Septic Tank Riser – Do You Need One?

Septic Tank Risers Make your Tanks More Accessible

What’s the function of a septic tank riser and why would you need one? Well, if your septic tank service person must dig out your yard every time you need your septic tank cleaned, you do not have a riser installed, and you likely have a concrete lid buried somewhere underground. A riser replaces your existing septic tank lid, giving you above-ground access, making your tank easier to maintain. Installing a riser should also reduce the cost of pumping your tank (this is not a given—be sure to ask). Along with eliminating the need to dig up your septic, risers make it easier to inspect your tank, should problems arise. Depending on your outdoor pipe system, some even allow access for septic main cleaning and inspecting. 

If you have a newer septic tank, your tank may have been manufactured with a riser (or risers) built in. But if you have an older system, most tanks were built with concrete lids that often deteriorate and usually are buried underground. A riser is an inexpensive upgrade that you may want to consider doing next time you have your tank pumped. Most septic pumping services offer riser installation and it's usually cheaper to consolidate services than ordering them individually as you save on service charges.

Septic Tank Riser Styles

Septic tank risers come in a range of styles and are made from several different materials. Some are made from concrete (these are the most durable) but some find them unattractive. Concrete risers are more cumbersome to install and may require equipment to lift them off trucks, making the labor cost more, even while the materials cost less.

Polyethylene, PVC and other plastic septic covers are lighter in weight and some in a range of heights to suit your needs. Ground-level septic risers make it easy to maintain your lawn. Most designs can be adjusted to the height you need. They generally consist of a flange that attaches to your existing tank, some gasket material, a pipe or series of connecting pipes, a safety screen, and a lid. Note that the lids have different load-bearing limits. If you want to drive a mower over it, ask your installer if that’s advisable.

Riser pipes range in size from 8-24-inches and the lengths vary depending on the depth of your tank opening. As previously mentioned, some pipes can be stacked to adjust the height. If you find the lids to be unsightly, you can cover them with sod and note the location so that when you need maintenance, you can lift it up for access, but this kind of defeats the purpose of accessibility and may deprive you of the potential savings of not having to dig out your cover.

Septic Tank Riser Cost

The cost of a septic tank riser can vary, depending on the size, the material, the style, and your installer. Plan on spending at least $150 for a basic model, but know that they can cost up to $400, depending on the model you choose. If you have a double septic tank, double that number. The labor and materials are a one-time fee that you’ll quickly recoup by not paying for digs when you need pumping or inspections. They can usually be installed in a half-hour or less.

Also check out our septic tank pumping blog post.

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