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Guidelines For Locating Your Septic System

Who should read this?

These are general guidelines on locating a septic system serving residential properties in Anne Arundel County. Anyone whose home has a septic system should read this.

What information is available on my existing septic system?

Drawings are on file for septic system installations approved and inspected by the Department of Health. These drawings were prepared at the time the system was installed and indicate the location of the septic system or system components on a property.

How can I obtain a copy of my septic system drawing?

A record search can be done based on the tax account number or street address of an individual property. Complete a Request for Copy of Septic System Drawing form which must be submitted to the Department of Health. A copy of the drawing will be mailed to you if a record of your system is on file.

What can I do if a drawing is not available for my septic system?

We recommend you consult with a licensed liquid waste hauler or disposal system contractor to assist in identifying the location of the septic system on your property. As an alternative, a homeowner may follow the instructions below on how to locate a septic system.

Step 1: Check whether any clean-out pipes exist on the property.

Copy of the drawing will be mailed to you if a record of your system is on file.

Check your property to identify whether any clean-out or marker pipes exist at the surface of the ground. Clean-out pipes are generally made of cast-iron or Schedule 40 PVC (plastic) pipe material and are 4 to 6 inches in diameter. A clean-out or marker pipe may indicate the location of your septic system components including septic tank, distribution box, drywell, drain field or sewer line. Once clean-out or marker pipes have been located, ask your licensed professional or the Department of Health to assist in identifying the system components on your property. If a clean-out or marker pipe to grade does not exist, follow steps 2 through 4.

Step 2: Determine the location of the main sewer line between the house and the septic tank.

Find the main sewer plumbing line in the basement or crawl space of your home. Check where the main sewer line exits your house. Search for the main sewer line between the house and the septic tank by carefully probing with a steel rod through the soil material and locating the top of the main sewer line. Sewer mains are typically made of cast iron or Schedule 40 PVC (plastic) pipe material and are generally found between one-inch and three feet below ground surface. Be extra careful when probing to prevent damage to the main sewer line.

Step 3: Determine the location of your septic tank on your property.

Continue probing along the main sewer line to find the location of the septic tank. A septic tank is typically the first component of your septic system and is generally found between 10 and 20 feet of a building foundation. A septic tank is made of concrete, metal or plastic material. Single and double compartment septic tanks have been used in Anne Arundel County. Each compartment has a lid that provides access to the septic tank for system pump-outs. Newer septic tank installations may have a clean-out or marker pipe indicating the location of the septic tank access lid.

Step 4: Determine the location of the remaining components of your septic system.

We recommend you consult with a licensed professional to locate the remaining components of your septic system. This can be accomplished after a septic tank pump-out. The remaining components may consist of a distribution box, pump tank, drain field, drywell, mound system or pressure dosed bed. Have the licensed professional prepare a drawing of the entire system.

For guidelines on maintaining your septic system, see Guidelines For Maintaining Your Septic System Fact Sheet.

What should I do with my contractor's drawing?

Maintain a copy of the contractor's drawing of your septic system for your records. The drawing may be submitted to the Department of Health when applying for building improvements, such as building additions, decks, swimming pools or sunrooms. This information will be used to evaluate the adequacy of your existing septic system in the approval of your building permit.

Where can I get more information?

Videos on the proper operation and maintenance of your septic system are available from the Department of Health.

View videos below.

Conventional Septic Systems Mound Septic Systems
 
Recirculating Septic Systems

Copies can also be obtained by sending a completed Septic System DVD Request Form and a $5 fee to the Department of Health (address below).

For a list of Anne Arundel County licensed liquid waste haulers or disposal system contractors, click here or call the Sanitary Engineering Program at 410-222-7189.

If you have additional questions, contact:
Sanitary Engineering Program
Anne Arundel County Department of Health
3 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
410-222-7193