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Old 06-20-2012, 08:22 AM
 
12 posts, read 31,961 times
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Found a property after a couple months of searching. Edge of town, 5 acres. Toured the house two times, minor issues throughout. Made an offer contingencies on septic, appraisal and a home inspection. A few times back and forth sellers accepted our offer with contingencies.

One week after offer, health department completes septic inspection. Requires owners fix inspection pipes to both of the tanks on the property. One for house, one for shop/garage. Also included in the report he added that current owners have a gravel parking lot over the shop drain-field and he built a ATV course over the home drain-field. He didn't indicate there was an issue but did note it. On the walk-thru I asked where the fields were and neither Realtor knew but would get me the info.

Anyways what is your input as to whether I should adjust my offering price. How to negotiate this?
A typical drain-field will be approximately $10,000 for each with a life span of 20-25 years. The house and shop are 10 and 12 years old. We still have the home inspection scheduled.
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Mokelumne Hill, CA & El Pescadero, BCS MX.
6,958 posts, read 18,535,708 times
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Did the septic system leach field accept water? This, plus perhaps sending a camera down the leach lines is how the leach field should be inspected. My leach field is under my gravel driveway and far away from tree roots, It's worked perfectly for 30 years.

If I was representing the seller, I wouldn't advise them to give you anything off the price, it's not broken.
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:45 PM
 
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> If I was representing the seller, I wouldn't advise them to give you anything off the price, it's not broken.

Ditto. If I'm understanding you correctly- there was not a problem with function but rather the absence of inspection pipes. You knew there was a septic system. The buyers fixed an issue found during inspection.

In the absence of any OTHER issues- I do not see a reason to re-negotiate.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:38 AM
 
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So, we had the home inspection last night and I took my shovel with me. I started in the back yard, the top soil and clay was packed tight and I went down 6" to get to the pipe, dug along side and same thing. No rock, just slotted ADS drainage pipe. I dug up a few runs in different areas, all the same. Proceeded to the other drain field, now wasn't that a treat, took five minutes to chip through 4" of gravel then another 6" of hard packed clay. Again same thing but in this area the pipe was half crushed, not collapsed but crushed. For the two posters that stated that driving over a drain field is OK, you two are crazy and probably shouldn't be posting in areas not of your expertise. I will be asking for a reduction in price.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:49 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,853 posts, read 57,874,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoraceND View Post
For the two posters that stated that driving over a drain field is OK, you two are crazy and probably shouldn't be posting in areas not of your expertise.
If either had said what you've chosen to interpret their words to mean... perhaps.

The issue isn't that they have a parking or lot or ATV track. In your case...
the problem remains with HOW these were done.
Offhand I'd say that the 10" of clay backfill you removed demonstrates inadequate cover.

Quote:
I will be asking for a reduction in price.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:37 PM
 
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We put an addendum together yesterday and sent it off to our Realtor. We prorated the septic drain-field and gave them options to either fix the other issues or deduct $X.XX amount for each item. We'll see what they come back with.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Mokelumne Hill, CA & El Pescadero, BCS MX.
6,958 posts, read 18,535,708 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoraceND View Post
So, we had the home inspection last night and I took my shovel with me. I started in the back yard, the top soil and clay was packed tight and I went down 6" to get to the pipe, dug along side and same thing. No rock, just slotted ADS drainage pipe. I dug up a few runs in different areas, all the same. Proceeded to the other drain field, now wasn't that a treat, took five minutes to chip through 4" of gravel then another 6" of hard packed clay. Again same thing but in this area the pipe was half crushed, not collapsed but crushed. For the two posters that stated that driving over a drain field is OK, you two are crazy and probably shouldn't be posting in areas not of your expertise. I will be asking for a reduction in price.

A drain pipe installed that close to the surface is not installed to the codes in my area, they have to be at least 2 feet below grade.

BTW I have a lot of expertise on the subject by the way. As a younger person I actually installed a lot of septic systems. As a broker, I've also attended a lot of septic inspections where the leach lines are subjected to a camera inspection. I've seen collapsed lines underneath a garden area where no one has driven over it and I've seen perfectly good lines underneath a driveway. These days they don't even use pipes anymore, they use infiltrators, which are basically upside down "U" shaped plastic panels about 18" tall.

