Location of Septic Tank.

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spider8
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Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265567 spider8
Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:14 am

Hi Folks, we have a problem..........
We are buying a cottage in Orkney and the one problem we have is finding the location of the septic tank. The last owner hasn't got a clue (he hasn't got a clue about anything remotely domestic) and we've stomped all over the garden, a biggish one, but haven't seen any clues. The cottage originally dates from 120 years ago with two extensions since then but it's a real problem and may affect our purchase. Any help guys?
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diggernotdreamer
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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265569 diggernotdreamer
Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:26 am

This is a problem with rural locations, one good clue is to look for the big old clump of nettles that often grows over the percolation area, ours was covered in nettles, you may be able to hear the water, fill up the bath with water and let it go, you may be able to hear it running into the tank, they were often put in in the 60s and 70s, can't believe he doesn't know where it is, they sometimes need desludging and what if he gets a blockage?? seems a bit vague.

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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265572 GeorgeSalt
Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:35 am

spider8 wrote:Any help guys?


To my way of thinking it's the sellers problem, not yours. Throw it back at him and tell him that his lack of information on the subject is threatening his opportunity to sell the property.
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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265574 Odsox
Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:41 am

Look for a manhole cover immediately outside the kitchen or bathroom. If you find one, lift the lid and you will at least see which direction the pipe heads off to. Unless there is a VERY good reason, the pipes are usually laid in straight lines.
If there's no sign of a manhole cover anywhere then as mentioned by Digger, look for a healthy clump of nettles especially in a ditch as there may not be a sceptic tank at all, just an outfall pipe.
Tony

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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265583 Green Aura
Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:22 pm

Are you sure it has it's own septic tank? We have a communal one and there are several dotted round the village for different clusters of houses.

If your vendor is useless, is there a neighbour to ask?

Would it appear on the deeds?

So many questions... :lol:
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diggernotdreamer
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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265584 diggernotdreamer
Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:37 pm

Just a thought, are there any rules and regulations covering this, we are going through a load of septic tank stuff in Ireland at the moment, you are meant to register your tank, then it has to be inspected, if it fails the inspection you are then obliged by law to upgrade it, apparently, Ireland are being fined on a daily basis for failing to set up a registration scheme, some European directive, so is this the case in the UK as well? is your vendor avoiding some issues???

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boboff
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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265590 boboff
Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:45 pm

Depends.

If you really want the house and it's the right price just crack on.

Take out an insurance policy with Homeserve as soon as you move in for Pipes and drainage, it about £120 a year, and covers up to £2000 worth of repairs a year. Over the course of the seasons that come you will find it.(The man holes / inspection hatches may well not frost over as much if grassed over)

You can also get the seller to pay for an indemnity policy covering the drainage, which would mean you can claim if there is an issue with it.

If the seller has been there an age, and didn't know where it was, it means there arn't any issues with it, BUT if your behaviors are different to his ( you use more Bleech, washingpowder etc) that doesn't mean you won't have problems.

Just check his water bills as well to make sure no mention of effluent treatment is included in the bill, obviously if it is mentioned you don't have a septic tank and all the above is pointless, so maybe do that first!
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Mallimak
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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265614 Mallimak
Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:51 pm

As Spiderlover said in her opening message of this thread the location of the septic tank in our, hopefully soon to be, new home is a bit of a mystery.

Even the surveyor who carried out the survey for the Home Buyer's Report couldn't find it, he stated in his report that he assumed that there was a septic tank although he didn't see one during his survey.

As GeorgeSalt said throw it back at the seller. This is exactly what our solicitor has done. Until they tell us where the tank is located he is not issuing the paperwork that concludes the missives and he has given them until tomorrow morning to come up with the answer.

What is puzzling us it that the seller completed the property questionnaire back in May 12 and said that there was a septic tank and that he had a consent to discharge from it. Our solicitor sent us a copy of the consent to discharge that he had received and it was dated the 8 Aug 12 and referred to an application received by SEPA on the 24 Jul 12. So bit of a dis-joint there.

I have had a scout around the property this afternoon as we want to resolve this matter asap and discovered in the area where the seller thought the septic tank might be, a large concrete slab that appeared to be sitting on a sort of metal frame. I thought I was in luck as when I banged on the slab with a metal rod I was getting a good sounding hollow echo. However on lifting the slab all I found was a 3 into 1 shallow chamber for the water coming from the bathroom and ensuite.

Using an old hosepipe left on the site I first of all confirmed that the water was running away from the chamber. Then feeding the hospepipe down the pipe until I could push it no further I then laid the pipe out on the ground above the direction the pipe was heading and had a poke around with my rod but couldn't find any signs of a manhole cover.

I also then did the same with the drain by the kitchen for the kitchen sink waste and it crossed over the line of the first pipe. I don't know whether the two join as I couldn't find anything at the cross over point.

I then had to abandon any further investigation as the heavens opened and I was soaked in minutes. Had I know it was going to rain, it wasn't forecast, I would have taken my wellies and a waterproof coat.

So all we can do it wait and see what tomorrow brings.

In answer to Green Aura's questions I would think we have our own septic tank rather than a communal one due to the distance between us and the neighbours. I'm not sure they would know where our tank would be either. Our solicitor has had a good look through the deeds so if there had been anything in there it should have been spotted.

We'll keep you posted, in the meantime thanks for all your comments and suggestions.
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The Riff-Raff Element
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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265618 The Riff-Raff Element
Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:33 am

I've had this problem twice while we lived in France - the vendor having only the haziest idea were their outputs were going. In both cases the tanks have turned out to be only a metre or so away from the outside wall by the bathroom, an arrangement that sounds unhygienic but has seldom given us any smell issues. The pit may be closer than you think, in other words...

We have new regs here too; in fact, since 2005 every house in France is supposed to have been on mains drainage. When this quickly proved to be unworkable (dreamt up by people who knew where the countryside was but were unclear as to what it was :lol: ) we were all supposed to have our tanks inspected and upgraded. This is beyond the means of most so has too been quietly dropped and still no-one is dying of cholera.

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Mallimak
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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265643 Mallimak
Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:59 am

Well as expected the seller's solicitor came back with the reply that the septic tank was located under a large concrete slab to the rear of the property close to the bathroom. This was the same slab as the one I mentioned in my last post and it was not the cover to the septic tank :(

Our solicitor didn't think we would get anything else from the seller's solicitor as that was where he believed the tank to be. So we were basically left with 3 options:

a) Walk away from the purchase,
b) Carry on with the purchase without knowing where the septic tank was, or
c) Try and negoiate a reduction in price of the property to compensate for any future issues with the drainage system.

We didn't really want to go for option a), we didn't really want to continue with b) without knowing where the tank was and c) was most likely to at best delay the process and at worst threaten the sale if the seller wouldn't reduce the price.

So with better weather and a couple of helpers we went back to the property yesterday evening armed with spades and drain rods and after 115ft of rodding we located the tank and confirmed that it was within the boundaries of the property. During the search we also located a drain cover over the point where there is a bend in the pipe.

So a great result, a lot of relief and this morning our solicitor will be instructed to proceed with the purchase and we are still on target to get the keys on Friday :iconbiggrin:

Thanks to everyone for your comments and advice.
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Green Aura
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Re: Location of Septic Tank.

Post: #265646 Green Aura
Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:08 am

Great news. Best of luck with the purchase.
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