Septic Tank or Sewer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABe it sewer or septic tank, care of it isn’t something we think about much until it doesn’t work. It’s one of those things taken for granted that when we flush the toilet or pull the plug in the bathtub or have a clear drain in the shower that “stuff” goes in there and goes away.

A sewer system, hooked to conventional disposal means, is usually the choice many make. They don’t concern themselves with care of it, which may be a mistake. Some areas hold the homeowner responsible for cracks or damage to the line running to the home. Many items, such as grease, coffee grounds and egg shells can cause problems. These items can be composted, but shouldn’t be disposed of in your sewer line. Other things to avoid dumping – motor oil and other toxic contaminants. The disadvantage to sewer systems – when one has a problem everyone can have a problem. Also there is a monthly fee associated with it for maintenance. Often the initial cost is less, because it’s just the line from the home to the public main.

A septic system, on the other hand, is independent. It’s “off the grid” for waste the way alternative energy is for power. The advantage to that is being in control of your system. With basic maintenance it is low cost. It will need pumped every few years. The waste collects in a septic tank which then wastes fall to the bottom and fluid drains out to lines, and is absorbed into the soil. Avoid driving heavy equipment and anything else that might damage the line over it. Standing water, a change in the grass or odor are all signs something is wrong with the system. Avoid heavy use of chlorine or other toxins that kill the bacteria in your tank. Some even “feed” these bacteria, which break down the waste and reduce the frequency the tank needs pumped. Soil that drains well is needed for maximum performance of a septic system and there is little serious maintenance if good habits are maintained on a daily basis.

If you have a choice, have soil that drains well often the septic system is the choice of home owners. Without the above, tied to sewer lines might be a better option. Consider your use and costs.