Conventional septic tank systems cost $3,500 to $8,500 to install the systems people are most familiar with. These conventional systems are primarily gravity fed and use anaerobic bacteria to break down solid waste in the tank.
The system consists of a septic tank, a drainfield, and 3 feet of native soil beneath the drainfield. A septic tank is a large, underground container that treats wastewater from rural homes that are not connected to a municipal sewer system. A drainfield, also called a leach field, is the area of land where the wastewater is dispersed and treated. The drainfield is made up of a series of perforated pipes buried in the ground and surrounded by gravel or sand which filter the wastewater.
A traditional septic tank system works by collecting waste in the septic tank, then letting gravity separate the waste into scum, sludge, and effluent.
Bacteria in the tank breaks down the solid waste on the bottom, while the effluent liquids travel out of the tank into the drainfield.
An alternative septic system is designed to deal with homesites with limited space or poor soil, when a drainfield is not a viable option. The most common alternative septic systems include:
Choosing the right system depends on where you live, the condition of your soil, and your budget.
Septic tank maintenance is easy and inexpensive and comes down to these 4 essentials:
A concrete septic tank can last for 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance, depending on the tank material. Concrete tanks are the most expensive but the longest lasting tanks available. Other factors that can impact the lifespan of a septic tank include the quality of the tank, the soil conditions, and the usage.
Heavily used septic systems tend will likely need repairs or replacement sooner than rarely used systems. A septic tank in a household of 1 or 2 people will almost always last longer than one used by a large family.
Before you contract with a septic tank installer near you, ask these important questions:
HomeGuide has a great list of septic tank installers near you to choose from. When making your final list of installers to contact, don't forget to:
Search, get cost estimates, contact pros, and book—all for free.
View profiles, read reviews, check qualifications, and see prices before hiring.
Ask questions, confirm their availability, and hire the right pro when you're ready.