Sometimes homeowners are faced with the decision to acquire a property that has municipal water and sewer service, or manage their own system and enjoy the convenience of not having to pay a monthly water or sewer bill. This leads many to wonder what some of the pros and cons of a having a septic system are.
What is a Septic System?
A septic system is a waste treatment system that remains underground that treats and disposes of household waste. The main components of a septic system are the septic tank and the drain field. The septic tank is a unit that contains two pipes, an inlet and an outlet. The tank filters wastewater and holds it until the solids and liquids separate into three layers. Each layer contains material of certain densities such as oil, partially clarified wastewater, and sludge. The sludge naturally breaks down while the other material remains in the tank waiting to be pumped. The clarified wastewater liquid flows into the drain field where it is naturally filtered within the ground.
What Are the Advantages of a Septic System
There are a few advantages of owning a septic system. First, they tend to be a more viable option for neighborhoods and rural settings that have large spaces between houses. Instead of having to waste miles of pipe that would be used to run sewer lines from house to house, many of these types of homes use a septic system, which also is good for the environment.
They are simple designs and are usually relatively cheap to install and maintain. Additionally, septic systems remove the added expense of a water and sewer bill, although the septic tank needs to be pumped out every so often. For minimal maintenance, your costs are usually much lower. Instead of a monthly sewage bill you will need to purchase a yeast-based treatment from your local department store. These usually run around five dollars for a month supply.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Septic System?
There are a few drawbacks of using a septic system. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage is that certain items cannot be flushed into the tank. These items tend to disrupt the biological breakdowns that are happening within the system and can clog pipes or pumps. Such items include hair, dental floss, diaper wipes, napkins, cigarette butts, fat, grease, or paper towels to name a few. These things don’t break down fast enough, which can cause your tank to fill up or clog.
Furthermore, chemicals that can damage the environment should not be flushed, including paints, thinners, and pesticides. If you enjoy using bleach then septic may not be the best choice. The cleaning chemical kills the bacteria that eat waste, leaving your tank vulnerable to filling early or even breaking. Having a septic system also slightly increases the cost of electricity per month due to the pump that is used in the system, and will need to be pumped every few years. Pumping is usually the largest cost associated with maintaining a septic system and can be a few hundred dollars to have done.
Overall, septic systems can be a low cost, useful, and beneficial way to take care of waste in the right setting. Although, they do require maintenance just like any other system and care needs to be exercised so that harmful items are not being introduced into the system. Contact PL Lyons for more information and advice before making your final choice.