Septic Tank Location: What it is, Why you need, and How to get it

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Septic Tank Location: What it is, Why you need, and How to get it

by | Feb 26, 2018 | Plumbing Help, Service Information, Sewer and Drain Cleaning Help

Septic tank location services are for those who “lose” a septic tank. Seems impossible, since it doesn’t move but it happens all the time.

Homes and buildings unconnected to the local sewer system use a private septic systems for waste disposal. Proper maintenance of a septic tanks is critical to keep it in working order. A bad septic tank means no drainage from your house and switching to sewer isn’t always an option! When property changes hands or after years of blissfully ignoring your tank, finding the access might prove challenging. This requires septic tank location services, which follow the sewer line to locate where the tank is underground.

septic tank location services

What is a Septic Tank?

It’s obviously not the prettiest of pictures, but a septic tank is a large, watertight container that gets stored underground. It is used to receive, treat, and settle waste. Solid waste rests at the bottom of the tank where it becomes a type of sludge, and oils and lighter matter settle at the surface in a layer of film.

septic tank location services - typical septic tank

There are specific types of bacteria that grow in your septic tank as long as it’s working correctly. This will keep the tank working for years without interruption. That bacteria break down solid waste, and the liquid between the sludge and layer of the film flows from the tank and to the designated draining area. However, the tank does need to be pumped occasionally and you need to be able to take action quickly when something goes wrong.

Why Should You Know Your Septic Tank Location?

As a homeowner, it’s crucial that you know how to find a lid on a septic system because it is your responsibility to maintain the tank. If you aren’t managing your septic system, it can result in the entire system failing. This is a health hazard, could reduce the lifespan of the tank, and it could even contaminate the ground or surface water that you, your family, and your neighbors drink.

septic tank location services - dug up septic tank

Proper maintenance includes, but is not limited to:

  • Knowing where your tank is located, using septic tank location services to assist you if necessary.
  • Annual inspections of the septic tank and drain fields.
  • Periodic septic tank pumping, depending on usage and volume of sewage flow.

How Septic Tank Location Services Work

There are couple of ways to find your septic tank, but the most foolproof is septic tank location services by a qualified plumber. In some instances, you might have what’s referred to as an ‘as-built’ septic system diagram. This will show you the location of your tank on the property. If this is the case, go ahead and call the pumping service or drain field technician for maintenance.

DIY septic tank location services:

  • Use a metal detector to help find a buried tank. The bars are typically metal and should sound off the device.
  • Check out available flushable transmitters (we make no guarantees and can’t say we have tried this ourselves!).
  • If you think you know the general area of the tank, or have unlimited patience, try using a soil probe for the tank yourself.

DIY septic tank location services

Professional septic tank location services are a bit more sophisticated. To find your tank, plumbers use specialized camera inspection equipment, complete with a homing beacon attached to the end. Using a clean-out outside of your house or a toilet flange, we place the inspection equipment in the pipe and follow along until we reach the inlet baffle. The inlet baffle works to direct waste flow from your home sewer down to the tank, and to keep the layer of scum from clogging the inlet pipe. There is also an outlet baffle, which keeps any scum or debris from going into the drainage field, and ensures drainage waste is clear. Once the homing beacon is in place at the baffle,  we use a gun that looks like it came straight from your favorite Sci-Fi film and target the ground until we receive the signal from our implanted homing beacon. From there we mark the location with spray paint or dig up the lid, if immediate action is needed.

septic tank location services with sewer camera inspection

Important Septic Tank Information

If your home has had a lot of repairs or if previous owners were big on outdoor project it could be challenging to find your septic tank. It isn’t uncommon for patios or driveways to be built on top of septic tanks. Yikes! This causes huge headaches for the current owner, so it is always recommended to get a septic tank location and inspection before purchasing a home. If the previous owner isn’t confident whether the house is septic or sewer – a surprisingly common occurrence – try polling the neighbors. Likely they are on the same type of system. Of course, a sewer camera inspection can always tell for sure and provide peace of mind about the state of the plumbing.

sewer camera inspection services

It’s important to understand that your tank should be treated with care both inside your home and out.

  • Don’t drive over or operate heavy machinery on top of a septic tank.
  • Old, unused septic tanks should always be filled in with dirt, sand, or otherwise property condemned.
  • Once located, use a Septi Marker to prevent future issues. (These are safe to mow over!)
  • Don’t put chemicals into your septic tank. They ruin the bio-chemistry of the tank and can cause failure.
  • Don’t put anything solid in a septic tank. Be very careful of what goes down the drain, including food particles and NEVER use “flushable wipes”!

Septic tanks should only pumped or operated on by trained personnel. There are serious health and home hazards to an improperly working septic tank. It is illegal for anyone other than certified persons to install, maintain, repair, move, or construct your sewage system.

If you feel like your tank could be in a wrong location, requires servicing, or it needs to move, you can contact us to find out more about our septic tank location services. Finding your tank is the first step to proper maintenance!

Article Author: Anja Smith

Managing Partner

Anja Smith is the author behind the All Clear Plumbing blog. She also writes regularly for Plumber Magazine,, and on Medium