Tips For Finding Your New Home's Septic System

Posted on: 24 April 2017


It might sound like a pretty simple thing to locate your new home's septic tank—that is until you realize that you really don't have any way to know where it was installed by previous owners. Once you run the water in your sinks or flush the toile,t you will not be able to hear the water leave your home because the plumbing pipes are buried below the frost level. That is, they are located a few feet below the surface of the ground, well out of the range of your hearing.

So, how then do you located the septic tank on your new property if your plumbing backs up and the tank needs to be pumped out? While not simple to do, there are some things you can try that will help you locate it, such as:

Obtain a Copy of the As-Built from Your County's Building Department

Since septic system installation requires a building permit, your local county building department will have a copy of the permit for your septic system's original installation. As part of the permit's paperwork, there will be a document known as an "as-built". An as-built is a drawing that shows exactly where the septic tank, leach lines, and leach field are located. To complete the permitting process, an inspector from the building department went to the house and verified that everything was built as directed in the diagram. Most public offices will not charge you to look at this document, and it can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle if you can obtain a copy.

Walk the Property and Look for Signs of Excessive Plant Growth or Bare Spots 

If you're currently having problems with your wastewater backing up into your home, then your septic tank is overflowing. This will often cause excessive growth near the tank, above the leach lines, and above the leach field. Sometimes you can simply walk a property and tell exactly where the tank and leach field are located by looking for square areas of lush grass growth. 

If the previous owner of your home did their job to protect the septic system, then it may have a cleared space above it. Perhaps there is a small area of gravel or mulch that looks a bit out of place in your yard? This is a likely cover for a septic tank.

Have a Plumbing Company Run a Beacon Down Your Plumbing and Into the Septic Tank

Finally, if all else fails, your local plumbing contractor or septic pumping technician can flush a special beacon down your toilet, and then it will give a signal off when it lands in the septic tank. Once the beacon is activated, the technician can trace the signal, dig out the tank's access port, and retrieve the beacon before servicing the tank.

For additional information, contact a septic service like Kemphaus Water Solutions.