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How to Locate Your Septic Tank Field Lines

locating septic drainage field lines

How to Find Your Septic Drain Field

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

Discover your septic drain field with ease: To locate your septic drain field, follow these simple steps:

  1. Find the septic tank: Look for a cement or plastic marker resembling a manhole cover, typically situated 10 to 25 feet away from your home. This will indicate the location of your septic tank.
  2. Identify the outlet pipe: Once you’ve found the septic tank, locate the outlet pipe, which is responsible for carrying effluent from the tank to the drain field.
  3. Trace the pipe’s direction: Carefully follow the outlet pipe’s path away from the septic tank, keeping in mind that it will likely run straight or at a slight downward slope.
  4. Observe the terrain: As you trace the pipe, look for a level or slightly sloping area with well-drained soil. This area should be devoid of large trees or structures that could obstruct the flow of effluent or damage the drain field.
  5. Check for signs of the drain field: Indications of a septic drain field may include patches of greener or lusher grass, as well as damp or soft soil, particularly after heavy rainfall or during wet seasons.

By following these steps, you can efficiently locate your septic drain field and ensure the proper functioning of your septic system. Remember to consult a professional if you are uncertain or encounter any issues during the process.

Now that you’ve been given the quick version on how to find your septic drain field, keep reading. Because in this article, we’ll take a closer look at these methods. After reading this, you 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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