Septic tanks are common in Portland and the surrounding area.

How do homes deal with sewage and waste liquid? Most homes today use the city sewer, but that wasn’t always an option and still isn’t for some people. A septic tank is commonly used for this purpose in places where the city sewer didn’t exist or doesn’t make sense logistically.

On the west side of the Willamette River the incidence of septic tanks is much higher. Cesspools were much more common on the east side.

If you want to find your tank and you’re wondering how to locate your septic tank or in need or a septic tank locator service then we can help. We can locate most septic tanks for the price of $250 using GPR, and sometimes cheaper using a fancy metal detector (and lots of practice). Just call 503-939-9585 for more information.

What is a septic tank?

A septic tank is an underground tank which receives waste water from a home. This liquid then percolates into the soil and the solid waste is separates naturally. A septic tank has a service hatch which is the access point for maintenance (pumping the tank empty).

photo of a multi-chamberd septic tank

Septic tanks are usually 5-10′ long and 4-6′ wide from the top, and 5-8 deep’. They require a leech field or drain field so houses with small yards are unlikely to have septics tanks. Septic tanks in Portland occur mostly at homes on the west side of the Willamette River. Septic systems can be present in homes with yards smaller than they once were.

septic tank schematic from wikipedia

During an Oil Tank Search a septic tank service hatch or the tank itself can be located if present. This is because the service hatch usually has a metal port or rebar-reinforced concrete in the hatch. In some cases the entire tank will be metal.

The City of Portland has a document about septic tank decommissioning as a downloadable PDF file. We have hosted that file online for you so you don’t need to download it and open it in another application. Click here to read it.

Septic tanks are usually constructed out of concrete. Some newer tanks are plastic and some very old tanks are brick. If there is no rebar or metal in the access port they are harder to find. A sewer scope into a working septic tank be a great way to both locate the tank and identify and problems with the line. However a septic tank inspection service can then give an accurate check of the septic tank.

Septic tank pumping and septic tank servicing is a normal part of this process. But if septic tank decommissioning is what you want or need then Rush Locates can help you (get in touch with a company to do the dirty work).

photo of a recently serviced multi-chamberd septic tank in a yard in Oregon City, OR

Septic Tank Hazards

Septic tanks made with all metal can post a sinkhole hazard as they rust away. Few tanks are metal, these concrete tank only post a hazard when nearby construction happens. During construction the weight of machines can cause the tank to collapse if not full with a solid fill (like gravel).

Photo of a failing metal topped septic tank service hatch

Performing an oil tank search is a great way to find out if you have a metal septic tank or to search for the access port in a septic system that has not been decommissioned but is no longer in use.

Rush Locates can help you locate a sewer line or even perform a sewer scope if the location is in or near Portland, OR. We also service Washington.

Here is the wikipedia link where the graphic came from.