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10+ Pros and Cons of Septic Tanks

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Are you weighing up on whether to get a septic system for your home? If so, you're probably wondering what the pros and cons of septic tanks are. Here I am going to do a breakdown of the pros and cons of septic tanks that I am aware of.

Of course, if you are considering getting a septic system, make sure you seek advice from a professional to see if it is the right decision for you and your home first.

First, let's just do a basic overview of how they work.

Septic tanks are installed underground and receive all the sewage waste from your home. The solid waste settles at the bottom of the tank whilst the wastewater is treated in the tank by bacteria. This process breaks down the waste, and it is then able to leave the tank and be dispersed into a soil absorption field, where it is further filtered before reentering the groundwater.

What Are the Advantages of Septic Tanks?

There are actually quite a good few advantages that come with having a septic tank – let's break them down here:

1. Good for the Environment

The main advantage of septic tanks is that they are far better for the environment than using mains drainage. This is because the sewage is treated naturally without the use of chemicals.

2. Cost Effective

Another advantage is that they are more cost-effective than mains drainage, particularly if you live in a rural area. This is because you are not reliant on the mains water supply and treatment plant, which can be expensive to run.

3. They Generally Last a Long Time

Septic tanks are also very durable and can last a long time if they are properly maintained. They are typically made from concrete, fibreglass or polyethylene, and once installed, they should last for decades.

4. Require Little Maintenance

Another pro is that septic tanks require very little maintenance. You will need to get the tank pumped out every 3–5 years, but other than that, there is not much you need to do. I would recommend you get it checked out pretty regularly, though, to make sure everything is working as it should be.

Make sure to be alert to potential warning signs such as wet spots in the yard, slow-draining toilets or drains, sewage odours and lush patches of grass. These could be signs that your septic tank needs some attention

5. Can Be Used in Remote Areas

Septic tanks are also a good option if you live in a remote area, as they do not require mains drainage. This makes them perfect for rural homes. This is actually quite a big advantage as it means that you are not reliant on the municipal sewer system. This means that if there was ever any kind of problem with the municipal sewer system, your home would still be able to function as normal as your septic system would still be working.

What Are the Disadvantages of Septic Tanks?

Now we have discussed some of the pros of septic systems, let's inspect some of the cons.

1. They Can Be Smelly

One downside of septic tanks is that they can be smelly if they are not maintained properly (especially so if you have a broken pipe). This is because the solid waste at the bottom of the tank can start to rot and produce methane gas. This gas is not only smelly, but it is also flammable.

2. They Can Be a Health Hazard

If the septic tank is not maintained properly, it can become a health hazard as the waste can start to seep out of the tank and into the groundwater. This contaminated water can then make people sick if they come into contact with it or drink it.

3. They Require a Bit of Space

Another downside is that septic tanks require a lot of space as they need to be installed underground. This means that you will need to have a big garden or yard in order for the septic tank to be installed.

4. You Need to Be Careful About What You're Flushing Into the Tank

You also need to be careful about what you are flushing into the tank, as certain things can clog up the system – you don't want backed-up drains. For example, you should not flush things like nappies, sanitary towels or condoms down the toilet as they will block up the tank.

5. They Can Be Expensive to Fix

If you damage the pipe that goes to your tank or it breaks in any way, it can be expensive to fix as you will need to hire a professional to do it – not to mention it will be a really smelly and messy situation. Also, if your septic system needs to be pumped out more frequently than normal, this can also start to add up and become quite costly.

6. Unsightly

Another disadvantage is that they can be unsightly as you have to have a big tank installed in your garden. This can be a bit of an eyesore, especially if you have a small garden. That said, there are a bunch of hacks you can use to hide them in a safe way.

Should You Get a Septic Tank?

Overall, there are both advantages and disadvantages that come with having a septic tank. It is important to weigh up both the pros and cons before making a decision about whether or not you should get one installed. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and your individual circumstances. If you think a septic tank is right for you, then be sure to do your research and choose a reputable company to install it.

A lot of the cons mentioned can basically be overcome when you have really good maintenance of the septic tank and you look after it properly. The issues only really come in when you neglect it for too long.

Talk to a Professional

The best thing you can do if you are undecided about whether or not to get a septic tank is to talk to a professional. They will be able to assess your property and advise you on whether or not it would be suitable for a septic tank. They can also answer any questions that you may have about septic tanks. If you're deciding between a sewer and septic system, you should absolutely consult with a professional to learn more and make the best decision for your home.


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Elin Beck