As a homeowner, a cursory glance over your septic tank can be important and can even save you money.

  • After a heavy rain or snow, you may want to check to make sure that excess water hasn’t caused the tank to overflow.
  • Homeowners may also want to make sure that manholes and covers are properly secured to ensure that odors aren’t leaking or outside materials aren’t coming in.
  • Finding and marking septic tank components (like the tank and drainfield area) can save your septic contractor the time of looking themselves, reducing the total invoice on your next visit.

But the real question is: how do you find the septic tank?

Of course, the simplest way to know the location of your septic tank is to ask the previous owner. It is likely the previous homeowners have receipts, diagrams, or firsthand information about the home’s septic system.

Another easy route is to ask your county or state Department of Health. Nearly every state in the country requires septic tanks in the last 30 years to obtain a specialized permit for on-site wastewater treatment. Contact your local DOH and ask for a copy of your permit (which likely has detailed information about the tank’s coordinates).

If your other options don’t work or you simply want to try it the old-fashioned way, you can always try searching the land yourself to find the location of the septic tank.

First, if you have a basement, check to see where the main sewer exit pipe is. The septic tank will almost always be on the other side of that wall, sometimes as little as 10 feet away. This strategy will indicate the area directly outside the home you should be looking.

If you don’t have a basement in your home, look for the home’s roof septic vent. This is almost always pointing in the same direction as the septic tank.

Look For Obvious Signs

Don’t ignore surefire signs that your septic tank is just below the surface. For instance,

  • Look for rectangular markings or natural formations like extra green grass or irregular plant growth;
  • Keep an eye out for bald spots or dead grass (usually indicating a very shallow septic tank that doesn’t allow for much grass growth);
  • Watch out for small drains, covers, or caps that protrude from the lawn. These are probably inspection pipes, access ports, or other entry ways to allow for easy viewing.

Use A Tile Probe

Locating buried pipes, septic tanks, or other underground fixtures is easiest with a tile probe (a long pointed tool that is used to feel whatever contents may lie beneath ground level).

When poking around with a tile probe, remember that using it gently is using it correctly. Forcing it too hard can crack or damage a septic tank. The device should easily slide into the ground without much work.

If you hear a hard, hollow surface somewhere beneath the soil, then you know you’ve hit the septic tank. Continue using the tile probe to make sure that you’ve actually hit the tank and not an underground rock.

Still not having any luck? A metal detector can also easily pinpoint the location of the septic tank by picking up metal signatures from the tank’s reinforcement bars.

Dig around the septic tank with a shovel to uncover the manhole or opening to perform a quick interior glance of the tank as well. If you notice any problems, call your septic contractor immediately.

Now that you know how to find your septic tank, you can be a knowledgeable homeowner that understands the responsibilities that come with a septic tank. If you have any questions, contact our team at 404-915-0557 or schedule an appointment with Reliable Rooter today!