It’s now mandatory to have your septic system inspected prior to sale.
The rules for buying and selling homes with on-site wastewater treatment systems, or septic systems, have changed. Beginning January 1, 2019, most septic systems in Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan Counties must be inspected prior to the sale of a home. **There are a few exceptions - see the full exception list below.
Our knowledgeable brokers are ready to help you navigate these new rules, find a certified inspector, and submit the required septic system inspection paperwork, whether you’re buying or selling a home.
Why do we have these new rules?
To keep our water safe!
The new rules requiring inspections allow buyers and sellers to identify and repair failing and unsafe septic systems before they contaminate drinking water. The inspections also provide important information to both the buyer and the seller, which reduces unexpected repairs and other surprises. In addition, the new rules make it illegal to transfer most properties with septic systems without an Acceptance Document.
Since 1967, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) has regulated on-site wastewater treatment systems in La Plata, Archuleta, and San Juan Counties. When state and local lawmakers updated the rules for septic systems, San Juan Basin Public Health adopted new regulations which took effect January 1, 2019.
Rules for septic systems affect anyone who wants to instal, alter, expand, or repair a septic system, and sellers of property with septic systems.
How to obtain an Acceptance Document prior to closing:
San Juan Basin Public Health plans to issue Acceptance Documents for approved systems within two business days of application. Acceptance Documents expire at the closing of the property sale, or after twelve months, whichever comes first.
Consult the links on the left for forms, to make payments, and for more information about on-site wastewater treatment systems.
When snow covers the ground, it can be difficult or even impossible to inspect an on-site wastewater treatment system. Freezing temperatures compound the problem by causing the ground to freeze, halting repair projects and anything requiring digging. To avoid delays caused by cold weather, San Juan Basin Public Health recommends getting inspections done in advance. When this isn’t possible, a Coldwell Banker Realtor can help you navigate the process and make informed decisions as a buyer or seller.
If you’re buying or selling a home in the winter and an inspection cannot be performed, or repairs cannot be completed, San Juan Basin Public Health can issue a Conditional Acceptance Document. In order to obtain a Conditional Acceptance Document the buyer needs to agree, in writing, to complete the necessary inspections and any repairs within a reasonable timeframe, usually 90 days. At Coldwell Banker we’ll help to ensure that your interests are protected during this process and that the sell is as smooth and stress free as possible.
Contact your Coldwell Banker broker today if you have questions.
What happens if a septic system fails inspection?
During the inspection, an inspector will determine if the system is working correctly and if it requires any repairs or maintenance. The inspector will include all of their finding in the Operating Inspection Form that is submitted to San Juan Basin Public Health during the application process.
If the property owner needs to fix any problems with the septic system, or if the system needs to be expanded because its capacity is found to be too small, the owner must apply for an On-site Wastewater Treatment System permit from San Juan Basin Public Health. Very small repairs, such as adding a fence or replacing a tank lid, do not require a permit.
After an owner makes the required changes to a septic system, San Juan Basin Public Health will inspect the repairs. The owner does not need to have a new Transfer of Title inspection performed.
Apply and pay for OWTS permits at San Juan Basin Public Health
Exceptions and exemptions:
There are a few exceptions to the new permit rules:
If you have questions about if your septic system is exempt, contact San Juan Basin Public Health.
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