covering an unsightly septic tank hole

Help Support House Repair Talk:

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
769
Reaction score
133
Our home is on a septic system. I have been told that every 2 years, it should be pumped out. There are currently 2 squares of dirt and broken up grass from where it was dug out in the fall for our purchase of the house. I don't know how deep the cover is from grade. I'd like a cover of some sort that I can run the lawnmower over without a worry. I'd like it to be as simple as removing it for the pump out as needed.

What would you suggest?
 

JoeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
1,742
Reaction score
346
You need a 'septic tank riser'. they are available in many sizes and heights. This will bring the cover up level with the lawn. You won't need to dig every time.
 

joecaption

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
2,523
Reaction score
463
Told by who!
Unless this is something like a 50 year old tiny tank that it needs to be pumped out that often!
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,179
Reaction score
2,278
Location
Erie, PA
My tank lids were about 9" below the surface and the second time I dug them up I went to a local concrete tank place and gave him three exact heights I wanted made as riser rings. The lids now are flush to the ground and opening the tanks every few years only takes a few minutes.

The interval between pumping is different for everyone based on usage and how well the system works, the size of the tanks etc.

Every two years would be short for most people, but would error on the safe side. waiting too long is also not a good thing. You will get a feel for it with time or just do it sooner than later like the old owners did.
 

JoeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
1,742
Reaction score
346
If you open the tank and see liquid you don't need a pump. When the scum layer starts to form that is when pumping becomes important.
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,529
Reaction score
545
Location
Cary NC
I haven't had one since I was a kid, but my real estate agent wife normally has an inspection done when she works with a buyer. A full inspection requires pumping it. A cheap inspection can be done by "dipping" the tank to see how deep the solids are in the tank. If you're not putting stuff down the tank that you shouldn't you can probably go longer than 2 years but your pumping company can probably tell you when they pump it how full of solids it is and go by that. You definitely don't want solids getting into your leaching field. How many people are in your house? That is the big driver of water usage and amount of bio-solids (aka poop) that goes into the tank.
 

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
769
Reaction score
133
I haven't had one since I was a kid, but my real estate agent wife normally has an inspection done when she works with a buyer. A full inspection requires pumping it. A cheap inspection can be done by "dipping" the tank to see how deep the solids are in the tank. If you're not putting stuff down the tank that you shouldn't you can probably go longer than 2 years but your pumping company can probably tell you when they pump it how full of solids it is and go by that. You definitely don't want solids getting into your leaching field. How many people are in your house? That is the big driver of water usage and amount of bio-solids (aka poop) that goes into the tank.
Right now, just the 2 of us. Generally speaking, we are careful what we put in there. It is the solids they are taking? I thought it was the liquid.
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
476
Reaction score
296
Some locales have codes requiring pumping every couple of years. From watching the technician that pumped my tank I think risers might get in the way of angling the rod and hoe used for loosening solids from bottom of tank. I am also trying to figure out what to do, I haven't backfilled yet.
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,529
Reaction score
545
Location
Cary NC
Right now, just the 2 of us. Generally speaking, we are careful what we put in there. It is the solids they are taking? I thought it was the liquid.
The liquids go out into the leaching field. The solids settle to the bottom of the tank and are digested by the microbes in the tank. They don't completely digest the solids so you have to get them pumped out every so often. The more people in the house the faster the solids fill up. There are inorganic things that wind up in the solids that won't break down. Flushing nothing but poop, pee, and TP will go a long way towards not filling the tank up. Flushing baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, cat litter, and having a garbage disposal, will all fill the tank faster and not break down.


Here is a decent article and graphic on how they work from Bob Vila.

 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
476
Reaction score
296
I find that two riser kits would cost more than pumping costs with digging included. My tank is a 1500 gal single compartment with two lids. The poop technician used only the outlet lid for access so I could get by with one kit. It might prove handy to be able to inspect the tank at my convenience so I am procrastinating at the present. 24”x 11” Septic Tank Riser Kit - Wholesale Septic Supply | Wholesale Septic Supply

If it weren't in a strange location I've toyed with the idea of shaping the hole above the lid to fit an ornamental barrel or planter and plugging it.
 
