A manhole or drain cover secures and covers the utility holes that lead underground to plumbing systems, drainage systems and waterways. Individuals may need to remove a manhole cover on or near their property to troubleshoot plumbing problems that they are experiencing or to replace a cover that has become corroded and/or damaged. Removing a manhole cover is fairly easy to do.
Clean off the top of the manhole cover, as it may be covered with a layer of dirt, debris and other material. You can use a heavy-duty broom if the debris is loose, or you may need a shovel if the debris has become compacted.
Check the manhole cover design to determine the proper method of removal. Manhole covers typically come in two designs: Solid manhole covers and manhole covers with one or more holes in the top. If you are attempting to remove a manhole cover with a hole, continue to Step 3. If you are trying to open a solid-design manhole cover, skip to Step 4.
Insert a manhole cover hook into the hole in the manhole cover. Usually, this hole is located in the middle of the cover. Hooks can be obtained from a local hardware store, or online (see Resources). Place the hook at an angle and lift it at a 45-degree angle. As the manhole cover moves, pull or push it so that the lifted edge rests on the ground. Once in this position, push the manhole cover to the side.
Place a manhole cover lifter on the top of the solid-design manhole cover. Apply the heavy-duty magnets. These will lock with the metal material of the cover and can be lifted using the dolly's gears. Once the manhole cover is lifted above the height of the ground around it, wheel the manhole cover dolly to the side and place the cover back on the ground.