Inspecting a septic tank for routine maintenance and inspection can be one thing, locating a septic tank drain field to perform the maintenance can present another problem all together. There are many reasons why you may want to locate your septic tank and drain field. Finding a septic tank and the drain field can be a 5-minute job or it can be an all day nightmare. First thing is first, WARNING: Beware of old septic tanks, drain field and drywell systems. Some systems may be rusty, old, metal or even made of wood construction, septic tanks that are ready to collapse and fall in any minute at the slightest movement. Falling into a septic system can cause serious cuts, laceration, infection and even death in a worst case scenario.
If you live in a rural area and you are sure that you have a septic tank and drain field, then the question is… just where the heck is it? The first thing to do is contact your local water and sewer authority and request a drawing of your drain field. They may have a copy on file if the system is not too old. In the event they don’t have a copy and you are unable to contact the septic tank installer because he is long gone, you’ll have no choice but to either search for the system yourself or hire a professional to search it out for you. If you hire a septic tank pump out company, they will probably destroy your yard with their equipment and state “that will be $650.00 please” Thank you and have a nice day.
One of the first things that you need to do is search for the exit location from the home or building. Generally, the line running from the home to the septic tank is constructed of schedule 40 PCV pipe and will run straight out to the septic tank. The tank is usually locater 10 to 40 feet or so directly straight out from the home. This will depend on the town you live in and the building code when the system was designed and installed.
Look for wet, soggy and damp areas around your suspected septic drain field area. Septic tank drain field areas tend to be greener than other parts of the yard.
You can also use a probe or a skinny rod and gently shove the metal rod into the ground probing the earth searching for the drain field line. Be careful not to damage the drain field. Use an eco friendly paint to mark the areas that you have inspected and found portions of the drain field pipe.
In the winter months, the area over the drain field will be warmest due to the fact of the digestion process taking place generating heat, making that area the last to freeze and the first to melt. The snow over the drain field is always the first area in the yard to show green.
Good luck in locating you septic tank drain field.