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How to Locate Your Septic Tank Field Lines

locating septic drainage field lines

You know that you have septic tank field lines, but, where are they? They are easier to find than you think.

In this article, we’ll find out how to find them by reviewing what to look for. After reading this, most people should be able to find their system without professional assistance.

Why Does it Matter?

If you’re doing work around the house and accidentally damage your field lines, you’ll be in a lot of trouble. If you want to save money and time, it’s worth it to locate your field lines.

Some work that can damage your lines are any type of paving, driving and parking heavy equipment, planting shrubs or trees, and doing landscaping.

Even a simple oversight can wind up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Who Should Look for the Lines?

The process of finding your septic tank field lines is really easy. There are no special training or skills required.

In some cases, it might be too hard to find the lines yourself so you might need to ask for professional help. In most cases, anyone can look for the lines. With a little help from this article, you can too.

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How to Locate Your Septic Tank Field Lines

Here is a list of tips and techniques you can use for locating your septic tank drainage field lines.

Find the Drawings

The most reliable method to locate your septic tank field lines is to reach out to your local health department. They have a file for every septic system that was built with a permit.

Of course, if your system wasn’t built with a permit, you won’t have any luck here.

The drawings will show you the layout, location, and all the details of your drain field. They will typically mail you the requested drawings.

You can also reach out to the contractor who performed the septic work, or the previous owner of the house.

If your system has electrical components, you might have luck finding it at your region’s building department office.

The Grass is Much Greener…

Your drain field will soak the surrounding soil with nutrients and water. This means that your drain field will be a much greener, healthier patch of grass than the surrounding area.

Your climate will determine which clues to use to find your drain field.

Cold Climates

If you’re in a cold climate, wait for a snowy or icy morning. The first patch to melt might be your drain field.

Warmer Climates

For warmer climates, it’s easier to find the drain field. Avoid watering your lawn for a few days. You’ll notice most of the grass starts to wither with the exception of your drain field.

Check for Ports

A lot of septic systems have monitoring ports and clean-outs. These ports will be white tubes or pipes with a cap on them, sticking out of your lawn.

These ports allow the homeowner to check the water level in the drain field. For you, it’s an indication of exactly where your drain field is!

It might take some searching because these ports are typically cut pretty close to the ground. In some cases, you’ll find them in your basement or in a closet.

These ports will point you in the right area. Oftentimes, a drain field has clean-outs at the beginning and end of the field.

Check Google Maps

For some people, you might be able to find your septic tank field lines using satellites! For example, when we look at our home on Google Maps satellite view, we’ll see a clear indication of where our drain field is.

You might notice parallel lines, darker grass, and slight depressions. Using this zoomed-out, bird’s eye view will allow you to check for irregularities.

Consult a Professional

You want to avoid wasting time and money, but sometimes reaching out to a professional is the best way. If your lines are in a rocky area, you’re going to have a hard time locating them.

The pros can come out with echolocators to find the exact location of your field lines. Depending on why you’re looking for your field lines, they can help you with additional tasks, too.

Check the Distribution Box

The distribution box is the part of the system before the drain lines. That means if you can find the distribution box, you are one step closer to finding your field lines.

Start looking a few feet downstream from where your septic tank is (assuming you know where that is).

You should spot a lid that can be removed. This lid gives you access to the ports and pipes of your distribution box. That means that by opening the lid you can physically see your drain lines. Voila!

Use Your Septic Tank

If you know where your septic tank is, you can use a little intuition to find your drain field. Our article here highlights how to find your septic tank.

The important thing to know is that your outlet port is parallel with your inlet port. The outlet port will more or less point you in the direction of your field lines.

If nothing else, this can help you find your distribution box which leads you to the field lines.

Check for Moisture

In general, your drain field should be swampier and wetter than the surrounding grass. This makes it a little easier for you to search around. If your lawn’s color is uniform and it’s hard to visually see any differences, it’s time for the big guns!

Wait for an especially try day and grab a stick or rod. Now, pace around your lawn and poke your grass in different areas. You’re looking for where the ground gives more and is wetter.

Sure, your neighbors will think you’re crazy – but at least you’ll know where your drain field is!

Be careful not to poke too hard, you could wind up damaging your lines.

Understand the Size of Your Field

Your usage and size of your property will determine the subsequent size of your drain field. It’s often helpful to keep in mind how large your field is as you’re searching around.

That enormous patch of green grass may very well be your drain field.

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