A septic system's efficiency drops when its sludge becomes too thick. Therefore, you need to measure this thickness regularly to know whether it is ripe for pumping. However, this can be tricky if you don't even know where the tank is located. Fortunately, there are telltale clues that can point you in the right direction. Here are a few of these clues:
Pipes Sticking Out Of the Ground
Pipes sticking out of the ground may help you locate the septic tank if there isn't any other explanation for them being there. For example, the may be clean-outs or vents, which are usually installed on the sewer lines running from the main house to the septic tank. Alternatively, they can be riser pipes, which some septic companies install and use for pumping out septic tanks. Therefore, look for the tank in the vicinity of the pipes.
Lush or Sparse Grass
A rectangular area of lush or sparse grass may mark the exact placement of the tank. The grass will appear lush if it is feeding on the nutrient-dense sewer effluent. This only happens if the tank is damaged and leaking or full and backing up into the soil above it. The grass will appear sparse and struggling if the tank wasn't buried deep enough because grass can't survive on the thin soil covering the tank.
Rectangular Depressions or Raised Areas
Rectangular depressions or raised areas may also mark the location of the septic tank. The area above the tank will appear depressed if the tank (due to the weight of the effluent) has settled relative to the surrounding soil. In some cases, the depression above the tank may also mean the area was recently excavated when the tank was being pumped. Alternatively, it will appear raised if the soil around the tank has settled relative to the tank. This may happen if the tank was installed on bedrock (so it can't settle) or if it has been empty for a long time.
Areas of Melted snow
If there is snowfall in your area, you can also use it to locate your septic tank. The decomposing wastes in the septic tank generate heat that may melt the snow above it. This is especially likely if the tank is close to the soil's surface and the heat generated can easily reach the top. You may also notice the snow melt after using hot water for laundry or showering.
Be careful while working on a septic tank, especially if it is old. The tank can collapse or cave in, leading to serious injuries. If you aren't sure of the structural integrity of the tank, let a professional plumber handle the job. To learn more about your septic tank, talk to a septic service near you.