If you don’t know where your septic tank is, it can be difficult to point it out to us when we come to perform various septic tank services. It can also lead to accidentally damaging your septic system if you inadvertently put heavy machinery over the tank or dig around the area and break pipes which might require septic system repair without you even knowing it. While it may not be obvious where your septic tank is, there are a few different things you can do to figure out its location.
Look at the Records
Your local county commissioner’s office may have records indicating where your septic system was installed. A septic system requires a permit, and copies of those permits are filed with the county. You may be able to find information on where the tank sits in relation to your home, or you may be able to get a diagram of your property that indicates where the septic tank is. However, if your home is fairly old, those records may no longer exist. Older homes also didn’t require the same permits as new houses do, so there may have never been a filed permit for the septic system. It doesn’t hurt to check, though, and if you can find this information, it could save you a lot of time, money, and effort.
If you have a nearby neighbor with a house that was built around the same time as yours was, you can ask them if they have records or know where their tank is. While it’s not always the case, it’s possible that the septic systems for the two homes may be laid out in a similar manner.
Follow the Pipes from Your Home
If you know where your main sewer pipe is, you may be able to follow it to the tank. Usually, the septic tank and the drain field run parallel to the main sewer line. If you can find this pipe, you should be able to follow it out across your yard. The septic tank must be at least five feet away from your home, though most are further away than that. Start at the five-foot mark, though, and check the ground every two feet out as you follow the main pipe.
Even if you can’t easily locate your tank, you may be able to eliminate some possible locations. As mentioned, septic tanks must be five feet from your home, and they should also set out away from any out-buildings, streams, and wells. Septic tanks are also often installed downhill, so if your house sits up on higher ground, the tank may not be on that hill.
Another clue is to look at your grass. Spots where there is little grass and vegetation can indicate that the septic tank is buried there. Unexpectedly lush or thriving vegetation can be a sign that your drain field is failing. While that comes with its own troubles, it can give you an idea of where the drain field and, therefore, your septic tank sits. Spots of standing water when it hasn’t recently rained is yet another indication of something wrong with your septic system. While not what you want to see, it can be helpful in locating the tank.
If we have done septic maintenance on your tank before, we likely have a record of where it’s located. Even if it has been some years since we were last at your home, we should still have the information available. If we have not performed a service call for you before, we will be happy to help you locate your septic tank. Just give us a call and schedule a time we can come out.