Gateway to Subterranea – The Risers

First I did a dry-run to see how things fit together.
Not uncommonly, I had to cut the base-flange to get the first circle to fit hard against the square, formerly “half-moon” riser.
I marked a line and clamped a straight-edge on the base – and changed blades in the circular saw (from rough-cut to plywood) to make a nice clean cut. Zoomie!
I marked the concrete with a big fat Sharpie to establish the outline, and where the epoxy stickum-caulk would go once the center clean-out plugs were removed.
And then it was time to mix some mortar and set the first square-hole.
With that in place I assembled the vertical stacking pieces (six screws each) and laid-down the gooey stick-em.
I removed the octagonal center plugs and set down each circular riser.
The last bit was to cement-down the end-unit, the final square – and top it with a lid.
The concrete form for the tank is a kind-of rough casting and not entirely symmetrical. I tried to make it as straight as I could but the pieces only fit together one way. At least there was more room on the overflow end so the last flange did not require cutting.
I’ll back-fill it tomorrow. Country Livin’ at its finest!

About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

12 thoughts on “Gateway to Subterranea – The Risers

  1. Thanks for the comments NC! I’ve learned a lot. This is the internet at it’s finest.

    My follow up question would be.. So do you have to be careful about cleaning products that might get flushed down the drain & kill off the munchers in the tank. Chlorine bleach would seem to be an obvious “don’t” What about soaps? What about dishwasher & laundry detergents? Seems some are/were lye based a probably ++NG for living organisms.

    Do the li’l munchers work on paper products like the wet-wipes & fem-absorbants alluded to in the previous post (or were they simply overwhelmed by the volume).



    • This is why I kept blogging, and the Gunblogger Rendezvous.
      So OK, soaps and stuff usually say, “Septic Safe” – or on my bottle of Lysol toilet cleaner (after reading the fine print) it says, “will not harm septic systems” in small print on the back. So we use Dawn on dishes, and Cascade in the dishwasher, and Persil laundry soap and various shower-washes – and shaving cream…and I was kinda surprised to learn how much of the country is NOT on “City Water and Sewer.” A gun-owner friend of mine back in Massachusetts who lives in a town where one might expect to have ALL the modern amenities – is on a septic system. It’s an infrastructure thing I guess based on square-grid towns and cities. We also don’t have a PG&E gas-line, we have a propane tank.
      The wet-wipes problem and other feminine products like napkins and tampons is that they are not really paper, they’re a fibrous material of another sort that don’t break down, so besides filling-up the solid-wast side of the tank they may necessitate more frequent pumping-out.
      And I just don’t get the Metro-Man who uses wet-wipes instead of toilet paper. Was he raised by an overly protective Helicopter Mommy?


  2. Having ZERO experience with septic systems, I’m a bit lost, too.

    The green plastic risers are actually new covers that replace the octagonal concrete covers, right? They stick up higher so you don’t have to move a lot of dirt to pump the tank, and they’re a lot easier to remove the covers from instead of lifting a big chunk of concrete, right?

    But what are the little square boxes you added? Are these additional access points, or just vents?


  3. Back in NJ, my dad’s house dumped the showers, and I think bathroom sinks also, directly to a leachfield. Hmm, it may have been even closer than the actual leachfield. Maybe the side yard. There was an open top tank inset into the ground, next to the house. I’m guessing there were lines radiating out into the three sides of the house that had grass and trees. I have a vague memory of him pointing out the tank, and telling me what fed it, on my first visit back from CA.

    Water table is very close to the surface in South Jersey, and I think that causes problems with leachfields there. Must say, the row of trees in the leachfield looked really healthy!


    • I was told the water table was somewhat high up here, because of granite formations – but that would not have made any real impression without all the rain to demonstrate it! I think we’re ok in that regard anyhow.


  4. Ok.. I’m confused.

    I’ve never lived with a septic system before but am considering a move to one, so I’m hoping to learn.

    I had expected they could do a pump out via one of the access holes, yet it seems you had to get access to the entire lid? But your mods seem to suggest “if we just get access to these points, the next time we have to do this will be a lot easier.”

    Sideways related question, what gets plumbed into the septic? Is it just the toilets or is do the sinks & showers feed it as well? (If not, where do the sinks and showers go?)

    Thanks for the benefit of your experience


    • Hi Danno! This is a first for me too. I dug out the whole tank because I wanted to see first-hand what the issue was, but all I really needed to dig-for was the first TWO access holes/inspections. Also they charge a LOT for digging, so I decided to do it myself because the ground was/is wet from the recent El Nino rain and was actually do-able by hand. Otherwise it would be hard as Arizona rock and I would need a back-hoe or something (another excuse to buy a tractor?).
      This home was built in 1987 and I understand that newer tanks don’t follow this “four-port” (as I call it) design model.
      From the left, the first “half-moon” hole is the wast-entry port where the waste line come-in. That’s all gray-water including sinks and shower and washing machine and dishwasher etc. comes in. Then the first full-circular (octagonal actually) port is the solid-waste half/chamber off the tank (which was full to the brim), and the second one is the liquid component/half/chamber, and the last (which is another “half-moon”) is the outflow > leading to the leach-field.
      Since everything was open to view the pump-guy cleaned and hosed-down each area, because Overflow-Junk-in-the-Trunk… Because this 1,000 gallon tank (normal house-size) had not been serviced in so long he did a nicely thorough job cleaning and hosing each section.
      Now that I have risers in place, future service is much easier because the big main lids are just screwed down with four screws and will be at grade level. They are plastic and very sturdy and could even support the weight of the 42″ riding mower, but I don’t plan to have any grass there anyhow.
      The two half-moon ports will be covered by a couple inches of dirt to seal-off odors. The risers just bring everything up, making access easier.
      Normally the tank would be inspected during the home inspection and be negotiated as a contingency during escrow, but this place sold so fast we released all contingencies and relied upon the homeowner-provided house-inspection report.
      A cost-benefit side-effect of this lack of sewer infrastructure, is that I only pay for water-in not water AND sewer, so my water bill is half that of the other house that is on a city sewer line.


Comments are closed.