Last edited:

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
769
Reaction score
133
I find that two riser kits would cost more than pumping costs with digging included. My tank is a 1500 gal single compartment with two lids. The poop technician used only the outlet lid for access so I could get by with one kit. It might prove handy to be able to inspect the tank at my convenience so I am procrastinating at the present. 24”x 11” Septic Tank Riser Kit - Wholesale Septic Supply | Wholesale Septic Supply

If it weren't in a strange location I've toyed with the idea of shaping the hole above the lid to fit an ornamental barrel or planter and plugging it.
I don't even know how deep the covers are from grade.
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
476
Reaction score
296
I don't even know how deep the covers are from grade.
It varies with location, mine are around 9" at inlet and 11" at outlet. I suspect the difference is due to my grading by hand and the tank being angled a bir w/respect to house.
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
476
Reaction score
296
I found this small stock tank at TSC (30" x 14"). No decision yet but I could enlarge my hole to 30" diameter, leave the concrete lid on (or not) and just drop it in the hole. I could divert rainwater into it or fill it with mulch and sit a potted plant in the mulch. Decisions, decisions.
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
476
Reaction score
296
Human nature being what it is (especially mine) if inspection is difficult it will seldom (if ever) be done. I am going to remove the lid and install the Tuf-Tite plastic riser. It will permit effortless access for inspection or pumping (and I really need to inspect to be sure the system is working after letting it go for over 40 years).
Screenshot 2021-06-04 1.58.18 PM.png

Screenshot 2021-06-04 2.01.01 PM.png
 

68bucks

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2015
Messages
205
Reaction score
69
Human nature being what it is (especially mine) if inspection is difficult it will seldom (if ever) be done. I am going to remove the lid and install the Tuf-Tite plastic riser. It will permit effortless access for inspection or pumping (and I really need to inspect to be sure the system is working after letting it go for over 40 years).
Screenshot 2021-06-04 1.58.18 PM.png

Screenshot 2021-06-04 2.01.01 PM.png
This is what is required here in NW Ohio for code. Two risers, one on the inlet, one on the outlet. They want to be able to see the baffle too. My tank currently has only one on the inlet so I have to add one to the outlet end. The current one is concrete and has a concrete lid that is flush with the ground. We set a planter on it. And yes you should pump everything few years, cheaper than replacing the leech field.
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,529
Reaction score
545
Location
Cary NC
Human nature being what it is (especially mine) if inspection is difficult it will seldom (if ever) be done. I am going to remove the lid and install the Tuf-Tite plastic riser. It will permit effortless access for inspection or pumping (and I really need to inspect to be sure the system is working after letting it go for over 40 years).
Screenshot 2021-06-04 1.58.18 PM.png

Screenshot 2021-06-04 2.01.01 PM.png
How do the lids hold up with UV light? I assume they use something like the telco vault lids to withstand UV rays from the sun. It would be a very nasty swim if a kid walked on it and it broke.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,179
Reaction score
2,278
Location
Erie, PA
How do the lids hold up with UV light? I assume they use something like the telco vault lids to withstand UV rays from the sun. It would be a very nasty swim if a kid walked on it and it broke.
Both my neighbor and I have a lid/riser like that on our grinder pumps. Mine has held up well it gets a coating of green moss/algae every year and I pressure wash it off when I do the siding in the spring. Mine is close to the house and in the landscaping and is hidden in some bushes. His was out in the yard and cracked when he drove his tractor over it and he had a local shop make him a 3/8 thick steel cover. Mine was held down with a bunch of stainless bolts and in the winter it would get a few inches of ice buildup. One time the float stuck in the winter and the alarm went off and I had a heck of a time getting the bolts out. When I put it back I set an 8x8x16 solid block on top and left the bolts out. It will take a pretty big kid to move that.

The lids take sunlight well.
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
476
Reaction score
296
My tank is a single compartment with two lids. I am only placing a riser at the outlet side as the poop tech pumped from there. I will make a sketch showing measurement and angle from the center of the riser to the inlet lid in case it needs to be dug up. The inlet lid is only down around seven inches I may put a frame around it and fill with mulch.

Just thinking . . . with five acres I could invest in a trash water pump and . . .

A kid would have a hard time falling through a cracked lid, a 24" x 12" riser and maybe a 20" square hole in the tank.
 
Last edited:

ajaynejr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Messages
57
Reaction score
14
The riser should be sealed to the top of the septic tank and should not be much larger in surface area than the port (opening; hole) in the septic tank. This is done to minimize the amount of rain water that seeps through the soil and ending up in the septic tank.

The concrete or steel hatch cover must still be used. Among other things it will prevent someone who breaks through and falls through the plastic riser surface lid from falling into the septic tank.

Lay an 8' long 2x4 on edge across the access hole you dug, in several positions .e.g north-south to get a better idea of how tall a riser you need.
 
Top