Locate septic tanks

I’m getting ready to fill some lots. I would need inspections passed from county prior to that. The problem is that we cannot locate the tanks. One septic company recommended doing a camera job and locate the tanks. However, no one seems to have the camera pipe for my park. What is the best way to locate the septic tanks?

Sewer cameras are a universal tool in the plumbing industry and have nothing to do with the pipe in your park. Find someone that has one, even if it means they travel an hour to get there. It’s very uncommon for a whole city to not have at least two plumbers with this in the toolbox.

The location of your septic system is a very basic component of the MHP. It’s really scary you didn’t locate and inspect them before purchase (which would have been easy with the prior owner helping you). I will say this again and again until I am blue in the face - you need to get the MHU Due Diligence Manual as well as Home Study Course.


Haha I actually got the manual. And I tried to do the camera job prior to purchase. The same problem then, no one can do it. They either have the wrong tool or some other thing. I just need to find the right person. I wanted to inspect the septic system as well during due diligence. The GPS coordinates provided by the could not be traced to find the tanks… the seller’s broker told me what I’m doing is highly irregular and pretty much just said something like “no one does is and you are just being stupid”…

There is no tool. A camera is on the end of a wire and you push it into a cleanout. The camera feeds back into a monitor.

The Sellers broker, like 80% of brokers selling MHP’s, have no idea what they are doing - or even worse are smart and intentionally passing the risk from the Seller to you and don’t want to air that dirty laundry. They will purposefully not ask questions to not disclose bad facts. Hard lesson and never do that again.


Why can’t you just probe/dig back from the lines to find the tank? If you have a line to run a camera down, you have a line to follow. I’m in Florida so it may be easy here with the sandy soils.


I’ve rented a camera from my local tool rental. Even our local big box has one to rent.
Check with your local rental shops. They are easy to use.


I think they have some difficulties finding the clean out. And digging would damage underground powerlines or water lines. During due diligence, they actually started digging and the seller was upset about that. I guess it was on one side, the seller was upset because the septic contractors were digging, and the broker on the other side told me I was being stupid… that put together made me stop the camera job efforts.

We have gone under a vacant home and tapped into the sewer line there when this has happened. No need to dig, no concerns for other utilities. Just glue back the PVC when finished.


This whole thing seems odd to me. I’m not presenting myself as a septic expert. But I sold a SFD earlier this year and gladly provided the buyer with all the septic documentation. And they had the septic system inspected.

Have you talked to a septic tank contractor to deal with ALL your issues for you — mapping your system, assessing its condition, estimating the cost to decommission defunct portions of the system (as discussed in your other thread)? This sounds like a serious problem waiting to be detonated.

Perhaps you can get a contractor to do the work I outlined above for a fairly small dollar amount, then get them to apply that money to work you have them do …

Best wishes on this effort.


Yes I am currently figuring out a solution to have them do all of it. It will be fine. Just a small bump on the road :slight_smile:

Not knowing the location of tanks indicates the tanks have never been pumped. This to me is a extremely serious red flag regarding the over all condition of the entire septic system in the community. If each home has it’s own tank and the lots are vacant (with existing septic lines in place) probably not a major issue and the tanks should be very easy to locate with a metal probe. Open the line at the house location and note the direction it takes. It should follow a straight line to the tank.
If on the other hand several homes collect at a common tank and they have never been pumped you have a seriously neglected septic system. If this is the case you need to map your entire communities septic system, locate and access every tank then pump and install collars with lids for future pumping.
In that case getting approval to infill would be the very least of my concerns at this time.


The seller provided GPS coordinates and no one was able to find it according to those coordinates. The seller said that all tanks have been pumped and inspected. We will give the GPS coordinate another shot.

The county record indicated that the tanks have been pumped recently. We just cannot find them yet. I will provide some updates in a few days.

If every home has their own tank. We would need to find the sewer line associated with each home or lot to be able to use the camera job to locate the tank, right? In other words, tapping into one single line wouldn’t locate the entire park, right?

If the Seller has pumped them then get in contact with their septic contractor to show you the tank location. If the Seller or Septic contractor cannot show you the physical location when you are out there then you need to back out because they are lying to you, and what else are they lying about to you. These facts you have laid out do not add up. Nobody locates septic tanks with GPS coordinates. Go out there and look at them.

Every park is set up different. You can have one large septic servicing 10 homes for example, or one per home as you describe. This is why you MUST find these tanks - every one of them - to have them inspected.


Correct. You will need to go under each home to determine how the system is set up and where the tanks are located…each home or several homes per tank.
If the tanks have been pumped recently there should be visible signs if it was within the last year. No grass, disturbed soil etc.
If you have one large septic bed for the entire park then most likely several homes, possibly up to 5, will be on each line with a tank.
jhudson is correct. If the tank locations are not easily located someone is lying. Septic systems are not rocket science.

My community of 33 home has 8 tanks plus 3 lift tanks. All have ground level lids and are pumped annually. If you do not have visible lids your tanks are not pumped regularly and the system has possibly been neglected.


Which septic system is best? Septic system design and size can vary due to a combination of factors. These factors include soil type, yard size and household size or even local regulations, etc. The most common types of septic systems are: conventional system, chamber system, drip distribution system and aerobic treatment unit.

If you only need to locate the septic tank you do not need to camera the lines.

You need to locate the lines and the tank.

Use a fishing pole and this setup.