How Much Does a Septic System Inspection Cost?

Typical Range:

$200 - $900

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated June 16, 2022

Reviewed by Jeff Botelho, Licensed Journeyman Plumber.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

While preventing a septic tank debacle at your home is priceless, septic tank inspections typically cost between $200 and $900. Even though the average price for a septic tank inspection around the country is $550, deep-dive first-time inspections done in anticipation of home sales are often pricier than routine annual inspections. An option for a septic inspection that utilizes camera technology to peer into tight spaces will cost more than a sight-only inspection.

Average Cost for a Septic Tank Inspection

High Average Low
$900 Average $550 $200

Septic Tank Inspection Cost by Type

The biggest cost factor with septic tank inspections is the reason for your inspection. While routine inspections cost on the lower end, inspections as part of a home closing tend to be pricier because they involve more test points. “An emergency inspection will also be more expensive,” says Jeff Botelho, Angi Expert Review Board member and Massachusetts-licensed journeyman plumber. “Make sure you really need the work to be done immediately before calling out a contractor.”

Routine Septic Maintenance

Both home inspection and septic companies offer basic annual inspections costing between $200 and $250 that consist of:

  • Dye test for leaks

  • Visual inspection

Basic Inspection

It’s recommended that you get a basic inspection every three years, which costs between $250 and $400. A basic inspection includes the following:

  • Dye test for leaks

  • Simple system tests

  • Scum and sludge layer measuring

  • Visual inspection

Detailed Inspection

Ranging between $400 and $700, a detailed inspection includes the following:

  • Visual inspection

  • Simple tests

  • Pumping and measuring tests

  • Wastewater flow test

  • Water-body distance

  • Audit of tank size

  • Soil testing

  • Excavation

Camera Inspection

If there's a problem that a pro cannot easily identify during an inspection, they might recommend snaking a camera into the tank to get an accurate visual. This can bump the price of your inspection up to $900, after combining a basic inspection with camera costs.

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Septic Tank Special Maintenance Services Costs

Your flat rate for a septic tank inspection will not cover any required repairs or replacements highlighted by inspection findings. Any problems with your system will result in additional work not included in your inspection quote. The cost to repair a septic tank ranges from $629 to $2,910 on average.

It's possible to search for a specialist capable of addressing suspected septic issues using a septic tank and well services directory.

Septic Tank Pumping

The cost to pump a septic tank is $290 to $550.

Essential for removing sludge built up on the bottom of your septic tank, you should pump every three to five years. Pumping helps prevent blockages in the outlet pipe that allows your tank to drain. Your septic pro will inform you when it's time to have your tank pumped based on the results of your sludge test.

“You can extend the life of your septic system and the time between pumpings by using a tank treatment that will boost the digestive enzymes in the system, keeping the solids at a minimum and reducing the need to pump them out,” says Botelho.

Septic Tank Jetting

Jetting uses water pressure to clear the lines in a septic system of hair, soap residue, grease, and other debris. It can also help resolve scale, mineral buildup, and root issues. The cost of septic tank jetting is between $175 and $400.

Septic Tank Filter Replacement

If your septic tank filter is outdated, most pros charge between $250 and $300 for a filter replacement.

Leach Drain Replacement

If you need a leach drain replacement, you can choose between an anaerobic or aerobic system. While an anaerobic system installed costs between $3,000 and $8,000 on average, opting for a more efficient aerobic system costs an average of $10,000 and $20,000.

Signs that your leach drain is failing include:

  • Gurgling pipes

  • Slow-running drains or flushing

  • Backups

  • Low water pressure

  • Sewage odors

  • Standing water over the leach field

Septic Tank Inspection Cost Factors

The greater the depth of the tank and the larger the tank, the more you’ll have to budget for the inspection. You might also incur additional fees, depending on what your pro finds.

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DIY vs. Hiring a Septic Tank Inspection Pro

In many cities, system repairs of septic tanks require permits from local health jurisdictions to conform to public health codes. Homeowners who attempt DIY septic tank inspections and repairs put themselves at risk for exposure to health hazards that include infectious diseases, bacteria, viruses, hazardous gases, and electrical shock. Properly inspecting a septic tank can be overwhelming for even a seasoned DIY expert.

Pro tip: “It’s a good idea to mark the locations of any and all septic tank covers for future service and maintenance,” says Botelho. “Placing a flowerpot or planter over the cover is a good way to mark the location, and it’s easy to move if the covers need to be dug up.”


How often should a septic tank be inspected?

You should commit to routine yearly maintenance, but pros often recommend a deep inspection every three years. It's most important to clear sludge from a septic tank every three years.

Do you have to have a septic tank inspected before buying a home?

Yes, a full septic inspection is recommended during the inspection phase to help identify a failing or out-of-code septic system.

What causes a septic tank's leach field to fail?

Anything from age to environmental factors can cause a leach field to fail. The most common reason for leach field failure is system overload. Hydraulic overload in a leach field occurs when too much water is directed to the tank. Spacing out large dishwasher and laundry loads is advised for this reason.

“If your septic system doesn't include a separate drywell to accept waste from your laundry, you should be treating your septic tank with enzymes at least monthly. Detergents and bleach will kill the healthy bacteria in the septic tank, which will result in more rapid buildup of solid waste in the tank,” says Botelho.