Anyone who has lived on the Big Island knows that water catchments and cesspool sewage systems are not uncommon at all. These types of systems are commonly found in many older, rural homes, but how does the VA view these types of properties?

The VA Minimum Property Requirements specify that a property be connected to sewer lines whenever possible. This applies to single family homes as well as condos (even if they are already approved by the VA).

However, there are certain instances where there are no sewer lines in the area at all. In those cases, Cesspools / Septic Tanks & Water Catchment may be acceptable under the following conditions (run it by the local VA office for acceptability once the paperwork is in):

VA Requirements for Septic Tanks and Cesspools

The borrower or realtor must obtain a signed letter from the local authority (Department of Health) stating that the cesspool is within regulations and is approved by the City & County or State of Hawaii.

For instance, cesspools have been prohibited on Oahu since 1991; however, cesspool hookups that were installed before then are grandfathered in. If this is the case, we would need to provide the signed letter from the Department of Health stating this and also furnish documentation to the VA, that proves that the cesspool was indeed installed before 1991.

VA Requirements for Water Catchment Systems

We seem to be out of luck here in Hawaii. The VA will require a signed letter from a local authority approving and deeming the water quality to be acceptable. The challenge is that the Department of Health only regulates & monitors water catchment systems designed to provide water for 25 people or more. Therefore, catchment systems for individual homes are not something that they monitor or test.

The VA will accept a certification from a private water quality company and/or water catchment installing company that is able to test and guarantee the water quality. However, we have yet to find a viable option to perform the necessary water testing services.

All in all, closing on a property with these types of systems involve some extra steps and are a little more difficult. We hope to have a positive update in the future with a viable testing option for our veteran buyers.

For questions about VA home loan financing in Hawaii, contact us at 808-792-4251. If you’d like to find out how much you qualify for with a VA loan, fill out this form and we’ll get in touch with you.