Septic Dye Testing FAQs – How Your Septic Tank is Tested

This is an image of a septic dye test identifying a leak.

What is a Septic Dye Test?

A septic dye test is a process that uses a special dye to make sure that you septic system can handle its workload. When your septic tank contractor performs the test, he (or she!) can find out if you have any leaks or potential problems with your septic system.

Why is a Septic Dye Test Important?

A septic dye test is important because some banks will require one before issuing a loan to a prospective home buyer. It can also be used to help identify any problems with your septic system so that they can be repaired.

How Do You Do a Septic Dye Test?

The septic dye test is done by flushing a fluorescent dye down your toilet. The toilet should be connected to your septic system. The dyed water enters the septic tank and then it’s leach field.

If there is a problem with your leach pipe, like a crack, then the dye will leak and move to the surface of the ground where you can see it. This is why your septic worker will have to come back in a few hours (sometimes even days) to check on he test.

Should I Pump My Septic Tank Before the Septic Dye Test?

Your septic tank needs to be filled enough so that the contents can reach the leach system. If it’s too empty, then you won’t be able to test to make sure there’s no leaks. Pump your septic tank after your septic test.

Septic Tank Leach Field Diagram

Are There Any Laws to Know Before Doing a Septic Test?

Your septic contractor should be on top of all of the laws and regulations regarding your test.

If you’d like to do some research on your own, check out this PDF from the New York State Department of Health: Appendix 75-A Wastewater Treatment Standards – Individual Household Systems. If you’d prefer to ask questions with a real person, please call the health department or one of our local septic tank contractors!

Another resource for us Central New Yorkers is the CNYASHI Septic Dye Test Protocol (.PDF). CNYASHI stands for “Central New York American Society of Home Inspectors.”

2 thoughts on “Septic Dye Testing FAQs – How Your Septic Tank is Tested

    1. Hi Dan, thank you for your comment! Unfortunately it’s tough to do a septic dye test during the winter because if the ground is frozen then the dye cannot reach the surface. If it’s warm enough and the ground isn’t frozen then you can try to do it.

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