How to find your Septic Tank at Home

Septic Tank at Home

How to find your Septic Tank at Home

Have you ever stopped to wonder what happens to the stuff you flush down the toilet?
Kind of gross to think about, right?

If you’re conjuring up images of cobwebby crawlspaces with lots of creepy-crawly unmentionable creatures sliding, slithering, creeping, or crawling over crusty, rusty, ooey-gooey piping which is oozing out slimy goo from every joint, you may not be too far off. I hope you are. Especially if I’m the lucky guy you call to come fix your toilet that just doesn’t want to flush.

That’s why I want to help teach you how to find your septic tank. If your toilet, sink, or bathtub begins to gurgle, burp, belch, or starts emitting other kinds of strange noises or odors, (Or even worse, Liquids!), don’t panic. Just call 911 and calmly ask for help.

Or better yet, read this blog to find out where in the earth your septic tank might be hiding.

Septic tanks are known for their uncanny abilities to win most games of hide-and-seek with the average human competitor.

Many are the embarrassed humans who have endured the questioning stares, or peeking through the blinds by neighbors who watch with growing concern as they wander aimlessly around the yard, peering behind the bushes, prodding under the flowers, kneeling for a better look under the back deck, gingerly poking at the driveway, all while calling out “Here septic tanky tanky tanky!” And they wonder who to call for help when, after hours spent poking, prodding, stroking, and calling, the neighbor shakes his fist at the sky and disappears into the house muttering and shaking his head, only to reappear a few minutes later and begin to repeat the process with the same results.

The good news is…I can give you a few tips that may help you win the game on how to find your septic tank, gain the respect of your neighbors, and quite possibly turn you into the neighborhood expert on Septic Tank Locating!

Contrary to popular belief, septic tanks Usually do not hide in attics, basements, or any of the many closets you may have in your home.

We will start with the easiest scenario first.

Grab your favorite drink and relax in your favorite spot for a minute. Now gradually start your normal brain functions, but direct them towards your yard. Yes, that’s right, your yard. Forget all about the toilet. Or sink. Or tub. Or whatever it is that is
the root of that panic rising in your chest.  Your yard.

Septic tanks will usually be located in one of your yards. One of the first clues will be the location of your well. Your well? Yes, your well.

The septic tank should not be in close proximity to your well.

So wherever your well is located, you can rule out that area first. Your septic tank will likely be on one of the other sides of the house.

Now that we have ruled out the area with the well, let’s think of some other things. Septic tanks are normally installed with their tops buried under the surface of the ground, usually submerged at least 12 inches or so. Sometimes the depth can be much greater, or a little less. Often there will be a plastic access tube or a concrete riser structure which extends from the top of the tank to the ground surface to allow access for the tank to be emptied by a Septic Pumping company…AKA Shankster Bros.

Many septic tank installers will attempt to blend these access risers into the surrounding landscaping so they don’t create an ugly eyesore.

So the next step is to go over your yard in your mind, searching for any round, plastic lids. These may be black or green and may be from 10 inches to 24 inches in diameter. Secondly, if that comes up negative, think about any round, square, or rectangular concrete lids that may be in your yard or landscaping. Often these will be nearly flush with the surface of the ground so that a lawnmower or rake could go right over the top of it without damaging it.

Start in the areas of your yard closest to your house, and work outwards from the perimeter of your house. Usually, the septic tank access will not be closer than 10 feet to your house, but sometimes in the case of an older home or a later addition to the home, they may be closer.

If you have not been able to locate the septic tank yet, we may need to leave the couch, and go downstairs. Hopefully, you have a basement. Otherwise, you may need to peek in the crawlspace. If your house has no basement or crawlspace, we will use some other clues.

Now that you are in the basement or crawlspace, try to identify the main drainage pipes that carry the wastewater from all your bathrooms and kitchen. These should all converge into one larger pipe, (Usually 4″ in diameter), and exit the house through one of the walls. Identify which wall the pipe exits, and try to estimate the approximate location and the direction the pipe is going outside your house. Now go outside.

