Importance of Securing Septic Tank Lids

 In Septic Knowledge Center


The recent death of a young Florida boy has been a wake-up call for many homeowners about the importance of securing septic tank lids.

The boy disappeared during a family birthday party at a park in Jacksonville, and his body was found inside a septic tank that evening.

The boy’s death started an investigation by TV reporters into septic tank safety, and a promise from the Jacksonville mayor to standardize all the tank lids in city parks.

Florida regulations require tanks to be covered so that manholes are resistant to tampering, vandals, and children. Tanks can be secured with either:

  • A lock
  • A lid weighing at least 58 pounds
  • A lid that requires special tools to open

The TV reporters visited parks and boat ramps, where they found inconsistencies with the tank covers and their fasteners.

  • There were tank covers made with a variety of different materials; some were plastic, others fiberglass, and some metal.
  • The fasteners on the tank lids varied also; some had padlocks, and others were bolted shut. At one park, the bolts that were supposed to secure the lid had corroded, making it easy to open.
  • Many parks had more substantial security measures, including lids with padlocks, and in a few cases, access to the openings was inside buildings that were not open to the public.

This is why the lids, and their fasteners, need to be standardized throughout the city – to ensure safety in all parks.


The risk extends beyond public property, and includes any homes that have a septic system in their backyards. There are thousands of homes in SW Florida with the same safety issues.


Have a professional inspect your tank and assess your lid and fastening system.

  • Make sure the lid is secure and in good shape
  • If it is locked with a fastener, make sure the riser is in good shape so the fastener is firmly bedded.
  • Make sure all screws and fasteners are locked in place.

It is best to use stainless steel fasteners, because they will withstand corrosive gases from the tank, as well as salty coastal air.


You can install an extra safety feature – for added protection – in case a tank is ever left open or exposed.

All septic tanks can be inexpensively retrofitted with a safety device. Septic manufacturers offer products that can prevent someone from falling in, such as screens that fit inside a riser, or a locking mechanism that can only be opened with a key.

An accident can happen in a moment, so never leave the lid open or unsecured – even for a minute.





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