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Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank

 
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:45 PM   #1
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Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


I'm looking at buying an older house for my own place, built in 1961 with a couple of additions added in the late 1980's. We were there yesterday with the realtor, home inspector, my GC buddy, and a well and septic inspector.

After probing all over the backyard, the septic guy couldn't find the tank, and guessed it may be under the back brick stairs, judging from where the pipe exited the crawl space. He couldn't find the well either, said in those days, it was common to bury them. I went back today and found the tank, and it is partially under the stairs and maybe partially under the corner of the addition. The stairs have settled 1/2-3/4" on that side, there is no footing, and the stairs are bearing on the tank lid. So we suspect some tank damage. We are pushing the sellers to have the tank dug up to at least expose the whole thing, and see if the addition is bearing on it too.

At least the home inspector & I found the place to be structurally solid. All the floor joists and girders are pressure treated, and the floor is decked with 1x's. The place just has some MEP issues and cosmetic stuff to deal with, but what to do with this tank?
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:13 PM   #2
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


I don't think they should be able to sell the house with the tank like that. I know around here it needs to be like 30' from the house or maybe 25'. Seller's should have to rectify that problem.

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Old 04-01-2009, 03:17 PM   #3
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


This is what we call a
RED FLAG!

Aren't there any other houses
for sale in your area?
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:22 PM   #4
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


If your heart is set on that house, you can offer to buy it "as is" and adjust the purchase price accordingly.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:37 PM   #5
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinA View Post
I'm looking at buying an older house for my own place, built in 1961 with a couple of additions added in the late 1980's. We were there yesterday with the realtor, home inspector, my GC buddy, and a well and septic inspector.

After probing all over the backyard, the septic guy couldn't find the tank, and guessed it may be under the back brick stairs, judging from where the pipe exited the crawl space. He couldn't find the well either, said in those days, it was common to bury them. I went back today and found the tank, and it is partially under the stairs and maybe partially under the corner of the addition. The stairs have settled 1/2-3/4" on that side, there is no footing, and the stairs are bearing on the tank lid. So we suspect some tank damage. We are pushing the sellers to have the tank dug up to at least expose the whole thing, and see if the addition is bearing on it too.

At least the home inspector & I found the place to be structurally solid. All the floor joists and girders are pressure treated, and the floor is decked with 1x's. The place just has some MEP issues and cosmetic stuff to deal with, but what to do with this tank?
4/1
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:08 PM   #6
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


I just called up my old boss, a geotech PE, he said to check and see if the footings were stepped down to match the bottom of the tank, and maybe the footings were reinforced to bridge across the top. The addition has been there 20 years, so if there is no evidence of cracks or structural issues, then leave it alone, as long as it can be serviced. (If it ain't broke...)

If the tank has issues, he says install a new tank adjacent to the old one, attach the existing leach lines, plumb a pipe through the old tank, then fill it with grout.

We are under option with this house as opposed to a traditional offer. We gave them $500 to have 1st dibs on it, but we've got 3 weeks to decide if we want it or walk. They keep the 500, but we're shelling out $12-1500 for inspections too- asbestos, home inspection, well, septic, hvac...

We're adding up all the place needs to move in. So far we're figuring about $30k+. Once we have all our numbers we go back and haggle over the final price.
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:19 PM   #7
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Quote:
Originally Posted by neolitic View Post
This is what we call a
RED FLAG!

Aren't there any other houses
for sale in your area?
My wife is stuck on this place, her folks are down the street and up in age with health issues, so we want to be able to keep an eye on them. She grew up there, her folks have been in their place 40+ years and aren't going anywhere. A built-in babysitter would be a plus too.

It's a steal for the area even knowing any buyer will need to spend 30-40k to make it work. Lots of character and potential. A similar house in the neighborhood, needs no work, is listed for $145k more.
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:32 PM   #8
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


ABANDON TANK/ install new one in correct location, use this as a bargaining chip. G
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:31 PM   #9
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


This house can not be sold with septic under the structure. Unless one day you want to wake up in septic tank, or have that beautiful aroma from it on a nice and humid day...Good luck with it
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:10 PM   #10
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Quote:
Originally Posted by genecarp View Post
ABANDON TANK/ install new one in correct location, use this as a bargaining chip. G


That's what I would do!


Code here is tank must be 15' away from any structure, that includes steps/stairs. I have abandoned and relocated a couple to make room for additions.
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:17 PM   #11
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Quote:
Originally Posted by genecarp View Post
ABANDON TANK/ install new one in correct location, use this as a bargaining chip. G
I agree. This is the only real answer.
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:52 PM   #12
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Reference www.soil.ncsu.edu/publications/soilfacts/ag-439-221
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:01 PM   #13
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Quote:
Originally Posted by greg24k View Post
This house can not be sold with septic under the structure. Unless one day you want to wake up in septic tank, or have that beautiful aroma from it on a nice and humid day...Good luck with it
and on evenings with high barometric pressure, husband and wife will be blaming each other for farting in bed.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:08 PM   #14
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinA View Post
I'm looking at buying an older house for my own place, built in 1961

All the floor joists and girders are pressure treated, and the floor is decked with 1x's.
Built in '61 with pt joists? I doubt it.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:28 PM   #15
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Quote:
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Built in '61 with pt joists? I doubt it.
Good catch, I don't recall even seeing pressure treated lumber till about 1970. They are probably yellow pine though seeing as hes in NC.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:42 PM   #16
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Quote:
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Busted link.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:53 PM   #17
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Right... not green treated... but green...
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:29 PM   #18
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


I'm not sure about your area, but in MN (st louis county) the home cannot be sold untill it passes septic inspection as outlined by the county, seller must bring it up to code prior to sale.
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:18 AM   #19
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


Quote:
Originally Posted by thom View Post
Built in '61 with pt joists? I doubt it.

The OP mentioned, "built in 1961 with a couple of additions added in the late 1980's." so it's possible that the joists are PT.
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Old 04-02-2009, 06:45 PM   #20
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Re: Addition Built On Top Of Septic Tank


I'll try to get some pics, but the joists and girders were stained green throughout the crawlspace on the 1960's section, looked brand new, definately didn't look 40+ years old! I want to dig and outline the extents of the tank, inside and outside the foundation walls. Trying to put pressure on the sellers too though, make them dig it up and show where it can be serviced, it is sound, and how much we'll have to spend to get credit on the price....

Any ideas on how big a tank typically is? LxWxD? There is only about 2' projecting outside the addition, parallel to it. Roughly 2-feet out along a 10 to 15-foot section of outside wall. Not good, need to dig to really see what the deal is.

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