Selling your Home - Well and Septic Testing

Within the Municipality of Anchorage or
In the Matanuska Valley

Any transfer of title within the Municipality of Anchorage requires that the well and septic systems be tested for compliance and a health authority approval be issued prior to transfer of the property. If you are on a public sewer or water system then there is no requirement for testing. If you are on a well or septic system then each must be tested for compliance. The well is pump tested to determine the flow rate and yield or recovery rate of the well. That is the rate at which water enters the well casing from the surrounding aquifer. The well test is typically run for a minimum period of 4 hours to meet FHA loan requirements. The well beginning water level is recorded and then the well is pumped at maximum flow rate while watching how the water level in the well responds. The well flow rate must be at an equivalent of 150 gallons per day per bedroom in the house to pass the flow requirements for compliance this requirement is greater for FHA approval.

In addition to the flow test, the well installation is inspected to determine the correct casing height above ground, that drainage is away from the casing, condition of the well seal, that the electrical wire is in a conduit and there is adequate surface separation distance to the septic system and neighbors septic systems. These items are all required on a checklist the engineer will have to submit with the health approval application to the Municipality. Water samples are taken for coliform and nitrate levels which are indicators of pathogen and sewage type contamination. Testing for taste and other water quality parameters is left up to the purchaser.

Septic systems are tested by adding water to the leachfield and determining the ability of the system to transfer the water into the surrounding soil. The septic liquid levels are taken through the tubes that are located in the septic system and stick up above ground on your property. There are many ways to test a septic system. It is important to utilize an experienced testing service as this test can be very subjective.  There are some things you can do to improve your chances of passing. Measurements are also taken of the leachfield surface separation distances to determine compliance with codes and separation distances to neighboring wells and surface water. The installed size of the leachfield and septic tank must match the number of bedrooms in the home. If there is a problem then the engineer will notify you with the possible solution. Septic tanks must be pumped if not done within the year preceding the test. For more detailed information on testing procedures used by Eagle River Engineering.

The basic testing procedure is the same for the valley with the exception that the report is written entirely by the inspecting engineer and there is no government approval form required. The well water quality is tested for coliform bacteria presence only. Septic tanks are evaluated individually for the pumping requirement.

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