You may think it’s easy to keep track of something on your property as large as a septic tank but if your septic tank lid is buried underground, as they often are, it may be more difficult to locate than you think. In some cases, particularly if you are not the home’s original owner, you may not have any idea as to where the lids are located. If your property is particularly large, that further complicates matters. Below are some simple tips that may help you locate your septic tank lids.
Let Sewer Pipes Lead the Way
Your septic tank and drainfield are typically installed parallel to the sewer line that extends from your home into the yard. In your home’s basement or crawl space, you may be able to locate a 4-inch sewer pipe where it leaves the house that can lead the way to your septic system. Follow the pipe across the yard by probing every 2 feet or so. Septic tanks are required to be at least 5 feet from the house, although most are between 10 and 25 feet away.
Check County Records
Most counties keep records of building permits, including the installation of septic systems on a particular piece of property. Typically, these “As-builts” contain a diagram with dimensions that can help you locate the septic tank on your property. If your home is located in Thurston, Pierce, Mason, King, or Kitsap Counties, check here to find more information on how to get your home’s as-built drawings. A diagram of your septic system may also be included as part of your home inspection when you purchased the property. If you are able to get a hold of your home’s as-built drawing, be sure to look at the relative orientations of the tank and your house, and the distance from the tank to the side of the house that the sewer exits. Don’t forget that landmarks may change over time depending on when the tank was installed.
Dig Up the Lids
An as-built drawing will indicate how many lids there are for your septic tank. Depending on your septic tank setup, your system may include two or three lids. Septic tanks are typically rectangular in shape and measure approximately 5 feet by 8 feet. In most cases, septic tank components including the lid, are buried between 4 inches and 4 feet underground. You can use a metal probe to locate its edges and mark the perimeter. If you do not find the lid by probing, shallow excavation with a shovel along the tank’s perimeter should reveal the lid.
Once you’ve located the tank and found the lids, it’s time to give FloHawks a call and schedule your maintenance service. Remember, do not attempt to open the tank yourself. Concrete septic tank lids are heavy, and many require specific lifting tools to remove. Most importantly, an open tank can be very dangerous because of its hazardous wastewater and toxic fumes. It’s best to leave this part to the professionals. If you are unable to find your septic system lids, or prefer FloHawks do it for you, skip the tips provided above and simply give us a call. Also, if you’d like to add risers to your septic tank for easy access in the future, FloHawks can do that too.
Disguise the Lids
Now that you have gone through the trouble of locating your tank, digging up the lids, and adding risers, you should keep that area clear and visible, so you don’t have to go through the same process next time you are due for septic tank maintenance. However, septic tank lids can be a bit of an eyesore! Some ways that you can hide your lids in plain sight are to cover them with an object like a lightweight plastic rock, a bird bath or a planter box.
FloHawks has been locating lids and servicing septic tanks since 1968. Our trained professionals are ready to help with all of your septic tank needs. Schedule service online or call us today at (800) 356-4295.