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Inspecting Acreages

Jun 10, 2022 | General Category

Part 1: Septic and Waste Field


Inspecting acreages requires more knowledge from your Home Inspector. Acreages often have private wells for water supply and septic systems for waste removal. Each of these systems has components you won’t see in your typical urban dwelling.

A complete inspection of the underground components would require specialized equipment, training and even Provincial Certification. There are however a number of factors your Home Inspector must be familiar with and numerous warning signs as well which may indicate a failing system.


Typical septic system operation Inspection

The following is a description of the operation of a typical septic system:

  1. Septic tank
Waste enters the tank through an inlet pipe from the home. Tanks typically have two chambers. Solids settle out into the bottom of the first chamber and are broken down by bacterial action. Liquid (called “effluent”) moves to the second chamber before exiting the tank through the outlet pipe. Solids will need to be pumped from the tank occasionally. The frequency of pumping will depend on the tank size, the type and number of plumbing fixtures in the home and the manner in which these fixtures are used.
The size of septic tanks is determined by number of bedrooms in a dwelling.
2. Drain field
After leaving the tank, the effluent is routed into a series of underground pipes which are perforated to allow the effluent to soak into the soil. Bacteria in the soil break down pollutants and soil filters out pathogens, organic matter and suspended solids.

Drain fields are best covered with grass and vehicle and live stock should be kept off.

In Alberta the following guidelines must also be followed.

The septic or holding tank must be:

  1. 1 m away from the property line and building.
  2. 10 m away from any water source or water course.

The treatment field must not be within:

  1. 1 m of a building without a permanent foundation.
  2. 1.5 m of the property line’
  3. 15 m of a water source.
  4. 10 m of basement, cellar or crawlspace.
  5. 5 m from a building with a permanent foundation but no basement, cellar or crawlspace.
  6. 7.5 m from a septic tank.

There are also specific regulations for treatment mounds, open discharge and lagoons.



– Most garbage disposals exert pressure on septic systems; limit their use to prolong the life of your system and decrease tank pumping intervals. Do not put anything into the system which will not decompose easily.

– Do not use additives. If your system is operating correctly you won’t need them. If your system is not operating correctly, you should have it inspected by a qualified inspector or contractor to determine the source of the problem and have it corrected.

– Pump your tank at proper intervals. Failure to pump the tank at proper intervals may result in solid waste from the tank entering and clogging distribution or leach field pipes. This can lead to the necessity for replacing the leach field, which can be very costly.

Garbage disposals are now available that are made for use with homes depended on private wastewater (septic) systems.


Corner 2 Corner Inspections is fully insured, bonded and licensed to preform Property Inspections in Alberta. To book a Home or Acreage Inspection with Corner 2 Corner Inspections call Tim @ 780-686-4515 or book directly through the web site

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