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Get The Poop On Septic When Selling Your Woodinville Home

Septic_Tank_Riser_LidIf you’ve been a reader of my Blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that I tend to focus on certain topics and run them into the ground.  I like to think it’s because I’m being thorough and want to cover the topic fully, but those who know me might argue that I’m just odd.  Today’s post should be my last on the subject of septic systems unless someone asks me additional questions or some new changes in the law require an update.

King County Septic Regulations

Title 13 of the code within The Board Of Health Regulations is the governing document for all things septic within King County.  Within this chapter, 13.60.030 of the health code specifies what a seller must do when selling a home that is served by an OSS (On-Site Septic System).  Click HERE to view the regulations.  If your home is connected to a public sewer system, you can stop reading now.  BUT if you have a septic system serving your property, read on…

The Good ‘Ol Days

Back when I first began selling homes in Woodinville, the only thing I needed to have my sellers do prior to a sale is pump their septic tank.  The toughest challenge back then was obtaining a copy of the septic As-built from the county.  I recall one seller who had never pumped his tank in the 18 years his family lived there, and the tank was completely filled to the top with solid waste!  To this day, I’m still amazed that the drainfield didn’t get clogged.  Things have changed in these past 15 years, and now the requirements are much more stringent.


According to the health code, a seller of a home that is serviced by an OSS must:

“Retain a licensed on-site system maintainer (‘OSM’) to prepare a monitoring and performance inspection report of the OSS (‘Operation and Maintenance Report’) and to complete the other requirements of Health Code 13.60.030.  As soon as the OSM completes the requirements of Health Code 13.60.030, Seller shall deliver to Buyer a copy of the Operation and Maintenance Report and a copy of the maintenance records for the OSS if available.”

In layman’s terms, this means that a seller must hire a licensed OSM to inspect the septic system.  This inspector will then complete a several page report and file it with the county as to the condition of the OSS.  Here is where it gets tricky.  There are companies around that claim they are “licensed”, but in truth, only those who are licensed and “Certified” by King County are able to file the report.  If you hire an inspector who is NOT “Certified” by King County, you are just wasting your money.  Make sure that you select an appropriate professional from King County’s approved list.  Click HERE to visit the King County Public Health Page and to see the list of “Certified” inspectors.

What Costs Are Involved?

The fee to have your septic system inspected will vary among inspectors, but should generally be in the $200-300 range for the inspection.  The inspection report must then be filed with the county, and that fee is $105. If your system hasn’t been pumped within the past 12 months prior to the sale, then the cost for this would run an additional $400-500 (more if your tank holds more than 1000 gal).   But wait, there’s more!

If your tank lids are buried underground, your inspector/pumper may charge you a fee for locating and unearthing the lids at a rate of $45/ft for digging.  Also, if your septic system is a gravity system, and the home is unoccupied or hasn’t been in use for awhile, it may need a stress test which costs another $200-300.  Still haven’t spent enough money?

If you are unable to locate your septic AS-BUILT diagram for your home, you must have a new one drawn up and recorded.  The cost for this is around $500.  Lastly, if you have been in your home for 10+ years, and have not filed a notice with the county that you are on a septic system (Form 22U), you must complete this form and have it recorded as well.

All of these fees can add to the expense of your home sale.  In general, the average cost for the septic inspection, pumping, recording at the time of a sale will be between $800-1000.

The process for selling a home serviced by a septic system is becoming more complex every year.  Be sure and consult a experienced Realtor…

When REALiTY BiTES, Bite Back!

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