Check the area where the pipe comes out of the house. There may be a PVC pipe extending to the surface, with a threaded cleanout cap on it. If you find this, you’re well on the way to victory.

If your house is built on a slab, with no basement or crawlspace, look at the roof. Look for a vent pipe coming out of the roof. Often the piping inside your house will have a vent that runs straight up, all the way through the roof, and sticks out the top. If you locate that vent, it may give you an idea where the piping is exiting the house.

Now continue outward from the house a few feet, looking for that round, square, or rectangular lid. If you can’t find it, look for an area in the yard that may be slightly sunken. Sometimes skillful installers may use round or square patio stones to conceal the access port. If you see one of those, you might try checking under there in case it is covering the access.

If you have been experiencing problems with the toilet or other fixtures draining, you may also want to look for an area that is more damp or wet than the rest of the yard. This could be where your tank is hiding. If all of these tips have not brought you to victory, and you start to notice your neighbors peeking through the blinds with those worried looks that neighbors are so prone to….give us a call!

We have found septic tanks in many strange and unpredictable places. Here’s hoping you win the game on how to find your septic tank. Here tanky, tanky, tanky! If you need to schedule a septic tank cleaning, pumping, or inspection, don’t hesitate to call Shankster Bros at (260)-982-7111. any time.

Septic System Repair: Warning Signs That You May Need Pro Repairs

Septic System Repair: Warning Signs That You May Need Pro Repairs


Slow Draining in Your Home

Most home and property owners assume that a little Drain-o or a roto visit from a plumber can easily fix slow-draining sinks or bathtubs. That might be true, but if you operate on a septic system, it’s important to know that slow drainage can be a sign of septic system trouble or failure, in particular if you notice this symptom in more than one sink, tub or drain in your home. If more than one of these is draining slowly in your home or business, your septic tank might be backing up or outflow pipe might be impacted.

Backing up Sewage

Slow drainage might be the first sign of a septic problem, but your septic tank issues might skip straight to backing up, in some situations. If you notice sludge in your bathtubs, water coming up in your sinks, or other signs of back up from your septic system, this is a common indicator that your septic system is in serious need of septic tank pumping or septic system repair.

Water on the Drain Field

We advise our customers to keep an eye on their septic system drain field and walk through that area of your property semi-frequently to check for issues. If you start to notice standing water, unseasonable dampness or any kind of smell in your yard or drain field, it’s a good idea to call for a pumping or septic system inspection. If your drain field is not functioning properly, this could also mean that your septic tank or drain piping is also in trouble.

Unpleasant Smells

Septic systems, when they work properly, are very clean and hygienic for your whole family. Your home should not smell from bad plumbing, and you should not encounter sewage smells in your yard, either. If you start to smell your septic system in your bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere else that you have a drain in your home, that’s a sign that your septic system is not performing properly.

If you see or smell any of these warning signs in your home or business, call us right away at (260)-982-7111. We are available to help with any emergency septic service or maintenance and are glad to answer any septic questions you may have.

Septic Tank Inspection Checklist For Installation Services


Septic Tank Inspection Checklist For Installation Services

Here’s an easy-reference checklist for your septic tank installation. While septic systems are very common in the U.S., (nearly 30% of homes have a septic tank!) they can be complicated to install and keep up, if you haven’t done it before or are moving to a new area.  

Here is our quick-reference checklist for any septic system and septic tank installation. As always, if you have further questions or need more personalized help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

  1. Learn about home septic system permits for your area

Your installer should have up-to-date and easy-to-understand knowledge of the unique environmental concerns of your area, but it’s always wise to do some research for yourself as well. Calling your local county planning or building office should point you in the right direction, and give you an idea of the costs and timeline involved in a new septic.

  1. Look at multiple septic options and installation quotes

Every septic professional has a different view of the ideal installation timeline and what’s best for your environment. Become educated by looking at all of your options as well as getting multiple quotes from installers to make sure you get the right treatment and price for your septic project.

