How do I find the location of my septic tank?
- Locating a Septic Tank on Your Property. Start your search for the septic tank lines at the house. Trace the plumbing drain lines to the septic tank, which is usually installed 10 to 20 feet from the home’s exterior. At the tank‘s end opposite the house, the drain line leads to the leach field.
Are septic tank locations public record?
Contact your local health department for public records. These permits should come with a diagram of the location where the septic system is buried. Depending on the age of your septic system, you may be able to find information regarding the location of your septic system by making a public records request.
Will metal detector find septic tank?
If it’s Concrete or Steel, Use a Metal Detector. Based on your conclusions in Step 3, if your septic tank is likely made from concrete or steel, a metal detector can make the task of locating it much easier. But not just any metal detector will do.
Where are most septic tanks located?
Toe the Line. Your septic tank will most certainly be installed along the main sewer line that runs out of your home. Look for the 4-inch sewer that exits the crawl space or basement, and locate the same spot outside the home. Septic tanks are usually located between ten to 25 feet away from the home.
How do I find out if my septic tank is registered?
Check if your septic tank is already registered You can check if your tank has already been registered by contacting your environmental regulator. If you are unsure then it is best to check and avoid making an unnecessary payment. The NIEA and SEPA have records of all registered septic tanks.
How do I find my septic lateral lines?
Call your local electric utility provider or gas company to locate buried gas or utility lines before digging. A septic tank probe can also help you find the location. Stick the long, thin metal probe into the ground until you feel it hit the tank and feel the edges of the tank.
Do I have to change my septic tank?
Under the new rules, if you have a specific septic tank that discharges to surface water (river, stream, ditch, etc.) you are required to upgrade or replace your septic tank treatment system to a full sewage treatment plant by 2020, or when you sell a property, if it’s prior to this date.
What can I use to find my septic tank?
In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. You can use a metal probe to locate its edges and mark the perimeter. If you do not find the lid by probing, shallow excavation with a shovel along the tank’s perimeter should reveal the lid.
Can you use a metal detector to find sewer lines?
Using a Plumbing Pipe Detector to Locate Underground Pipes. As a property owner there will be times when, for a variety of reasons, you will need to locate underground metal objects. The best and easiest way to find below-ground objects such as these is with a metal detector.
Are septic tanks metal?
Steel Septic Tank—Steel septic tanks are the least durable and least popular tank option. Designed to last no more than 20-25 years, they can be susceptible to rust even before that. Steel top covers can rust through and cause an unsuspecting person to fall into the tank.
How do I figure out the size of my septic tank?
One way to find out the size of your septic tank is through records kept from when the tank was installed. These records could be with the previous owner of your home. Another way to identify the tank size is to talk with the last company that serviced/pumped your tank.
How often should a septic tank be pumped?
Inspect and Pump Frequently Household septic tanks are typically pumped every three to five years.
What is the depth of septic tank?
Standard size of septic tank in feet:- standard size of septic tank should be 5 feet long by 2.5 feet wide by 3.3 feet in depth. This septic tank has capacity of 1000 litres of liquid wastages ideal for 5 users of house hold.
How to locate your septic tank and your drainfield
Septic systems on-site are used for accepting and treating wastewater in homes that are not linked to the municipal wastewater management system. A septic system is comprised of three components: a septic tank, a drain field, and piping. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to properly operate and maintain your septic system in order to avoid system failure. For example, depending on the legislation in your area, you may be compelled to pump it on a regular basis. It is impossible to perform maintenance operations, however, if you do not know where the tank is located.
Steps to follow to locate your septic tank and drain field
The contractor that designed and constructed the septic tank on your property should have submitted an as-built diagram with the local health authority before starting work on the project. In the event that you have the contractor’s contact information, you can ask them for a schematic, which you can then use to pinpoint the location of your septic tank. If you do not have a copy of the schematic, you can request one from the local authorities. Depending on whether the installed system included electrical components, the schematic may be available at the regional building department offices.
If you are unable to locate the tank using this diagram, you will need to do more research on the land in order to determine its position.
- This pipe is commonly found in the basement of a home, and it is a 4″ black pipe with a cleanout at the bottom.
- Simply look for possible access coverings or a structure that might be concealing it.
- These pumps are used to remove waste from the building.
- It is supposed to be connected to the sewage output pipe.
- As soon as you’ve discovered the sewer outlet in your basement, you may use it to figure out where the sewer line departs your home through an outside wall.
- As a result, it is probable that the tank will be positioned around the corner from the building.
Tips for locating your septic tank
Septic tank lids should be visible from the outside. An underground riser may have been added, which will make it simple to find your septic tank in some instances.
However, it is conceivable that the septic tank cover is buried underground, which is especially true for older homes. Following are some pointers to assist you in locating the septic tank in this and other similar situations.
- It may be possible to discover the septic tank lid underneath using a metal detector if it is buried. Prevent wearing footwear that contains steel or any other metal in order to avoid interfering with the readings of the detector
- Instead, you can use a flushable transmitter that is flushed down the toilet and then tracked with a receiver. When it comes to septic tanks, the strongest signal will be seen close to the intake region of the tank.
Depending on whether the septic tank is above or below ground, you may have to dig to get to it. Construction materials for septic tanks include concrete, fiberglass, or plastic, and their shapes can range from oblong to cylindrical to rectangular. The majority of modern septic tanks will have their lids positioned in the center of the tank, and the lid should be within three feet of the ground surface in most cases. However, depending on a variety of conditions, such as farming and other human activities on the property, it is conceivable that it will be significantly deeper.
Additionally, you may use a small steel rod to probe the earth in order to pinpoint exactly where the tank is located as you continue digging.
