Inspection Services

Blue Ridge Underground Inspections is operated by professional and courteous certified well, water, and septic inspectors. We are committed to making each inspection experience as informative as possible for our clients while working within state standards and regulations.

BOOK WELL/SEPTIC INSPECTION

Septic Inspection Services

ordering the right Inspections 

A home’s well and septic system have a symbiotic relationship; one can not function correctly without the other. The well draws water into the house, while the septic system removes water and waste. When considering the purchase of a home with a private well and septic system, it is necessary to understand the current condition of each system by inspecting them together before purchasing the home.

Testing the quality of the water drawn from the well into the home is one of the most important inspections a home buyer will complete from a health and safety standpoint. Ensuring water is drinkable and free of harmful bacteria, nitrate-nitrogen, turbidity, and other contaminants provides proof that the water they will drink and come in contact with daily is safe for consumption.

These inspections cover the home’s entire water system from the point of entry to exit. Each inspection shows the system’s current condition while identifying existing areas of concern and active or potential deficiencies.

Well Inspection Services

A common question many clients have is, ‘How does the well work?’. During the construction of the well, a well shaft is drilled deep into the ground until it reaches an underground aquifer. An aquifer is a body of porous rock or sediment saturated with groundwater. As the groundwater seeps through the soil and rocks, it enters the aquifer, where the well pump pulls the water it supplies to the home. A buyer needs to ensure the well pump is working as expected and the water it pulls into the house is safe to come in contact with and consume. Three inspections tell the home buyer the current condition of the well system.

Well Inspection

Since the water found in the underground aquifer largely contains groundwater, this visual inspection identifies any potentially harmful sources of contamination to the water supplied by the well. If bacteria, nitrate-nitrogen, chloride, or other harmful pollutants are present in the home’s water, it becomes unsafe to consume. This inspection utilizes a combination of county records, a homeowner questionnaire, and a visual examination of the wellhead and surrounding area. During the inspection, the inspector looks at the condition of the wellhead to ensure it is free of cracks or other damage and its proximity to potential sources of water contamination. Common sources of contamination are septic systems, disclosed in-ground propane or fuel storage tanks, livestock yards (including chicken coops), and pesticide or fertilizer storage areas. If possible contaminants are found, a water test is critical to ensure the pollutants are not in the aquifer and subsequently in the home’s drinking water.

Well Pump Performance Test

During the Well Pump Performance Test, the inspector depletes the water reserve in the pressure tank and measures the water flow (gallons per minute), water pressure, and, when possible, the amperage the well pump draws off of the main water line coming in from the well. Together, these pieces of information help establish a trend of the well pump’s ability to function by allowing the inspector to identify irregularities in amperage draw, water flow rate, and water pressure. These irregularities could identify a more significant issue that should either be budgeted for replacement or evaluated by a licensed professional for further evaluation and repair if necessary.

 Water Quality Test

The water quality test will determine if the water in the home is safe and drinkable. A Blue Ridge Underground Inspections certified water collection specialist collects a water sample produced by the home’s well system to perform the water quality test. This test looks for harmful contaminants, including bacteria, nitrate-nitrogen, chloride, turbidity, or other harmful pollutants present in the home’s water. Once collected, the inspector takes the water sample to a laboratory specializing in well water testing. We can facilitate testing for other specific contaminants as requested.

Septic Inspection services

Ensuring the home’s septic system is functioning correctly, not leaking into the surrounding area, and not missing any critical parts is the primary purpose of a septic inspection. During the septic inspection, the inspector does a visual inspection of the tank to look for any cracks that are often caused by ground settling. A crack in the septic tank can allow untreated contents to leak into the area surrounding the septic tank. The inspector will also confirm both the inlet and outlet baffles are present and that the distribution box and leech fields are operating as expected.