  1. Locate and protect your septic system area

Talk to a septic installer or your local Health Department about the placement of your new septic system. Usually, an independent soil scientist will need to evaluate the soils to determine the best location. After your site is selected, be sure not to drive through the area with anything larger than a lawnmower, as any disturbance can render the site unusable.

  1. Decommission or remove an old septic system

We encourage homeowners to keep older septic systems running smoothly with regular septic tank maintenance and cleaning, but sometimes, old systems simply need to be retired. Maybe you’re moving into an older home that’s been vacant or used as a rental, or maybe your area has experienced severe weather that has affected your septic permanently. During installation of new your septic system, be sure to have the old system either removed or decommissioned according to the best practices in your area.

  1. Get a timeline for pump system installation and plan for water outage

Every installer is different, but because of the nature of septic system installations, your water will need to be turned off for at least some of the installation time. Get a reasonable quote for the time involved in your installation, and plan for your plumbing to be off during that time.

  1. Find out about landscaping options for Septic Tank Systems

Most drain fields do best with grass coverage but find out from landscapers and septic professionals in your area what works best for tanks and drain fields. You can still have beautiful landscaping with a septic system in place, you might just need a few minor adjustments.

  1. Inspect and Record System

Ask for a full record of your installation, and a professional inspection before you begin use of your new septic system. With careful documentation, maintenance, and a little planning, you will have a worry-free septic system for years to come. All of these are important factors, will help you through the process with a septic tank inspection checklist.

At Shankster Bros., we’re here to help with your septic tank and drainage needs. Please get in touch with any questions or concerns about septic tank systems and we’re happy to help.

Be in the know: The ins and outs of Septic Tank Pumping

Be in the know: The ins and outs of Septic Tank Pumping

Once you hire Shankster Bros (septic tank cleaning company in Indiana). to inspect, service, and pump your septic tank, it is our responsibility to do the job right with minimal cost, inconvenience, and delays. However, many homeowners like to know how their systems work, so here’s an overview of the ins and outs of septic tank pumping:

Keep a Septic Cleaning Schedule

The average septic tank pumping and cleaning schedule is every 3 to 5 years depending on household size, wastewater needs, and overall usage. (See some of our previous blog-posts about keeping a written schedule of septic services.) Regular cleanings and pumpings remove the accumulation of the scum and sludge layer in your septic tank, helping your septic system work efficiently and cleanly.

Accumulated Solids in Your Septic Tank

The total depth of the scum layer floating on top of the septic tank combined with the sludge layer in the bottom of the tank should never equal more than one-quarter of the contents of the septic tank. If it does, because of insufficient service, there is a high likelihood that the accumulated solids will flow into the outlet pipe and out into the drain field lines, causing plugging and drain field failure. If you have a septic drain field failure, septic tank pumpings will need to be done more regularly until the drain field is repaired. Repairing, or in some cases, replacing, a failed drain field can be an unpleasant and often costly enterprise for the homeowner, which is why we suggest regular maintenance instead.

Digging Up Your Septic Tank Lids

Most septic tanks are buried 1 to three feet underground, and many have risers that extend to the surface, providing easy access for cleaning. However, some tanks are simply buried with no lids at the surface, requiring more extensive investigation and digging in order to service them. Of course, we always endeavor to keep your property as clean and undamaged as possible when we service your septic system.

If you are not the original owner of a septic system, or if it is a particularly old system, it might take more work to service. We are experienced in servicing all levels of septic systems, however, so we are happy to help, no matter how unique your situation.

If you have any questions about how to service your septic tank pump system, find your septic tank or drain field, or about the needs of an older septic system, give our office a call today at (260)-982-7111.

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Pumping Your Septic Tank

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Ignore Pumping Your Septic Tank  

Are your sinks, bathtubs, and toilets slowly draining? Are you noticing spongy or soggy areas of water on the ground or above the septic tank?  If so, most likely you’re one of the almost 25% of US households who have a septic system installed in their home that needs to be pumped or cleaned. One of the aspects of being a septic tank homeowner is having to deal with the routine maintenance of emptying your septic tank. Therefore, it’s critical to know why you shouldn’t ignore pumping your septic tank.

