How to Find Your Septic Tank Lid 

Last Updated On July 14, 2024

Updated on May 1, 2023



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How to Find Your Septic Tank Lid

Do you need to find your septic tank lid, but aren’t sure where to start? This can be a challenge if you just purchased the house, or if this is the first time you’ve had to check if your septic tank is full. Let’s help you locate it!

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • How to find your septic tank lid
  • How do I find my buried septic tank lid without a riser
  • How do you mark a septic tank lid

What's In This Guide?

      How To Find Your Septic Tank Lid

      This might be obvious, but you’ll need to first identify where your septic tank is buried. There are a few ways to do this.

      If you just moved into the house your closing documents might contain a map of the septic location. Homes built within the last 5 or so years are often required to have septic map on file with the local DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control.) 

      These county filings will often show where the septic tank and drain field are located. Here is an example, for SC. And this list might help you locate your state from the national registry. Look for the section of the website for on-site wastewater. Not an option?

      You can also look for where your main sewer line exits your home before proceeding on route to your septic tank. How? Look for a sewer cleanout near one side of your home, often within 10 feet of the foundation.

      It might be located in a flower bed, or simply be in the yard. Once located, you can follow this on foot while looking for a “disturbed” area of ground. 

      did you know How to Find Your Septic Tank Lid

      How Do I Find My Buried Septic Tank Without a Riser?

      Without a septic tank riser, finding the septic tank lid will prove a slightly more challenging task as septic tanks rest underground. To locate the septic tank, follow your sewer lines. 

      How far are septic tanks located from the house? 

      Your septic tank should run parallel to the sewer lines somewhere between 15 – 25 ft. away from the house.

      Use a soil probe in the general vicinity to poke into the ground until you find the septic tank. Once you find the septic tank, use a shovel to access the “manhole” lid on top. 

      You can also use a metal detector, as the handles of most tanks are made from metal, even if the tank itself is made from concrete or plastic.

      Assuming that is not the case in your situation, you’ll need to dig to find the lid. This is not only helpful for next time, but it can help you avoid problems such as driving over it by accident.

      How deep is the septic tank lid below the ground?

      The lid itself will be located below ground anywhere from 2 inches to as much as a 2 feet under the ground. 

      Caution: Remember, always call before you dig!

      Watch the video below to learn more about how to find your septic tank lid:

      Still can’t locate your septic tank lid? You may need to call a septic professional. They will help you identify exactly where it’s at, and also mark it for future reference when it’s time to pump it out

      Are septic tank locations public record?

      Yes. Public records will likely show the exact location of your septic tank, including its access points. To access blueprints of your property, look through your sale paperwork. You can also look online or check with the local city office. 

      How big around is a septic lid?

      The size of your septic lid will depend upon age and when it was installed. Some lids might be as small as 6 to 12 inches in diameter. Newer septic tank lids are circular and fall between 20” – 24” in diameter. 

      How do I know if my septic tank has two lids?

      While most tanks have at least two lids due to there being two chambers or tanks that connect, however, tanks from before 1975 will only have one lid. It’s the first tank that most people will need to access in order to check how full it is with solids.

      The two lids should be roughly 6’ apart on a 1000 gallon septic tank and roughly 7’ apart on a 1500 gallon septic tank.

      How to Find Septic Tank Lid: Septic Tank Risers Make this Easy

      As we mentioned earlier, many septic tanks have risers that make it easy to locate the septic tank as well as its access points. 

      There are typically one to three risers. The first riser is where a professional will pump the septic tank every 3 – 5 years. These make for easy visual inspection

      How do you mark a septic tank lid?

      Prevent problems finding your septic tank in the future by marking your septic tank lid in advance.

      To mark your septic tank, you can place something just below the surface of the ground such as a paver stone or brick. This will allow you to find it with a thin metal probe during your next septic service appointment. 

      You can also mark it on top of the ground with a rock. However, make sure it’s not a hazard for your lawn mower or children playing. It must be visible. More popular options include using creative landscaping ideas to both mark and cover your septic risers.

      You will find the septic tank more easily with the marker than without it, but ideally, consider installing a riser. Installing a septic risers is the easiest way to provide future location and access. You can see them in your yard without a problem!

      How to Find Septic Tank Lid: FAQ’s

      How do you mark a septic tank lid?

      You can mark a septic tank lid with a brick on top of the lid just below the ground surface, which will make it easy to find with a probe. You can also put flower pots or other landscaping decorations around the hole on top of the grass as long as they aren’t a hazard for lawn mowing or children playing. 

      How big around is a septic tank lid?

      Your septic tank lid will fall anywhere between 20” – 24” in diameter, depending on the size of the tank and the tank manufacturer.

      How do I know if my septic tank has two lids?

      Most septic tanks after 1975 have two lids. If you have an older septic tank potentially made before 1975, check the blueprints of your property for more information. Newer tanks often have 2 lids if a pump is used.

      Are septic tank locations public record?

      Information about your septic tank should be found online, as septic tank locations are public record with your local Department of Health and Environmental Control.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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