Every time you flush your toilet or wash your hands, you’re using your septic or sewer system. They are systems that are generally out of sight, out of mind, and are thus rarely thought of until something goes wrong. You likely only have one of the systems, but do you know the difference between the two and why one might be more beneficial for you than the other.
Sewer Lines Controlled by City
If you live in a city or town, then you probably pay a water and sewer bill every month. A sewer system is a large scale drainage system ran by the municipal government. They maintain and upgrade the system and you make a payment every month. When you build a house, you connect to the sewer system. If anything happens outside of that connection on your property or is the fault of the primary system, then the city pays for the repair. If it happens after the connection or is the fault of the homeowner, then you must pay the cost of repair.
Septic Tank Repair
If you live outside of the city, then you likely have a septic tank system. The septic tank is an underground tank that holds the drained water from sinks and toilets. Unlike a sewer system that connects entire communities to a single drain field, a septic system is for a single home. When you flush or use sink water, it drains into the tank where it is filtered into three layers. The top layer is called the scum layer and comprises everything that floats. The middle layer is clear water along with fertilizing chemicals such as nitrogen. The bottom layer is the sludge layer…you can probably guess what that’s mostly made of. The tanks hold about 1,000 gallons, with wastewater leached out to a septic field. If anything goes wrong with the septic tank or if the sludge builds up so much it needs to be removed, then you’re responsible for the cost.
Sewer Drain Line Cost Vs. Septic
The cost of a septic system is all upfront and can be about $16,000 depending on how big of a tank you need, etc. Once this is paid, you no longer pay anything for your sewer system. This is the biggest advantage of a septic system, but the biggest drawback is you’re responsible for everything if anything goes wrong. There are very few reasons why a septic system should malfunction. You pay monthly for a city sewer line and that cost varies depending on the city. The biggest drawback for sewers is the lines themselves can be decades if not a century old and is generally repaired piecemeal. You’ll never not pay for using city sewers.
If you have questions about sewer and septic systems, feel free to contact us (805) 647-0113.