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Where's That Tank? Tips For Finding The Septic Tank In Your New Home

by Tara Pena

When you buy a home with a septic system, you'll need to be sure that you have the tank pumped on a regular basis. To do this, though, you need to know exactly where the tank is located. If the previous owners didn't pass along the information, it can be difficult to find. Most septic tank covers are buried at least a few inches underground, making it a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you find the tank on your property.

Check the County Clerk Files

Since most counties require a permit to be issued before a septic tank can be installed, you might be able to find record of it at the local county clerk's office. The county may file copies of the permits and the applications. The application process typically requires that a map be presented to show where the tank is going. And there should also be important information about the tank dimensions. Not every county keeps these things on record, though, so this may not be a solution for everyone.

Follow the Pipes

Locate the sewer pipe that exits your house from the basement. Then, go to the outside of the house where that pipe would be coming out. Follow the pipe across the yard using a thin metal probe. Push the probe into the soil where you expect the pipe to be, pushing it down until you hear it hit the pipe. If it doesn't, pull it out and move it slightly to one side or the other.

Repeat this to follow the pipe the full length until you reach the tank cover. You'll know when you hit the tank cover, because it produces a different sound than the pipe. The cover's made from different material, and that sound change will be easy to recognize.

Once you've found the tank cover, you'll want to determine the tank's boundaries. Use the probe and work in a rectangular shape to identify the boundaries of the tank. Mark the corners with wooden stakes or something so that you know exactly where the tank is. Consider some permanent landscaping to define the tank's dimensions, like paving tiles or something similar.

With the information here, you can more easily identify where the tank is and mark it for future reference. It's important that you keep your septic tank clean to avoid dangerous backups and contamination. Talk with a septic system maintenance company such as Hemley's Septic Tank Cleaning to help you keep your tank cleaned on a regular schedule.