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What is the Difference Between Septic Vs Sewer?


Septic tanks and sewer tanks both perform the same function: they carry away wastewater from sinks, showers, toilets, washing machines and other drainage systems. Whenever you do laundry, flush a toilet, wash dishes, or take a shower, do you ever wonder where the water goes? It’s transported to either a septic tank or a sewer tank. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two systems:

Septic tanks

  • Wastewater is carried into a holding tank located on the property
  • Once wastewater is in the holding tank, bacteria breaks down solid waste while liquid waste is released into what’s called the drain field, which is responsible for removing contaminants from liquid wastewater
  • Septic tanks require some maintenance, and most need to be pumped out once a year or every few years. 
  • Whoever owns the property is responsible for the costs associated with the septic tank, including maintenance and repairs 

Sewer tanks

  • Wastewater is carried to a municipal treatment facility, along with wastewater from around the city
  • The treatment facility removes all contaminants from the water, then directs it back into the local water supply 
  • Because sewer tanks are hooked up to the city’s sewer lines, no maintenance is needed.
  • If you experience issues with your sewer tank, it’s the responsibility of your city’s public works department to inspect and resolve the problem. 

Each system also has certain benefits. If septic tanks are maintained properly, they can last for a very long time and incur few ongoing costs over the years. Some people view septic tanks as a more environmentally-friendly option because, unlike sewer systems, they don’t use chemicals or energy to pump and treat the water. On the other hand, sewer tanks are convenient because the property owner has no responsibility for maintenance or repairs. Additionally, sewer tanks don’t ever need to be pumped, so they’re sometimes viewed as the more convenient option.

Deciding between septic and sewer tanks

If you’re trying to decide between a septic tank and a sewer tank, we recommend speaking with several of your local plumbing companies and getting some professional advice. Not all properties are eligible for septic tanks, and the type of business you have will also determine which system will work best for your property. Maintenance, repairs, convenience and cost are all factors to consider when making a decision. 

For more information about septic tanks and sewer tanks, or if you have any questions, please contact Cross Town Plumbing today. Discover why so many industry professionals in New Jersey trust us as their plumbing supply company. We look forward to hearing from you.

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