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Chris
Septic Tank Access
Chris

Everything has been working fine with my home's drain system.  In the interests of keeping it that way, I just had my septic tank pumped as preventitive maintenance.  I purchased my Indianapolis home 2 years ago and previous homeowner did not remember the last time it was pumped.

I dug out the mostly clay soil above the 2 access lids of my 1000 gallon concrete septic tank.  The lid over the outlet is only about ten inches underground, while the one over the inlet is about 18 inches down.  Even though these aren't all that deep, I'm wondering about inexpensive ways to make it easier to access the 2 covers in the future.

This house was built in 1960 (not sure of the age of the septic tank, it might be original, but I don't know).  Our neighborhood has municipal sewer lines at the street, although my home is not connected.  I'd like to keep using the septic tank since connecting to the sewer will be $10,000 which includes the price of a macerator / ejector pump to flow uphill to the municipal sewer connection.  However, I also confirmed with municipality that I will not be allowed a permit for any major repairs (such as replacing the septic tank or installing a new leach bed).  I will be required to connect to the city sewer in this case.  So this is why I'm looking at inexpensive solutions to the following:

I priced 2 complete 24" diameter riser packages from Septic Solutions and they would cost $426 combined (parts only, labor extra, although I could possibly install them  myself).  That seems a bit salty to me based on my not knowing how long I'll be able to keep using my septic (hopefully another 50 years, but who knows?).

So, I'm wondering, is there something I can use to the fill the 2 holes over the original concrete lids to make it easier to access?

I was thinking of following:

A:  Fill holes with sand instead of clay, but not sure if the easy passage of water thru sand would lead to rain water percolating down and entering the septic tank through the concrete lids (the mating surfaces are NOT watertight).  Perhaps I could use plumbers putty covered by pieces of plastic tarp laid over the access lids to block water from entering between lid and top of septic tank?

B:  Fill holes with the lightest "soil" I can find at Menards / Lowes / Home Depot as I am assuming it will be easier to dig up than the clay.

C:  Put plastic bags of shipping "popcorn" on top of the lids and then the bottom portion of a large plastic garbage can positioned upside down, and either covered with a thin layer of sand/soil/clay.  Not sure about how much weight the trash can could support, but if I walked over it and crushed the garbage can, I would only fall into packing peanuts, so I wouldn't injure myself.  And the concrete septic access lid would prevent me from falling into the septic tank anyway.

D:  Cut pieces of foam board and layer them sandwich-like into the hole, then cover top portion of hole with soil or mulch or concrete pavers to mark the spots for redigging for future septic tank maintenance.

E:  Cut short pieces of some sort of plastic culvert "pipe" that is say, 24 to 26 inches in diameter, and set them on top of the concrete access lids so they form risers of a sort, and have them either stick up above grade or be at grade, and then set lids on them.  Then, for tank maintenance, I could pull off the lid and pull the concrete access port's lid out through the culvert pipe.  Or pull the piece of culvert pipe out of the ground the next time the tank needs to be pumped.  

Sorry for the long post, just wondering before I refill the holes if there is a "right" way to refill them?

Regards, Cuz.

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