How to find a Septic Tank in your yard

Locating ‘lost’ septic tanks is a common problem from for many, especially if the septic tank system has not ever been pumped out. This article offers some useful tips on how to find the position of your septic tank system.

finding a septic tank in your yard

Seriously, septic tanks are hard to find, even for the experts. The following are some ideas you can use to help you find your tank. Septic Tanks are usually about 4.5 feet wide x 8.0 feet long x 6 feet tall. Tanks are typically buried 4 inches to 4 feet deep.

Before you start your search for your favourite buried concrete block, be sure to check with past homeowners, or your local health department for a copy of the permit and plan. You may be surprised to learn that someone knows where it is located, and once you find it. Be sure and document and save. You really don’t want to do this every three years.

Tools to assist in your search should include:
A thin (3/8 to 1/2 inch diameter) steel rod
Measuring Tape
Shovel – (for the ambitious)
Metal Detector – (Borrow or rent one. Tanks usually have iron rebar in the lids.)
Lots of liquid – (You will get thirsty)

To begin, ask yourself – “Where does the sewer exit the house?”

If you have an unfinished basement; go downstairs and look and see where all the pipes come together and go out the basement wall. Many times your tank will be 10′ – 20′ outside of your house directly in front of this pipe!

If you don’t have a basement, go outside and look for your roof vent. (This is a pipe that pokes up out of your roof to vent sewer gases outside). Usually, the gravity sewer pipe to the septic tank will leave the house directly below this vent. With some luck you will be able to find your septic tank straight from this point 10′ to 20′ out.

A green rectangle in your yard may indicate your tank’s location.

Using the steel rod probe the possible areas based on the preceding.

If this does not work; get your metal detector and hope that the only metal in the area belongs to your septic tank.

If all else fails, contact your septic pumping company; they may have an electronic mouse, which can be flushed down the toilet and then tracked to the septic.

Source: Goebel’s Septic Tank Service, Inc.

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