Inspecting the tank
It is critical to thoroughly inspect and evaluate your septic tank and its contents when it has been identified. First and foremost, you may unscrew the lid to inspect the scum and sludge layer beneath it. In addition, the use of tracer dye tablets allows you to check the septic tank without having to dig it up. If you use tracer dye pills, all you have to do is flush them down the toilet and wait for a maximum of two days. Because of the way the tablets dissolve in water, if there is a problem with the septic system, you will see that the leach field has a glowing green hue surrounding it.
It is possible that someone will fall into the tank, causing significant damage or possibly death.
You can identify your septic tank without assistance from a professional, but it is a good idea to have someone who is properly educated in septic tank maintenance examine and maintain your septic tank on your behalf. The effluent filter in your tank should be washed into the open septic tank rather than on the ground in your yard if your tank has one. It may also be a good idea to make a note of the position of the septic tank when it has been discovered. This will be beneficial to anyone else who may require access to the septic tank in the future.
Septic tanks release combustible and hazardous gases, and as a result, they must be located in an open area.
How To Find My Septic Tank
- What is a septic tank
- How do I know if I have a septic tank
- And how do I know if I have a septic tank Identifying the location of your septic tank is critical for several reasons. The Best Way to Find a Septic Tank
- What to Do Once You’ve Discovered Your Septic Tank
You may have fallen in love with your new house because of its appealing good looks and characteristics, but there is almost certainly more to your new home than meets the eye. In many cases, the characteristics that make your house run more effectively and allow you to live a pleasant, contemporary life are not readily apparent. Septic tanks, for example, are an important part of your home’s infrastructure. A septic system is responsible for regulating and managing the wastewater generated by your home.
“How can I locate my septic tank?” is one of the most often requested inquiries we receive.
When your tank’s lid is difficult to locate – especially if you are not the original homeowner – you may be at a loss for what to do or where to look for the lid when you need it.
The majority of the time, all of the components of the septic tank are buried between four inches and four feet below ground level.
In order to do so, it is necessary to first comprehend the functions of septic tanks and septic systems and why it is important to know where yours is located.
How to Locate Your Septic Tank
Your septic tank’s location is not a closely guarded secret. There will be a method for you to locate it and make a note of its position for future reference, and below are a few examples of such methods.
What Is a Septic Tank?
Having a functioning septic tank is an important aspect of having an effective septic system. In the United States, around 20% of households utilize a septic system to handle their wastewater. Houses in rural parts of New England are the most likely to have a septic system, with residences in the Eastern United States being the most prevalent location for septic systems. When there are few and far between residences, it is typically more efficient and cost-effective to employ a septic system to manage wastewater rather than relying on a public sewage system to handle waste water.
- Typically, a septic tank is a container that is waterproof and composed of a material such as concrete, polyethylene, fiberglass, or a combination of these.
- An important function of a septic tank is to hold on to wastewater until any particulates in the water separate themselves from the water.
- Any liquid that remains in the tank eventually drains into a leach field or a drainfield, where it is known as “effluent.” The dirt in the leach field aids in the filtering of the water and the removal of bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants that may be present in it.
- Septic tanks erected in Onondaga County must contain input and outlet baffles, as well as an effluent filter or sanitary tees, in order to effectively separate particles from liquids during the treatment process.
How Do I Know If I Have a Septic Tank?
What is the best way to tell if your home has a septic tank? There are generally a few of different methods to tell. Examining your water bill might help you identify whether or not your house is served by a septic system or is part of the public sewage system in your neighborhood. If you have a septic system for wastewater management, you are likely to receive a charge from the utility provider for wastewater or sewer services of zero dollars. In the case of those who are fortunate enough to have a septic system, it is likely that they may not receive any water bills at all.
- A lack of a meter on the water line that enters your property is typically indicative of the fact that you are utilizing well water rather than public utility water, according to the National Association of Realtors.
- A septic system is likely to be installed in your home if you reside in a rather rural location.
- Septic systems are likely to be installed in all of these buildings, which means your home is likely to be as well.
- When a septic tank is present, it is common to find a mound or tiny hill on the property that is not a natural structure.
Checking your property records is a foolproof method of determining whether or not your home is equipped with a septic system. Your home’s building permit and drawings will almost certainly include details concerning the existence (or absence) of a septic tank on your site.
Why It’s Important to Know the Location of Your Septic Tank
You might wonder why you should bother trying to discover out where your septic tank is. There are several important reasons for this:
1. To Be Able to Care for It Properly
The first reason you should try to locate your septic tank is that knowing where it is will help you to properly repair and care for it in the future. The standard guideline is to avoid erecting structures or placing heavy objects on top of the septic tank. It’s possible that you don’t want to park your car or truck on top of it, and you don’t want visitors to your house to park their cars on top of it, either. Due to the weight of the automobiles, there is a possibility that the tank would collapse due to excessive pressure.
2. If You Want to Landscape or Remodel Your Property
If you want to build an addition to your home or perform some landscaping around your property, you will need to know where your septic tank is located. Nothing with deep or lengthy roots should be planted on top of or in the area of your tank, since this can cause problems. If roots are allowed to grow into the pipes of your septic system, it is conceivable that your system will get clogged. When you know where the tank is going to be, you may arrange your landscaping such that only shallow-rooted plants, such as grass, are in close proximity to the tank.
For starters, the tank’s weight might lead it to collapse due to the weight of the construction.
3. If a Problem With Your Tank Occurs
Knowing where your tank is buried might also assist you in identifying problems as soon as they arise. Consider the following scenario: you wake up one morning and see that there is flooding or ponding water in the region surrounding your septic tank – a sign that your system is overwhelmed and that an excessive amount of water is being utilized all at once.
