Basics of Septic Tank Covers
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 25 percent of U.S. households rely on septic tanks - systems for processing wastewater in remote areas not connected to a larger public or private sewage system. This is true especially in rural areas like Virginia Beach. The tank is buried outside the house, connected to the house by pipes, and has a removable lid. The septic tank cover, or manhole cover, is the only visible part of many septic systems, and the only access point. It also may be the most fragile part of the plumbing system, and could be the source of problems such as nasty sewage odors and leaks into the septic tank. We recommend concrete septic tank covers with decorative additions, and we suggest having them professionally installed. Here is some more detailed information about septic tank covers.
Types of Septic Tank Covers
We suggest concrete septic tank covers because they are durable and strong. These manhole covers will last for years, and they can support heavy weights without cracking or breaking. Of course, the added weight makes installation more expensive and difficult. It also may be more difficult to access the septic system through a concrete septic tank cover, but the additional durability is worth the trouble.
Alternatives include steel and plastic septic tank covers, which each may allow easier access and simpler installation, but they are less durable and have other flaws. Steel manhole covers are liable to rust, and plastic covers may crack easily.
Reasons to Install Decorative Septic Tank Covers
No matter what kind of septic tank cover you install, we suggest adding a decorative element on top of the cover. These are added for practical and aesthetic purposes.
Septic tank covers are often buried, or at least hard to see, below the surrounding grass or brush. If your septic tank cover is below the surface, you need to avoid running it over with a lawn mower or tripping over it while playing in the yard. You may want to place a decorative planter or birdbath over the septic tank cover.
You can also buy specially designed decorative septic tank covers. Many are designed to look like large rocks. They are particularly useful for covering large, bulbous plastic septic tank covers. They can also hide the above-ground venting systems for some septic systems. They will also cover up a big concrete manhole cover in your yard.
Take care when choosing a septic tank cover. The best access point for a septic system is a concrete cover with an additional decorative planter or fake rock.
Author Steve Graham is an expert on green building who writes for several home improvement publications. He's full of great, practical home improvement answers, and incidentally, he's pretty funny - so send hima message.