News Releases > Septic system disclosure a new requirement of Allen County ordinance
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (March 9, 2012) – No one wants to buy a house only to find out later that its septic system is not working properly – or worse, that the system is in failure and in need of costly repairs or replacement.
That is one of the reasons for a provision in Allen County’s onsite sewage system ordinance requiring a seller to notify a prospective buyer whenever a property being offered for sale has a septic system. Should the buyer request an evaluation, the seller must also allow a qualified evaluator to check the system prior to closing the sale.
Although this is a common practice in many communities, it has only recently become a requirement in Allen County as a result of the new ordinance which took effect March 1.
There are approximately 15,500 properties in Allen County which are not connected to sanitary sewer and instead use other means to treat and discharge wastewater. Of those properties, it is estimated that as many as 70 percent have systems that may be failing, non-existent or below current standards. Failing or inadequate septic systems are a threat to public health and the environment and can cost thousands of dollars to fix or replace.
“When purchasing a home with a septic system, it is important to make sure the system functions properly and meets current requirements,” says Gary Chapple, director of Pollution Control with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health. “This ordinance will provide homebuyers some protection against making an ill-advised purchasing decision, but it’s still up to the buyer to request the septic evaluation.”
A seller disclosure form has been circulated to area real estate professionals for use in real estate transactions. The Department of Health also maintains a list of certified evaluators and can provide this list to any person who makes a request.
For more information about the seller disclosure notice or other issues related to septic systems, visit www.allencountyhealth.com.
A septic system is a type of onsite sewage treatment system used when a connection to sewer lines is not available. These systems are designed to safely treat and dispose of household wastewaters, which contain disease-causing germs and pollutants. If not treated properly, these wastewaters from kitchens, laundries and bathrooms can threaten human health and the environment. Although there are a variety of systems out there, only certain types are allowed under state law. A typical onsite sewage system consists of a septic tank, which collects the wastewater from the home and separates the solids out, and a soil absorption system, where the effluent from the septic tank flows for further treatment by and dispersal into the soil.