Thank you all so much for your replies and for the enlightening discussion...has helped me to get pumped up to tackle the pump out. Hadn't thought of the plywood, Diesel, but would be easier to clean up than the tarp I was planning on. No tooth bar, but the reminder to probe frequently is a good one. Cadplans..the tractor is a Kubota BX1860. These things are on the nicest part of my lawns so the disturbed area will be as small as I can make it. Under the topsoil is sandy gravel. I'm told we have an excellent perc rate. I was a little skimpy on the detail for brevity, Larry, but I'm sure the one lid is three feet for sure. Its a double tank system - first for solids which flow into the other tank as they liquify and are pumped into the weeping tiles by a float controlled pump. I had to have the pump replaced a couple of years ago, and the lid was a good three feet down. Put a purpose built plastic riser and lid on that one to bring it 18" from the surface to reduce the dig and will do the same with the other tank this time around. The ramp was what I was hoping to avoid, Bob. Had been wondering if I put the FEL edge straight down and lifted the front end of the tractor, I might be able to curl my way down....however, if that was possible I'm pretty sure you would have done it. I'm thinking I might run into some Western Red Cedar roots in the process, but well away from the buried services. Thank you all for you ideas and experience. This is not the kind of feedback I could get anywhere else and I really need to know. Just wanting to limit the damage, save a couple of bucks and get some seat time (and/or exercise) by having it ready for the pumper truck when he gets here.
Your help much appreciated.