How to find your septic tank

All homeowners whose homes aren’t connected to the municipal sewer system are obligated to have a wastewater treatment system installed. To maintain a system that’s sanitary and that doesn’t pollute the environment, the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change (MELCC) recommends having your septic tank drained every two years (every four years if the home is a secondary residence). To do this, you need to turn to the services of a professional, who will first inspect your septic system and then proceed to drain the tank.

Don’t know where your system is? No problem! Here are some tips to help you find your septic tank!

Use your certificate of location

Your certificate of location (the plan the land surveyor gave you when you purchased your home) will make it easy for you to locate the placement of your septic tank. Can’t find your certificate of location? You can request a copy from the notary who prepared the deed of sale.

Start by identifying the main drain pipe

A good way to begin your investigation is to find the main drain pipe, which should be located in the basement of your residence (in some cases, it may be difficult to find). It’s a PVC pipe with a 4-inch inspection chamber (opening). Once you’re sure you’ve found it, note the direction in which it’s heading. This will help you determine the placement of the septic tank.

Identify the opening

Once you’re outside, try to locate the position of the main drain pipe based on the direction you observed in the basement. This should give you a good indication of where to look for your septic tank, as it will have to be nearby. If necessary, consult your certificate of location again.

Although your septic tank is underground, there obviously has to be an opening allowing it to be drained. If your home was constructed near the end of the fifties, the septic tank will almost certainly be made of concrete. To find your septic tank, you could try to identify the concrete slab where the opening is located. However, the covers might not be visible on the ground.

Finding your septic tank: get out your shovel

If you believe you’ve located your septic tank, you could use a septic tank probe while digging progressively. In general, septic tanks are only buried a few feet under the ground. You could also use a stake to help you locate the covers. However, you should avoid this method if you already know that your septic tank is made of polyethylene or fiberglass. In any case, don’t dig too vigorously (so you don’t damage the septic tank once you reach it) and don’t descend into the tank through the openings because it contains highly noxious fumes.

To find your septic tank, contact an expert in sanitary services

Identifying the location of your septic tank is essential for facilitating drainage, cleaning your pre-filter and preventing clogs and other potential problems. Sanibert offers a full range of sanitary services for cleaning and maintaining your septic system. We serve the entire Beauharnois-Salaberry area, the South Shore area and the Montreal West suburb.