The first step in completing a septic inspection is a walk through the inside of the house. This only takes a couple minutes. I encourage the owner to follow me around the house. There are a number of things that I have to check off on the form including the number of bedrooms, check to see if you have a garbage disposal, check to see if your cellar is damp and/or has a sump pump. I will ask how many people live in the house. None of these answers has a right or wrong answer. I am simply collecting information that goes on the form.
The next step is for me to go to the Board of Health and the water department to do some research on your septic system. The BOH should have a septic design and an "asbuilt" that will assist me in locating the components as well as the design calculations. The water department will give me the information that I need to calculate the average amount of water that you use daily over the past two years.
The last step is to come back to your house and dig up the septic tank, the distribution box and possibly the soil absorption system. I do this with a shovel to minimize the disruption of your lawn. You will be able to find the spots in your lawn where I dug, but my goal is to make as little mess as possible. I measure the thickness of the solids in the septic tank, check to make sure that the outlet tee is in place, look for signs of past backups. I may take pictures of these components for my records. When I dig up the distribution box I am looking for signs of solid carryover from the tank, structural integrity of the box and signs of backup.
I may dig into the soil absorption system to check the quality of the stone and I may dig a hole deeper than the lowest component to determine groundwater. There may be additional cost if these components are difficult to find or very deep.