Locate Septic Tanks this Winter with GPR

Locate Septic Tanks

There are many situations where it becomes necessary to find out where the septic tank is located. In these situations the best option is to use a ground penetrating radar (GPR). Moreover, if it is winter and you are trying to locate a septic tank in unpredictable weather conditions, then it can get really tough to do so.

But, locating underground conduits and septic tanks becomes easier when you use the ground penetrating radar or GPR. GPR proves to be reliable, fast, and accurate compared to other methods.

Challenges in Locating a Septic Tank

Septic tanks are installed in such a way that they remain inconspicuous and for this reason they are hard to find. Moreover, as grass starts growing on the surface, it becomes even harder to know where the septic tank is. Situations become even more complex when septic tanks are buried under concrete.

In a situation where you are not the original homeowner, it may even happen that you do not have the required paper work for the home. This will make the situation even more complex, and in all the ice and snow you will be completely clueless as to where the septic tank is located.

The good thing about GPR is that when you are using the same technology for locating underground utilities such as septic tanks, it will work perfectly even when there is a thick layer of snow or if the ground is completely frozen during winter.

Features of GPR

Higher Accuracy

GPR tends to be very accurate due to the fact that it makes use of receivers, transmitters, and a centralized computer for sending radio waves into the surface where the scanning is to be performed.

These radio waves bounce off from the utility being scanned and are captured by the receiver. These signals are read by the computer and converted into a 3D image depicting the underground conduit.

Fast Response

The main reason GPR is fast is because it utilizes radio signals for determining the location of the septic tank. This way you do not have to dig out your yard to find the location of the septic tank.

Trained professionals can easily check the scanned results and let you know what is located under that concrete slab rebar.

By utilizing a GPR system you will be able to quickly and easily locate the septic tank, its associated lines as well as other utilities by using 200MHz and 400MHz antennas.

Easier to Locate any Leach Field

If you are planning to trench for setting up a new sump-pump that runs across your backyard and want to find out where the leach field is then GPR would be the option to use.

By using GPR it would become possible to locate the following, the tank, its head pipe as well as the rest of the distribution of plastic pipes and their depth.

Varied Applications

GPR proves to be quite effective when you are trying to scan things like concrete that contains post tension cable, conduits, rebar, and also PVC pipes.

Moreover, you can use ground penetrating radar for locating underground utilities as well as USTs before actual excavation and cutting is carried out for reducing costs and the risk of damage at any job site.

Is GPR better than other options?

Let us look at some of the other utility detection options to compare if they provide similar results to GPR.

Vacuum Excavators

The benefits of using vacuum excavators is that they offer excellent visual confirmation. However, they are not very efficient. This is due to the fact that when vacuum excavators are utilized, it may result in soil and pavement damage.

In addition, it is required to refill compressed air/water on a regular basis and heavy equipment is also to be transported from one location to another. Last but not the least, in comparison to GPR, they are quite expensive to rent or buy.

Acoustic Pipe Locators

The main negative aspect of acoustic pipe locators is that they receive weak signals when they are fabricated in PVC, PE, and other similar types of plastic pipes. But, when you use GPR, you will not have to face these issues.

Operating any acoustic pipe locator is also a tedious task and the technician has to generate the pulses manually.

The drawback technicians have to face is that these locators are unable to offer continuous readings, compared to when a GPR system is utilized.

Electromagnetic Locators

The negative thing about electromagnetic locators is that they start losing their efficiency when ten to fifteen feet of depth is reached. In addition, electromagnetic locators find it hard to locate things which are non-metallic.

Advantages of Using GPR

Higher Accuracy

A GPR device provides you with a high level of accuracy when underground utilities are being detected. For example, they have depth accuracy of ten to fifteen percent and can detect up to six inches to the center of the utility.

Higher Safety

The positive thing about GPR is that apart from septic tank detection, it can be used for other purposes such as for detection of communication, storm, gas, water, and electric lines.

GPR and the Associated Constraints

GPR is a very effective method but there are also few limitations that everyone should know about. These limitations include:

  • GPR will find it difficult to penetrate soil where there is high conductivity. This happens in specific soil conditions like saline, shale, or clay.
  • If an antenna of high frequency is utilized with a 300-1000MHz frequency range then it can only provide short distance penetration.
  • If GPR is being used then the utility to be located must have a 1 inch diameter for every 1 foot of depth. For example, if a pipe is being located and it is at a depth of 7 feet then ideally the pipe should have a diameter of 7 feet.
  • There are some factors which can impede the GPR’s effectiveness. These factors include environment accessibility, surrounding facilities as well as the density of the soil.