Expert Septic & Plumbing Services in Greenville & Beyond

How to Locate Your Septic Tank

It might seem hard to believe that one of the biggest and most prominent features of your entire plumbing system is also one of the most difficult to find, but it’s absolutely true when your property runs on a septic system. There’s a good reason for this: septic tanks are large, unsightly, smell bad, and give off a sense of filth that isn’t exactly undeserved. Burying them underground simply makes sense—not only does this help protect them from damage, but it gives you more usable space on your property and hides what would otherwise be a tremendous eyesore.

That being said, hiding a tank underground can make it more difficult to find, and that’s not a good thing if you’re a homeowner who doesn’t know where their septic system is and has plans for a project involving digging. This blog is here to help you find your septic system without any pesky digging at all.

Follow Your Sewer Main

Every drain in your home leads to your sewer main, and your sewer main leads to your septic tank. Therefore, following the sewer main will lead you straight to your septic tank. If you have a basement or crawlspace with exposed plumbing lines, there’s a strong chance one of those is your main sewer line. In many cases, this line will be labeled, but if it isn’t, it’s typically a metal line that’s about four inches in diameter or so. Check where this line leaves your home and what direction it’s traveling, as it typically leads straight out to the septic tank itself.

Use a Soil Probe

One of the most valuable tools for finding a septic tank is a soil probe—a thin piece of metal that pierces through soil to quickly locate anything that might be buried underground. Insert your soil probe every two feet starting from the location where your sewer line leaves your home and follow it straight out. You should find your septic tank between 5 and 25 feet away from your home.

This is also a great way to locate your septic tank cover. Septic tank covers are generally at or just below ground level, and are not always visible to the naked eye. While we strongly recommend keeping your cover clean and uncovered in the event you need an emergency septic service, not all people do this.

Inspect Your Property

If you look closely at your property, there’s a good chance you can actually find your septic tank without any probing at all. In many cases, a septic tank is typically indicated by a small dip or hill on your property that can’t really be explained. This is because the hole that your builders dug for your septic tank may not have been exactly the right size, but they went ahead and installed the tank anyway. This isn’t all that uncommon.

A hole that was too small will leave part of the top of the tank sticking out above ground level, and builders will often cover the rest of the tank with more soil, creating a tiny mound on your property that is often covered with grass, soil, or other natural plants. A small divot or depression is a sign that the hole was too big, and your builders simply never filled the depression to level off the hole. This is typically an area that gets extremely wet or even floods during rains.

We can pretty much guarantee that your septic tank will not be found in a few specific places. Either because of code violations or because it simply doesn’t make sense, you more than likely won’t find your septic tank near any of the following:

  • If you have one, your water well (for some fairly obvious reasons)
  • Any paved surfaces (it won’t be under a patio, sidewalk, or driveway unless they were added well after the home and nobody conducted a proper inspection before building it)
  • Any special landscaping

Check Your Property Records

If all else fails, going back to your property’s public records will probably tell you where the tank is located. Because septic systems all require permits for installation, your builders likely obtained a permit for your property. That means they had to create a detailed plan that showed your property and exactly where they planned on installing the tank. This is to ensure that the local health department is aware of the tank and can address any problems that it might cause.

If you own an older home, these records might not be available, but you might be surprised just how easy and accessible many of these records are. In fact, you might be able to find the original construction records for your home without ever even getting in the car or going to your local records office. Some municipalities have these records available online.

If you need a septic tank service, call The Plumbing Experts at (864) 210-3127 to schedule an appointment!