Does My Property Have a Septic Tank?
If your house is an acreage property or is located in a rural area, you very likely have a septic tank or a waste water treatment system.
What Does a Septic Tank Look Like?
The vast majority of septic tanks are standard 1600L concrete tanks. They have a round concrete top with a large lid in the centre and two tiny lids on the sides.
Occasionally, although these tanks may have had the lid replaced or modified. In this case, they may be covered by a square of checkerplate bolted down or another type of customized lid. A small number of septic tanks are larger 3000L tanks. They look similar to the 1600L tanks, but the lids are larger.
Our technician opens the heavy lid of a 3000L septic tank
There are also some very old septic tanks which have large rectangle concrete lids. If you have found a tank or tanks, but they don’t look like these pictures, you may actually have a waste water treatment plant system. Please visit our Waste Water Treatment Plant page for more information.
As a general rule, the septic tank should be located not far from the house on the same side of the house as the toilet. It may be located in the grass or within a garden bed. A good first step to finding your septic tank is to go outside to the same side of the house as the toilet and try to find the septic tank by a visual inspection. If you’re not familiar with the location of the toilets (if you’re looking to purchase the property for instance), you can find the location of the toilets from outside by looking for the breather pipe or stink pipe which will be visible on the outside of the house.
Unfortunately, septic tank locations can vary greatly and are not always clearly visible. Older houses especially often did not consider the accessibility of the grease trap when they were built. If the septic tank is not visible, it may have become overgrown with grass, been buried in a garden or a garden may be built over the top, an outdoor area may have been added and the septic tank may have been paved over or a deck may have been built over the top of the tank.
If you cannot locate the septic tank with a visible inspection, check the plumbing plans for your property if you have them. They should show the location of your septic tank as well as your grease trap and greywater tank if applicable.
If you don’t have access to the plumbing plans, please call us to help you locate your septic tank. If we have serviced the property in the past for a different owner, our friendly office staff can check our records to find out if there are notes regarding the location.
Alternatively, if we do not have records of your property, we can perform electronic service locating. Electronic service locating uses a special machine to detect the location of the septic tank and our technician will mark its location so the tank can be uncovered. Contact us today for a quote for electronic service locating.
Electronic service location to find a septic tank
Do I need to find my septic tank if it’s buried?
If you’re not having any issues, the toilets are flushing fine and there are no bad smells, you may wonder if it’s best to leave things alone rather than try to find and uncover a buried septic tank. Unfortunately, all septic tanks that are in use do eventually need pump out and maintenance. Although you could leave it until an issue arises, this is likely to cause a large amount of additional expenses. For more information on the importance of maintaining your septic tank, please see our page on Maintaining and Cleaning Septic Tanks.
If I have multiple toilets, do I also have multiple septic tanks?
If you have more than one toilet, you may be wondering if they are both connected to the one septic or if they have their own separate septic tanks. The size of the septic tank is determined by the number of bedrooms as the bedrooms determine the number of people expected to live in the house. The septic tank litres to number of bedrooms ratio is as follows:
The most common size septic tank is 1600L and there are also some 3000L septic tanks. Although it is possible to have 3500L or 4000L septic tanks, they are not as common and most houses requiring these sizes tend to have multiple septic tanks to cater for the septic litre requirement per bedroom.
An easy way to check if all toilets are connected to the same septic tank is to open the septic tank lid then have someone inside the house flush the toilet. You will see water flow into the septic tank from the toilet flush if that toilet is connected to that septic tank. Repeat this with other toilets in the house to check.
Finally, if you’re looking for a reputable company to maintain your septic tank to highest quality, look no further than Lee’s Environmental. Please contact us today to pump out your septic tank or for a free septic tank test when we’re next in your area or doing other services such as grease trap or greywater tank pump out at your property.