How To Find Your Septic Tank

Construction & Contractors Blog

When it's time to have your septic tank serviced, you may suddenly realize you don't know where your tank is located in your yard. Since you usually go a few years between service calls, it's easy to forget where the tank is, especially when the landscape changes as trees and plants grow. While you can let the contractor locate the tank if necessary, you may have to spend extra money for the service. If the tank is difficult to find, the contractor may have to dig around your yard and that creates a lot of mess and expense. For that reason, you may want to hunt for the tank yourself and expose the cover, so it is easy to access when it is time to be pumped out. Here are a few tips for locating your septic tank.

Check Official Records

Look at the documents you received when you bought your house to see if the location of the septic tank and drainfield is marked on the property map. If you don't have the documents available, check with your county office for a copy of your property map. Ask if they have records of septic tank installations for your area. Depending on when and where your house was built, the contractor may have filed a permit with the county that detailed the location and plans for your septic system. Another idea is to look in the basement for a drawing or symbols that may have been left behind by the builder or previous owner that specifies the location of the tank relative to the house.

Follow The Sewer Pipe

Another way to find your septic tank is to follow the main sewer pipe where it exits your house. The sewer pipe is the largest pipe that leaves your house and goes underground. It connects to the septic tank, so if you can follow it, you'll find the tank. This may not work if the tank is deep underground. Your tank may be buried a few inches or a few feet underground. The deeper it is, the harder it will be to find, especially if you have hard soil. Take a metal bar of some type and push it into the soil along the edge of the sewer pipe and repeat the process every few inches until you hit something large. By doing this, you can probably locate the outsides of the tank all around the perimeter. Then you can dig up the dirt and grass above the tank to look for the cover. Contact a business, such as A-1 Sewer Service, for more information. 

Look For Changes In The Grass And Slope Of Your Yard

Your septic tank can be located anywhere on your property. Ideally, it should be in a straight line several feet from your home, and lined up with the sewer pipe. However, the distance to the tank can vary greatly. Also, the sewer pipe may turn if the original builder needed to locate the tank off to the side. If that's the case, you may be able to locate the tank by looking for an area that is sunken or slightly raised in your yard, as these can indicate a tank is buried under the soil. Also, look for spots where the grass looks different than the rest of the yard. If the septic tank is near the surface, the grass will not be as healthy since there isn't a lot of room for root growth. If your tank is leaking, the grass will be very lush around the area of the tank.

If you've recently moved into an older home that's in need of a lot of renovations, you should be very careful when searching for the septic tank. If the property has an old steel tank, it could be rusted and unstable. Always work with a partner when you poke around in the soil trying to find the tank in case the tank collapses. Also, you don't want to remove the cover of your septic system yourself since that could expose you to toxic fumes. If you're lucky, you may be able to locate your tank easily, but if not, it's worth the expense to let a contractor do it for you for safety's sake. Once your tank has been serviced, be sure to mark the location of it and make a permanent map so it won't be hard to locate for your home's future owners.

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6 April 2016

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