Once you make a decision on a Pumper, you will need to find the septic tank. Most Pumpers will charge you for locating the tank and uncovering the septic tank lid(s). You can do the labor yourself to expose the septic tank lid(s) before the Pumper arrives.
Public Health - Seattle & King County recommends that you have "risers" installed to make the septic tank pumping and inspection visits easier and less time-consuming. A riser has locking gas tight lids attached to the tank with access brought to the surface so there is no digging each time the septic tank is pumped. It makes pumping and inspections cause less mess and disruption in your yard. Most septic system Pumpers will be able to provide this service.
If you have a 2-compartment tank (houses built from 1975 to present have 2-compartment septic tanks), you will need to uncover both tank covers. Both compartments are required to be inspected and pumped. If the second compartment goes without pumping, it will eventually fill with solids and create problems.
If there is an as-built (a map of your septic system) for your septic system, locating the septic tank will be easy to do. Search and download a copy of your as-built drawing. If an as-built is not available, you or your Pumper need to use some investigative skills:
- If there is a crawl space, you may determine where the plumbing leaves the foundation wall, then use a probe bar to find the tank. If you have a fiberglass or polyethylene tank, a probe bar is not recommended unless extreme caution is observed. Probing will only work if the tank is not more than 1 to 2 feet under the surface.
- If no crawl space is available you can sometimes go by where the plumbing vents are located in the roof. If one is behind the house and coming from a bathroom, this may line up with the exit point of the sewer line leading to the septic tank.
If these options don't work, it may be necessary to use an electronic detection device. Some rental services have a transmitter that can be flushed down a toilet which can be detected with a receiving unit. Some septic system Installers specialize in locating drainfields. See list of certified septic system Installers.
While the tank is uncovered, sketch a map of the septic tank lid(s) location in relation to the house and record the map for your files. Photos of the area, including the house, can also be valuable for future pumping.