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One of the most important systems a homeowner will depend on is the drainage system. The systems that allow you to wash dishes, shower, and yes, flush, often go unnoticed. Drainage systems work unseen to remove wastewater from your home safely. Wastewater can be divided into two categories: black water, which is the water you flush, and greywater, which comes from sinks and water drains. Wastewater should not be released back into the environment until it is properly treated, and that responsibility falls to your drainage system. Drainage systems come down to two choices: sewer and septic. 

Sewer system or Septic system – which one should you choose? 

Many factors play a part in choosing the right system and making the right decision can be confusing. The right choice will depend on location, existing infrastructure, and personal preference. Sewer systems tend to be more common and include a sewer line that carries the waste to a treatment facility that is funded and maintained by a  local government. Septic systems are becoming more common and affordable. They work by collecting wastewater in a holding tank. 

There’s a huge difference in the treatment process. In septic systems, bacteria do the job of breaking down solid and liquid waste before releasing it into a purpose-built drain field. Sewer systems connect whole communities to one centralized drain field and treatment facility. The user avoids maintenance but pays fees for the privilege.

The pros of the sewer system 

  • Sewer systems are designed to handle large quantities of wastewater
  • The government or public agencies maintain it – ensure less responsibility for the care & maintenance 
  • Sewer systems require less regular maintenance from residents

The cons of the sewer system 

  • Sewer systems are not free. Homeowners have to pay for using the sewer system the same as any utility. 
  • Homeowners can be charged pricey fees for installation and repairs on newer sewage systems.
  • The responsibility for maintaining the sewer line (that connects your house to the public sewer system) falls to the homeowner, as do repairs and maintenance costs.

The pros of septic system

  • Septic tanks are cheaper to install, and you don’t even have to pay for monthly maintenance.
  • Once installed, septic tanks serve a long-term purpose and only need occasional maintenance. 
  • Eco-friendly approach; the septic tank removes pollutants from surface water and replenishes groundwater without the use of chemicals or energy to run pumps.

The cons of septic system

  • Septic requires periodic maintenance. The tank needs to be pumped every 3 to 5 years, which can cost somewhere between $200-400. 
  • Septic lines can get clogged by numerous materials such as trees or plant debris, garbage disposal, or harsh chemicals.
  • If a septic tank fails due to digging, tree roots, or cars rolling over them, a homeowner would be solely responsible for all clean-up and repair.

How should you decide?

Depending on where you live will play a major role in deciding which system is right for you. Each system has its advantages & disadvantages.  Septic systems are recommended in places where sewer facilities are not yet available; particularly off-the-grid homes. But as cities expand, residents have the option to connect to the public sewer system or maintain their own septic tanks. 

Were you looking for professional help? 

Involving a professional to advise your household would help in understanding the pros and cons of each wastewater drainage system for your individual situation. Along with sewer or septic installation, a licensed professional will make sure your chosen system operates properly for the life of the property.