New Mexico
Environment Department

Contact Information:
(505) 827-2855 MAIN // 1-800-219-6157 (toll free)
Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)

Liquid Waste Program

Septic Tank Safety

Every year families around the country suffer the preventable and devastating loss of life that happens when young children and family members fall into septic tanks and drown.

The Liquid Waste Regulations state (Section that a secure lid shall consist of one or more of the following:

  • a padlock
  • a twist lock cover requiring special tools for removal
  • covers weighing 58 pounds or more, net weight
  • a hinge and hasp mechanism that uses stainless steel or other corrosion resistant fasteners to fasten the hinge and hasp to the lid and tank for fiberglass, metal or plastic lids; or
  • other mechanisms approved by the department.

Lids are worthless if they are not properly positioned and secured. 

Please call a liquid waste professional to install or repair safe lids on your septic tank.

Please contact your local field office if you have questions about septic tank safety.

Safe Lids

Safe lids may be secured with screws.

Heavy lids (58 pounds or more) are difficult for children to tamper with.


Dangerous Lids

A mattress is not a proper lid!

Plywood and tin are not safe tank lids!

Plywood is not a proper lid!

Notice the metal riser has rusted through and should be replaced by a qualified liquid waste professional.