DIY Septic Cleanout Covers

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diy-septic-cleanout-coverThe cleanouts for our septic tank needed to be covered.  At least I think that’s what these are – cleanouts for the pipes leading to the septic tank.  They need to be covered up so they are easy to get to if ever it is needed.  That’s why they’re there.  To clean out possible “sewage stoppages” – ugh.  Anyway, you could go down to one of the big chain lumber and hardware stores and pay $20 for a “valve cover box” or as much as $50 for a nice sturdy one.  But would we do that?  No!

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These things in our yard are far enough apart that they would require two of the covers.  They are also in a place that we are not likely to ever step because they are soon to be under a (removable) section of deck.  Since they won’t be getting stepped on and they really won’t even be exposed to (much) direct sunlight, I decided to go with what we had on hand – kitty litter containers.  (Well, one of us decided that, the other is still shaking her head and making dis-approving clicking sounds.)

Step one was to measure the diameter of the pipe sticking up.  That was transferred to the middle of the bottom of a kitty litter container and cut out with a sabre saw.  The whole operation – finding a jar lid the appropriate size, finding a Sharpie, drawing around the jar lid, finding the saw, cleaning off a place on the workbench, etc. – took about 5 minutes.  The actual cut took about 15 seconds. I did make the job slightly easier by using a spade bit to make a hole to start the saw. diy-septic-cleanout-coverThe container was then pushed over the cleanout as in the photo above.  I put about 3 inches of gravel in it to weigh it down a bit.  Not sure why – we don’t get much rain here in the high desert and gravel probably won’t keep crawly things out, it just made it look a little neater and made me feel better.


Finally, the dirt was back-filled around the container and I closed the lid.  Then the dis-approving person came by and let me know in no uncertain terms that a kitty litter container sticking out of the dirt was “tacky” – which I had to admit might be true.  So, I dug the dirt back away from them and spray painted them with plastic-adhering paint that just happens to match the trim on our house.  Also reminded the “dis-approver” that the containers would be well-hidden under the deck section.

diy-septic-cleanout-coversDone deal.  You might notice in this last picture the kitty litter containers are facing a different direction than in the above photos.  Decided at the last minute they looked better going the other way. (Absolutely no rationale involved in that decision.)

You might want to use a slightly smaller plastic kitty litter container.  They also come in a size that is about 10″ by 10″ by about 14 ” tall. This version is much thicker plastic, the lid come all the way off, and when it seals it seems to be water proof.  Good luck!


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