LARGER IMAGE: having a general idea of what septic components are helps you find where they may be locatedHow to Measure the Distance from House to Septic Tank - Find the Septic Tank Location
     


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Measurements used to find the septic tank:This article tells us how use measurements to locate a septic tank when it's placement is not already known or when the location of the septic tank is not visually obvious.. This document provides procedures for using measurements to find the septic tank.

When the septic tank needs to be pumped, a regular maintenance task, the cost of that service will be less if the property owner found the septic tank location and perhaps even uncovered the septic tank pumping access cover. Other reasons to find the septic tank include inspecting and testing septic systems when buying a home or for safety, to assure that the septic tank cover is in good condition.

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DISTANCE TO TANK - How To Measure The Possible Distance From House to Tank

Sketch shows how to find the septic tank and seepage pitsVideos showing how to find the septic system, septic tank, & septic drainfield are at SEPTIC VIDEOS. Also see SEPTIC DRAINFIELD LOCATION - how to find the leach fields.

Find the distance between the septic tank and the building: in our sketch at left we marked the location of waste lines leaving the building and then made measurements accurate to one inch, locating the septic tank center and the onsite seepage pits, by measuring from the center of each of these to prominent site features. Making these measurements at the time of installation of the septic tank and seepage pits made life easier for the next owner.

The steps below address measuring the septic tank location after it has already been installed.

  • Measuring septic tank distance step 1: If there is a main waste line cleanout access opening and IF you are unable to find any clues of tank location by looking outside, open the cleanout (your plumber should be doing this) and run a plumbing snake (plumbing line cleaning tool, not the slithering animal) into the line.

    A plumbing snake is nothing more than a flexible steel or fiberglass rod which is pushed into the main drain line to break through drain line clogs. But as you'll read below, clever use of this tool can find the exact septic tank location.
  • Measuring the septic tank distance step 2: Push the snake into the waste line until it stops. It will stop either when it hits the inside of the septic tank (often it hits the inlet baffle) or if (bad luck) it hits an obstruction such as a collapsed line between house and tank. (If the tank baffles have been totally lost the line may just run out and coil inside the septic tank until all of the available snake length has been inserted. Bad luck.)
  • Measuring the septic tank distance step 3: By observing how far the plumbing snake goes into the waste line before it stops you have measured the maximum distance the tank is likely to be from the building. The tank may be closer since the line may bend or run at an angle - it may not run away from the house at a straight 90 degrees from the house wall.
  • House to Septic Tank Drain Line Obstructions: If you've hit an obstruction instead of the tank, you needed to find, excavate, and repair that problem regardless of tank location.
  • Here is the exact septic tank location:
    • By Distance: The septic tank will be located outside the building on an arc formed with its radius distance from the building equal to the length of snake fed into the house drain until it was stopped by an obstruction. Often the septic tank is about ten feet from the building.
    • By Electronic Sensor: The septic tank can be located exactly electronically: Some plumbing contractors can at this point find the exact septic tank location by using a special plumbing snake fed into the main house drain line. An electronic signal is fed into the metal plumbing snake. From outside, a receiver can sense the signal from the plumbing snake. By passing the receiver, a sort of electronic metal detector, over the property surface, the exact path of the snake in the buried drain line can be followed right to the tank.
    • Septic Tank Locating Equipment also see SEPTIC TANK LOCATING EQUIPMENT in this article.

    In cases where this special electronic plumbing snake equipment is not available, we rely on visual clues indoors, at the site, and outdoors in probable septic tank locations, combined with some judicious digging. No we don't need to dig up the entire property. The visual and excavation approach to finding the septic tank continue below.

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    DISTANCE TO SEPTIC TANK at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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