A septic tank riser is a lid and large pipe that provides ground-level access to the septic tank’s lid buried below. Discussed further is what a riser looks like, the reasons for having one, and potential concerns with having a riser installed.
What does a septic riser look like?
A proper riser lid should be large, secured, and air-tight. Most modern lids are green in color and made out of poly material. It can be easily camouflaged in grass or landscaping. Older riser lids are often smaller, and an unsecured concrete paver is often used for a lid. A PVC pipe for a riser is much too small for the septic tank to be properly inspected and cleaned. A riser should be 18 inches or larger in diameter for proper cleaning and visual inspecting of the septic tank, and to fulfill the minimum size requirement in Michigan.
Is a septic tank riser a good idea?
Having a riser is highly recommended. It is a septic technician and homeowner’s friend for a few reasons:
Fast Access – The primary benefit of having a riser is having easy and quick access to the septic tank. Access is crucial for fast maintenance when it needs to be pumped or the effluent filter needs cleaning. When no riser is present the homeowner or septic technician will have to spend time locating and digging up the lid.
Avoid Utility Damage. It is common for utilities such as gas, power, or irrigation lines to be buried on top of the septic tank and accidentally cut when searching for and digging up the lid. Having a riser guarantees no utilities will be damaged when the septic tank is pumped.
Lower Maintenance Costs. When servicing the septic system over time, the dig-up fees will add up substantially. A riser eliminates the fees of gaining access to the septic tank when it needs service.
How much do septic tank risers cost?
Risers installed by professionals can cost between $300-500 depending on the size of the riser and the amount of labor required. Make sure the riser being installed has safety features to prevent someone from falling into the tank. It must be sealed properly to the tank to prevent ground water from seeping in and should be installed at the right height to prevent damage from mower blades. Remember, even if you are hesitant to invest in a riser due to the cost it will pay for itself over time.
Do septic risers smell?
It is common to wonder if bringing the access point to ground level will also bring the sewer smell to the surface and ruin the yard’s atmosphere. Old unsealed riser lids could have this possibility but modern poly lids are engineered with a foam or rubber seal that is securely screwed down to the riser. This seals all gases inside the tank. When a riser is installed, fresh air can still be enjoyed during hot summer days.
Not having a riser will demand some shoveling, or paying extra fees each time the septic tank is pumped. But to minimize repeated damage in the yard, and to save time and money, having a riser installed is a great solution.