The last drainfield we had to replace cost $4000 for 170' of linear wastewater distribution.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMenscha View Post
A drain pipe installed that close to the surface is not installed to the codes in my area, they have to be at least 2 feet below grade.
The cover on the pipe meets code here, they are buried shallow because of the heavy clays, very little is absorbed into the ground. Being shallow allows oxygen in and moisture out(evaporation). When compacted, especially clay, there is very little chance of that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DMenscha View Post
BTW I have a lot of expertise on the subject by the way. As a younger person I actually installed a lot of septic systems. As a broker, I've also attended a lot of septic inspections where the leach lines are subjected to a camera inspection. I've seen collapsed lines underneath a garden area where no one has driven over it and I've seen perfectly good lines underneath a driveway.
Since you have been in this type field when younger you may know that when municipalities build sewage lagoons they use clay as a liner to keep the water from entering the soils below. Most place today use a synthetic liner(polyethylene 60 mil) of some sorts due to environmental reasons.

The type of drain field used when they installed it was a gravel-less type drain field. In other words they dig the trench, install 10" perforated ADS pipe with a sock then bury it with loose material, that's it, no rock. With this type system the pipe will fill then transfer the liquids to the soils around the pipe but since the soils are now compacted from the spring line of the pipe, on up it can no longer absorb liquids nor evaporate. When you visited these inspections did the inspector also explain to you when liquids enter the drain field then over time they will have biomat deposited on the pipes. This starts when the liquids enter the field then over time it will actually plug the pipe. The water has to travel further down over time until the field can no longer absorb and the system fails. Now with this property the pipe is already half way plugged. That is my issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMenscha View Post
These days they don't even use pipes anymore, they use infiltrators, which are basically upside down "U" shaped plastic panels about 18" tall.

The last drainfield we had to replace cost $4000 for 170' of linear wastewater distribution.
I can buy the dome style for around $5.00/ft. I need a 1150 lineal feet replace both systems plus misc. materials. Now if I can just get the wife to run the shovel while I make sure it isn't too deep.



They countered our issues (septic and a few other house repairs), they offered 1/3 of what we wanted them to either fix or discount(we gave them a choice to either deduct or repair). They offered the 1/3(of total discount) for the septic but the other repair items were our problem to fix.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Mokelumne Hill, CA & El Pescadero, BCS MX.
6,958 posts, read 18,535,708 times
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Wow! 1150' would get you a 13 bedroom septic system here. We also have a lot of clay soil here. When a new system permit is filed, the contractor shows up with a backhoe and digs several trenches about 8' deep, then the inspector climbs in and produces a soil log hoping to find soil that will accept the effluent from the system. Here the line has to be 85' long for each bedroom.

I'm amazed at your comment about evaporation, it seems like that any evaporation would come with the smell of the effluent being evaporated.

Until now, I'd never heard of such shallow septic systems. Looks like geology differences around the country dictate how systems are installed. Good luck with yours
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:46 AM
 
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We purchased a house with crushed pipes to the leach field.
It's anyone's guess how they got crushed, but I suspect it was the installation of the swimming pool rocks done by the previous owner. Pretty but extremely heavy and limited access as to how they could have come in.

We renegotiated the price.

I am confused as to why your septic inspection did not show the crushed leach field trenches? Did they feed down cameras?
Then you would have in writing the further issues with the septic and the seller would have to disclose it to every potential buyer.

We didn't get as much as we asked for either, but we got a good reduction off the price of the house which was good. It was a short sale so we were unable to negotiate them fixing it or giving a credit, either of which would have been preferable in the short term.

Good luck. I don't know how much you requested, but make sure you get enough. The quotes people give on here (like $4000 for a whole new leach field) are so far from the reality of what it would cost in our area as to be useless.

So much depends on where you are, what room you have, access, trees, etc. Ours would cost a fortune to replace altogether.
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