tank cannot be found

Asked October 21, 2017, 12:29 PM EDT

house was built in 1929 it has a subbasement to it I have tried to use a tile probe but no good can the tank be located on the opposite side of the air vents there was only 5 feet on that side of the house when it was built. I have dug up along the house but no pipes toilet is off the floor and pipe is full.a snake does not do anything I have poked into the ground with no luck what else can I do. I don't know how long this tank has been in the ground or even if there is one.

Allegheny County Pennsylvania

2 Responses

Thank you for your question for eXtension. The topic area in which you've made a request is not yet fully staffed by eXtension experts and therefore we cannot provide you with a timely answer. Instead, if you live in the United States, please consider contacting the Cooperative Extension office closest to you. Simply go to http://articles.extension.org, drop in your zip code and choose the office that is most convenient for you. We apologize that we can't help you right now, but please come back to eXtension to check in as we grow and add experts.

Penn State does have some resources on septic systems and their maintenance. Perhaps that can help.

Unfortunately when you are dealing with really old systems there may be little that you can do but dig to find out where the sewer lines are going. Older system may have been built without much professional or regulatory guidance. Without more information on the lay of the land there is little that we can help you with. Even with known locations of of vents and land slopes, the piping may not be in a straight line. Older systems were thought to have taken care of all the treatment needed, We now know that without regular maintenance, system do get clogged and need repairs. Modern systems often have a vent on the tank that gives us a location. In your situation, you will probably have to do a lot of digging to find the tank and the blockage. Landscaping changes will further complicate the search. The only shortcut is if you can find an older resident that knows a little history of the neighborhood. If there were building ordinances in the community/county when the septic system was installed, there might be records. With a good location and description/details of what you can see, I may be able to make a guess on possible locations. It will require information on wet spots near the home as well including any known discharges to the ground surface. But at best it would be a guess.

Tree roots can be a problem on older systems. Locations and kind of tree may help find your clog.

Sorry we cannot be more help.