Are you new to a property and trying to figure out where the septic tank is located? You are not alone in this struggle as many people also face the same challenge.

Septic tanks are buried underneath the ground surface and won’t be readily visible.

You’ll need to know how to find your septic tank location. Luckily, you’re reading the right guide on the detailed steps or procedures to follow.

Here, we’ve made the process comprehensive enough to help any reader easily follow the outlined instructions found within.

Is There A Need To Locate A Septic Tank?

For some people, finding a septic tank location may seem unnecessary, hence a non-priority.

It’s unlikely that such people will find this article interesting. However, if you’re reading this, chances are that you want to spot or identify your septic tank location for a variety of reasons.

As a homeowner, you’re saddled with the responsibility of operating and maintaining your septic system. This includes annual inspections as well as septic tank pumping every 3 to 5 years.

So, there’s a strong need for you to identify where your septic tank is located.

How To Locate A Septic Tank In An Old Or New House

With a guide such as this, the process of finding or locating your septic tank even in an old house, won’t be difficult.

Here, we’ve included a process that includes steps to follow. This starts from steps 1 through 6 and simplifies the process of finding the tank.

So where are septic tanks located? Let’s take a look at each of these steps.

  • Step 1: Finding The Plan

To start right, first, consider finding the plan or septic system ‘as-built’ plan.

As the name implies, the plan gives detailed guidance on the septic tank installation. More importantly, it pinpoints the area where the septic tank is located.

The only problem with this method is that such plans aren’t readily available. The records may have been lost or misplaced. Nevertheless, all hope shouldn’t be lost. Consider contacting the septic technician or service that installed your tank.

Another option to explore includes contacting your local health authority.

Records are kept and could be accessed or brought up from the system. However, there’s a possibility that all the above options may not turn up positive results.

Under such circumstances, you’ll need to consider the other steps below.

  • Step 2: Locating The Sewer Outlet Pipe

Another way to locate a septic tank is by looking out for connecting pipes.

A sewer outlet pipe perfectly fits this description. This can only be found in the septic cleanout area; an access point designed for septic system maintenance.

You can either find the septic cleanout in your basement or outdoors. Whatever the case is, this allows you to further probe the septic tank’s location using an important tool; the septic snake.

Sometimes, you may have to flush a toilet and listen to the direction of the flow.

  • Step 3: Tracing The Septic Tank Outside Your Home

One of the quickest ways of finding a septic tank is by first identifying the sewer outlet pipe.

From here, you’re able to follow or trace it right to where it ends. In most cases, this outlet pipe isn’t long and measures approximately one meter.

The outlet pipe may not link straight to your septic tank but may have turns that lead it to the tank. Whatever the case is, all you need to do is follow its direction to find your septic tank.

You may also want to gain perspective by taking a look at possible ground areas where your tank lies.

You can also find a septic tank with a metal detector. Probe along the pipe, gently to avoid damaging the septic line. Reinforcement bars in concrete tanks can also be picked up this way.

Just ensure you do not wear any shoes with steel or metal to make tank detection faster.

  • Step 4: Uncovering Your Septic Tank

Having discovered the location of your septic tank, you may need to uncover it for further assessment. This is only necessary if you have some appreciable knowledge of septic tank maintenance.

Otherwise, it’s best to call a licensed septic technician to perform repairs or have a look at a problem.

Uncovering your septic tank may involve digging. Sometimes, only the top is visible. Tanks are buried in the ground and will require digging or excavation to remove them.

Care must be taken when uncovering your tank because you could cause damage to drain lines, gas, and other utility lines.

  • Step 5: What Is the Tank’s Condition?

For some people, the quest to find their septic tank location may only be to satisfy their curiosity.

For others, it involves much more than that. In the case of the latter, an assessment and possible repair may be the purpose for which the tank location is being investigated.

If a septic technician is performing this task, an assessment of its condition as well as the contents of the septic tank is carried out. This examines the scum, effluent, and sludge layers.

The need for pumping may be necessary after full inspections. It all depends on what is observed.

  • Step 6: Note The Location

Once the position of a septic tank is identified, you’ll need to note or record its location. This will prove beneficial when property ownership is being switched.

Equally important for record-keeping is the position of the drain field. This helps with a prompt response when there’s a problem with the system.

Delays Are Reduced to a Bare Minimum

Whenever an intervention is needed in terms of repairs or emergency pumping, there’s never a delay in carrying out the process. This is a benefit you get by knowing where your septic tank is located.

Sometimes locating or finding your septic tank and leach field leads to repositioning. Repositioning in this sense refers to a situation where a septic tank or drain field is found to be too close to a water body such as a well.

This exposes you to significant health risks and calls for the relocation of the water body. A new well may be drilled or dug. It all depends on what your specific needs are.


Finding a septic tank is a worthwhile activity that can be performed with some little guidance. We’ve provided such guidance by showing you the steps to follow.

Your best bet of finding your septic tank stress-free is by gaining access to the plan as highlighted above.

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