How To Find Septic Tank Lid Without the Hassle of Digging


It may seem hard to believe that one of the best and most prominent features of your entire plumbing system is also one of the hardest to find, but it’s absolutely true when your property has a septic system. There’s a good reason for this: septic tanks are large, unsightly, smell bad, and give off a not-so-undeserved dingy feeling.

It just makes sense to bury them underground; Not only does this help protect them from damage, but it also gives you more usable space on your property and hides what would otherwise be a huge eyesore. However, hiding a tank underground can make it harder to find, and that’s not a good thing if you’re a homeowner who doesn’t know where your septic tank is and has plans for a project that involves digging. This blog aims to help you find your septic tank lid without the hassle of digging.

Why It’s Good to Know Where to Find Your Septic Tank Cap

Knowing where your septic tank is located is a great way to quickly spot septic tank problems. For example, if you notice flooding around the top of your septic tank, you’ll know right away that there may be a problem with your system overloading.

Knowing where your septic tank is can also help you avoid parking vehicles in it, which can cause the pit to collapse. You will also be able to direct service professionals to the correct area for septic tank services, ultimately saving them time and money.

How To Find the Lid of Your Septic Tank

Now that you understand the importance of knowing where your septic tank lid is, it’s time to find it. As you search, keep an eye out for a round cap about two feet wide. Septic tank lids are usually green or black plastic; sometimes they are made of concrete.

Finding the cap isn’t always easy, though, as unkempt grass, dirt, or debris can hide the septic tank cap. If you live in a snowy region, look for a lawn where the snow melts faster than anywhere else. That’s probably your septic tank, and you’ll find the lid in that area.

How To Find a Septic Tank Cover Yourself

Check city records. Probably the easiest way to find your septic tank is to consult the community plans for your property. The company that installed the septic tank should have submitted an application which should include diagrams and dimensions that will help you find the exact location where the septic tank will be installed.

Use The Sewer System Plans If You Have Them

The easiest way to find a septic tank cover is to look at the original septic tank blueprints. The plans of the sewage treatment plant indicate the location and dimensions of the tank in relation to the house. Simply use a tape measure to measure the dimensions to find the septic tank lid. If for some reason you don’t have wastewater treatment plans, your local health department likely has a copy.

Often the lid is buried under the grass, which requires a bit of probing and digging, but if the previous owner installed a septic tank lid lifter, it won’t hard to find and should be noticeable in the grass.

Metal Detection and Soil Tests

Finding a septic tank with a metal detector is the safest option for finding your septic tank. Most septic tanks are made of metal, so a metal detector is a great way to find your septic tank. If necessary, you can also drive a metal post into the ground every few meters. If you use this method, you will look for resistance. Once you find resistance, you have found your septic system.

Once you’ve found your tank, you’ll likely need to dig to find your septic tank lid. Its cap can be between four inches and four feet in the ground, with an average depth of one foot. The lid of a septic tank is usually round and about two feet wide.

Find The Vent

Another way to figure out how to find your septic tank opening is to look for a vent. Some septic tanks have small pipes coming out of the ground to vent the septic tank.

Look For Hidden Systems

These pipes may be hidden by things like ornamental rocks or bushes, but they can tell you for sure where the septic tank is. Using this method to locate your septic tank can reduce the time it takes to locate it. Without a vent, some septic tanks can have pressure problems, so locating the vent is a valid method of locating the tank and, in turn, how to find a septic tank lid.

Use A Ground Probe to Search for The Septic Tank Lid

Septic tanks have one or two lids, depending on whether they have a single compartment or two compartments to filter and break down wastewater. These caps tend to protrude from the main tank, so they can often be found with a ground probe (making it a highly effective septic tank locating tool). Alternatively, you can use a rebar or a long narrow object strong enough to break through the ground without much effort. Regardless of what you use, ideally your tube should be at least 4 feet long. Be careful not to drive the probe too hard into the ground when probing; Otherwise, you could damage the lid of the septic tank.

But how deep is a septic tank? Unfortunately, septic tank installers don’t bury all tanks the same depth, so your septic tank may be buried just a foot below ground or covered with more than 4 feet of soil. You must use a hammer to drive your probe into the ground to find a deeply buried tank. A metal detector can also be used to locate septic tanks and can even detect metal handles on septic tank lids to reduce probing.

Once you have located your tank, mark the location with a lawn ornament, small sign, or measure the distance from the two closest corners of your home and save this information for future reference.

Follow Your Main/Sewer Pipes

One of the easiest ways to find your septic tank is to follow its sewer pipes. These pipes are about 4 inches in diameter and are often found in the basement or basement of your home. Once you’ve figured out where these pipes come out of your house, you can follow the pipe through your yard using your metal soil probe every 2 feet or so until you find the tank.

Also, all the drains in your home go to your sewer line, and your sewer line goes to your septic tank. So, if you follow the sewers, you will go straight to your septic tank.

If you have a basement or basement with exposed plumbing lines, chances are one of them is your main sewer line. In many cases, this line is labeled, but if it isn’t, it’s usually a metal line about four inches in diameter. Check where this line comes out of your house and which way it goes, as it usually goes directly to the septic tank.

Check Your Property Records

If all else fails, a retrospective look at your public property records will likely tell you where the tank is located. Since all septic systems require a permit to be installed, chances are your builders have obtained a permit for your property. This means that they had to create a detailed plan showing their property and the exact location where they wanted to install the tank. This is to ensure that the local health department is aware of the tank and can fix any issues it may be causing.

If you own an older home, these records may not be readily available, but you’ll be surprised at how easy and accessible many of these records are. In fact, you may be able to find your home’s original building records without even getting in the car or going to your local records office. Some communities have these records available online.


After you find your septic tank, you should note its location on a map of your yard. You should also use something to mark the position of the cap, e.g. a decorative garden element that cannot be easily moved. Some options are a birdbath, a rock, or a planter.

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