The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Septic Tank System

Septic tank systems are essential for keeping a residential or commercial property clean and in good condition. Their main job is to store, treat and dispose of all of the wastewater coming from a household in an effective and eco-friendly way. 

Septic tank systems are made of different components and if one or several of these components are damaged, the septic tank system won’t function properly.

All of the water you use for flushing down the toilet, washing the dishes, using the shower, taking a bath, or using the washing machine, goes through a series of pipes that direct it to a septic tank for further treatment. 

To work properly a septic tank system needs regular and proper maintenance which should be done by a professional cleaning company specialized in septic tank cleaning services. 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Septic Tank System

What is a septic tank system?

A septic tank system consists of one or two septic tanks, one or two leach fields and drainage pipes. It’s usually installed at the backyard of a residential or commercial property.

There are different types of septic tank systems and generally they are divided into conventional and advanced. But all have one and the same purpose – effective sewage management. 

A septic tank is a watertight underground chamber with a cylindrical shape and with a capacity of 4000 or 7500 liters made of concrete, fiberglass, steel or plastic. 

It’s designed for onsite wastewater storage where the water undergoes an initial treatment. One of the sides of a septic tank is connected to an inlet wastewater pipe and the other connects to a leach field.

The wastewater in the septic tank is separated into liquid waste and solid waste thanks to the healthy bacteria that live inside. The wastewater consists of three layers- top, bottom and middle layer.

The wastewater inside the tank contains microorganisms and their role is to break down the biodegradable waste in an oxygen-free environment. This process is called anaerobic digestion.

After the treatment is complete the liquid waste (also called effluent discharge) goes out of the septic tank into the surrounding soil where it’s naturally absorbed or into a leach field. The solid waste is stored inside the septic tank and it’s pumped out of the septic tank as part of the routine septic system maintenance.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Septic Tank System

A leach field (also called drain field or leach drain) is a network of perforated pipes located underground. A leach field is usually located close to the property’s septic tank system.  

The pumping frequency of a septic tank depends on many factors. These are the type of material the septic tank is made of, the size of the property, and the water usage of the inhabitants.

Pros of a septic tank system


Using such a system is an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of domestic wastewater. In addition, you don’t need to use any special septic tank treatment products.

Septic tanks don’t create water contamination as the wastewater inside them is purified in a natural way.  Bacteria-free water is one of the end products of the sewage treatment process and it’s completely harmless to the environment.  After it’s released into a leach field a liquid effluent goes into the soil. And if there are nearby plants, it can be used for watering them.


Septic tanks can be extremely durable and can  last for a long time when they are maintained the right way. This makes them reliable vessels for storing and treating wastewater in a safe and nature-friendly way.

The durability of a septic tank depends mainly on the type of material it is made of and how it’s maintained.

A concrete septic tank for example is more durable than plastic as it can have a lifespan of 40 years while a septic tank made of quality plastic can last around 30 years or less. 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Septic Tank System


A septic tank is a considerably cheap solution for waste decomposition. Compared to the building of an extensive sewer line, the installation of a septic tank is a much cheaper option. 

The cost of septic tank maintenance is also lower than the maintenance of a sewer line. It still needs regular maintenance but it doesn’t include the same monthly costs as sewer lines do.

Cons of a septic tank system

Expensive and complex for building

The construction of a septic tank system is a costly and time-consuming process and it requires a labor force and special equipment. For this reason, using the services of a sewer line contractor is needed.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Septic Tank System

It’s suitable for rural areas

Urban zones aren’t good places for installing a septic tank system. 

Needs regular maintenance

You cannot skip regular maintenance and pumping, if you own a septic tank. To function the way they should and offer effective wastewater treatment septic tanks require pumping at regular intervals. It’s something that is necessary for keeping a septic tank system in good condition and save yourself frequent repairs in the long run.

The recommended pumping frequency for most septic tanks is between 3 to 5 years. The total cost for a one-time septic tank pumping service also varies. It can be somewhere between  $200 and $600.

Complex repairment

The septic tank system repair steps and their level of difficulty depend on the type of the system. Septic system failure can be caused by different reasons.

The most common problems that can happen to any type of septic tank system are :

  • backups inside drain pipes 
  • drainage pipe ruptures 
  • septic tank cracks 
  • offset pipes 
  • grease deposits 
  • tree roots 
  • earthquakes 
  • rainy season 
  • heavy vehicles and excavation work

One of the signs you have a cracked sewer pipe that needs immediate replacement is a bad odor inside or outside your property. The reason for this is that wastewater is leaking out of the pipe from the broken spot.

One of the main causes for sewer line backups for instance is throwing down the toilet things that can lead to pipe obstructions.

Slow flushing toilets and slow draining sinks and bathtubs are some of the signs that indicate a problem inside a septic tank system. If you notice such a sign at your property, you should contact a professional company offering sewer cleaning and sewer line maintenance as soon as possible. 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Septic Tank System

To avoid getting your sewer lines clogged, don’t use your toilet for garbage disposal. 

Avoid flushing down :

  • wet wipes 
  • baby feminine hygiene products 
  • diapers and baby wet wipes 
  • cotton pads and swabs  
  • paper towels 
  • Q-tips 
  • oils 
  • grease 
  • paint 
  • chemicals 
  • medicine and etc 

The only things that can be flushed down are human waste and toilet paper.

As a conclusion we can say that having a septic tank system offers more advantages than disadvantages. As a simple onsite wastewater treatment facility a septic tank system is ideal for properties located in rural areas.

It’s not recommended to try to clean your septic tank by yourself or repair some issues with your septic tank system as this can lead to even more serious damage or cost you a lot of effort and resources. 

As a septic tank owner you should trust your septic tank system cleaning and maintenance to a trustworthy professional sewer cleaning contractor. Find a company that offers you scheduled septic tank cleaning which is important for maintaining any type of septic system in a proper way.

Certified professional sewer cleaning companies own specialized septic system cleaning equipment and they have enough experience and knowledge about how to handle different septic tank system problems.