Are you interested in buying a new home and wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of being on a sewer line versus having a septic tank? Here in Lawrenceville, GA, septic systems and sewer systems can both be found. Here are a few things you should know about each system.
- How does it work? A septic system, most often found in rural settings where homes are spaced far apart, collects waste water from the home in a single septic tank. While in the tank, the waste separates into three layers. The solids form a sludge at the bottom of the tank, the liquids form a layer of effluent, and greases and oils form a scum layer on top. Bacteria present in the waste continually work to break down the organic solids into effluent. When new waste enters the tank, it displaces the existing effluent. This effluent is piped out of the septic tank into the drainfield, where it is filtered through perforated pipes into the ground.
- Who pays the cost? The cost of a septic system is borne completely by the homeowner. Costs include the initial installation expenses and regular maintenance of the system.
- Who is responsible for the maintenance? The homeowner is responsible for maintaining their septic system, but maintenance is minimal. Responsible septic tank maintenance includes regular septic tank pumping to remove the solids that will not break down, regular inspections to monitor the integrity of the system, and exercising caution about the waste that enters the system.
- How does it work? A sewer system, usually found in cities and suburbs where homes are close together, uses gravity to pull waste water away from homes through progressively larger pipes to a central treatment facility. Sewer lines are built to run downhill so gravity can do the work, but, in situations where the flow needs to go uphill, lift stations are constructed to move the waste up. Once the waste reaches the central facility, it goes through varying stages of treatment that resemble closely what happens in a septic tank. The waste is separated and the effluent is filtered, cleaned and sometimes chlorinated, depending on the facility, before entering back into the water supply.
- Who pays the cost? Cities and municipalities pay to construct sewage treatment facilities and then pass this cost on to residents. Homeowners on a sewer system will pay a monthly fee to use the facility. This generally makes sewer systems more expensive over time for homeowners than septic systems.
- Who is responsible for the maintenance? Cities and municipalities bear all the responsibility for maintaining sewer systems. Homeowners, however, pay the bill.
Both sewer and septic systems are effective methods for removing wastewater from homes. Make sure you know which system you have before purchasing a home.