where is my septic tank?

According to the records, my septic tank is located in my back yard. The house was built @ 1990. Would any part of it be visible from above, or will I have to dig to locate it? tia bill forest va
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It is a tank / "field" under the dirt. The dirt is anywhere from 3 to 12 feet deep on average around here.
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How strange. The dirt where I live is a lot deeper than that. Just curious - how do you know where the bottom of the dirt is?
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your records should show at least 2 intersecting dimensions. usually it is measured from the corners of the house.

town hall records show all dimensions where it is located. I would think being built in 1990 it would have been recorded. you actually should have received a copy when you purchased the house.
M.C. somewhere in Ca.
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You're asking about the location of your septic tank, not the field lines. Look to your bathroom. If it's in the rear part of the house, the discharge line probably goes out nearby. Got a basement? Check where the line goes out. And your local health department probably has a fairly good plan on where the tank is. But why do you need to know, just for curiosity. And BTW, don't use powdered soap.

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On 18 Jul 2003 20:21:39 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@att.net (herr owen) wrote:

It will be buried. The cover for the tank (I assume you're thinking about pumping ?) will typically be down a foot or two at most.
Go to the town/city hall. In the health department they will have a set of plans showing the location. Now, ask them who has the "as built" plans. Someone there will have those too. Compare the two. If they are accurate, you can find the cover by measurement. ALso, look in the basement to find where the main drain exits the house. Usually they go in a straight line to the tank. If your "as built" was done on the back of a napkin like most, you will need to probe a little in the yard. You can rent a metal detector to easily find the cover.
Bob
You can rent a metal detector and find it that way if you have a general
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FWIW, here's how my Sanitary Engineer located a tank and lines for me: First he checked the vent stack location on the building, then he went to his truck and got a couple of stout metal rods. He methodically probed the likely locations, leaving a marker each time the rod went "thunk". In ten minutes he had the whole layout mapped and exposed the cover with a short digging session. After pump-out he went to the end of the leach line and added more drainage. I don't recall the exact time it took, but he was gone before lunch and my wallet wasn't trashed either. Your soil may be too rocky for e\ffective probing, but it's worth a try. Good luck.
Joe
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Metal detector?? For a LID? No...not around here....concrete lids are the norm...
To the OP...
Find your main sewage line, see where it exits the foundation. Depending on how deep your lid is, there MAY be a square depression in the yard over it, or there may not be...as far as the building plans go....Good luck. Finding a cap isnt that hard...you just follow where the main comes out and literally start poking into the ground with a section of pointed rebar...when you hit solid, you go around it to make sure it wasnt a rock, and normally, once you find that, you can dig down and get it...we found ours in about 10 minutes when the lines got crushed by a falling tree last winter. OF course, your septic tank guys can find it faster..
(herr owen)

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Don't the concrete lids have a piece of rebar or other 'hook' embedded in them for lifting the lid?
(herr owen)

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Mine didnt...it had a couple of large plastic handles in it..and it wasnt that large..
(herr owen)

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asking, I don't know. Warren
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if you call a septic man - company - they will be able to find it easily enough. they will look at the drain in the basement - follow it outside and with a probe hit the top of the tank - usually straight out from the vent pipes as well.
On Sun, 20 Jul 2003 19:46:39 GMT, "warren weber"

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A portion of rebar is often angled up as a handle.

Just
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If you have an idea where the concrete lid might be I would suggest you try to locate it first with a probing rod. I have used a probe with great success in finding the lid.
Just sharpen a piece of 1/2" steel rod with a dull point and start probing away.
HTH
rik
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On 18 Jul 2003 20:21:39 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@att.net (herr owen) wrote:

Most tanks aren't that deep at the top access hatch, a three foot 3/16" steel rod should let you probe for it.
Jeff
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Most tanks are reinforced, especially one that is thirteen years old; they won't have the plastic handles embedded in the lid. Rent or borrow a metal detector that picks up rebar and use that in the area you suspect the tank might be. I'm also assuming the tank hasn't been pumped since it was put in, so there might not be a different colored grass patch or a slightly sunken area where the access lid might be.
In addition, go to the basement or in your crawl space and look at where the main line exits the house. Your tank *should* be in a straight line, in line with the sewer leading out. The comments about probes are useful as well, but my tank is over three feet in the ground at the deep end, so that may not work for everyone.
Jon E