4. Ease of Getting It Fixed
Once you have determined the location of your sewer system, you can quickly send a plumber to it in the event that something goes wrong with the system, saving everyone both time and money. Get in Touch With A Plumber Right Away
1. Use a Septic Tank Map
First and foremost, make use of a road map. Using a map is frequently the quickest and most convenient alternative. Most counties keep records of the installation of septic tanks at all of their residents’ residences. These maps should include schematics that illustrate the specific placement of the tank on the land, as well as measurements that allow you to measure and locate the tank’s exact location on the property. Never mind that landmarks may shift over time depending on when the tank was built, so if there are a few more shrubs or a tree nearby, don’t rule out that location as a possibility.
- If you are unable to locate a map or other paperwork that identifies the location of your septic tank, there are a few locations to try to see if you can obtain a map of the area.
- The county health department is responsible for keeping track of septic systems.
- A septic tank’s position could be depicted on a survey map, for example.
- The creation of your own map and documentation may be worthwhile if you cannot locate a map or blueprint of your property and nothing appears to be on file regarding it at the county health department or another municipal agency.
In this way, if you ever decide to sell your property, you will be able to supply the new owner with everything they will need to locate the tank and properly manage their septic system.
2. Follow the Pipes to Find Your Septic Tank
Whether or not there is an existing map of your septic tank on file, or whether or not you choose to develop one for future reference or for future homeowners, you will still need to track down and find the tank. One method of accomplishing this is to follow the sewer lines that lead away from your residence. The septic tank is situated along the sewage line that goes from your home and into the yard, as we’re sure you’re aware. Find a four-inch sewer pipe in your basement or crawl space. This is the line that will lead to your septic system and should be accessible from the ground level.
- In general, though, you’re searching for a pipe with a diameter of four inches or more that leaves your home via a basement wall or ceiling.
- By inserting a thin metal probe (also known as a soil probe) into the earth near the sewage line, you can track the pipe’s location.
- The majority of septic tanks are located between 10 and 25 feet away from your home, and they cannot be any closer than five feet.
- Going via the sewage line itself is another method of locating the septic tank utilizing it.
- Drain snakes are typically used to unclog clogs in toilets and drains, and they may be used to do the same thing.
- When the snake comes to a complete halt, it has almost certainly reached the tank.
- While drawing the snake back, make a note of how far it has been extended and whether it has made any bends or turns.
- When looking for your septic tank, you may use a transmitter that you flush down the toilet and it will direct you straight to the tank.
3. Inspect Your Yard
Septic tanks are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible when they are erected. With the passage of time, and the growth of the grass, it might be difficult to discern the visual indications that indicated the exact location of your septic tank’s installation.
However, this does not rule out the possibility of finding evidence that will take you to the location of your septic tank in the future. First and foremost, you want to rule out any potential locations for your septic tank, such as:
- Under a road or similar paved surface, for example. Right up against the house (the tank must be at least five feet away)
- Directly in front of the home Immediately adjacent to your well (if you have one)
- In close proximity to trees or densely planted regions
- In the shadow of a patio, deck, or other building
Once you’ve ruled out any potential locations for your tank, it’s time to start hunting for indications as to where it may be hiding in plain sight. Keep your eyes peeled as you go about your property, looking for any inexplicable high or low points that might suggest the presence of an underground tank. When looking at your property, you could see a hill or mound on the ground, which is frequently an indication that there is a septic tank nearby. One further item to consider while searching for the right septic tank for your home is the amount of grass or other foliage in your yard.
Alternatively, if the tank was not adequately buried, you may observe a “bald patch,” which is an area where the grass is struggling to grow in the vicinity.
4. Talk to Your Neighbors
If your neighbors have septic systems as well, they may be able to assist you in locating your tank. Inquire of your neighbors about the location of their septic tanks in relation to their residences. Having a polite conversation with your neighbors regarding septic systems not only provides you with a means to figure out where yours is, but it may also serve as a friendly introduction to the other residents of your community.
5. Look for Your Septic Tank Lid
It is only the first step in the process to discover where your septic tank is located. After you’ve located your tank, the following step is to locate the lid. You can locate it with the help of your soil probe. The majority of septic tanks are rectangular in shape and measure around five feet by eight feet. The perimeter of the tank should be marked with a probe once it has been probed around. A shallow excavation with a shovel within the tank’s perimeter and near the center (or broken into halves for a two compartment tank) should show the position of the lid or lids if you are unable to feel them by probing.
The tank itself is likely to be filled with foul-smelling vapors, if not potentially hazardous ones.
What to Do After You Find Your Septic Tank
Once you’ve determined where your tank is, it’s time to bring in the specialists. Trust us when we say that opening a septic tank is not something that just anybody wants to undertake. Concrete septic tank lids are extremely heavy and must be lifted using special lifting gear in order to be removed. Since the vapors are potentially dangerous due to the contents of the tank, please respect our advice and refrain from attempting to open the tank yourself. An exposed septic tank can be hazardous to anybody wandering around your property’s perimeter, and if someone were to fall into it, it might be lethal owing to the toxicity of the sewage in the tank.
However, before you send in a team of experienced plumbers, there are a few things you can do to ensure that others do not experience the same difficulty locating the tank and to make locating the tank in the future easier.
1. Mark Its Location
The likelihood is that you will not want to post a large sign in your yard that reads “Septic Tank Here!” but you will want to leave some sort of marking so that you can quickly locate the tank and lid when you need them. In an ideal situation, the marker will be substantial enough that it will not blow away in the wind and will not be readily moved by children who are playing in the yard. A patio paver, a potted plant, or a decorative gnome or rock are just a few of the possibilities. In addition to putting a physical sign beside the septic tank, you may draw a map or layout of the area around it to illustrate its position.
