Locating Your Septic Field Before Beginning A New Construction Project

Posted on: 16 September 2016

If you are planning to build a shop, garage, barn, shed or other building on your property, you will first need to learn the location of any utilities running below the construction site. This is a basic safety measure required by law in most parts of the United States, but it is sometimes easier said than done, particularly in areas that have been inhabited for a long period of time. If, for example, your septic field was installed before you moved into your home, you may only have a vague idea of its location. Tracking down your field and any other pipes nearby is a necessary first step before you can begin breaking ground. 

Checking Local Regulations 

Prior to committing to any project, you should look into your local building regulations and ensure that you will be able to meet all of the requirements, inspections and paperwork deadlines required for your particular structure. Most areas require that the ground be swept for utilities before permission is granted to proceed. If you aren't sure which regulations you should be following, contact a pipe locator service in your area for some expert guidance. 

Examining Your Records

You can get a rough idea of your septic field's location through the documents and blueprints that should have been drafted during its installation. You will need to know both its size and the direction it runs, allowing you to mark off the area where pipes are likely to be present. Some homeowners are able to eyeball their field by checking for a patch of lusher grass over the septic tank. 

Considering the Presence of Undetected Lines

Even if you have the precise corners of your septic field marked based on exact documentation, you will likely still need to go to further efforts in order to get construction approval. This is due to the possibility of old or unrecorded pipes, which could be lurking below the surface and prone break without warning. If your local laws require you to guarantee that there are no lines at all in the construction area, your best bet will likely be to call a pipe locator service to scan the site for you. 

Hiring a Pipe Locator Service

Most pipe locators no longer need to probe the soil physically, which once carried a risk of damaging any pipes they bumped into. Nowadays, modern technology has allowed professional technicians to peer into the ground and detect both the metal in lines and the frequencies they emit. This makes it possible to sweep an entire construction site in a relatively short time, while still providing excellent accuracy. Rather than attempting to decipher these frequencies and the machinery involved on your own, it's usually far more cost-effective to hire professionals to get the job done both quickly and thoroughly. Keep your project on schedule and avoid expensive fines by taking care of these preliminary measures as soon as possible. 

For more information, contact Spearhead Locating Services Inc. or a similar company.