Be careful when building near a septic tank.
You need to know where your septic tank is before you build any outdoor structures.

Hannah is a first-time homeowner who recently purchased a home with a septic tank. Like every new homeowner, she’s excited to make the house her own and she’s ready to make some changes.

Now, Hannah is doing exactly what she should. She’s reading up on the homeownership’s do’s and don’ts before adding any outdoor structures. But she needs some help with one project she wants to tackle in the near future.

She wants to build a storage shed in the backyard but is concerned about the possibility of building on top of the septic tank.

There’s another problem: She doesn’t know where the septic tank and leach fields are actually located!

This is a common scenario, especially for an older home like Hannah’s, which was built in 1985. After the field lines and leach fields have been there for many years, growing grass eventually covers them up.

To compound problems, almost every septic system has a different layout, so you really can’t afford to guess where it is and how far it extends.

And there’s a practical reason for knowing where everything is located: maintenance! The reality is, you need to have the septic tank pumped out every few years, depending on how many people live in the house and use the system.

Meanwhile, you definitely don’t want to have a building, whether it’s a gazebo, workshop or, in Hannah’s case, a storage shed, on top of the septic tank, blocking it — especially if you have to do some maintenance on it. And that’s not really a question of ‘if,’ but rather when.

So, here’s what Hannah can do: She can go to the town hall or county health department to retrieve a plan of the house. This should tell her where the septic tank and leach fields are located.

Listen to the embedded audio clip above for more information!

Read the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show blog from the Feb. 8 episode and listen to the full broadcast here.

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Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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