Septic tank inspection port

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  #1  
Old 03-13-19, 07:34 AM
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Septic tank inspection port

I am trying to dig out the inspection port on a 1500 gallon tank that was installed in 1992. I started at the inlet end of the tank, about 10 feet from the house. I have found one corner of the port and have dug a rather large hole. So far, I have exposed a length along the lines from the corner that measure 28" x 42" but have not found the other corners. There is a lift eye about 16 inches from the line that measures 42" so if that is in the center, I guess I can expect the 28" dimension to expand to 32" Would that be correct. ?

I am really surprised at the apparent size of this opening. Am I digging up the correct port? Getting that size chunk of concrete off the tank will be a real problem.

Any suggestions, advice?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-13-19, 07:38 AM
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Most modern day tanks have 2 access lids [on opposing sides of the top] Each is a foot or so square with thin rebar like handle. My son has a house with a pre 70s tank. On his, on each side there is about a 1.5' section the width of the tank that slides/lifts off.
 
  #3  
Old 03-13-19, 03:21 PM
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Update on inspection port problem.


With considerable more digging, I have found the dimensions of the inspection port to be 48" x 32". Don't know what that cover is going to weigh but I know I am not able to remove it. But another problem has surfaced. The prior owner had a sprinkler system installed and the water pipe and multiple wires cross the corner of the inspection port and are directly on the top of the port. I only found one lift loop in the top of the port and it is near the water/electric lines. It would seem impossible to lift the cap without first removing the wires/water pipe. I can handle the plumbing issue but waterproof splices underground would be a real concern.

I am thinking about renting a concrete cutting saw and cutting into the inspection port cap to make the size of the removable port more manageable. What would be the minimum size I should cut the new opening that would be adequate for a pumping company to service this tank if pumping should be necessary?

Does this seem to be a reasonable way to handle the problem.?
 
  #4  
Old 03-14-19, 02:08 AM
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That sounds like the type of tank my youngest son has. There should be an identical access cover on the other end of the tank.They aren't that hard to pry up and tip out of the way.

Some folks install a PVC access port to their tanks but I don't know how they are installed. I'd assume the appropriate size hole would be drilled thru the lid.
 
  #5  
Old 03-14-19, 06:32 AM
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waterproof splices underground would be a real concern.
It’s not that hard to do – even I was able to do it-lol. They make these heat-shrink kits where you make the connection and slide a tube of material over the connection. When you heat the tube it shrinks way down making a watertight connection. I think I used a propane torch to do the heating (long ago). Here’s an example.

https://www.amazon.com/46-404-Underg.../dp/B00R8MY5A4

I have a concrete septic tank but the concrete access cover is only 24” diameter. I have a hard time moving that cover. Heavy for me but I can do it with a pry bar. I can’t imagine trying to move one that is 24” x 48” and concrete (wondering if kind of cover mark is describing is not actually concrete) .

Was this tank ever pumped? I think in technical terms, if I’m not mistaken, what you are describing is not an inspection port but an access opening. I think the inspection ports are much smaller and you just look down them. I think that’s correct, but not 100% sure.

Just mentioning that because maybe a little farther away there might be an actual inspection port if that’s what you really wanted.
 
  #6  
Old 03-14-19, 09:06 AM
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I assume [but don't know] that the covers on each end of my son's tank is some sort of lightweight concrete. They are heavy but manageable. Most tanks I've been around are more like mine with a square beveled piece of concrete with a rebar like handle that you pull up both to inspect and/or pump out. I've always seen 2 ports, one on each end of the tank. Mine are probably 1' square and about 1' from the ends of the tank.
 
  #7  
Old 03-14-19, 10:12 AM
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If you cut your lid into two pieces make sure you seal or cover the cut slot before you back fill. Rain water can wash the dirt down into the tank.
 
  #8  
Old 03-14-19, 01:07 PM
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My son's tank had a good bit of dirt in the tank when we had it pumped [they couldn't get it all ] So before covering the tank back up I put 2 layers of roofing felt over the joints. Shingles would have been better but I used what I had.
 