2. Take Care of Your Septic Tank
Taking proper care of your tank may save you hundreds of dollars over the course of its lifetime. The expense of maintaining your system could be a few hundred dollars every few years, but that’s a lot less than the thousands of dollars it might cost to repair or replace a damaged tank or a malfunctioning septic system. Two strategies to take better care of your septic tank and system are to avoid utilizing your drain pipes or toilets as garbage cans and to use less water overall. Things like paper towels, face wipes, and cat litter should not be flushed down the toilet since they are not designed to be flushed.
In addition, installing low-flow faucets and high-efficiency toilets can help you reduce the amount of water used in your home.
For example, you don’t want to be washing load after load of laundry or running your clothes washer at the same time as your dishwasher all at the same time.
Call a Professional Plumber
Maintenance of a septic system is not normally considered a do-it-yourself activity. In the Greater Syracuse region, whether your septic tank requires pumping out or cleaning, or if you want to replace your tank, you should use the services of a reputable plumbing firm to do the job right. If you’ve attempted to locate your septic tank on your own and are still unsure of its position, it may be necessary to enlist the assistance of a professional local plumber. Our team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse can assist you with locating, maintaining, or replacing your home’s sewage tank.
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How to Find My Septic Tank Lines
Credit: Petegar/E+/Getty Images for the image
In This Article
- Septic System Fundamentals
- Identifying and Locating a Septic Tank on Your Property
- Conducting Regular Inspections
- Checking for Clean-Outs
- Identifying Natural Indicators
- Viewing System Diagrams
- Seek Professional Assistance
- Check the distribution box
- Understand the size and scope of the project.
Are you curious about the location of your septic lines? It is critical to know where the septic tank is located on a property in order to properly manage and preserve the system. For example, you don’t want to pave over the ground or grow trees too close together in a forest. It is possible to obtain a copy of the septic tank diagram of the drain field, which will give you a fair sense of where the pipes will go. If this is not the case, you may need to attempt some other methods of locating septic drain lines.
The solids and liquids are separated within the tank by a baffle or wall that is built inside the tank.
When pipes get clogged or when drain fields become too saturated with fluids, problems arise. Other issues might arise as a result of incorrect placement, design defects, or bad installation.
Locating a Septic Tank on Your Property
Begin your search for the septic tank lines at the residence first. Drain lines from the home’s plumbing should be traced to the septic tank, which is typically located 10 to 20 feet from the home’s exterior. The drain line connects the tank’s end, which is located opposite the house, to the leach field. Check the natural slope of the ground to see whether the leach field may be found there. It is never a good idea to look for drain lines using heavy gear, wrecking bars, or jackhammers. Before excavating, contact your local electric utility provider or gas company to determine the location of underground gas or utility lines.
Plunge the long, thin metal probe into the earth until you can feel it strike the tank and feel the tank’s edges.
Perform Regular Inspection
According to industry experts, you should examine your septic tanks and, if required, pump them out once every three years. If you are experiencing gurgling sounds in your house or water backing up after your system has been repaired, a saturated drain field might be the source of the problem. Drain fields that have been clogged or damaged are unable to be rectified. In order for the septic system to function properly again, you’ll need to have a new drain field installed. Find capped clean-outs that are a few inches vertically above the ground in the leach field itself, or check behind a wall or in a closet in the basement for capped clean-outs.
- You can visually trace the orientation of the pipe from the clean-out if there is no other information available.
- Credit: Kyryl Gorlov/iStock/Getty Images for the image.
- When you are looking for the lines, look for grass or vegetation that greens in stripes when the grass surrounding it browns.
- Putting hot water into your system might cause snow or ice to melt above the drain pipes if the system is not properly insulated.
- If you have a deep system, as is the case for homes with basements, you will most likely not be able to observe natural signs since the drain field is too deep to be seen from above.
- Unless the system was built without a permit, the blueprints or designs for septic system installations are kept on file with the local health authority until the system is operational.
- If your search does not provide any relevant results, you can request a record search based on your street address or the tax account number associated with the property.
- If the agency has a copy of the record, they will mail it to you.
- If you don’t have a drawing of the septic system, you need enlist the assistance of a disposal system contractor or a certified liquid waste transporter to find it.
Another option is to purchase a flushable transmitter from a plumbing or rental business, or you may contract with a tank cleaning firm. The signal from the transmitter is picked up by a hand-held receiver after it has been flushed down the toilet.
Check the Distribution Box
There are certain septic tanks that feature an extra distribution box that is located a few feet from the tank on the tank’s downstream side. Water is channeled into the trenches by ports and pipes in the box. It is recommended that, if your system includes a distribution box, the box’s top be designed to expose the orientation of the ports that connect to the drain field lines. It is feasible to locate the box with a probe, but extreme caution should be exercised. Avoid applying excessive force to the probe, since this may result in damage to the box.
In most cases, individual drain lines run perpendicular to the intake line, but they may also branch into an H-pattern or other patterns that are appropriate for the terrain.
Find the location of your septic drain lines so that you can safeguard the area in and around them with a little detective work.
How Your Septic System Works
Underground wastewater treatment facilities, known as septic systems, are often employed in rural regions where there are no centralized sewage lines. They clean wastewater from residential plumbing, such as that produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry, by combining natural processes with well-established technology. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a drainfield, often known as a soil absorption field. It is the septic tank’s job to decompose organic matter and to remove floatable stuff (such as oils and grease) and solids from wastewater.
Alternate treatment systems rely on pumps or gravity to assist septic tank effluent in trickling through a variety of media such as sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants such as pathogens that cause disease, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants.
Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:
- All of the water that leaves your home drains down a single main drainage pipe and into a septic tank. An underground, water-tight container, often composed of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene, serves as a septic system’s holding tank. Its function is to retain wastewater for a long enough period of time to allow particles to sink to the bottom and form sludge, while oil and grease float to the surface and produce scum. Sludge and scum are prevented from exiting the tank and moving into the drainfield region by compartments and a T-shaped outlet. After that, the liquid wastewater (effluent) exits the tank and flows into the drainfield. The drainfield is a shallow, covered hole dug in unsaturated soil that serves as a drainage system. Porous surfaces are used to release pretreated wastewater because they allow the wastewater to pass through the soil and into the groundwater. In the process of percolating through the soil, wastewater is accepted, treated, and dispersed by the soil, finally discharging into groundwater. Finally, if the drainfield becomes overburdened with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or resulting in toilet backups and sink backups. Finally, wastewater percolates into the soil, where it is naturally removed of harmful coliform bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Coliform bacteria are a kind of bacteria that may be found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals, with humans being the most common host. As a result of human fecal contamination, it is a sign of this.
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority has built an animated, interactive model of how a residential septic system works, which you can view here.
Do you have a septic system?
It’s possible that you’re already aware that you have a septic system. If you are not sure, here are some tell-tale symptoms that you most likely are:
- You make use of well water. In your home, the water pipe that brings water into the house does not have a meter. In the case of a water bill or a property tax bill, you will see “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged.” It is possible that your neighbors have a septic system
How to find your septic system
You can locate your septic system once you have confirmed that you have one by following these steps:
- Taking a look at the “as constructed” drawing of your house
- Making a visual inspection of your yard for lids and manhole covers
- Getting in touch with a septic system service provider for assistance in locating it
Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!
A bad odor is not necessarily the first indicator of a septic system that is failing to work properly.
Any of the following signs should prompt you to seek expert assistance:
- Water backing up into the drains of homes and businesses
- It is especially noticeable in dry weather that the drainfield grass is bright green and spongy. The presence of standing water or muddy soil near your septic system or in your basement
- A strong stench emanating from the area surrounding the septic tank and drainfield
How to Locate Your Septic Tank
It may seem impossible to imagine that one of the largest and most visible elements of your whole plumbing system is also one of the most difficult to locate, but when your property is served by a septic system, this is perfectly true. A strong explanation for this is because septic tanks are huge, unattractive, stink horrible and give off an unwarranted impression of dirt. Not only does burying them underground assist to prevent them from harm, but it also provides you with additional useable space on your property and conceals what would otherwise be a blight on your landscape.
This site is dedicated to assisting you in locating your septic system without the need for any time-consuming digging.
How To Find A Septic Tank: Step By Step
It is critical to maintain the health of your septic tank since it is responsible for securely storing and handling the wastewater that drains from your house. It is necessary to pump your septic tank once every 1-3 years, depending on the number of people living in your household and the size of your tank, in order to avoid septic tank repairs or early failure, which means you must be familiar with the location of your tank. It’s not often simple to identify your septic tank, and many plumbers charge extra for this service, which is especially true if your tank’s lid is buried beneath.
1. Gather Some Helpful Tools
Septic tank location may be made much easier with the use of several simple instruments and techniques. To locate your septic tank, you only need to know the following information: A soil probe is one of the most useful instruments for locating a septic tank. It is a tiny piece of metal that is used to puncture through the earth and detect anything that could be buried underneath. Start at the point where your sewage line exits your home and work your way straight out, inserting your soil probe every two feet along the way.
Using this method, you may also locate the cover for your septic tank.
While we highly advise keeping your cover clean and exposed in the event that you require emergency septic service, we recognize that this is not always the case.
2. Use a Septic Tank Map
If you are a new homeowner who is trying to figure out where your septic tank is, a septic tank map should be included in your inspection documentation.
You can use this information to assist you in pinpointing the exact position of your storage tank. If you don’t have access to this map, there are a few of additional strategies you might employ.
3. Start Ruling Areas Out
The location of a septic tank cannot be constructed in specific areas due to the risk of causing major damage to your property or tank, as specified by local rules. Your septic tank will not be affected by the following:
- Immediately adjacent to your well
- Beneath your home
- Directly against your home
- For example, underneath your driveway
- Under trees
- And other locations. Structures like a patio or deck are good examples of this.
4. Inspect Your Property
If you take a hard look around your land, there’s a high possibility you’ll be able to locate your septic tank without having to do any probing whatsoever. In many circumstances, a septic tank may be identified by a slight dip or slope on your land that cannot be explained by any other means. Due to the fact that the hole that your contractors excavated for your septic tank may not have been exactly the proper size, they proceeded to install the tank anyhow. This is a rather regular occurrence.
When there is a minor divot or depression, it indicates that the hole was too large and that your contractors simply did not fill the depression to level the hole.
The likelihood of your septic tank being discovered in a few specific locations is quite high.
- Your water well, if you have one (for a variety of reasons that are rather clear)
- Any paved surfaces (it won’t be under a patio, sidewalk, or driveway unless they were added after the home was built and no one performed a proper inspection before it was built)
- Any paved surfaces (it won’t be under a driveway, sidewalk, or patio unless they were added after the home was built and no one conducted a proper inspection before it was built)
- Any paved surfaces (it won’t be under a patio, sidewalk, or driveway unless they were added after the home was built If there is any particular landscaping
5. Inspect Your Yard
A comprehensive investigation of your yard may be necessary to discover your septic tank considerably more quickly in some cases. The following are important items to check for in your yard:
- If your septic tank is overfilled, sewage can leak out into the ground and function as fertilizer for your lawn, resulting in lush green grass. A area of grass that is very lush and green is a good sign that your septic tank is just beneath it
- Puddles that don’t make sense: If your septic tank is seriously overfilled, it is possible that water will pool on your grass. Another telltale indicator that your septic tank is below ground level is an unexplainable pool of water. Ground that is uneven: When installing septic tanks, it is possible that the contractors will mistakenly create high or low patches on your grass. If you come across any uneven terrain, it’s possible that your septic tank is right there.