Your septic tank pump system is important because it disposes of all of the waste in your home, including household chemicals, excrement, food scraps, and bath water to name a few. A septic tank system features four components: the wastewater pipe which connects to your home, a septic tank to digest solid waste, the perforated pipes to allow liquid waste to seep into the drain field, and the surrounding soil to counterpoise waste contents. Understanding how your septic system works is essential in order to spot any signs of failure. The following are three reasons why you shouldn’t ignore pumping your septic tank.

  1. Solid waste builds up over time and doesn’t decompose quickly which can contaminate your water.
  2. Your tank will overfill with excess discharge and back up your waste system if you don’t pump it periodically.
  3. The overflow from your septic tank will flood your drain field and create a breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies that spread infectious diseases.

The process of pumping your tank is not always a pleasant one, but a necessity we’re not only happy to assist you with, but it would also be our pleasure.  

If you live in northeastern Indiana and have a septic system, farming operation or other residential drainage or wastewater needs, we would be honored to earn your business.

Shankster Bros. is a family-owned company that understands the unique needs of Indiana farmers, homeowners, and rural clients. We know the weather patterns, water-use regulations and unique needs of the land here, and we believe that it is our job to help land-owners, agriculturalists, homeowners, and business people steward our natural resources well through effective wastewater management and drainage. We have been in business since 1999, we are fully licensed, and we can address almost any problem or service in agricultural and residential drainage, throughout northeastern Indiana.  

We provide a complete menu of septic system services including:

  • Installation
  • Inspection
  • Line Cleaning
  • Septic Tank Maintenance
  • Repair
  • Septic Tank Pumping
  • Septic System Design
  • Excavation and Bulldozing Services

If you have questions about how to service your septic system, what your farm drainage needs are, or when to schedule a septic tank pumping or repair, don’t hesitate to call us. You also might find helpful information here on our blog. We’ve taken the time and effort to compile high-quality posts with helpful tips, guidelines, and resources for your education and convenience.

Thank you for trusting us with your homes, businesses, and farms in northeastern Indiana. We are honored to help manage your wastewater, drainage, septic and excavation needs, and we work hard to earn your repeat business and your referrals. Please give us a call at (260)-982-7111 today!

Septic Tank Pumping Schedule – Should you have one?

Septic Tank Pumping Schedule – Should you have one?

Creating a septic tank pumping schedule isn’t something most homeowners think about often until they have a soggy drainfield, plumbing problems or a back-up of wastewater. Then, septic pumping is all any homeowner can think about until the issue is resolved, which can be costly and time-consuming, not to mention smelly and inconvenient.

Schedule Septic Tank Pumping

So, we believe that everyone who owns a Septic system (for a private residence, business or farm building) should keep a septic tank pumping schedule. This takes the guess-work out of your maintenance and gives you peace of mind about your plumbing so that you don’t worry about forgetting, overlooking or ignoring potential septic problems.

Keep in mind that sudden up-ticks in use (such as a party, houseguests, seasonal workers or other loads on the septic and wastewater system) can speed up the schedule and make more frequent pumping necessary. By the same token, if your building is vacant for some length of time, you might lengthen the period between septic tank pumping safely.

United States EPA Recommends Often Septic Tank Service

You might be surprised how often the United States EPA and septic system professionals recommend you service your septic tank. For instance, it’s generally agreed that a family of four with a 1000 gallon tank should pump their tank every 2.5 years. Unfortunately, there’s not a hard-and-fast rule or schedule for every septic system, but we’d be happy to give our recommendations based on your usage, occupancy, and lifestyle.

A nice benefit we offer here at Shankster Bros is we evaluate your septic tank size, number of occupants in the home, and condition of your tank, and recommend a service interval. We then contact you to schedule service at the recommended time.

Surprisingly, many people with septic systems do not keep a pumping schedule, which causes emergency septic problems. You’re much better off to pump your septic tank on time and keep your building’s plumbing running smoothly, rather than procrastinating and causing more expensive services in the future.

If you’re not sure how big your tank is or when it was last serviced, please give us a call (260)-982-7111 and we’d be happy to help you troubleshoot.

