As of January 1, 2019, it is now mandatory that most on-site wastewater treatment systems are inspected prior to a sale. This applies to La Plata County, San Juan County, and Archuleta County. This is a rather large new development for real estate in our area, so we want to be sure to educate and inform our clients.
According to San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH), “this requirement helps identify failing and hazardous systems and protects property buyers from unforeseen repair obligations(http://sjbpublichealth.org/septic/).
Inspections must be completed by an inspector certified by the National Association of Wastewater Technicians (NAWT). San Juan Basin Public Health maintains a list of inspectors, but it is important to ensure the inspector is certified and the certification is current. The inspection reports are valid for twelve months, and a report must be submitted to SJBPH for “Transfer of Title Acceptance.” The SJBPH acceptance is then valid for another twelve months.
If the system fails or doesn’t match its permit, the property owner must fix the system or apply for a new permit to fix any problems. If winter (frozen ground or snow) hinders an inspection, there is a provision for SJBPH to issue a Conditional Acceptance Document if the buyer agrees in writing to complete the repairs or inspections in a reasonable time.
There are a few exceptions to Transfer of Title Inspections, and these are detailed on the SJBPH website.
It’s also important for homeowners to maintain their septic systems. Here are a few tips: have the septic system pumped by a licensed System Cleaner every four years. If you have an effluent filter (most septic tanks since 2003 and all since 2011), clean it once a year by washing it with a hose. Check after the snowmelt each year that the soil treatment area is dry and not maintaining extra moisture. There are also guidelines if you have inspection ports or a lagoon, found in the SJBPH PDF(http://sjbpublichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/OWTS-FAQ-v1-Oct-2018.pdf).
As you can see, it’s an important topic as it pertains to new construction, remodels (generally adding bedrooms to a home), buying, or selling a home. The SJBPH website offers detailed information and FAQs. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding the new OWTS guidelines. Also, we will be hosting an open house on Saturday at 457 Oxbow Circle from 10-12. We’d love for you to swing by and say hello!