A septic system is effective, cost efficient, and easy to maintain. However, failing systems are a major source of groundwater pollution, cause waterborne illnesses, such as dysentery and hepatitis, and are expensive for homeowners to replace.
Educate yourself before purchasing a home.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) put this guide together to introduce you to some of things you should do to protect yourself from an unforeseen expense and the surprise of having to replace your newly purchased home's septic system.
For starters you'll want to visually inspect the septic system, get a copy of the design and construction records from the department's online Septic Tracking System (SEPTS) and review the previous owner's maintenance records.
The TOP warning signs of septic system failure:
1. Slowly draining sinks and toilets
2. Gurgling sounds in the plumbing
3. Plumbing backups
4. Sewage odors in house or yard
5. Ground wet or mushy underfoot over the drainfield
6. Grass growing faster or greener in one area of the yard
7. Drinking water tests showing presence of bacteria
None of these warning signs
is a sure indicator that a system has failed, but you should investigate further