The metal soil probe can let you find out for certain whether or not your septic tank is located in a certain area of your yard or not. As soon as your metal soil probe makes contact with the tank, you may use your shovel to dig out the grass surrounding it and discover the septic tank lid.
6. Follow Your Sewer Main/Sewer Pipes
Following your sewage lines is one of the most straightforward methods of locating your septic tank. These pipes have a diameter of roughly 4 inches and are commonly found in the basement or crawlspace of your house. They are not dangerous. Following the pipes from your house out into your yard, using your metal soil probe every 2 feet or so until you reach the tank, is a simple process once they are located. Aside from that, every drain in your home is connected to your sewage main, which in turn is connected to your septic tank.
The likelihood that one of your major sewer lines is located in your basement or crawlspace is high if you have exposed plumbing lines in your basement or crawlspace.
If the line is labeled, it is usually made of plastic or rubber. It is important to determine where this line exits your property and in which direction it is moving, as it often travels straight out to the septic tank itself.
7. Check Your Property Records
Lastly, if all else fails, a search of your property’s public records will almost certainly reveal the location of the tank you’re looking for. Your builders most likely secured a permit for your property because septic systems are required to be installed by law in every state. In order to do so, they had to develop a thorough plan that depicted your property as well as the exact location where they intended to construct the tank. This is done to ensure that the local health department is aware of the tank and is prepared to deal with any issues that may arise as a result of its presence.
If you look hard enough, you may be able to locate the original building records for your home without ever having to get in your car or visit your local records center.
What to Do Once You Find Your Septic Tank
Upon discovering the position of your septic tank, you should mark its location on a map of your property. Use something to indicate the location of your lid, such as an attractive garden item that can’t be changed, to help you locate it. A birdbath, a rock, or a potted plant are just a few of the possibilities. You are now ready to arrange your septic tank inspection and pumping service. Contact us now! If you have any more concerns regarding how to locate your septic tank, or if you want septic tank servicing, please contact The Plumbing Experts at (864) 210-3127 right now!
Locate Your Drainfield
|You know your septic system drainfield is out there� but just where is it? It is important to locate it so you can avoid damaging it by:|
- Building a road over the drainfield
- Parking or operating heavy equipment on the drainfield
- Planting trees or bushes in close proximity to a drainfield is prohibited. Creating soil disturbances through a landscaping project or the presence of cattle
In addition, knowing where your drainfield is located allows you to inspect the drainfield for symptoms of trouble, such as damp soil and foul aromas. You should obtain a copy of the record sketch for your particular system. It is a diagram that shows where the various components of your septic system are placed. This diagram was previously referred to as a “as-built” or “record drawing.” You can obtain further information by contacting the Thurston County Permit Assistance Center (PAC) at 360-786-5490 or by downloading the Request for Record Drawing/Permit Information form.
SW in Olympia, Washington (PAC Hoursof Operation-LimitedHours Please Check Before You Leave).
This is the tax identification number that appears on your county tax bills.
(If you do not know your tax parcel number, contact the County Assessor’s office.) The level of detail and quality of the record drawings varies substantially.
a more recent diagram will indicate the tank, drainfield, replacement area (which will be used in the future if a replacement field is required), and any additional components of your system, such as a pump chamber or mound It is also possible to record the dimensions of the tank and the length of the drainfield lines.
If there is no copy of your record drawing accessible, you might use the following suggestions to find the drainfield.
- If you don’t water your grass in the late summer, you may notice green stripes in your yard as a result. These are the regions that are prone to flooding along the drainfield pipes. When it is cold outside, the regions above your pipes may be the first spots where frost melts in your yard. Do you have any ports for monitoring or clean-outs? These are tubes or pipes with a white cap that are cut off at or near the ground level. Drainfield pipes include liquid level indicators that are situated at the ends of the pipes, which allow you to monitor the amount of liquid in the pipes. Examine the regions leading away from the septic tank with great caution. Avoid the use of heavy steel wrecking bars or other probing equipment that might cause damage to the septic tank top or other components of the system. Take note of any signs you see, such as shallow, parallel depressions that may indicate drainfield trenches. The installation of a drainfield among huge trees or in particularly rough terrain is quite unlikely. Examine the area beneath the home where the sewer line emerges from the foundation. The septic tank is typically located within 10 feet of the foundation
- However, this might vary. Engage the services of a competent business to send down echo-locators
What do I do if My Septic Alarm is Going Off?
In the event that your septic alarm goes off, it may surely create some anxiety and uncertainty; and if you happen to be experiencing this right now, then you’ve arrived to the correct location! Don’t be concerned; it does not necessitate urgent action. Instead, take your time to go through this full essay so that you will be prepared to act now or in the future if the situation arises. What Septic Systems Are and How They Work The alarm works in conjunction with the septic system to alert you when the water level within the pump tank has increased to an unsafe level or has decreased to an unsafe level.
- The timer is in charge of regulating the time intervals during which the pump is permitted to pump wastewater into the drainage system.
- Thus, during periods of excessive water use, the drain field is kept from getting overflowing, which might cause damage to the drainage system.
- A large amount of water is injected into the system in between pumping cycles for whatever cause, and the water has nowhere else to go but back into the system’s pump tank.
- Depending on how much water was and continues to be put into the system and how the pump is set up to operate on a timer, it may take many pumping cycles until the water levels are returned to normal.
- There is an excessive amount of water being put into the septic system. This is the result of excessive water use, which might be caused by multiple loads of laundry, an excessive quantity of dishwashing, or a disproportionate number of long showers.
