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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I have a question about a project I am planning to convert a non-residential building into a residential. This is out in the mountains of North Carolina where people's adherence to permitting and inspection regulations are shaky at best. Basically the locals don't usually get permits if they can avoid it because they don't want the government poking around. The building was built 20 years ago (with no permits) as an office-type space next to an old cabin in the country. It is a well-made building and has electrical system, water lines (not currently connected to the supply) and the necessary rooms were framed when it was built. Basically two rooms originally built as storage areas would work as a bedroom and bathroom. So all I need to do work-wise to turn it into a cabin is plumb the bathroom and kitchen and hook it up to septic. My dad is a master plumber, so that's no sweat.

My issue is the septic. The septic system on the property (from before I bought it) was not permitted. It's only about five years old and can handle the additional capacity (according to the guy who built it), but a permit was not taken out. I want to hook my building into the system. I also want my structure to be permitted as a residence so it's above board and i can sell it as a residence if I want to. My question is, when the inspector comes to look over my dad's plumbing, is he going to stop inspecting at the point where the building's drain line meets the line to the septic, or is he going to trace it all the way to the septic tank and start asking questions? I don't want to replace a perfectly good septic system just because the guy before me didn't get a permit for it. I know there are no guarantees about what any inspector would do, but what is typically done? Thanks in advance for the help!
 

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I'd call the building department and tell them the situation and ask how to best proceed forward to get it all on the up and up. Chances are they'll be helpful. If not, well then I'd have some thinking to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm inclined to do that, but at the same time I don't want to announce my unpermitted septic and invite them out for a look. I wonder if they take anonymous questions.
 

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Don't call from your home phone and don't give the address. If they insist on them then hang up or deal with what they say or lie about the address.
 

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Well, the septic system was in when you bought it so the worst they can say is that it is noncompliant and you have to discontinue using it. If that's the case they wouldn't let you tie the house into it anyway and you wouldn't want to.

Most code issues only affect people in the house but a septic tank being out of compliance can affect others and be a health hazard. Hopefully they will find that it is within requirements (or do you think it is not?). You want your house permited so you'll have to deal with that.
 
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