“I wish I would have know this before I bought the house…  I had a home inspection.  Do you think I have any recourse with the home inspector or my real estate agent?”

In the few years I spent as a service technician giving bids on sewer and septic repairs or replacements for a large local plumbing and excavation company here in North Idaho; the quote above was unfortunately one of the hardest, yet most common (often tear-filled) responses I had to hear from my customers in and around the Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, Sandpoint, and Spokane areas.   I always thought to myself, I sure wouldn’t want to be the realtor or inspector on the receiving end of that phone call.

Often times repair estimates exceeded several thousand dollars.  That doesn’t include the thousands it may cost for clean up and restoration if a sewer back-up occurred.  To most, sewer and septic lines are out of sight and out of mind when purchasing a property.  They automatically assume the home inspector will  determine any and all problems prior to their purchase.  Home inspectors however will simply run water in the sinks, tubs, showers, and flush toilets.  None of which will give any indication of whether the sewer or septic lateral is structurally sound or not.  It may take many many gallons of water and/or actual “usage” to indicate a problem or cause a back-up.

Both homeowners and commercial property owners were always shocked to one; discover that their sewer or septic line had been damaged due to age, poor workmanship, inferior materials, collapsed pipe, cracks, breaks, offset joints, bellies, or root infestations.  And secondly, to hear “the bad news”…  how much is was going to cost to fix it.

The only way to properly determine the structural integrity and functional operation of a sewer or septic line is to send a camera down.  By utilizing state-of-the-art technology (a 200′ long fiber optic camera with color LCD monitor), we can determine the condition of the line before it’s too late.  Before you sign at the closing table.  We not only protect buyers by providing an unbiased assessment of the condition of the sewer lateral, but we protect real estate professionals and inspectors by limiting their liability.  Your home inspector or real estate agents probably aren’t to blame.  Prior to purchasing a property however, it’s important to perform your own due diligence in having all the necessary and appropriate inspections.  Both customary and ancillary.  Likewise, a real estate professional (truly looking out for their buyers best interest), will encourage their buyers to perform these inspections.


Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections and locates in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, you may contact us at: 208.818.8241


  1. Heather says:

    This is excellent advice for anyone in the market for purchasing a new home. Keep spreading the word!

  2. Stacie Ewing says:

    Here in New Mexico it is state law that all septic systems are pumped, inspected, and repaired or replaced before the sale… this is the owners expense to get this done before closing. Many times a septic system has had to be replaced due to age or improper tank set ups. The average cost for an inspection is around $800.00 (that includes the pumping).

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