Locate Septic Systems

Locating septic tanks can be challenging in some cases but absolutely necessary in order to maintain and service a septic tank properly. Regularly servicing a septic tank is necessary to prevent unwanted and unnecessary sewage back ups into your home. Sewage back ups and spillages are the number one feared and most dreaded incident that can happen to you if you live on a septic system. Not having your septic tank pumped out regularly can lead to very expensive repairs and calls lateral damage and other equipment failure.

So It’s absolutely necessary to know where the tank so when it’s time to service it your septic service company can go right to it and service your septic tank as needed. In the event of an emergency it will cut down on the time that you may not be able to use your septic system and your problem can be alleviated swiftly.

It’s also a good measure to know where the tank is in order to avoid driving heavy equipment or vehicles over the tank. This can lead to catastrophic failure by collapsing and destroys your septic tank. Although most septic tanks are made of concrete they are not built to support extreme amounts of weight. Round tanks are less prone to cracking and eventually caving in do to ground shifting , settling or earthquakes. There are septic tanks that are not made of concrete but made of fiberglass or plastic. These tanks are susceptible to collapsing far more easier than the tanks that are made of concrete. So it’s good to know what type of tank you have, what shape and size it is and what it’s made of.

The access ports to pump out and service a septic tank are located at the top of the tank.

In some situations locating and preparing septic tanks for service can be time consuming, labor-intensive, destructive to the surrounding area and expensive. So it’s a very good practice when having homes built or Tanks located to mark where the tank is by installing a riser system. Riser systems are above ground access ports to prevent future lawn destructive excavation in order to service septic tanks. More often than not there are times when homeowners did not know where their septic tanks where located, they have built wooden decks, sidewalks, decorative patios, driveways, and even additions to the home over the septic tank access ports . These are worst case scenarios and in order to service a septic tank and that situation would be unavoidably damaging to whatever structure that may have been built over the septic tank access ports.

The department of environmental quality is the first place to start when trying to get information about your septic system such as what type of septic system you have, the size of tank that was installed, how many feet of laterals were installed, when the septic system was installed and who installed it and where to locate your septic tank. The DEQ holds installation records of septic tanks and their location and size. In order to search for a file of your septic system through the DEQ you would need the legal description to the property of the home for which you are trying to locate the septic tank. If a house was built earlier than the 1970s or in very rural areas they may not have a map or any information on file. In that case other methods would have to be employed to locate septic tank.

There are several different ways to go about finding a septic system. One is looking at the landscape to see if there is a patch of lawn that may be in a specific circular or rectangle shape that has discoloration in the lawn versus the rest of the lawn. That sometimes will indicate an outline of where the septic tank is. Other ways are too Try to contact previous owners and ask any information about the history of the septic servicing and any information on where the septic tank may be located. If there’s a neighbor who has live next door for years you make an ask them if they have any idea of where your septic tank may be located. Especially if that neighbor goes all the way back to when the homes were built in that area.

You can also use other specific methods to locate septic tanks. A very common way to locate and find septic tanks used by professional and homeowners is by using a probe to poke into the ground. This is a physical and time consuming task but nonetheless it can be very effective in locating your septic tank. What you are looking for as you probe into the ground is something that would indicate something solid such as a septic tank. Also it is very important to know that Sometimes this method can be deceiving if you’re in a very rocky area or if concrete, bricks or other solid building materials were buried on your property for whatever reason. It is very difficult to determine whether you’re probing rock or a septic tank if you’re not trained in the difference of what your looking, feeling and listening for. In these situation even the professionals may get it wrong. The only way to know for sure if you have probed a septic tank, rock or something else is to dig up what you’ve been probing.

Keep in mind that the depth of a septic tank always varies from home to home. Generally we expect to see 18 inches or less but that is not always the case. The depth of a septic tank is determined by how deep the plumbing comes out of the home, if there has been any grading or adding of soil to build up the property, if the tank is modern or was installed earlier than 1970s or what style of tank was installed. All of these play a factor in how deep a septic tank may be. It’s also helpful to know if there was ever an older home that used to exist on the property , such as an old farm home and if so, if you’re tied into that original septic system or if there was a newer septic system added to the existing home that now occupies the property. This would normally pertain to rural and country side properties. But this can also be the case if your neighborhood has been developed into a community of newer homes.

Also you can have a septic tank located through the aid of using modern and more effective digital locating equipment. How this is done is by using a specially designed waterproof sewer camera to scope out the line and indicate when we have entered into the septic tank. by inserting a sewer camera through the plumbing clean out which is usually located outside the home one to 4 feet away from the wall of the home. in more modern homes this would be white PVC pipe with a cap that can be unscrewed by hand or by using channel locks. Although there are two often instances where an installer did not install a clean out to the septic tank while installing the septic system, there are other means to scope out your sewer line to locate the septic tank by either going onto the roof and scoping through one of the vent pipes or going into the home and detaching the toilet or some other fixtures to access the plumbing of the home. Once the camera is in so did into the plumbing there is a locating device that can indicate exactly where that camera head is and where it stops is normally inside the septic tank and this lets us know that we have identified where the tank is and we can start digging up the access port of the set tank in order to pump out and service your septic system. This is usually the most expensive form of septic tank locating but in some cases is the only option.