- Somehow, groundwater is making its way into the system. If there is an excessive amount of standing water surrounding the septic tanks, whether generated by rain or another source, the water may seep into the tanks and cause the internal water level to rise.
- It’s possible that one of the components of the septic system is malfunctioning. If anything goes wrong with your system — including the pump and floats — the alarm and timer will go off and the septic system will stop working correctly.
The Best Thing to Do If Your Alarm Goes Off Alternatively, if you hear an alert, you should press the red button or turn on the alarm box. The alarm will be turned off as a result of this action. There should be a red light and a green light on the alarm box, which should be situated someplace on the unit. The green light indicates that the alarm is operational and should be left on at all times. It is shown by a red light if the alarm is getting a signal from the pump tank indicating that the water level is increasing above or decreasing below what is expected.
- If the breaker occurs to be tripped, look around the septic tanks to see if there is any standing water.
- It is possible that the red light on the alarm box will go out on its own after allowing the septic system to operate for a couple of pump cycles (which should take approximately 10-15 hours).
- If the red light turns off, it signifies that the system is operating properly and that it only needs to catch up with the extra water that has overflowed into the storage tank.
- To be clear, an alarm signal from the septic system does not always imply that sewage is about to back up into the house right away.
- Do you require septic system repair on a regular basis or emergency service?
To arrange an appointment, please call (804) 581-0001 or send us an email through our contact page. Want to learn more about septic systems? Explore our septic system web sites by clicking on the “Septic” navigation option in the top navigation bar.
How Can I Find My Drainfield?
It’s not always simple to find your septic system’s drainfield, but there are three things you can do to make the work a little bit easier.
- Take a look around your yard. In spite of the fact that it is usual for there to be no indicators of the drainfield’s presence, search for lines of green grass, dead grass, or depressed regions. These might be indicators of the location of your drainfield. Check with the permitting authorities (typically the county), the installer, or the designer to see if they have any septic records. A word of caution: septic system designs are not usually correct. Check your yard for gravel by digging about in it. Because your drainfield’s pipes are buried in gravel, it aids in the wastewater treatment process
- Therefore, locating gravel may indicate that you have located your drainfield. Be warned that in locations where the native soil is hard or rocky to probe into, this may be difficult to do.
Why do I need to know where my drainfield is?
However, while we tend to focus on the tank portion of a septic system, it is actually the drainfield that is the most significant component – it is here that the majority of the treatment takes place. If you don’t know where your drainfield is, you won’t be able to textend the life of your drainfield. If you do any of the following, you risk damaging the lines by accident:
- Drove over them — Driving a car or heavy equipment over the lines has the potential to destroy them. Build over them — House extensions, sheds, pools, driveways, and other structures can cause damage to underground utility wires, making it more difficult to reach them for repairs. Plantings in the vicinity of or above them –Trees and septic systems are not a good combination. Roots that have invaded the line might cause harm.
Interested in learning more about how your septic system works and what you can do to maintain it in good working order? Download our free booklet, Understanding and Maintaining Your Septic System, to learn more about this topic. Over the course of 80 years, Van Delden Wastewater Systems has proven itself to be the premier Wastewater System provider, supplying San Antonio, Boerne, and the surrounding Texas Hill Country with services you can rely on today and in the future. We can assist you with any of your wastewater system needs, and our specialists can also assist you with your septic installation and maintenance requirements: 210.698.2000 (San Antonio) or 830.249.4000 (Austin) (Boerne).
A Beginner’s Guide to Septic Systems
- Septic systems are used to dispose of waste from homes and buildings. Identifying the location of the septic tank and drainfield
- What a Septic System Is and How It Works Keeping a Septic System in Good Condition
- Signs that a septic system is failing include:
Septic systems, also known as on-site wastewater management systems, are installed in a large number of buildings and houses. It is easy to lose sight of septic systems, which operate quietly, gracefully, and efficiently to protect human and environmental health due to their burying location. Septic systems are the norm in rural regions, but they may also be found in a lot of metropolitan places, especially in older buildings. It is critical to understand whether or not your building is on a septic system.
Is Your Home or Building on a Septic System?
It is possible that the solution to this question will not be evident. If a structure looks to be connected to a sewage system, it may instead be connected to a septic system. It is fairly unusual for tenants to be unaware of the final destination of the wastewater generated by their residence. Some of the hints or signs listed below will assist in determining whether the facility is served by a septic system or whether it is supplied by a sewer system:
- Sewer service will be provided at a cost by the city or municipality. Pay close attention to the water bill to see whether there is a cost labeled “sewer” or “sewer charge” on it. If there is a fee for this service, it is most likely because the facility is connected to a sewage system. Look up and down the street for sewage access ports or manholes, which can be found in any location. If a sewage system runs in front of a property, it is probable that the house is connected to it in some way. Inquire with your neighbors to see if they are connected to a sewer or septic system. The likelihood that your home is on a sewer system is increased if the properties on each side of you are on one as well. Keep in mind, however, that even if a sewage line runs in front of the structure and the nearby residences are connected to a sewer system, your home or building may not be connected to one. If the structure is older than the sewer system, it is possible that it is still on the original septic system. Consult with your local health agency for further information. This agency conducts final inspections of septic systems to ensure that they comply with applicable laws and regulations. There is a possibility that they have an archived record and/or a map of the system and will supply this information upon request
All property owners should be aware of whether or not their property is equipped with an on-site wastewater treatment system. Georgia law mandates that the property owner is responsible for the correct operation of a septic system, as well as any necessary maintenance and repairs.
Locating the Septic Tank and Drainfield
Finding a septic system may be a difficult process. They can be buried anywhere in the yard, including the front, back, and side yards. After a few years, the soil may begin to resemble the surrounding soil, making it impossible to distinguish the system from the surrounding soil. It is possible that in dry weather, the grass will be dryer in the shallow soil over the tank and greener over the drainfield, where the cleansed water will be released, but this is not always the case, especially in hot weather.
