Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind: Finding A Buried Septic Tank


There's nothing worse than having your septic system get backed up, calling a contractor to come out and clean your tank, and then realizing that you don't know where your septic tank is. While many newly-installed systems come with risers – access ports with lids at ground level – older systems are often completely buried.

So whether you're searching because you need your tank vacuumed out right now or you're just trying to get ahead of things, it's a very good idea to figure out where your septic tank is. Luckily, it may be a very simple matter of locating the right paperwork. And even if it's not, there's no septic tank that's impossible to find.

Check As-Built Diagram

The easiest way to find a buried septic tank is by looking at the as-built diagram for it. This will show you just where on your property the septic tank is. You may have been given a copy of this diagram when your septic system was installed. If not, or if the system was installed by previous owners, you can check with the local health authority. The as-built diagrams are also often filed with them. If you know the contractors who installed the system, they may also have a copy of the diagram.

It's possible, however, that neither you nor anyone else has a copy of the as-built diagram, especially if your system was installed a long time ago. In that case, you'll have to find your septic tank a different way.

Probe The Ground

If your septic tank is not buried too deep, you can purchase (or borrow) a soil probe and push it down into the ground in various parts of your yard. These thin metal rods are made to locate buried objects as well as test the compaction of the soil. Be gentle when probing, however; if you jam the probe into the soil with too much force, you may pierce the tank, especially if it's made of fiberglass.

Flush A Transmitter

If all else fails, technology can determine where your septic tank is. By flushing a special electronic transmitter down your toilet, you can use the signal to find where it ends up: the septic tank. It's possible to buy a transmitter yourself; however, many septic contractors already have them, so you can also have them locate your tank for you.

Install A Riser

Once you've found your septic tank, you can make note of where it is. But to really simplify things, install a riser. This will make all future pumping and cleaning much easier.


27 July 2015

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