Here’s a great resource created by the EPA for you to print out and use. We suggest putting this somewhere you will remember to check it and keep it updated.

Click -> Septic Tank Pump Schedule
(opens in a new window)

What to Expect from Local Septic Companies in Indiana

What to Expect from Local Septic Service Companies in Indiana

For most of us, we don’t spend a lot of time worrying about our septic or sewage system. That is until we encounter a problem. When those inconveniences occur, it can be tempting to overlook the importance of researching local septic service businesses in your area.

However, it’s worth it to do your research before hiring for services.

Here’s what to expect from a local septic service company, and how to ask for the best service when you do decide to hire one:

  • Septic service companies should be knowledgeable about the local soils, regulations, and how a normal septic system functions in your area.
  • A septic tank cleaning company should ask about the age of your system, the health of your drain field, and your septic service record before recommending a service.
  • The septic service company should be willing to work with you – whether that means evening or weekend service, detailed explanations, or custom service plans, your wastewater needs are important and so are your preferences.
  • You should be given clear work estimates and a project budget early on. Most septic system services are quick, routine pumpings or cleanings, but any company you hire should be upfront about costs, risks, and timelines for service.
  • Everyone involved in the septic service should be timely, respectful and honest – from the front office staff to the service providers, you should never feel ignored or disregarded in any way.

If you can’t check off this list when you make your initial phone calls, keep looking for a local septic company that treats your home, business, and wastewater needs with care.

As always, please call us (260)-982-7111 if you need septic tank pumping or septic system service of any kind. We pride ourselves on professionalism and timeliness in all of our services and we would love to help you navigate your septic system maintenance or emergency.

Septic Tank Maintenance, Do’s and Don’ts

Septic System Maintenance, Do’s and Don’ts

Septic system maintenance is effective for managing the normal wastewater and sewage of a modern household if managed properly. Septic systems are ideal for rural properties, where sharing a sewage service is unavailable. Septic systems are also easier on the ecosystem in many instances, particularly if long lines of piping are needed to connect to a shared wastewater treatment line.

That said, there are a few do’s and don’ts when you have a septic system, and we’ve compiled some of the most critical here for your knowledge and peace of mind:


Use biodegradable cleaners and soaps in your septic tank. Harsh or hazardous chemicals can stall or slow the breakdown process and interfere with the healthy workings of your septic system.


Flush anything down your drains that does not easily decompose. This includes even small items like matches, cigarette butts, and flushable wipes, or things like coffee grounds, food particles or feminine products.


Keep a detailed map of where your septic tank and drain field is located, as well as a record of how and when it is serviced professionally. If you buy a home with an installed septic system, be sure to get those septic service records from the previous owner.


Plant trees or shrubs near the septic field. Large roots can interfere with the piping and easily clog it.


Plant grass over your septic field. Grass helps disperse the wastewater, remove excess water, and prevent erosion, as well as help the drain field function properly.


Pour concrete or other hard surfaces over your drain field, as this will inhibit the natural release of water into the ecosystem. As mentioned above, the grass is the best option for your drain field. Also, don’t build structures or dig holes in the drain field, even for small projects. Your drain field should stay undisturbed unless there’s an issue with the piping or drainage, and any problems should be addressed by a professional.


Be aware of how much water your household uses. It’s always a good idea to conserve water to avoid overloading your septic system, and it’s important to divert gutters and other drains so as not to overload the system further in stormy weather.


Try to service your septic tank or drain field yourself. Check with your local permitting office about what permits are required, and always give a professional a call if you notice anything strange happening in your septic system.


Hire Shankster Bros. for all your septic pumping and cleaning needs! The easiest way to avoid problems is with regular septic system maintenance and we will do the job right the first time.

If you have questions or concerns about your septic system and the “do’s and don’ts,” please feel free to give us a call at (260)-982-7111. We are here to help!

Your Local Septic Tank Pumping Service Experts in Indiana, Shankster Bros.

Your Local Septic Tank Pumping Service Experts, Shankster Bros.

