Plumbing Company Installs an Illegal Septic System

What does it look like when a plumbing company installs an illegal septic system?                                                                                                                       

The photo above illustrates non-standard, low quality installation work conducted by people who are not trained, experienced or licensed.

Coast Mountain Earth Sciences was hired to conduct a pre-purchase septic inspection for the prospective property purchaser. The illegal work was disclosed and a copy of the receipt from a North Surrey, BC plumbing company was provided. The property owner had hired them in an effort to save money.

Some of the issues with the system were as follows:

  • the septic tank was undersized,
  • the old septic tank had not been properly examined and the crumbling outlet baffle had not been repaired or replaced,
  • the risers and lids on the tank were not properly or safely attached,
  • the dispersal field was buried too deeply,
  • the dispersal field pipes were placed in a very non-standard organization,
  • the dispersal field pipes were perforated where they should have been solid pipe,
  • the trenches were not properly constructed,
  • the dispersal field was only 1 year old and yet it had already been fully backed up with effluent that wouldn’t drain, and sewage solids were causing clogging,
  • the property owner paid far more than the actual value of the materials and labour.

In our experience, when anyone, including a plumbing company installs an illegal septic system, they tend to take advantage of the property owner. Components that they charged you for were never installed, the system ends up being much smaller than you paid for, components are installed wrong or dangerously, the wrong portion of the property was chosen. It just goes on and on.

We understand that people would like to save money, or simply can’t afford a proper system, but these unethical individuals know it will be hard to prove their involvement and most people don’t have the money to take them to court.


Is it Only Plumbing Companies Instaling Illegal Septic Systems?

There are no shortage of people/businesses who do illegal repairs or complete installations without any regard to provincial standards.

Besides some plumbing companies offering such services, there are tank cleaning companies and excavating contractors that tell homeowners their system has “failed”, then tell how they can fix the problem with their crew.

In the Maple Ridge, BC area, another plumbing company routinely offers this and we recently assisted a Maple Ridge resident who won an out of court settlement from them for the full amount they spent.

There is even a farmer on Farmer Rd (we kid you not) who is happy to bring his backhoe to your home quick and cheap. So cheap that a property owner in Langley, BC ended up with a system 1/5 the minimum size that backed up within a month, yet was charged 2/3rds the cost of a legally installed, properly sized and registered system. Where is the savings in that?

How do we know this? We have done over 5,600 inspections of septic systems around the province, of all sizes and types. We have documents provided to us by various parties when doing inspections, including invoices from various businesses who do this illegal work. Our experience makes it  easy to spot the illegal systems, diversions to ditches and creeks, and the variety of things people do when their septic system has a problem.

Sadly, we have a lot of experience acting as an Expert Witness in court.


If you have any questions, or think this may have happened to you please don’t hesitate to contact us.