For a New Jersey home seller, nothing causes more anxiety (next to finding an able buyer) than the septic system inspection. When a failed system must be replaced, there is always the fear that an unsightly “mound” design would be required. Universally speaking, no buyer or seller want such a system. But there is a new replacement system that may become the standard in septic system re-designs for properties having high water tables. As few people are yet aware of this developing technology, we decided to write this brief article.

The “Hoot” Aerobic Treatment septic system is a five stage wastewater treatment system that performs much like municipal sewage treatment plant, but on a very small scale. Manufacturers tout the Hoot system as reducing or eliminating the need for traditional “mound” systems, and as an ideal option for locations with high water tables.  Hoot systems are said to be suitable for smaller lots, and because they are one-piece designs, installation expenses may be reduced.

Septic engineering contractors can provide estimates of both time and money for these system replacements and assist with obtaining necessary permits.  The municipal Boards of Health (or County when the property is here in Hunterdon: will also be involved and assist in coordinating the process of government approvals.  Once the system is installed and inspected, but prior to closing, the municipality may require the filing of a Deed Restriction with the County. This deed will “run” with the land and prescribe the maintenance and inspections required of the new homeowners. Once the Deed Restriction is sent to the County for recording, the Board of Health will approve the installation and issue a letter deeming the installation process “complete”. (Be advised that Readington Township requires a Deed Restriction for the HOOT septic system, and other municipalities may as well).

The new homeowners may also be required to enter into a monitoring and maintenance agreement with an authorized service provider. Inspections are required by the manufacturer and the NJ DEP, and must be undertaken by septic contractors at regular intervals.  Documentation of all pumping and inspections must be submitted once within (30) days of the system’s startup, then twice annually for the first two years of operation, and finally, once annually thereafter.

So, as a “best practice” (read: less stress for you), we recommend you engage a licensed septic professional to inspect your system prior to listing your property on the market. This step will give you peace of mind and put you in a better position to negotiate with prospective buyers (showing them a clean inspection report may allay their concerns about what they will find during their septic inspection). If a system replacement or repair is required, you will have sufficient time to complete the project and better adjust the timing of your property’s marketing, sale transaction and move-out.

Written with the assistance of Susan Meacham, paralegal.

BE ADVISED that these comments are not intended as legal opinions and are not to be relied upon as legal advice. If you need real estate-related legal advice, please contact us to discuss the specifics of your transaction.
© KilcommonsLaw, P.C. 2019

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