My wife and I may be possibly buying a house with a septic tank. We had it inspected and the report showed that the tank was in good condition however the "tank lids" would need to be replaced.

I'm going to call around to get prices for service however I was hoping to have a ballpark figure so I know what I would be getting myself into... can someone provide me with some estimated costs? Are we talking hundreds of dollars here? Thousands of dollars?

In addition, how complicated of a process is it to replace the lids?

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  • Since pricing questions are now off topic per our faq this question should probably be edited or closed. – BMitch Apr 11 '13 at 17:31
  • Are you kidding that sounds like a deal. I am having mine inspected tomorrow and if that was the worst they came up with I would be elated. – user57195 Aug 1 '16 at 15:13

To some extent, this is going to depend on the lids required by the manhole material, and local codes. In our area, for example, both concrete manhole covers, as well as bolted down plastic covers are acceptable. That being said, either way it shouldn't be terribly expensive, if it is only the lid that needs to be replaced. For example- I just had a pump tank and elevated drain field added to my system. The tanks that were put in had plastic corrugated manholes, and I opted for plastic lids (the manhole can then be brought down to ground level, and you can mow right over the lid). IIRC the lids themselves were $75/each or so. They just use a 6" lag screw that goes into the plastic manhole (if it is a matter of simply replacing existing plastic lids, you can probably do it yourself).

From my conversation with the installer, he said that using the concrete lids (same type that we have for the primary tank) would be around the same price. I have no idea what the old steel lids cost, but I would guess they are a bit more pricey.

In terms of the labor- if it is just replacing the lids, and no work needs to be done to the manhole, I would guess an hour job at most. If the existing lids are plastic- just unscrew the lag screw, pull the old lid off, put the new one on, and screw down the lag screw. If it is a concrete lid, just dig up the lid (ours were a couple inches under ground, except for the PVC pump tube), pull up the handles, pull off the old lid, place in the new lid. Throw the dirt/sod back on top.


We had our new cement lid installed and mortar replaced at the outlet for $1300.00. It took three men, two trucks and a backhoe. The lid was 61" by 103", and made of cement. It took about two hours. I thought our yard would look worse, but it was just overturned dirt. A few grass seeds, that will fix that I guess. The tank was 24 years old. We found a hole in the yard beforehand, about 10 inches in diameter and about 8 feet deep. I was told gasses caused the hole. They cleaned the tank last August. Too bad it was not found at that time, but it's been a while. It is my understanding it was corroded.

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    That seems outrageously high. I bought an entire tank and had it installed for $800... I guess it depends on where you live and how much you know. – ShoeMaker Apr 12 '13 at 10:48

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