Many people are surprised to find out that many, many homes in Coral Gables are still on septic systems. Coral Gables was master planned in the 1920s and most homes, in fact, are still on the septic systems from the original planning days. Commercial and high density have been changed over, in large part, but not many single family homes.
This is important to know for several reasons. If you are a buyer, you may want to include an inspection of the septic tank as part of your inspections. This can be tricky as the current owner may not know where the tank is, but a septic company will come out and locate it. It will entail breaking open (most often) the concrete tank for an inspection, then resealing it.
Why would I want to know if there is a septic system and where it is?
If you are planning any of the following, you can’t do them where the drain field is, so you’d not be able to, or you’d have to move the drain field:
- adding a pool
- adding parking spaces, drives, etc.
- building an addition
Also, the tank needs occasional maintenance, cleaning (rough estimate, every 5 years). It’s not too expensive (a few hundred dollars) but could be VERY expensive if your drain field is ruined. (not to mention unpleasant).
By checking the tank and knowing where the field is, you can make sure not to drive or park on it (critical) and plan for it should you have plans of adding structures, etc.
This recently came up with a house I’m selling and the owner didn’t know that he was even on a septic system. He had a septic company out, located it and cleaned it out. Imagine if he had not and owned it for years without taking care of it?
I’ve found the following map which has proven to be very helpful for home buyers (and sellers!) of the Sewer districts in Coral Gables.
While it surprises many, having a septic system is not a big deal, you just need to know where the tank and drain field are and have it serviced every few years, as suggested by your septic contractor. If you are buying a house, ask the owners if they know where the tank and field are and if they have any records as when it was last serviced.