What Is a Septic Tank Cleanout Riser?

Rural and suburban homes without access to community or municipal sanitary sewer systems often use septic systems for home waste disposal.

Riser Use

Access to buried septic tanks is accomplished through risers.Access to buried septic tanks is accomplished through risers.
The septic system is comprised of a septic tank where solid waste liquefies before flowing into the drain or leach field, where the liquids evaporate or soak away. The riser serves as the connective passage between the access openings of the septic tank and ground level.

Septic tanks have one or two access openings with a riser above each. If there are two risers, one is positioned above the inlet baffle and the other at the outlet baffle. Plumbers use the risers to access the septic tank to check for clogs in the baffles. Septic tank pumping services use the risers to insert hoses to pump any sludge buildup from the tanks.

Riser Height

Septic tank depths vary, depending on the depth of the basement of the home. A home with a deep basement will have a septic tank where the top of the tank is below the level of the floor of the basement. The riser is long enough to reach between the top of the septic tank and ground level. Concrete and PVC are the most common riser materials.

Riser Covers

The most convenient riser cover fits low over the riser pipe at near ground level. This allows you to mow over the riser cover rather than around the fixture.

Riser Safety

The riser cover should fit tightly over the riser pipe to prevent rainwater and snow melt from entering the septic tank through the riser, which would increase the septic system load. Use a cover that latches in place or has another childproof security feature to prevent playing children from opening the riser and dropping items into the septic tank.

About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.