How to Find the Septic Tank Lid

Without knowing how to find the septic tank lid of your septic system, you won't be able to inspect or service your septic tank. With a little detective work and some elbow grease, you should be able to find your septic tank lid in no time.

Finding Your Septic System's Tank Lid

  • Locate utilities first. Before digging or probing for a septic system, be sure to contact a utility locating firm to mark the utility lines on your property. Hitting an electrical or gas line while digging for your septic tank could be a costly and dangerous mistake.
  • Never work alone. Since you don't know the location of the septic tank, you can't know the condition of the tank or lid. Falling through a damaged or decayed tank lid can be fatal. Make sure you have someone around as you search for the septic tank lid that can go and get help in the event of an emergency.
  • Just ask. If you can, contact the previous owners of the house and find out if they know the location of the septic tank. If not, they may be able to give you the name of the company that serviced or constructed the septic system. Most septic service firms keep records of tank locations for their customers.
  • Make it official. Contact the local department of health to see if they have records of your septic tanks installation. Most health departments require septic permits to have an attached drawing that locates the tank and distribution field.
  • Check around. Make a few calls to local septic tank pumping companies to see if they may have worked on your septic system in the past. These companies may have records of previous work that can help you locate the septic tank.
  • A place to start. Begin your own search by looking in your basement or crawlspace for a 4" to 6" pipe leaving your home. This size pipe is typically used to carry wastewater from your home to the septic tank. Mark the location of this pipe on the outside of your foundation and begin looking 8' to 10' feet from your home in the direction the pipe points. Look for areas that are not at the same level as the surrounding terrain.
  • Make a probe. Take a 3' to 4' section of galvanized with threading at one end and add a hose adapter to the threaded end. Connect a garden hose to the adapter and turn the water on. Pushing the water end of the pipe into the ground will quickly but gently force water to dig a hole that you can check for signs of the septic tank or lid.
  • Call for help. If all else fails, contact a septic contractor to locate your septic tank. These contractors have specialized equipment that can quickly and accurately locate your septic tank and lid.
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