Your local septic tank pumping service experts, Shankster Bros. specializes in agricultural and residential drainage throughout northeastern Indiana. We provide a complete menu of septic system services including:

Family-Owned and Operated

Steven and Simeon Shankster, together with our families, are the heart and drive behind our local septic pumping company. Because we are family-owned and operated, we see our employees, customers, and the community as a family too.

We believe in the old-fashioned values of quality service, given with a handshake, a smile and a commitment to integrity. We will never walk away from a job half-finished or leave your family vulnerable to drainage or septic problems.

We know how important these projects are to you – it’s not just a septic system, it’s the system that keeps your loved ones healthy and your land well-cared-for. Similarly, excavation projects aren’t simply moving dirt around – it’s a project that keeps your farm running smoothly for generations to come and your home safe from floodwaters.

Shankster Bros. – Proud of our Indiana Roots

Because of our family values and hometown pride, Shankster Bros. treats every client as a friend. Therefore, we will never suggest an expensive excavation when a simple, economical septic cleaning will do.

We understand the latest technologies and advancements in drainage and wastewater management and we work very hard to recommend the right solution for every job, big and small. Each of our technicians is certified and comes prepared to answer questions and offer expert advice on your unique septic system.

We want your system to work and you to be happy with the end result. We will work with you to decide on the right option, repair or service for your septic or drainage problems. We’ve seen it all and we are experts on not only the technology of excavation and wastewater but our specific area’s water table, soil types, and local regulations.

We’re Here for You

We are never too busy to answer your questions about your septic system, wastewater issues, drainage concerns or septic tank. We value hard work, integrity, and honesty and we will always help you figure out the best option, whether it’s a small DIY solution or a big excavation project.

Also, please feel free to look at our website for other valuable information. We endeavor to be educational in these blog-posts and have created an open, easy-to-use resource for your convenience.

Call us anytime: (260)-982-7111 We love to hear from our customers and we are always happy to help!

What Makes Our Septic Tank Cleaning Company Better

What Makes Our Septic Tank Cleaning Company Better – Who We Work With

What makes our septic tank cleaning company better than other companies? We are the septic experts and that is reflected in the manufacturers we choose to partner with. We carefully source, research, and use our expertise and experience to choose the right materials and options for you. Whether you need a septic tank cleaning, installation, service or, if you aren’t sure what you need, we can help with that, too.

Fratco Pipes for Tough, Environmentally Friendly Drainage

We love Fratco Pipes and their wide variety of options for any job. One of our favorite options is the Fratco XD, which exceeds AASHTO and ASTM standards, making it incredibly durable for long-standing or large jobs. They also make a 100% recycled TruFlo pipe, a green-friendly, highly engineered HDPE pipe, and many more.

No matter what kind of soil you have, how big your system is, or what kinds of septic problems you’ve experienced, we can help you find the right pipe, the right price, and the right functionality.

Norweco Products for Exceptional Wastewater Treatment

Norweco makes water and wastewater treatment products, systems, and chemicals, that we have found in our long experience to be the absolute best for our customers. These products provide an outstanding level of treatment in an incredibly efficient, cost-effective way, which is important to us and our clients.

Norweco shares our commitment to environmental and social responsibility and we believe that these wastewater treatment products are the best in the industry, which is why we are proud to offer them on our trucks and use them in our services.

Presby Environmental Inc., for Smaller Drain Fields and Better Management

Presby Environmental makes several products that we endorse and use in our septic projects. The main reason we like their offerings is that a typical AES or Enviro-Septic® System from Presby is usually about 40% smaller than other leading drain fields. This creates lower installation costs, fewer potential problems, and more efficient wastewater treatment.

Our Expertise Makes the Difference

We enjoy working with the companies listed here and we are advocates for quality businesses and products throughout our industry. We know that every situation is unique, and that’s where our experience comes in: we will never sign off on a septic or drainage solution that is not right for your needs.

We take pride in only using the best products and partners, and we are excited to share our knowledge, experience, and products with you. Thank you for trusting us with your septic needs and as always, call us anytime with questions or concerns: (260)-982-7111