You’d never guess how many options there are when considering different types of septic tank systems! Whether you find yourself having to replace an existing system or install a new one, it’s best to compare the pros and cons of each option.
The size and layout of the land where the system will be installed should be considered. Your budget and the quality/depth of soil in which the drainfield will be placed should also be considered.
Conventional Septic Tank Systems
Conventional gravity septic tank systems are typically the least expensive to install. They use gravity to move wastewater (effluent) from the house or building to the drainfield. This type of system requires the building to be higher than or level with the drainfield. You must also have 30 or more inches of soil depth in which to place the drainfield.
Another type of conventional septic system is the pump system. This type of septic system utilizes a pump to move wastewater through the drainfield. This type of system is a bit more costly than the conventional gravity system, but it is ideal to use when the drainfield is uphill from the house/building.
Alternative Septic Systems
Alternative systems are best for when the property size or soil condition limits the size of the septic system that can be used.
Pressure Distribution Systems
Pressure distribution systems use pressure made mechanically or naturally by placing the drain lines in the ground vertically. These systems use pressure to evenly distribute effluent into the soil. These systems are more costly but can be used in areas with limited drainfield areas.
Drip Disposal Systems
Drip disposal systems are ideal for use in shallow soil (18-24 inches)l. Anaerobic drip disposal systems utilize anaerobic bacteria to neutralize pathogens in septic tank systems. Anaerobic systems are less expensive than aerobic drip disposal systems. Aerobic drip disposal systems require oxygen, which is not typically present in a septic tank system, thus aerobic drip disposal systems are the most expensive to install.
Along with choosing a type of septic tank system, you will need to choose a material for the septic tank itself. Listed below are the four materials and the pros and cons of each.
Concrete septic tanks are the most durable. Make sure to use high-quality concrete to ensure longevity. Because of their weight, concrete tanks are a good choice in places with a high water table because they will not float if the water level reaches the tank. Concrete tanks must be brought in with heavy machinery because they are normally built offsite.
Steel tanks are susceptible to rust, and often collapse with the weight of one person.
Plastic tanks are more durable than steel but are not as durable as concrete. The pressure build-up is a problem that is caused by denting. Further, plastic tanks are much lighter and can shift if the water level reaches the tank.
Fiberglass tanks are stronger than plastic tanks. However, they are still more lightweight than concrete and are susceptible to movement if the water level reaches the tank.
Whatever type of septic tank system you have or choose to install, it is important to keep it regularly maintained to avoid costly or harmful damage. Ideally, schedule a yearly pump and inspection of your septic tank.