How do I find my Septic Tanks?
You can uncover your septic tank lids yourself, or hire us to do it. Locating septic tank lids can be tricky, but can save you some money by doing it yourself. The image below and to the left is a septic line clean out. We cannot pump from here. This is usually located part way to your tanks and is used to gain access and clean the line from house to tank. The image to the right is what your tank access lid should look like when exposed. You can see that we have plenty of room to clean the tank properly with our 3″ vacuum hose.
Here are some tips:
- Your local Department may have record of the tank location. You can retrieve a copy of those records by filing a Freedom of Information Act Request. This can be done online for Kent County Residents at this link.
- Most systems built after 1967 will have two septic tanks. Regulation did not really start until the late 80’s early 90’s so sometimes, system’s aren’t up to current code.
- Most tanks are either 800 or 1000 gallons and are made of concrete. Each 800 gallon tank’s surface area measures about 4ft x 8ft. Most 1,000 gallon tank measure 5ft x 8ft.
- Code requires tanks be at least 10ft away from a foundation wall.
- The tanks can be located by “probing” the ground. We use a probe rod as shown above but you can get creative. BE CAREFUL however, because concrete weakens over time and you could potentially puncture your tank if it’s weak.
- Tanks could be laid out in multiple configurations: Tandum (End to End), L Shaped or side by side. The second tank normally points out towards the absorption area.
- Usually, each tank has two access lids normally about the size of a pizza box. They can be round or square and are usually found on each end of the rectangular tank.
- Lids are normally flat or flush to the surface and have a metal handle for easy handling. Don’t worry about lifting the lid up once it’s exposed. We’ll take care of that part. You can usually find the lids about 8″ – 15″ in from the tank end, and 24″ in from the tank sides. This all depends on the tank manufacturer.
- Once you’ve exposed a seam of the lid, follow the seam around it to uncover it fully. We will need at least a few inches clearance around the hole to pull the lid up out of it.
- There is normally about a 1-2ft pipe connecting the two tanks. Sometimes tanks are spread further apart based on grade changes and other factors.
- We only need one lid per tank exposed to clean the tank properly. We would prefer to pump from the outlet ends (furthest away from the house) so we can properly inspect the outlet baffles.
What if I can’t find my tanks?
No worries! We can take care of this entire process for you and cover the holes when we are done. There is a difference in price for the extra labor, but if you are unable to find or unable to dig them open, just let us know.
The next step is to make a call to schedule service. Upon calling, you will be asked a few general questions. We can typically schedule service within 1-3 business days. You can also schedule service online here.
To learn more about your Septic System, please visit our “What is a Septic Tank?” page.