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Thanks everyone for the replies. I do have the record which shows where the tank is located. It is marked 20' out from the exit of the basement sewer line. It doesnt say how deep it is buried. I have a lot of trees little grass, and have seen no external sign of the tank. My wife wants me to find it Why? She likes to order me around. And, we have been here 10 years and have not had it serviced. Probably has never been serviced. Would it need serviced? Previous owners were 2, we have 2 and one that uses diapers. OK, why not use powdered soap?
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You won't see any indication of where it is from the surface. Got a commode in the basement? If not, the tank will probably only be about 10" or so under the ground. And the lid will be 4" thick, on top. So take the offered advice of others who tell how to probe for location. Powdered detergent reforms in the tank, Forms a sort of 'island' of soap and binder that can reduce the effectiveness of the bacteria. Also, part of what makes the powdered detergent is a clay type material that will stay in the tank. It's put very succinctly in http://www.st5septic.com/services.html in the section of "4 Deadly Sins of Septic Systems"
And from a site that probably has too long a URL to copy, an exerpt: ******* First is the all-important decision - liquid or powder. Choose liquid. If you have ever found white spots on your dark laundry, you wish you had used liquid. Even if you don't see spots, many septic tank pumpers report large cakes of powdered detergent in tanks. Often homeowners report that their washing machine overflows and then they find the drain line is caked with detergent. It is environmentally sound to purchase large quantities of items; it cuts down on packaging costs. However, "bargain" detergents sometimes contain a lot of fillers to make buyers believe they received more for their money. In detergent purchases, less is more. The smaller the jug that does more loads of laundry, the better. Ultra is a word commonly used to describe these detergents. Using more of an ultra detergent does not improve its cleaning capability, so use only the manufacturer's recommended quantity. ******** And the URL for this was http://www.wsg.washington.edu/outreach/mas/water_quality/septicsense/2_laund ry.html which will probably need to be cut-and-pasted to see the rest if you should still doubt me.

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Wife is sometimes referred to as SWMBO, "She Who Must Be Obeyed". Just as a grammar check, do you mean that there are actually 3 people, including a baby, or that there are 2 and one of them uses diapers? I assume the first. Could be a Depends Moment ;- Become aware of what pumpers do. Some of them empty the tank to the walls, others just suck out what they can get. Which generally is just a feel-good thing for the owner that requested it. I'm not going to side with you or the wife, but I will say that I learned what we needed to do to treat those bacteria well, and never had anything done with the tank in over 15 years.

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The septic tank is just a container. Arranged so that when liquid goes in, the same amount goes out. It isn't like running water into a bucket to overflowing. The outlet is arranged so that stuff floating on top doesn't go out. The liquid that does go out carries the suspended solids. Those 'torpedos' that have been worked on by the bacteria, turning big bits into little ones. Let's say that everything that goes in can be broken down. Everything would become a suspended solid, it would go into the lateral field, it would be worked on by the bacteria out there, the liquid would be absorbed by the lateral field, and so on. But if the bacteria aren't able to do their stuff, such as when someone has a penchant for using a lot of bleach, using a lot of water so that treatment time in the tank is quicker, there's a lot of 'stuff' that just sits there taking up space, such as certain toilet papers, diapers, whatever, things don't work as well. Besides, some portions of those 'torpedos' don't get broken down either, and become part of the tank sludge. But if you are going to have your tank 'serviced', you need to know exactly what you want and why you want it. And you need to have it done by someone that will do what you need, instead of just responding to the neighbors when they say "you need to have it serviced" just because they have someone suck some water out and pay the bill. Also depends on what size tank you have, how often you take showers, what size toilets you have, all kinds of things. Probably a good site to read at http://www.inspect-ny.com/septic/tankpump.htm

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