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Homeowners hire Washtenaw County certified private inspectors (PDF) to conduct these inspections. To become certified, inspectors must demonstrate competency based on training and testing. A standardized inspection procedure is used and reports are submitted on a standardized form.
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The Washtenaw County Time of Sale Regulation was passed June 9, 1999 and officially went into effect January 1, 2000.
Nearly half of the septic systems in the county have reached their service life expectancy, and studies show that drinking water quality and availability are decreasing. Inspections over the first 18 months of the program revealed:
Homes with municipal sewer and water are not affected. Only homes serviced by an on-site well and/or septic system must be inspected. Homeowners are advised to contact a certified inspector as soon as possible before selling a home. This allows necessary repairs to be completed and prevents delays due to inspector or contractor scheduling. Approvals are valid for one year.
No. The Regulation clearly states that it is not intended to bring all systems up to current construction standards. Only those that are failing or in substantial non-conformance require corrective action.
The Environmental Health Division considers repairs under the concept of maximum feasible compliance for inadequate systems that cannot be brought into compliance, which means finding a solution that brings a system as close to current codes as site conditions will allow. Use of alternative sewage disposal technologies is encouraged on these sites. Property owners have the option of appealing the Environmental Health Division's decisions to the Health Code Board of Appeals/Public Health Advisory Committee.
Yes. Property transfers that are exempt from inspections include:
The program requires the Environmental Health Division to complete the inspection report review in 5 business days or less. This does not delay closings when the inspections are done in a timely manner. Some sales are delayed when the inspection is done after an offer is tendered. This is particularly true if corrections are necessary. Since inspection results are good for 12 months, homeowners are encouraged to start the process when listing the home.
The Environmental Health Division will approve the property transfer if the following is submitted to and approved by the Division:
The actual inspection prices are market-driven, and private inspectors set their own rates. The County does not regulate these rates and does not receive any portion of the inspection fees. The County does charge a fee to cover processing costs. This fee schedule is available on the website. Note that many inspectors include the County's fee in their pricing schedule, so be sure to ask your inspector for details.
The Environmental Health Division is committed to processing all submittals in a fair and timely manner. Reports will be reviewed in the order they are received. The County will send the owner a letter to authorize the sale or identify necessary correction in no more than 5 business days of receiving a complete report. If a report is incomplete or cannot be interpreted, the inspector will be contacted for clarification and asked to submit a complete report.