If you are new to septic tanks you may wonder what a septic tank riser is. A septic tank riser is essentially a connection between the septic tank and the surface of your yard. Septic tanks are usually buried a few feet underground for health and safety reasons. Tucking them underground also prevents the spread of septic odors. Having a septic riser installed allows your tank to be buried a few feet underground while still allowing easy access for when it needs to be pumped, maintained or inspected. I have had the unfortunate experience of needing my septic tank pumped, before I had a septic riser installed. It took me a few hours to dig down to the top of the septic tank and that was the easy part. I then had to find location the septic tank lid, so I kept digging around and eventually I found it. I had the guy who pumped my septic tank install a riser the next day. Now that I have the riser installed future pumpings will be a lot less work for me. Septic risers come in three different materials: concrete, PVC, and polyethylene.
Concrete Septic Tank Riser
The concrete septic tank riser is probably the cheapest kind and is also one of the most difficult to install because of its weight. The lid is also made of solid concrete and it is too heavy and cumbersome to remove each time the tank has to be inspected or pumped. Depending on your landscaping the concrete septic riser may be hard to look at, unless your backyard is entirely concrete. Concrete risers have also been known to leak and decompose over the years. The disadvantages clearly outweigh the benefits and for this reason people tend to avoid concrete septic tank risers.
Polyethylene Septic Tank Riser
The polyethylene septic tank risers are quite popular; however, it is difficult to seal the connection between the riser and the concrete septic tank. This is can cause all kinds of problems if your septic tank ended up over flowing.
PVC Septic Tank Riser
That brings us to our third choice: the PVC septic riser. This type is the most popular, it is easy to install, light weight and the edges are designed to make a tight seal with the septic tank’s surface. The only drawback is that it can cost a pretty penny; you get what you pay for.
The type of septic tank riser you select is personal preference and you will want to select a type that somehow fits into your landscaping. If you have a lot of concrete in your landscaping then a concrete lid sticking out of the ground would not be such a big deal. You do also have the option of covering the lid completely with something aesthetic like gravel or paving tile. Keep in mind that the lid will have to be uncovered when a septic tank is pumped so do not place anything permanent on top of the septic riser. As I mentioned earlier, after I dug out my septic tank lid, a septic tank servicing company came and pumped my septic tank. While they were there, I had them install a PVC riser at the same time. It took them about 10 minutes to install the riser, seeing as I had already done all the back-breaking labor by digging the septic tank out, the riser was really no problem.
If you want to install a septic tank riser and money is an issue keep in mind that the septic tank contractors do charge quite a hefty hourly wage. In my case it was not so expensive because I spent the hours digging, they did not. There are some places where having a septic tank riser is a legal requirement, so if you live in those areas then the contractor who installed the septic tank probably installed the riser as well. Another advantage of having a septic riser is that you know exactly where your septic tank is. Even if the riser is not required in your area I strongly recommend that you have one installed because they make your life a lot easier. Perhaps not easier in the sense of “everyday life” but when things go wrong they tend to go wrong at the worst possible time and during the worst possible you do not want to be in the backyard for hours digging a hole in the dirt.