Septic Tank Risers: The Super Efficient, Easy-Access Gateway to Your Septic Tank

Stacy Sare Cohen
Written by Stacy Sare Cohen
Updated December 9, 2021
Septic tanks and sewage system
Photo: gballgigg / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • A septic tank riser typically runs $200–$400 including installation

  • Risers cut labor costs because they save septic contractors time

  • Installing a septic tank riser is not a DIY project 

  • Septic tank risers come in concrete and plastic styles

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If you’re a U.S. homeowner who depends on a septic tank, you know they’re buried deep into the ground and can be difficult to locate and access when it’s time for maintenance. As a result, you could pay hefty digging fees and labor costs. The good news: with a septic tank riser, you can now locate and maintain your septic system quickly and put that money back in your pocket. Here’s what you need to know about septic tank risers.

What Is a Septic Tank Riser?

A septic tank riser is a large, durable pipe made of plastic or concrete that extends from your septic tank deep in the ground to the surface of your lawn. The riser connects to the septic tank through an access port or pumping opening. Risers contain lids you can open easily for inspection, maintenance, and pumping, which eliminates the need to dig up your yard. 

The Benefits: How Septic Risers Save You Money

In general, septic system manufacturers recommend inspecting your septic tank every year and pumping every three to five years. But when your septic system doesn’t have a riser, you could incur unnecessary costs.

No Digging Fees

If you or your septic tank technician don’t know the exact location of your tank, they’ll need to spend time, and your hard-earned money, digging up the dirt to find it. After servicing and pumping your septic tank sans riser, they’ll need to recover the tank with dirt and then dig a new hole every time they service it in the future.

Reduces Labor Costs 

Installing a septic tank riser that’s visible to the eye helps the contractor immediately access the riser lid, insert the pump hose, and get to work. This means they can leave their heavy equipment at home, which saves you from paying significant labor fees.

You’ll Only Pay for Materials and Labor Once

When installing a septic tank riser, you’ll only pay for labor and materials at the time of installation. A septic tank riser pays for itself with the money you’ll save on yearly inspections and regular local maintenance.

Septic Tank Riser Styles

construction of the sewage system
Photo: Ekaterina / Adobe Stock

Septic tank risers measure eight to 24 inches and come in various concrete and plastic styles. Each style has its advantages and drawbacks.

Concrete Septic Tank Risers

Concrete septic tank risers provide more durability, but they also have their disadvantages.  

Pros:

  • Can last up to 40 years with proper draining and maintenance 

  • Sturdier than plastic septic tank risers

  • Require less maintenance than plastic

Cons: 

  • Difficult to install

  • Expensive to buy

  • Vulnerable to corrosion and cracking over time

  • Incur higher labor costs to lift and maneuver during install or inspections

Plastic Septic Tank Risers

Plastic septic tanks risers come in PVC and polyethylene as well as other plastic styles.

Pros:

  • More affordable to buy and install than concrete

  • Do not require heavy equipment for transport

  • Lightweight compared to concrete septic tank risers

  • You can cover them with sod to improve their aesthetics

  • Doesn’t crack like cement

  • Plastic resists erosion

Cons:

  • Can be crushed beneath the soil

  • Not as sturdy as cement

  • Requires more maintenance than plastic

How Much a Septic Tank Riser Costs

It’ll cost $200 to $400 to install a septic tank riser. You’ll pay double the price for double septic tank risers. Concrete risers cost more to install than plastic risers due to their weight, and the equipment required for installation.

Installation Usually Requires a Plumber

Because of the complexity of septic tank installation, it doesn’t make for a good DIY project. While you can buy all of the materials online to self-install, there are many safety risks of a DIY installation. Opening a septic tank access can release noxious gases and potentially knock someone unconscious. Additionally, waterproofing and making sure the risers are secured together can be tricky without training.

If you’ve bought a new home or don’t know the location of your septic tank, a local septic tank contractor can find your tank with an electronic locator or a soil probe. They’ll dig up the area around the access hole, then refill the ground around the pipe and place a lid on the upper part of the riser for easy future access. 

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