Septic system records in most counties in Tennessee soon will be much easier to access.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is in the process of uploading all its septic records to an online system. Fifty percent of public record requests TDEC receives are for subsurface sewage records.
"Septic system documentation at first glance may not appear all that important, but what we do find is those records are commonly needed for property transactions and also by homeowners looking to maintain their septic system," TDEC environmental consultant Alan Schwendimann said.
Bradley County records are some of the first in the area to have been entered into the online system. TDEC is in the process of uploading the information statewide.
However, residents in Hamilton County will be left out of the process. The county is what TDEC employees refer to as a "contract county," meaning the county government handles septic information.
"If an owner or a builder would like to see [septic records], staff can provide that information by paper or email and there is no charge," county spokesman Mike Dunne wrote in a statement. "If a [Realtor] or another member of the public would like to see them there is a five dollar retrieval fee and a 50 cent per page fee."
The updated TDEC system will allow homeowners, potential buyers, developers and others to search information that includes whether a property has a functioning septic system, where it is located, when it was inspected and what was found during the inspections.
The current system is "very paper heavy," Schwendimann said, and inconvenient for many residents. Anyone looking for the information traditionally had to go to a records office during business hours, put in a request, wait for the records to be located and make photocopies.
The changes are for more than those seeking the information. TDEC employees will be going paperless. Workers will enter all information digitally straight to the online system.
Records are available at tdec.tn.gov/filenetsearch.