How to Find Your Septic Tank

If your property relies on a septic plumbing system, it’s important to know the location of your septic tank. Such tanks require regular inspection, cleaning, and pumping to prevent backups. Failure to remove the sludge that accumulates in a septic tank could lead to clogs and floods that pose a health and safety risk to you and your family, as well as local bodies of water. Many local authorities also require homeowners to know the location of their septic system, especially if they want to apply for building permits. 

If you’ve no idea how to find your septic tank, don’t fret. While tanks are typically hidden underground, there are several simple tricks you can employ to locate your septic tank with little fuss!

 9 Ways to Locate Your Septic Tank

Before you start digging around in your backyard, remember that taking care of your septic tank is a crucial health and safety precaution. The following steps will teach you how to locate your septic tank quickly and safely:

1. Check recent property records

Many local health authorities retain records regarding septic tank installations. Remember – builders or other tradesmen must obtain a permit before they’re allowed to install a septic tank on any property. They have to draw a detailed plan showing their plans to install the tank and any potential risks they foresee. If you can’t find the relevant documentation, it’s worth checking whether the records are available online via your municipality’s website.

2. Refer to your septic tank map

If you’ve recently moved into your home, your inspection paperwork should contain a septic tank map. This map will detail precisely where and how to access the tank, including any potential problems faced by previous owners. 

3. Ask previous owners or neighbors

If you have contact with the previous owners of your home, dropping them a friendly email could be the quickest and easiest way to locate your septic tank. Similarly, your neighbors may be able to provide guidance. 

4. Invest in a metal soil probe

Struggling to find any relevant paperwork? Unsure about who might know the location of your septic tank? Don’t worry! It’s never too late to find your tank and perform your duties as a homeowner. If you’re wondering where to start, we recommend investing in a metal soil probe. A simple tool comprising a thin strip of metal, a soil probe will gently penetrate the ground to locate buried objects. Simply push the probe around the likely location of your septic tank, taking care not to damage any pipes. 

 5. Engage in a process of elimination

Septic tank installations are subject to a range of restrictions and caveats that will help you rule out certain locations. For example, a septic tank cannot be installed near trees, under decking or the property itself, next to a well, or under paved surfaces. Broadly speaking, your septic tank will probably be located between five and 25 feet away from your property. 

 6. Look for physical signs

Many people can locate a septic tank through visual inspection alone. For example, tanks are typically accompanied by a small hill or dip. It’s very difficult to install a septic tank without leaving a trace, so look carefully for uneven ground and use your metal probe to verify your suspicions. Once you’re sure you’ve located your septic system, use a shovel to carefully remove the soil and grass above the tank. 

 7. Use a metal detector

If you’re struggling to find your septic tank using a soil probe, a metal detector could be another useful tool to employ. Many septic tanks contain metal elements (such as manhole covers), so a metal detector could make your job a little easier. Of course, you may find other forms of buried treasure along the way!

 8. Follow the sewer line from your home

Typically, your sewer line will exit your home from a basement or crawl space, running in a straight line up to 25 feet away from the property. Pipes are usually around four inches in diameter, leaving plenty of opportunity for you to follow the line using a soil probe. 

 9. Check for potential problems with your septic tank

If you’ve lived in your property for a while and haven’t gotten around to inspecting or pumping your septic tank, you may start to notice signs of overfilling or backups. For example, while green and healthy grass may seem like a positive sign, an unusually green patch may suggest that sewage is seeping out of the tank and fertilizing the lawn. Similarly, unexplained puddles that appear without rainfall could suggest your septic tank is overfilling. If you spot these kinds of issues, call a professional plumber to help resolve the problem and prevent further health hazards. 

Remember – once you’ve found your septic tank, remember to make note of its location by marking the spot e.g. with a decorative gnome or birdbath. You should also make a note of the location on a map. As well as ensuring you never forget the location of your septic tank, a map could provide valuable assistance to inspectors and future owners of your property. 

Contact a Specialist

Are you still wondering how to find your septic tank without ruining your lawn? Perhaps you’ve managed to locate your septic tank and are wondering what to do next. Whatever your plumbing needs, Septic & Sewer is here to help. 

Considered one of the best plumbing and septic system specialists in Boulder, Colorado, we’ll ensure your water supply is clean, safe, and protected. For more information, get in touch with our friendly team today.

In business for over 10 years, Mountain Contractors, LLC has deep experience in the septic and sewer industry. They’ve successfully and professionally provided sewer and septic services to Boulder and Gilpin Counties and have excellent online feedback and reviews. For help with all your home sewer, water, and septic tank needs, call Mountain Contracting LLC today.