Can You Cut Septic Pipes Down? (Explained)

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The septic pipes are usually connected to the tanks, which are designed primarily to separate solids from the wastewater. As such, it’s not ideal to remove them from your yard. If you feel the septic pipe in your home is unsightly, one thing you can do is to cut it down, leveling it with the ground.

Junction of plastic sewer pipes. Sewage pipeline system of residential building under construction

What are the pipes sticking out of the ground septic?

Here’s what you need to know about the septic system

According to the New York State Department of Health, the septic system consists of six main compositions; the sewer drain, septic tank, trenches, vents, leach field, and the distribution box.

The septic drain is responsible for collecting the discharge from your home fixtures, including toilets and kitchen sinks. The septic tank is also designed to collect discharges from household plumbing.

As for the distribution box; its primary function is to distribute wastewater from the tank to the septic pipes.

Furthermore, the leach field is the system responsible for allowing wastewater treatment by the surrounding soil.

The septic pipe sticking out in your yard is for venting

The pipes sticking out of the ground septic are connected to your septic tank. They are actually yard-based vents for enabling gases to exit the septic system.

According to some people, these PVC pipes are primarily installed for maintenance – if there’s a need for it. Also, they are there to give the plumbers an idea of where the septic line is located.

The septic vent pipes are basically for maintenance purposes. Depending on the materials used for the ground level, septic pipes can be made of different substances.

For instance, if the ground is made of gravel, the pipe material is usually perforated. As for gravel-less grounds, such as grass, the material used for the pipes is mostly PVC.

As earlier mentioned, the septic vents are important to allow gases to escape the septic system. The purpose of this is to prevent dangerous build-ups from forming on the system.

The yard-based septic vent is one of the three forms of septic venting. It usually looks more like a white PVC pipe above your septic system’s leach field.

That said, the yard-based septic vent is designed to work with another vent pipe, often installed on the roof of your home.

Generally, all the septic vents are designed to allow for the equalization of air pressure.

Besides that, they also enable septic gases, byproducts of the bacteria that break down the waste inside the septic tank, to exit the system safely.

Can you cut septic pipes down?

According to complaints on several different discussion forums, many people see their septic vent pipes as unsightly. If you currently also feel the same way, you need to understand that you’re not alone.

Since the septic pipes above the leach field are there for a couple of purposes, it’s safe to say that it’s not ideal to remove them. If you feel the pipes are unsightly, one of the best things you can do is to cut them down to the ground level.

Here’s the thing; yard-based vent pipes aren’t common and most likely are not required by code in many states and countries. However, a few places still require them by code.

Before considering cutting down the vent pipe, there are a few things that you need to do. First, you need to seal the pipe temporarily with plastic and duct tape. After that, check your drains and flush, and be sure everything works well.

If everything works perfectly after sealing the pipe, you can then proceed and cut the pipe to the ground level.

Next, get female coupling and a plug and then install them appropriately. If the ground material is grass, you can consider cutting the vent pipe in a way that will allow you to mow quickly and easily over them.

It’s also important to identify where the vent is installed because of future issues. If any issue comes up later on, all you need to do is remove the plug and install pipes and vent cap on the marked area.

So, the bottom line is that you can always cut down any septic vent pipe that you feel is unsightly in your yard. However, before doing that, you need to be sure cutting the pipe down won’t affect your draining system.

This explains why I recommended that you temporarily seal the pipe with plastic and duct tape.

You can use any of the alternative methods below

However, if you’re confused as to whether or not to cut down the pipe, there are several other things you can consider doing.

You may consider camouflaging the pipe. You can do that by painting the septic vent pipe with the color of the landscape.

If the ground is grass, consider painting the pipe with green pipe paint. For travels, all you need to do is opt for the same paint color as the ground.

Alternatively, you may consider stacking rocks around the septic pipes. This method is only effective if you have rocks around.

If that doesn’t work for you, another thing you can consider doing is making a planter on the pipes.

However, I’ll advise you to give the local Department of Public Health in your area a call and check to see if you can cut down the vent pipes.

Supply of a sewer pipe to a sump on a trench in the village.

How deep are septic pipes buried?

As you already know, septic leach field pipes are very important.

Speaking of their depth below the ground level; the trench has to be about 18 to 30 inches. The minimum depth, according to Clemson Cooperative Extension, is 6 inches.

In addition to that, there must be a maximum soil cover over the disposal field of 36 inches.

What happens if you break a leach pipe?

There are several warning signs you’ll get to understand that your leach pipe is broken or failing. For instance, one symptom of a broken leach pipe is that you’ll keep perceiving a strange gas odor from the drains.

Furthermore, a broken leach pipe can also cause you to experience a slow drain on more than one plumbing fixture.

But you need to understand that this is not the only cause of slow drains. It could also be that tree roots have infiltrated the septic leach field line.

Clogs and backups are also warning signs that your leach line is broken. This is most likely the case, especially if the clog issue is affecting more than one drain. If this is what you’re currently experiencing, then you need to get an expert to fix the issue as soon as possible.

Other common warning symptoms of a broken-down leach field pipe include infestation by insects, soggy lawn, broken slabs, wall cracks, green lawn issues.