Septic Tank Risers

Image of a septic tank riser being installed. Septic tank risers are something to consider if you live in an area of the country where seasonal temperatures typically fall below freezing and septic systems are generally buried below the frost line.
This post is intended to help the reader better understand the pro and cons of installing a septic tank riser allowing easier access to the septic tank.

Septic tank risers are sometimes incorporated into the original septic design. Septic tank risers are generally constructed of concrete or a plastic polymer to better withstand harsh environmental conditions that septic systems are typically exposed to. They can range from 10” to 24” inches in diameter to 1’ to 10’ feet in height. They are essentially a pipe that is stood upright over the septic tank pump out opening or access port. The riser allows access to the septic tank opening lid minimizing the amount of labor required to expose the access port for pump outs and maintenance. Septic tank pump out companies will usually charge an access fee if they are required to locate and uncover the septic tank lid prior to pumping.

The installation of a septic tank riser is usually accomplished by removing the existing soil around the septic tank lid exposing the top of the septic tank and the access point. The lid of the septic tank is then removed and the septic tank riser is place over the exposed opening where the riser is permanently attached to the opening of the tank bringing the top of the riser to grade level. The ground around the septic tank and riser is then back filled and the septic tank riser lid is placed over the top of the tank. The riser is usually covered with a thin layer of soil where grass can be planted covering the exposed surface.

There are several advantages to incorporating a riser into a septic system. The most obvious is the easy access to the septic system. Septic tank pumpers charge a fee to dig up and expose a septic system in addition to the pumping fee. The riser brings the access point to the surface making it easier to access the opening. Systems located in the northern parts of the country can especially benefit from septic system risers where the ground freezes and becomes too hard to dig up.

If you are in the process of installing a septic system, considering building a home that will require a septic system in replacing an existing system, consider installing a septic tank riser. The additional cost of installing the riser will be recouped within the first few pumpouts.

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