Septic vs Sewer

Septic vs Sewer

Going back and forth between installing a septic or sewer system? Our plumbing expert gives you a breakdown of the differences between the two!

Drainage systems make wastewater disappear whenever toilets are flushed or hands are washed in buildings and residential properties. But for all the functions that drainage helps make possible—dishes, laundry, showers—few people stop and think about the mechanisms that go into the process. The whole thing basically comes down to two types of systems: sewer and septic.

Sewer systems are more common because they’re funded and maintained by local governments. Septic systems, however, are becoming more popular as an affordable, environmentally sound alternative that give homeowners full control over their drainage. The following article examines the facts, pros, and cons of the whole septic vs sewer system debate.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between sewer and septic systems:

Where does the waste go?
Septic System: The waste goes into a holding tank.
Sewer System: Sewers lines carry waste to a treatment facility.

How does it work?
Septic System: Bacteria break down the solid waste and the liquid effluent is then released into the drainfield.
Sewer System: The facility removes contaminants and then discharges water back into local water supplies.

What is the cost?
Septic System: If buying a new home from a reputable new home builder, then the cost of the septic system is included in the price of the house.
Sewer System: The cost to use a public sewer system varies depending on location.  Some areas separate the cost of water and sewage, while others combine the two.

What type of maintenance is needed?
Septic System: Depending on the usage, septic tanks need to be pumped out yearly or every few years.
Sewer System: None

Who is responsible for the maintenance?
Septic System: It is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the septic system.
Sewer System: Your local municipality is responsible for maintaining the public sewer system.

What do you do if it fails to work?
Septic System: Call a professional septic repair company.
Sewer System: Call your local municipality public works department

What are the benefits?
Septic System: If maintained properly a septic system generally has fewer ongoing costs.
Sewer System: Sewer systems are very convenient and the homeowner has no responsibility for repairs

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