 Septic Inspection

A septic system inspection utilizes a combination of county records, a completed homeowner questionnaire, and a multi-step inspection of the septic tank, distribution box, and leach fields. Before the inspection begins, the inspector will locate the septic tank and expose the tank’s lid either by hand digging or entering through a riser installed over the septic tank’s access port. Once exposed, the inspector will open the lid, showing the septic tank’s contents. The inspector starts by noting the amount of contents in the tank and measuring the height of the sludge at the bottom of the tank and the scum found at the top of the tank to make sure they are within recommended parameters. Next, the inspector will add water to the septic tank through the septic system and monitor how the tank processes the additional water. The inspector will also attempt to locate the distribution box and leach fields to verify the distribution box is distributing water as expected, and the leach fields are absorbing the water from the tank without pooling on the ground above the septic field. Next, the tank is pumped, removing all of the contents. Once emptied, the inspector or the pumper will visually inspect the condition of the emptied tank to identify cracks and that the tank has all of the needed parts to function correctly.

Additional Fees and Services

Occasionally, the septic inspection will find the septic tank deeper in the ground than the State of Maryland recommends or missing critical components like baffles. When this happens, Blue Ridge Underground will notify the homeowner and buyer to see if they would like these issues addressed after the inspection while the tank’s lid is still exposed.

Digging Fees

In some cases, the septic tank may be buried several feet underground. When that is the case, our inspector will hand dig to access the tank for the inspection. After the first 18 inches of hand digging, a $150 fee will be assessed for every 12 inches of hand digging. If the septic tank is more that 3.5 feet deep, we will need to arrange for a mechanical dig to access the septic tank access port. There will be a $175 return fee to complete the inspection, along with the additional cost of the mechanical digging. Due to the frequency needed to access the tank for proper maintenance, we recommend installing a riser to make accessing the lid easier and to avoid the expense of hand digging in the future. 

Riser Installation

The ability to access the septic tank is critical for the regular maintenance of a septic tank. Due to the ongoing need to access the septic tank, when the tank lid is greater than 18″ below grade, a riser must be installed to have a satisfactory State of Maryland inspection. While installing a riser is not required, homeowners should expect to pay an additional digging fee each time the septic tank needs to be accessed, whether it be for regular pumping, inspection, repair, or other reasons. Recommended maintenance of a septic system is for the tank to be pumped every 3-5 years. If desired by the homeowner or buyer, Blue Ridge Underground can install a riser while the lid is already exposed for the inspection. Installation costs range between $450 – $1,020, depending on the depth of the ground to the septic tank.

Baffle Installation

Occasionally, an inspection will find either the inlet or outlet baffle missing from the tank. While replacing these parts is not required, they are essential for a properly functioning septic tank. If either of the baffles are found to be missing during the inspection, Blue Ridge Underground can replace the missing baffles if desired by the homeowner or buyer. Installation costs are $500 for the first baffle and $350 for the second, if needed.

Our Number 1 Goal

Our goal is to always to provide our clients a honest and unbiased inspection of the systems we are evaluating. We strive to teach our clients how the well and septic systems work and how to maintain them. We also recognize home inspections are a small part of a much bigger process, buying a home. While we want to ensure you are well informed about your underground systems, we also want to make sure the home buying process is easy and enjoyable. As a result, we can work directly with your real estate agent to ensure they receive a copy of your inspection along with any other information they need for your transaction.

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Our Local Community

We offer professional underground well and septic inspections in Frederick, Carroll, Montgomery, and Washington counties.

Blue Ridge Underground Inspections

Blue Ridge Underground Inspections provides customer-first inspection services for real estate property transfers in the state of Maryland. Each inspection is designed to inform clients of the condition of their well and septic systems, including the quality of the home's water. After each inspection, the inspector reviews the inspection results, how the systems function, and the recommended system maintenance to extend the life of the system(s) with the client. 

For greater convenience, Saturday appointments and light septic repairs are available by request. We also accept online payments through our easy-to-use scheduling system at the time of scheduling. Schedule your well/septic inspection today.