SEPTIC TANK LOCATING EQUIPMENT - CONTENTS: Septic Tank or Pipe Locating Equipment Choices, Uses, Methods. How to locate the septic tank at a property, as step by step procedure to find any septic tank. Using metal detector, electronic pipe tracers, and probes to find the septic tank
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Septic tank locating equipment: this document suggests & describes some simple tools and devices used for finding a septic tank. This article tells assists in finding the septic tank when it's placement is not already known or when the location of the septic tank is not visually obvious.
SEPTIC TANK LOCATING EQUIPMENT - These Simple and More Special Tools & Equipment Can Help Locate A Septic Tank
Below we describe septic tank locating tools & equipment. If you have not read our more basic guide to finding your way to the septic tank by visual inspection, see SEPTIC TANK, HOW TO FIND.
Watch out: do not try to probe or excavate a septic tank, drywell, or cesspool if you are not certain that the installation has a save, secure cover. Probing or digging over a failing septic tank or cesspool or drywall can precipitate a fatal cave-in of the system.
Our photo, left, illustrates a secure concrete septic tank cover whose location is being measured to assist future location efforts.
A simple septic tank locating probe such as a 1/4" steel rod or a heavier steel wrecking bar are used by some inspectors or septic service companies
to probe the ground over a suspected septic tank location.
Watch out: jamming a heavy wrecking bar into the soil can
perforate a steel septic tank cover or break a terra cotta or orangeburg septic drain line.
These methods can however be useful if
used carefully in soft or wet soils. (In a related septic application, the examination of septic fields, we've used a wrecking bar to make holes in a drainfield not right over a drain line,
in order to look at soil conditions. A failing septic may send effluent right up to the surface through such an opening.)
A shovel is a low tech and high sweat method of finding any buried object if you have a general idea where to look. At our first
septic tank search in 1969 our contractor used a backhoe to "find" the septic tank. He "found" it alright, by driving over and
collapsing an old steel septic tank. I wished we'd started more gently with a shovel.
Metal detectors can find some septic tanks if the tank top is steel or if a steel manhole cover was used to cover
the tank access port. [Thanks to David Liberman for this reminder - July 2007].
Electronic Drain Pipe Sensor to find the septic tank: The septic tank can be located exactly electronically: Some plumbing contractors can at this point
find the exact septic tank location by using a special plumbing snake fed into the main house drain line.
The plumbing snake is pushed into the drain line from an convenient location and extended until it hits an obstruction which may be
an obstruction in the drain line or it may be that the snake has extended into and hit the septic tank.
signal is fed into the metal plumbing snake.
From outside, a receiver can sense the signal from the plumbing snake. By passing
the receiver, a sort of electronic metal detector, over the property surface, the exact path of the snake in the buried
drain line can be followed right to the tank.
Ground scanning radar to find the septic tank: radar can locate buried septic tanks, buried oil tanks, and other objects below the soil. Companies
providing buried oil tank location services often can provide this (more expensive) service.
Warning about using metal detectors or electronic pipe sensors to find Septic Tanks
Metal detectors or probes which mark the path of an underground pipe are excellent and rapid ways to locate buried drain and
septic system components. But at an old property we've had an occasional glitch that was potentially dangerous. Older
properties sometimes have multiple generations of buried wires and pipes which can lead to an error in the
readings from buried pipe or buried septic tank sensors.
We called our local gas company to locate a buried gas line. Clipping a sending unit to a pipe at the gas meter
the technician proceeded to paint a yellow line across our (then frozen) soil. He said that his yellow mark was
accurate to an inch in marking the exact pipe location.
Using a jackhammer to break frozen soil to locate a water pipe we began digging 18" away from the yellow
line marking the gas line. As you might guess, we found the gas line itself right where we were digging! Further
investigation found that an old steel water pipe running parallel to the current and parallel to the gas line had
caused an 18" error in the readings from the buried pipe sensing equipment.
Watch out: Do not use backhoes, wrecking bars, or jackhammers to excavate where dangerous utilities may be buried. If you call your local gas or electric utility company they will be glad to send an expert to your site to mark the location of buried electrical and gas lines that may be present.
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Clogged Drain Diagnosis - is the problem the septic system or the Building drain system? Septic Tank Safety: Septic System, Septic Tank, & Cesspool Safety Warnings for Septic Inspectors, Septic Pumpers, and Homeowners
Septic Tank Condition - How to Inspect Septic Tanks and evaluate the septic tank condition, baffles, sludge levels, damage, evidence of septic failure
Drainfield Layout: septic drainfield or leaching bed shape and placement considerations
Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf.
Onsite Wastewater Disposal, R. J. Perkins;
Quoting from Amazon: This practical book, co-published with the National Environmental Health Association,
describes the step-by-step procedures needed to avoid common pitfalls in septic system technology.
Valuable in matching the septic system to the site-specific conditions, this useful book will help you install a reliable system in
both suitable and difficult environments. Septic tank installers, planners, state and local regulators, civil and sanitary engineers,
consulting engineers, architects, homeowners, academics, and land developers will find this publication valuable.
Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, Bennette D. Burks, Mary Margaret Minnis, Hogarth House 1994 - one of the best septic system books around, suffering a bit from small fonts and a weak index. While it contains some material more technical than needed by homeowners, Burks/Minnis book on onsite wastewater treatment systems a very useful reference for both property owners and septic system designers.
Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf
Septic System Owner's Manual, Lloyd Kahn, Blair Allen, Julie Jones, Shelter Publications, 2000 $14.95 U.S. - easy to understand, well illustrated, one of the best practical references around on septic design basics including some advanced systems; a little short on safety and maintenance. Both new and used (low priced copies are available, and we think the authors are working on an updated edition--DF.
Quoting from one of several Amazon reviews: The basics of septic systems, from underground systems and failures to what the owner can do to promote and maintain a healthy system, is revealed in an excellent guide essential for any who reside on a septic system. Rural residents receive a primer on not only the basics; but how to conduct period inspections and what to do when things go wrong. History also figures into the fine coverage.
Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook, R. Dodge Woodson. This book is in the upper price range, but is worth the cost for serious septic installers and designers.
Quoting Amazon: Each year, thousands upon thousands of Americans install water wells and septic systems on their properties. But with a maze of codes governing their use along with a host of design requirements that ensure their functionality where can someone turn for comprehensive, one-stop guidance? Enter the Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook from McGraw-Hill.
Written in language any property owner can understand yet detailed enough for professionals and technical students this easy-to-use volume delivers the latest techniques and code requirements for designing, building, rehabilitating, and maintaining private water wells and septic systems. Bolstered by a wealth of informative charts, tables, and illustrations, this book delivers:
* Current construction, maintenance, and repair methods
* New International Private Sewage Disposal Code
* Up-to-date standards from the American Water Works Association
Wells and Septic Systems, Alth, Max and Charlet, Rev. by S. Blackwell Duncan, $ 18.95; Tab Books 1992. We have found this text very useful for conventional well and septic systems design and maintenance --DF.
Quoting an Amazon description:Here's all the information you need to build a well or septic system yourself - and save a lot of time, money, and frustration. S. Blackwell Duncan has thoroughly revised and updated this second edition of Wells and Septic Systems to conform to current codes and requirements. He also has expanded this national bestseller to include new material on well and septic installation, water storage and distribution, water treatment, ecological considerations, and septic systems for problem building sites.
Pennsylvania State Fact Sheets relating to domestic wastewater treatment systems include
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-161, Septic System Failure: Diagnosis and Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-162, The Soil Media and the Percolation Test
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-l64, Mound Systems for Wastewater Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-165, Septic Tank-Soil Absorption Systems
Document Sources used for this web page include but are not limited to: Agricultural Fact Sheet #SW-161 "Septic Tank Pumping," by Paul D. Robillard and
Kelli S. Martin. Penn State College of Agriculture - Cooperative Extension, edited and annotated by
Dan Friedman (Thanks: to Bob Mackey for proofreading the original source material.)
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
"International Private Sewage Disposal Code," 1995, BOCA-708-799-2300, ICBO-310-699-0541, SBCCI 205-591-1853, available from those code associations.
"Manual of Policy, Procedures, and Guidelines for Onsite Sewage Systems," Ontario Reg. 374/81, Part VII of the Environmental
Protection Act (Canada), ISBN 0-7743-7303-2, Ministry of the Environment,135 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto Ontario M4V 1P5 Canada $24. CDN
Advanced Onsite Wastewater Systems Technologies, Anish R. Jantrania, Mark A. Gross. Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is a Consulting Engineer, in Mechanicsville VA, 804-550-0389 (2006). Outstanding technical reference especially on alternative septic system design alternatives. Written for designers and engineers, this book is not at all easy going for homeowners but is a text I recommend for professionals--DF.
Builder's Guide to Wells and Septic Systems, Woodson, R. Dodge: $ 24.95; MCGRAW HILL B; TP;
Quoting from Amazon's description: For the homebuilder, one mistake in estimating or installing wells and septic systems can cost thousands of dollars. This comprehensive guide filled with case studies can prevent that. Master plumber R. Dodge Woodson packs this reader-friendly guide with guidance and information, including details on new techniques and materials that can economize and expedite jobs and advice on how to avoid mistakes in both estimating and construction. Chapters cover virtually every aspect of wells and septic systems, including on-site evaluations; site limitations; bidding; soil studies, septic designs, and code-related issues; drilled and dug wells, gravel and pipe, chamber-type, and gravity septic systems; pump stations; common problems with well installation; and remedies for poor septic situations. Woodson also discusses ways to increase profits by avoiding cost overruns.
Country Plumbing: Living with a Septic System, Hartigan, Gerry: $ 9.95; ALAN C HOOD & TP;
Quoting an Amazon reviewer's comment, with which we agree--DF:This book is informative as far as it goes and might be most useful for someone with an older system. But it was written in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then. In particular, the book doesn't cover any of the newer systems that are used more and more nowadays in some parts of the country -- sand mounds, aeration systems, lagoons, etc.