Sewage Vs Septic Comparison: 8 Basic Differences

Here, we’ll be discussing the difference between septic and sewer in addition to the advantages and disadvantages of both. Also, we’ll be providing further information on how community sewer systems function.

So, without further waste of your time, let’s begin our discussion.

Difference Between Septic And Sewer

A lot of times, the terms ‘sewage’ and ‘septic’ are used interchangeably. This has led many to believe both mean the same thing. Do they? This is an area of interest for us as we seek to find answers.

Also, there have been debates about the most efficient and environmentally friendly system among the two.

Comparing Septic Tanks Vs Sewage Treatment

Sewer systems are mostly public utility systems installed to serve a large number of homes. These are mostly found in cities and consist of a centralized system whereby wastewater is centrally collected and treated.

Septic systems on the other hand are quite different in the sense that they’re designed for single-family use and aren’t connected centrally. Septic systems are considered an independent waste treatment process system that gives greater control to homeowners.

With septic systems, you won’t have to pay a monthly fee as is the case with sewer systems. Sewer system users are charged a monthly fee due to the maintenance carried out by local public works departments.

To better understand the differences between sewer and septic systems, it’s necessary to consider certain points.

These points of comparison include the benefits, disadvantages, how each works, where the waste goes to as well as the costs.

Other points include the type of maintenance required for each, who’s responsible for such maintenance, and actions to take when either system fails.

Having highlighted these key points, let’s break down each for better clarity.

i. Advantages

Whether you use a sewer or septic system, each type offers certain benefits. For details on each, we’ll have to first separate or discuss each type differently. That is; sewerage and septic systems.

  • Sewerage Systems

When it comes to sewerage systems, there are tons of benefits that include preserving the natural environment, zero responsibility for repairs, very convenient, saving and processing water, as well as money-saving.

  • Septic Systems

On the other hand are septic waste treatment systems. This too has its own benefits that include on-site water treatment, environmentally friendly, and long-lasting. Septic systems are also economical and require low maintenance.

ii. Disadvantages

Just as there are advantages as seen with both systems, disadvantages also exist for each type. Knowing these beforehand prepares you and ensures your decisions are backed by information.

  • Sewerage Systems

While sewerage systems have lots of benefits, they also have their cons.

These include leakages. When leakage happens, it’s usually significant. Such leakages result from corroded or broken pipes. Groundwater is automatically polluted.

  • Septic Systems

With septic systems, homeowners take responsibility for their maintenance. You may be faced with a septic backup situation or a failing drain field. Also, certain components or the entire system may need to be replaced at some point. There’s also the issue of ruptured water pipes and corroded septic systems.

iii. How It Works

Both systems work to safely and effectively treat waste. However, their working principles are quite different.

  • Sewerage Systems

For sewer systems, there’s a separation or removal of contaminants as waste is centrally collected. Having successfully treated such contaminants, waste is then released back into local water supplies.

  • Septic Systems

The treatment method for septic systems is quite different.

Here, the action of digestive bacteria is relied upon to breakdown solid waste. The resulting effluent gets filtered and absorbed by the drain field.

iv. Where the Waste Goes to

Part of the points covered above includes some information on waste disposal.

Here, we’ll be looking at how each system handles waste. In other words, we’ll consider where waste goes.

  • Sewerage Systems

Under the sewer systems, waste treatment is collected centrally. Here, sewer lines connect homes to a central collection facility where waste travels to.

  • Septic Systems

Unlike the sewer system where waste is centrally collected, septic systems include a holding tank known as the septic tank. All waste generated by a household empties into the septic tank for treatment.

v. Costs

Cost is an important factor when it comes to determining which waste treatment system to adopt. Like the previous points, let’s take a look at each type of system as follows;

  • Sewerage System

Depending on where you live, the cost of connecting your home to a sewer system may vary. Certain locations may charge you for water and sewage while others will separate such costs or bill such individually.

  • Septic System

The cost of a septic system is mostly incorporated into the cost of a new home. So, when buying a home, you won’t be paying for the septic system differently. The total cost including that of the home is combined in one lump sum.

vi. Type Of Maintenance

Maintenance is one important activity that prolongs the lifespan of a system. It also improves its condition and functional capacity. So as usual, we take a look at both systems;

  • Sewerage Systems

Sewerage systems require no maintenance at all on your own part. The system is maintained by the local public works departments of cities.

  • Septic Systems

Septic systems are much different when it comes to maintenance. Maintenance depends on how often it’s used. This includes pumping and cleaning. A septic tank needs to be pumped once every 3 to 5 years.

vii. Who Is Responsible For Maintenance and Repairs?

Responsibility is one important point to factor-in when considering both systems. Responsibility must either lie with you or with another party.

  • Sewerage Systems

Homes connected to sewer systems have responsibility for repairs and maintenance. This rests solely with your local municipality

  • Septic Systems

Septic systems are your responsibility. This means whatever the issue is, you’re expected to call for repairs. That includes the cost of repairs or replacements.

viii. Actions To Take When It Fails

Whichever system you have or wish to have installed, problems are bound to develop at some point during their use. You’ll need to take certain actions. This depends on knowing who to contact.

  • Sewerage Systems

For sewer systems, it’s important to give a call to the public works department of your local municipality.

  • Septic Systems

Unlike what obtains in the case of a malfunctioning sewer system, you’ll need to call a professional and licensed septic repair company. There are lots of them around your location.

We’ve tried as much to make this article as comprehensive as possible.

Here, we’ve seen the various aspects of sewage and septic systems. This comparison has considered key points that should enlighten you.

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