- The contractor who built the house should have presented the initial owner with a map showing the tank and drainfield locations, according to the building code.
- The installation of the system, as well as any modifications made to it, would have been examined by your local health authority.
- Unfortunately, if the system is very old, any records related with it may be insufficient or nonexistent, depending on the situation.
- Look for the point at where the wastewater pipes join together if the building is on a crawlspace or has an unfinished basement.
- The sewer line that runs through the structure is referred to as the building sewer.
- To “feel” for the tank, use a piece of re-bar or a similar metal probe.
- If you use this free service, you may avoid accidentally putting a rod through your gas or water line.
Try to locate the tank after a rainstorm, when the metal probe will be more easily maneuvered through moist dirt.
This should be done with care; extreme caution should be exercised to avoid puncturing the building sewer.
A tank is normally 5 by 8 feet in size, however the dimensions might vary.
Be aware that there may be rocks, pipes, and other debris in the area that “feels” like the tank but is not in fact part of the tank.
However, it is possible to have the lid or access port positioned on a riser in addition to being on the same level as the top of the tank in some cases.
Once the tank has been identified, make a rough drawing of its placement in relation to the house so that it will not be misplaced again!
It may be easier to discover the drainage lines now that the tank has been identified, particularly if the area has been subjected to prolonged periods of drought.
How a Septic System Works
Typical sewage treatment system (figure 1). It is composed of three components (Figure 1): the tank, the drain lines or discharge lines, and the soil treatment area (also known as the soil treatment area) (sometimes called a drainfield or leach field). The size of the tank varies according to the size of the structure. The normal home (three bedrooms, two bathrooms) will often include a 1,000-gallon water storage tank on the premises. Older tanks may only have one chamber, however newer tanks must have two chambers.
- The tank functions by settling waste and allowing it to be digested by microbes.
- These layers include the bottom sludge layer, the top scum layer, and a “clear” zone in the center.
- A typical septic tank is seen in Figure 2.
- It is fortunate that many of the bacteria involved are found in high concentrations in the human gastrointestinal tract.
- Although the bacteria may break down some of the stuff in the sludge, they are unable to break down all of it, which is why septic tanks must be cleaned out every three to seven years.
- In addition, when new water is introduced into the septic tank, an equal volume of water is pushed out the discharge lines and onto the drainfield.
- The water trickles out of the perforated drain pipes, down through a layer of gravel, and into the soil below the surface (Figure 3).
- A typical drainfield may be found here.
- Plants, bacteria, fungus, protozoa, and other microorganisms, as well as bigger critters such as mites, earthworms, and insects, flourish in soil.
- Mineralogical and metallic elements attach to soil particles, allowing them to be removed from the waste water.
Maintaining a Septic System
The most typical reason for a septic system to fail is a lack of proper maintenance. Septic systems that are failing are expensive to repair or replace, and the expense of repairs rests on the shoulders of the property owner (Figure 4). Fortunately, keeping your septic system in good working order and avoiding costly repairs is rather simple. Figure 4. Septic system failure is frequently caused by a lack of proper maintenance. It is in your best interests to be aware of the location of the system, how it operates, and how to maintain it.
- You should pump the tank if you aren’t sure when the last time it was pumped.
- It is not permissible to drive or park over the tank or drainage field.
- No rubbish should be disposed of in the sink or the toilet.
- It’s important to remember that garbage disposals enhance the requirement for regular pumping.
- When designing a landscape, keep the septic system in mind.
- It is also not recommended to consume veggies that have been cultivated above drainfield lines (see Dorn, S.
- Ornamental Plantings on Septic Drainfields.
Any water that enters your home through a drain or toilet eventually ends up in your septic system.
Don’t put too much strain on the system by consuming a large amount of water in a short period of time.
Additives should not be used.
Various types of additives are available for purchase as treatment options, cleansers, restorers, rejuvenator and boosters, among other things.
To break up oil and grease and unclog drains, chemical additives are available for purchase.
Pumping out the septic tank is not eliminated or reduced by using one of these systems.
They remain floating in the water and travel into the drainfield, where they may block the pipes. Acids have the potential to damage concrete storage tanks and distribution boxes.
Signs a Septic System is Failing
A failed system manifests itself in the following ways:
- Sinks and toilets drain at a snail’s pace
- Plumbing that is backed up
- The sound of gurgling emanating from the plumbing system House or yard aromas that smell like sewage
- In the yard, there is wet or squishy dirt
- Water that is gray in hue that has accumulated
- An region of the yard where the grass is growing more quickly and is becoming greener
- Water contaminated by bacteria from a well
If you notice any of these indicators, you should notify your local health department immediately. An environmentalist from the health department can assist in identifying possible hazards. There are also listings of state-certified contractors available from the local health department, who may do repairs. Repairs or alterations to the system must be approved by the health department and examined by an inspector. Keep an eye out for any meetings that may take place between a health department inspector and a contractor to discuss repairs to your system.
- Household garbage that has not been properly handled is released into the environment when systems fail.
- It has the potential to pollute surrounding wells, groundwater, streams, and other sources of potable water, among other things.
- The foul odor emanating from a malfunctioning system can cause property values to plummet.
- Briefly stated, broken systems can have an impact on your family, neighbors, community, and the environment.
- Septic systems are an effective, attractive, and reasonably priced method of treating and disposing of wastewater.
Figures 2 and 3 reprinted with permission from: CIDWT. 2009. Installation of Wastewater Treatment Systems. Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment. Iowa State University, Midwest Plan Service. Ames, IA.
History of the current status and revisions Published on the 15th of August, 2013. Published on March 28th, 2017 with a full review.