Reasons You Should Not Bury Access to Your Septic Tank

Example of a buried access point to a septic system.
when you bury the access point to your septic system it can make it harder to maintenance your tank.  This image shows an access point below grade.

As a septic system service company, Supeck Septic has been helping our home and business owners for decades. We know sometimes septic lids can make your yard an eye sore, however there are reasons that you should never bury access to your septic tank.

Grandfathered Septic Tank Systems:

First, we need to talk about grandfathered septic tanks. The truth is many tanks have buried access points for varied reasons. Older septic tanks were not required to have access points above grade.

The definition of Grandfathering in the sense of allowing a preexisting use to continue despite a new regulation. “Grandfathering” is allowing an existing operation or conduct to continue legally when a new operation or conduct would be illegal. In the State of Ohio that means that if your tank was installed prior to 2007 your septic tank does not need to meet current regulations.

The Ohio Health Department passed new legislation in 2011 that says septic systems that were installed before the rule went into place – will be grandfathered in unless they are causing a public-health nuisance.  The new rules also created a statewide appeals process for owners who have been denied a permit to install a septic system or ordered to replace an existing system. You can read the piece of legislation HERE.

In Ohio regulations require all new septic tanks have access to grade and above the compartment wall. The access must have a minimum of a twelve inches opening to provide adequate cleaning, inspections, and maintenance.

Reasons Why You Should Avoid Burying Access to Your Septic Tank:

Supeck Septic Services is committed to helping home and business owners understand the regulatory and compliance standards in Ohio, as well as assisting homeowners make informed decisions regarding their septic system maintenance.

Here are the top things every owner of a septic system should consider when dealing with a buried septic access point.

Accessible for Maintenance and Inspections:

Person digging to find the access point to conduct regular maintenance of a septic tank.

Access to the septic tank is crucial for regular maintenance and inspections. Burying the access makes it difficult for professionals to inspect the tank, clean it, or perform any necessary repairs. Often, homeowners are not aware that this is a requirement and will put landscaping around the tank as a “camouflage.”  We understand, but if you can leave the access point above grade it is always to your benefit as a homeowner.

We have a great blog on landscaping tips for your septic system HERE if you are interested in reading more on this topic.

Easily Accessibility for Septic Tank Pumping:

Septic tanks require periodic cleaning to remove accumulated solids. Regular maintenance is a State requirement, however if the access is below grade, it becomes challenging, time-consuming and expensive process. If digging is required we typically suggest adding risers to your septic tank ensuring you never experience an additional charge to dig again. Accessibility is key, especially in an emergency.

Emergency Repairs for Septic Systems:

Ohio home in winter with frozen ground

The combination of winter snow and frozen ground will make accessing the tank difficult in the event of a sudden issue or emergency. Quick access to the septic tank is essential for timely repairs. Buried access can significantly delay response times and exacerbate problems.

Property Resale Value:

We always recommend having a septic tank inspected prior to purchasing a home. If your home has a septic tank that is still in working order, you are not required to do anything more than disclose the system’s age or any known issues. However, if an inspection does uncover problems, you may be asked to make those repairs as part of the sale process. You can read our recommendation on our blog HERE.

Long-Term Costs:

Buried access may increase the cost of maintenance and repairs over time due to the additional effort required to access the tank. We will dig up to a foot (12 inches) to access the tank at no additional charge however if the lid is deeper we do charge a nominal fee. The installation of risers will eliminate these costs in addition if there is an emergency accessing the tank is easier for our technicians. If your access is an issue every time you tank has maintenance, you can address it with risers.  We always recommend adding them for homeowners.

How Can Supeck Septic Services Help?

With more than 5 decades in the septic service industry we have seen it all. Our knowledge of the septic rules and regulations in Northeast Ohio runs deep. We are happy to offer advice and suggestions that make maintenance and rule compliance a breeze.

If you have concerns about your septic system, call us.

We are here to help you! Contact us today!