Septic Tank Vs Sewer System – Pros And Cons

If you’re looking to move into a rural area, it may be necessary to install a septic system for wastewater disposal. However, there are pros and cons to both systems.

Once waste reaches your septic tank, bacteria break down the material and send it to the drain field or leach field. The soil there absorbs the water and filters out harmful contaminants. It’s best to talk with Septic Tank Armadale experts before getting started.

septic tank


Some people dream of living in rural areas and having the independence that comes with an on-site septic system. Others are happy with the sleek efficiency and “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” convenience of a public sewer system. But which is the better option? What do you need to know about septic systems and how they work before making your decision?

A septic tank is a large, underground storage container that holds your household waste. It’s usually made of reinforced concrete or fiberglass and is buried beneath the ground. All the drain pipes from your home flow into the septic tank, which is typically 750 to 1250 gallons. As the wastewater flows into your septic tank, it forms three layers: oily residue in the top layer, which is referred to as scum; solid waste in the middle, which is called sludge; and liquid wastewater in the bottom layer, which is known as effluent. Anaerobic bacteria inside the tank break down the sludge and scum. The liquid portion of the waste, called effluent, then flows out into your drain field, a network of buried perforated pipes and soakers that further treat and sift the wastewater into the soil.

Septic tanks have several advantages over sewer systems, including lower installation and maintenance costs. They also provide greater flexibility for where you can build a home since you don’t need to be near a sewer line. Additionally, septic tanks help cut pollution, because they sift the wastewater before it reaches local water supplies.

However, septic systems are not without their drawbacks. Because they’re designed to treat wastewater on an individual site, the system can fail if it receives too much water in one time period. They also require an appropriate amount of dedicated space. Covering the drain field with a driveway, building structures and pools on it, planting trees and shrubs that have deep roots in that area, or driving cars over the absorption field can all damage the system and cause failure. The good news is, that if you keep up with your septic tank’s maintenance schedule and don’t overload the system, you can expect it to last for decades.

Environmental Impact

Septic systems are becoming increasingly popular among eco-minded homeowners and households that want more independence from city utilities. They are also ideal for properties in rural areas, where sewer lines might not be feasible or cost-effective to install. However, septic tanks require homeowners to be vigilant in what they flush down the drains and toilets. Avoid flushing feminine products, paper towels, dental floss, and other substances that can clog the septic tank.

These materials are hard on the septic system and may result in costly sewage backups, tank clogs, and overflows. They can also increase the risk of health-related issues, including cholera and typhoid fever. In addition, the contaminated waste can pollute natural water sources, such as rivers and streams, and put marine life at risk.

A septic tank helps cut pollution by straining the waste before it enters the soil. The tank consists of several sections, with solid waste forming the sludge layer at the bottom. As wastewater flows from the sinks, tubs, and toilets, it dissolves the sludge in the septic tank, which then passes to the leach field. The septic tank and leach field then filter out the remaining waste, which goes into the soil.

Sewer systems, on the other hand, can be detrimental to the environment. As the sewage moves through pipes, it picks up toxins, including phosphorus and nitrogen. These pollutants can be deposited into lakes, rivers, and other waterways, which can cause algae blooms. They can also contaminate drinking water and pose a health hazard for humans, particularly toddlers, and infants with weak immune systems.

Another problem with sewers is that they can leak and become clogged, which can affect the flow of wastewater and cause sewage to overflow from sinks, bathtubs, and toilets. When sewage overflows, it can infect people with diseases like hepatitis and dysentery. It can also contaminate the air and soil, affecting plants, animals, and people that eat contaminated seafood.

Sewers can also hurt the soil in a household’s yard, as they disrupt the microorganisms that break down organic waste. In addition, a sewer system can contribute to the formation of nitrates in the groundwater, which can be a serious threat to human and animal health, especially for pregnant women and toddlers.


As with most things, septic tanks and their drain fields require routine maintenance. This includes pumping the tank every 3-5 years and sometimes cleaning it (which is more involved). Septic systems are also more prone to clogs than sewer systems, so residents must be mindful of what they flush or put down drains. This means no cooking grease, baby wipes, paper products, or other items that could clog the internal pipes.

On the upside, septic systems cut pollution by using their leach fields and drain fields as natural filters to clean wastewater before it enters the soil. This reduces the amount of bacteria and other contaminants that can run into waterways and groundwater supplies.

Sewer systems, on the other hand, use municipal sewer lines that are connected to many different homes and businesses. This can create a large volume of wastewater that is sent to a central treatment plant. The city is responsible for the lines that carry all that wastewater, so if one line breaks or gets clogged, it affects a lot of people in a short time.

Both systems can be damaged by heavy rains, floods, and snowmelt. Excessive rainfall can overload a septic tank, while flooding and snow melt can overwhelm sewer lines.

Another potential problem is the growth of tree roots around septic tanks, drainage pipes, and drain fields. Roots can penetrate the pipes and cause clogs. A septic system can be protected by installing risers and lids on the septic tank so that it is easier to access for routine pumping and inspection.

If you live in a rural area, the installation of a septic tank may be more affordable than connecting to public sewer lines. However, the cost of annual charges may outweigh any savings.

The best choice for you will depend on how much independence you want as a homeowner and your tolerance for the costs of maintaining a septic tank or sewer system. Regardless of which system you choose, Grant’s Septic Tech can provide maintenance to keep your septic tank or sewer system operating as smoothly as possible.


A septic system offers homeowners more independence and control over their waste management. This is especially true for rural areas that don’t have access to a municipal sewer system. While many urban dwellers dream of a quiet life away from the hustle and bustle of city living, it’s not always possible to live on 1/10th of an acre without a septic tank!

Homeowners relying on a septic system must perform routine maintenance and cleaning to ensure that the tank continues to function properly. This includes having it inspected, pumped, and drained at recommended intervals. In addition, homeowners can use bacterial additives to increase the effectiveness of natural bacteria that break down solid waste and liquefy the sludge layer. This can decrease the frequency of cleaning and help prolong the lifespan of a septic tank.

Septic tanks also reduce pollution by preventing wastewater from entering local waterways and rivers. This is because wastewater is treated by the septic system’s drain field and leach fields before it gets to the soil. This natural wastewater treatment method is a great way to protect the environment and prevent the spread of disease.

In some cases, septic systems can experience problems due to an overflow of solid waste. This can occur when the septic tank’s sludge layer becomes too thick, clogging the outlet pipe and preventing wastewater from exiting. Homeowners can avoid this by having the tank pumped out at recommended intervals.

It’s also important to make sure that the septic tank is not placed too close to trees or other plants that can clog the drain field. Additionally, homeowners should not build structures over the septic tank or absorption field. Parking vehicles or structures over the septic tank can cause damage to the system and lead to a clog.

Septic systems are a necessary part of life in rural areas, but they can be more expensive and require more maintenance than a sewer system. Homebuyers should consider all the pros and cons of each before making a final decision on what kind of wastewater system to use.