Thursday, May 10, 2012

Interesting Technique For Septic Vent Covers

Fed Up Of Looking At Ugly White Septic Pipes In Your Yard?

Last fall we were told by the condo association that during the winter a new septic leech field was going to be initiated and that it was going to run through our back yard and down near the swamp that sits back there.  Actually, it’s more like a swamp but we like to call it a pond because it sounds classier.

Anyways, no big deal.  We are hardly up there during the off season, and the contractor who was scheduled to do the install had detailed plans on how he was going to germinate the land with grass and spread hay over it and all that good stuff.  So we were thinking it would be kinda neat to have a new yard put in for free too!

Our kids and nephews use the back yard a lot during spring and summer.  They play frisbee, run around and play tag etc.  It’s a wonderful area for them to unwind and release energy.
Ugly Septic Cover Vents Like these

So long story short I travel up there this last Spring to check on the usual and to my surprise there are several septic pipes scattered throughout the back yard!  Big, ugly, bright white PVC pipes sticking up like sore thumbs waiting to collide with a child.  I couldn’t believe it!
And as if that wasn’t bad enough the builder installed the cement septic tank cap and the pump utility box right in the middle of the property amongst the forest of ugly white PVC pipes.

In a rage I contacted the contractor and after he calmed me down a bit he explained that there was nothing he could do with the white pipes because they were implemented by the DNR.  Apparently with the septic leech field being dug so close to the lake it required an excessive amount of vent pipes (as he called them).

OK, now that I figured the pipes weren’t going anywhere I started looking at them more closely out in the yard.  It was during these inspections that I found they weren’t really vented at all.  They were white PVC pipes capped off on the top with PVC end caps.  At first I thought maybe I could set some of those hollow artificial rocks over them….but there were just too many peeking up in our little area.  It would look like a fake rocks quarry back there.

Then I got thinking….why can’t I just take my handy dandy Sawz-All and cut these off at grade and re-cap them?  I called the contractor back and he told me all but one of the pvc pipes were inspection points.  So if the septic system clogs at some point, the pipes can be opened and looked down to look for the causeof the clog.  He told me they cannot be cut off but didn’t really give me a reason why.

I pretty much realized he was just informing me that because he had to due to liability or some other reason.  I contacted 2 other septic installers and both told me that YES YOU CAN hack the septic pipes off at or even below grade but only if they are just septic inspection areas….you don’t want to mess with the vent pipes.

The main concern with snipping these off is being able to use them if there is ever a problem with the septic tank.  Plus once they are cut you need to make sure you seal them again or dirt, sand, grass, leaves etc will get in and clog the system. 

What I did was dig down around each PVC septic inspection pipe about 7 inches.  I sliced a nice clean cut with my Saws-All and then used PVC glue to attach a threaded PVC end cap on the end which now sets just a tad below grade.  Far enough down for the mower to pass over without a blade strike.  I put a couple small screws into the PVC end cap (short ones so they didn’t puncture it all the way).

Now the septic inspection pipes are 100% under grade, and if I need to find them I can use my metal detector to locate them (that’s what the screws are for), dig them out, unscrew the top and walla they are easily used for inspecting the lines!  And the big concrete septic tank I did end up getting a resin rock cover for.

Is this up to code?  I don’t know and I don’t care!  It works for me,  it looks great and the yard is safe for the kids again.