What Is a Septic Tank Riser Kit and Is It Necessary?

Posted by
Cameron Wise on May 26, 2023

Septic tank maintenance is a task that no homeowner looks forward to, yet it must be performed on a regular basis to maintain the health of the system. The time, cost, and hassle of digging up a yard each year persuade some homeowners to inspect and maintain their systems less frequently than they should. For homes with septic tanks that are difficult to access, septic tank risers provide a convenient, inexpensive solution. Below you can find information about the purpose of septic tank risers, where they are located, their installation cost, and the benefits of incorporating a riser in a septic system.

Learn more: What is a septic tank?

What is a septic tank riser kit?

A septic tank riser is a large-diameter pipe that eases access to a septic tank. It extends from the access port of a septic tank to the ground above, allowing maintenance and inspection to be performed easily. A riser can be made of either concrete or plastic, but most new installations utilize plastic risers. A septic tank riser kit provides all the necessary riser components for installation. The most basic kits include a lid, adapter ring, and a section of riser. Some riser kits include longer riser sections and safety lids that add an additional layer of security. Once installed, a riser quickly pays for itself. Septic risers do not need to be dug up, so septic systems that include a riser benefit from much lower inspection and pumping costs. Because of their benefits, septic risers are highly recommended for all septic systems.

Learn more: How to maintain your septic system

How much does septic riser installation cost?

You can expect to pay an average of $300 to $400 for professional septic riser installation, all parts and labor included. If you wish to install a septic riser yourself, you can expect to pay between $70 and $200 for parts. For example, a  20x6-inch riser kit with a 20-inch lid, riser, and adapter ring, is listed at just under $80.

A 20x12-inch riser kit with a lid, riser, adapter ring, and additional safety lid costs about $120.

Where are septic tank risers installed?

Septic tank risers can be installed up to the surface of a yard or a few inches underground. Many homeowners opt to cover the lid of a riser with a thin layer of soil to prevent damage to the lid from routine landscape work. If you choose to install your riser with an exposed lid, ensure that the lid is properly locked and never left open unattended. If your riser lid has been damaged by a lawn mower or other landscaping tool, you can install a replacement lid separate from a riser kit.

Do I need a septic tank riser?

New septic systems include a riser upon installation, but many homes with older septic systems do not take advantage of a riser. Some states and municipalities require all septic systems to utilize a riser. Regardless of whether your local laws require a riser or not, easy access to a septic tank provides far more advantages than disadvantages. If your home’s septic system does not contain a riser, consider the many benefits one can provide you.

Benefits of a septic tank riser

A septic tank riser provides the following benefits to your septic system:

  • Lowers long-term maintenance cost. A septic tank riser incurs a one-time cost that decreases your septic system’s maintenance expenses each year. Because the riser makes the tank easily accessible, you will not receive a digging fee when the time comes for inspection or pumping.
  • Simple access for maintenance and inspection. When a septic tank is buried deep underground with no easy access point, many homeowners put off the hassle of maintenance and inspection longer than they should. However, a septic system with a riser provides quicker, simpler, and tidier access to a septic tank than those without a riser.
  • Provides the exact location of the septic tank. To prevent damage to a septic tank, large objects should not pass over or rest directly above the tank itself, especially in wet conditions. Vehicles driving over or parking on top of the location of the tank are the primary causes of septic system damage. When a septic riser is exposed to the surface, it reminds homeowners of the precise location of the tank so that it may avoid damage.

septic tank access

What size septic tank riser do I need?

Before purchasing a septic tank riser, you must know the size of the access port of your septic tank. The riser size appropriate for your tank will be the next size above the size of your tank’s hole. For example, a septic tank with an access port that is 22 inches wide must use a 24-inch riser kit.

The height of the riser needed is determined by the depth at which your septic tank is buried. If you do not know the depth of your tank, dig down to the access port cover and measure the distance between the cover and the surface. This distance will reveal the appropriate height for riser installation.

How to install a septic tank riser

Once you attain the appropriate size riser for your tank, your riser is ready to install. While professional installation is recommended, a septic tank riser can be installed by a skilled DIYer. If you choose to install a riser yourself, ensure that you do not work alone. Septic tanks emit toxic gases that can be harmful if inhaled in high concentrations. Never stick your head directly into a septic tank, and never leave an open septic tank unattended. Children and pets should remain clear of any openings to the tank. Do not install a septic riser yourself if you are not able to take proper precautions. If you are comfortable installing a septic riser yourself, follow the steps below.

  1. Dig down to the access port of the septic tank. Most tanks will have an access port in the tank’s center, but some may be at the tank’s inlet or outlet. Before you start digging, know the location of your tank’s access port.
  2. Measure the depth of the tank’s access cover. The depth you measure will determine how long the riser must be to reach the surface.
  3. Clean around the access port cover. Before the sealant can be installed for the riser, grime, water, and other debris must be removed for the sealant to be effective. Before you continue to the next step, allow the area to completely dry.
  4. Add sealant to the bottom of the adapter ring. Use the sealant recommended by the riser manufacturer. For Tuf-Tite septic risers, butyl sealant is the most effective.
  5. Install the adapter ring. Place the adapter ring over the access hole of the septic tank.
  6. Screw the riser to the adapter ring. Once the adapter ring is sealed onto the access port cover, the riser itself can be added to the adapter. Tuf-Tite risers secure to the adapter ring via screws.
  7. Add additional risers if needed. If more risers are required to reach the appropriate height, you can add more riser pieces to those that are already installed. To ensure a proper seal, the appropriate sealant must be added between riser pieces.
  8. Install the safety lid (if applicable). If you purchase a riser kit with a safety lid, it must be added to the inside of a riser section. This adds an additional layer of safety to your riser system.
  9. Install the riser cover. Tuf-Tite riser lids are secured with six vertical screws and one horizontal screw. Ensure that the lid is appropriately tightened so that it cannot be opened unintentionally.

Once your septic tank riser is installed, monitor the system over the next couple of weeks, ensuring no leaks are present due to an ineffective seal.

How to care for a septic tank riser

A septic tank riser should be inspected annually alongside your septic tank. Care should be taken not to damage your riser with a lawn mower, weed eater, or other landscaping tools. Plant roots can penetrate a septic riser if allowed. Consequently, trees, shrubs, and other plant life should not be located near a septic riser. Mulch is also potentially hazardous to a septic system. If mulch falls into a riser during inspection, it can clog the outlet and cause major functional problems with your septic system.



If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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