  #9  
Old 03-14-19, 05:44 PM
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Yes, I went by the county sanitarian's office (now an environmental specialist, I learned) and she also told me to be sure to seal out ground water. In fact, she thought cutting the lid to be a not too good idea (possible cave-in) and suggested removing the pipe/wiring so the lid can be removed with machinery.

I have pretty well decided to rent a cut off saw and remove a 16" square at the corner of the cover to do the sludge measuring and provide access for pumping if necessary. I did learn that the 1992 tank does not have a filter.

Thanks to all.
 
  #10  
Old 03-15-19, 03:04 AM
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If you cut off an 16" square how will you support it when you put it back?
When was the last time the tank was pumped? If it's been more than a few yrs it would be a good idea to do so. The pumper will know the best way to remove the lid. They'd probably be willing to tell you how if you asked.
 
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Old 03-15-19, 05:35 AM
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Or, I like to install a tank riser with a lid above ground. My local septic tank company sells a retrofit that has a concrete skirt cast around the plastic riser. You put a bead of sealant around the tank opening then set the riser on top. The weight of the concrete helps it seal and holds it in place while you back fill. Then in the future the tank can be serviced without any digging though it does create one more obstacle to mow around.
 
  #12  
Old 03-15-19, 06:33 AM
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The pumper will know the best way to remove the lid
mark that’s why I asked that also. It just seems crazy that you would need a machine or something to pick up a lid to have your tank pumped. But I’m really no expert for sure.
 
  #13  
Old 03-15-19, 06:41 AM
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You shouldn't need a machine to remove the lid. A pumper should know all the little tricks that makes the job easier as that is something they do everyday.
 
  #14  
Old 03-15-19, 11:32 AM
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I see quite a few pump trucks in my area pulling a small backhoe. I think they prefer to open the ground mechanically rather than all the effort to manually dig out a tank opening.

How will I support the tank lid portion I cut out of the tank? I will plan to use adhesive to glue a treated lumber board or a piece of angle iron to the inside of the tank top to support the piece I cut out. If I can not find a suitable adhesive for the purpose I will drill into the tank top and bolt the board/angle iron to the tank to support the piece. The idea being to created a shelf for the piece to rest on. If I cut the corner off the large inspection port I will have two sides with the beveled edge to provide support there.

This is a lot more than I bargained for.
 
  #15  
Old 03-15-19, 02:00 PM
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You are not going to glue anything to the inside of your septic tank. There is just no way you will be able to clean the concrete well enough for anything to stick. And, it's a toxic gas environment so you can't stick your head down in there to work. You also should not use wood or steel inside the tank. It's always warm and wet inside so not good for wood and the sewer gas is corrosive and not good for steel or aluminum. You'll need to use stainless steel or plastic.
 
  #16  
Old 03-15-19, 04:59 PM
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Thanks for the information. On rethinking the cut of the cover, if I cut a triangle off the beveled cover, I would have two sides that would be self supporting and the third side (I would think) will be jammed against the remaining lid where I could put a metal plate over the cut to assure it would not cave in. Does that seem reasonable?.
 
  #17  
Old 03-15-19, 05:24 PM
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Any suggestions, advice?
Yes, Call a septic pumping company and have them pump your tank, you will get to see all you need to know watching them. Cutting an opening is going to create more problems than you think. Spend the money and do it right.
 
  #18  
Old 03-15-19, 05:28 PM
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Ron: I think you are disregarding the problem with the wiring and pipe for the sprinkler system. I am sure any septic service company can lift off the lid and pump the tank and leave me with the plumbing and electrical issue.

The only benefit I see out of getting a septic service company to the site before I check the level of sludge is they may know what could be found in the way of access to the tank from the area of the tank which I have not exposed with my shovel.
 
  #19  
Old 03-16-19, 02:10 AM
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Uncover the other end of the tank. I have yet to see a septic tank that didn't have 2 access lids. The sprinkler system should be rerouted. If you don't know the last time the tank was pumped it's time.
 
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