How to Find Your Septic Tank

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Q: When I bought my house, I was told that the house’s sewage system needed to be cleaned every three to five years. I recently tried to locate my septic tank but can’t recall where the previous homeowner said it was buried. Is there a way to find my septic tank without knowing its general location?

A: A septic tank should be pumped regularly or it can cause your home’s entire sewage system to back up. If you’re not sure where your septic tank is buried, it can be difficult to identify and repair leaks or flooding before they become more expensive problems.

Even if you don’t know the approximate location of your septic tank, you can find it using one or more of these possible solutions.

Examine your yard for signs of the septic tank.

One of the easiest ways to find a septic tank is to simply walk around your house. Septic tanks can usually be spotted by looking for signs of a large buried object in your yard. A likely indicator would be a large ditch or mound, which often occurs when the initial hole dug for a septic tank is too large or too small, respectively.

Also look for parts of the lawn that are patchy and where it is difficult for grass or plants to grow. Unless the tank is covered with a significant amount of debris, the area is likely to have very sparse plant growth. Should these methods fail, the odor from an untreated septic tank will gradually build up until you can narrow down the location based on the odor.

There are a few places you don’t need to look. Typically, a septic tank is not installed under or near a well water system, and they are rarely buried under paved surfaces such as patios, sidewalks, or driveways. You can also use areas near important landscape or garden features, such as trees. B. a pool, exclude.

How to find your septic tank

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Use a ground probe to look for the septic tank lid.

Septic tanks have one or two lids, depending on whether they have a single compartment or two compartments for filtering and breaking down sewage material. These caps tend to stick out from the main tank, so they can often be found with a ground probe (making a highly effective septic tank location tool). Alternatively, you can use a piece of rebar or a long, narrow object hard enough to break up the ground without much effort. Regardless of what you use, your probe should ideally be at least 4 feet long. Be careful not to drive the probe too hard into the ground when probing; Otherwise, you could damage the lid of the septic tank.

But how deep is a septic tank? Unfortunately, septic tank installers don’t bury every tank to the same depth, so your septic tank may only be buried a foot underground or be covered with more than 4 feet of soil. You should use a hammer to drive your probe into the ground to find a deeply buried tank. A metal detector can also be used to locate septic tanks and it can even detect the metal handles on septic tank lids to narrow your probing.

Once you’ve located your tank, mark the location with a lawn ornament, small sign, or measure the distance from the two near corners of your home and save this information for future reference.

See also: How much does a septic tank cost?

Follow the main sewer line from your house to your septic tank.

Septic tanks connect to a home’s main sewer or sewer pipe, so you can follow the direction of that pipe to determine where your tank is buried.

Look through the basement, basement, or crawl space to find the main sewer line that leads into your home. This pipe is generally about 4 inches in diameter and is made of cast iron or heavy duty PVC pipe. When locating the pipe, make note of the spot where it exits your home. Find the appropriate area outside and go straight away from the house. Drain pipes are usually laid in straight lines, so you can be sure that the septic tank is buried somewhere where the main drain pipe leaves the house.

Follow the estimated route of the drain line and look for signs that a septic tank was buried in the area. A probe can help verify that you’ve located the tank’s location, and it’s also a good idea to use a shovel to uncover the lid. Mark the location with a lawn ornament, small sign, spray paint, or measure the distance from the two nearest corners of the house and keep this information in a safe place for future reference.

How to find your septic tank

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Consult your local county permit for your home’s septic tank.

The location of a septic tank can affect nearby water sources, so installers are typically required to apply for sewage treatment permits to reduce the risk of environmental damage or drinking water contamination. Thanks to this practice, your local county should have a record of where your septic tank is buried.

If this record was provided when you bought your home, you can review the septic tank diagram to determine the size of your tank and the number of lids needed to narrow down its location. However, some older homes may not have these records.

Related: The best treatments for septic tanks

Check with local companies for wastewater treatment.

If your local government does not have a record of your septic tank, it is possible that it was installed without a permit or is an older system that predates permitting requirements. In any case, each septic tank would have had to be pumped at least every three to five years to stay in good condition. With that in mind, you could contact local plumbing companies that offer septic maintenance services to see if the tank has been previously pumped by them and if they know the location of the tank.

How to find your septic tank

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Ask your neighbors or contact a professional.

While it varies by neighborhood, it’s possible that your property’s septic tank was buried in a similar location to your neighbor’s tank on their property. You may be able to locate your septic tank simply by asking it.

Even if neighboring system systems have not been routed in the same places in relation to their homes, your neighbors may still have information as to where your septic tank is located. Reach out to the neighbors who have lived in the neighborhood the longest. It is possible that you have seen your septic tank serviced at some point in the last five years. If so, they may be able to point you in the right direction.

If you’re running out of DIY options and still haven’t found your septic tank, hire a professional to locate your tank to ensure it doesn’t sit unkempt for too long.

Related: Solved! How long do septic tanks last?

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