can you use a metal detector to find a septic tank

How Should You Use a Metal Detector to Find a Septic Tank?

can you use a metal detector to find a septic tank

A septic tank is an underground, watertight container that receives, treats, and settles human waste!

As far as I am concerned, it is extremely important to know the location of your home’s septic tank to ensure proper maintenance …

… Not only that, but also to make sure to not cause any damage to the septic tank if you want to do any kinds of underground word!

In this very short Post, I will give some insight on how to locate your septic tank using a Metal Detector!

Can you use a metal detector to find a septic tank?

Yes, it is totally possible to do so! Indeed, metal detectors can help you locate a buried concrete septic tank by finding its reinforcement bars.

These reinforcement bars are mainly made out of steel, the latter is not highly electrical conductive. Yet since it is big in terms of size, you won’t need a highly sensitive detector to pick it up!

It is important that you avoid wearing any footwear with steel when you are searching for the septic tank because otherwise, your shoes will keep on giving a false signal.

What metal detectors to use to locate septic tank?

Bounty Hunter Tracker 4

You don’t need a highly advanced detector to get the job done! For example, the Bounty Hunter Tracker 4 (Check it Here on Amazon) can do the job properly …

… It has everything you will need to locate it precisely, even the discrimination capability!

Indeed, if you are dealing with a ground with little to none metallic trash, then there is no need to set a high discrimination. Otherwise, you would want to adjust this setting accordingly, so you won’t get false signals from nails, caps and other junk around.

Other tools to locate septic tank …

Using a detector solely to locate your target is very useful, yet it is not enough … you will need few other tools!

Some of these tools include:

  • A plumbing cleanout snake that can be run through the sewage pipe to find the sewage tank.
  • A flushable transmitter can be bought from a plumbing or rental store or a tank cleaning company. You can flush it down the toilet and track it with a receiver. You will get the strongest signal over the inlet area of the septic tank.
  • If you are going to search in your backyard, then you might need to use a quality shovel (Check it Here on Amazon)
  • Using Cut proof Gloves is very important to protect your hands.

Step-by-Step approach to find you septic tank …

You can use a metal detector to detect a septic tank, but not in the simple manner that you are expecting.

This is because there is usually not enough metal for the detector to pick up. So to get around this, you have to go under the house and locate a clean sewer line.

  • Get a cleanout snake and send that down into the sewer line.
  • You should be able to locate the end of the snake when it stops once it reaches the septic tank with a metal detector.
  • Usually, septic tanks are located near the house itself, but sometimes there can be exceptions. Indeed, sometimes it is not more than a single length of pipe (around 20 inches) from the house.
  • Your detector should now be able to detect the snake and, therefore, lead you to the septic tank.
  • Don’t forget to keep swinging your detector, slowly and steadily in a way you keep the search coil parallel and as close to the ground as possible
  • Use your detector’s setting, especially:
    • Sensitivity: First adjust to a low sensitivity, and then start increasing it little by little!
    • Discrimination: I suggest you set it high at the beginning and then decrease it little by little.
    • Modes: If your detector supports different search modes, then you should mainly use all-metal mode or park mode (models like Equinox 600, Fisher F44 support those kinds of modes).


Hope this quick blog post was helpful and gave you some useful information on how you should approaching finding your home’s septic tank using a regular detector …

… Finally, if case you want to learn more about metal detecting as a hobby, I highly invite you to have a look at these Detecting Tips and Tricks! You will learn a lot!

About the Author

Carissa Harmer

Carissa is the huge metal detecting enthusiast that loves collecting coins. She is also highly interested in other treasure hunting activities like magnet fishing and gold prospecting/panning.