Types Of Septic Systems

Texans looking for a place in the country may not have septic systems on their minds. But when drains back up and an unpleasant aroma fills the air, they may wish they had asked some questions. There are three things prospective rural, and even suburban, homebuyers should know about septic systems.

First, septic systems do not have unlimited capacities like city sewer systems do. Buyers should find out the capacity of the septic tank and if it is adequate for the number and lifestyle of people that will be living in the home.

A family may have to adjust its water-using activities to avoid overtaxing the system and causing overflows. Septic systems are sensitive to the introduction of certain materials, such as garbage disposal solids, hair, coffee grounds and kitty litter. Overuse or misuse of the system can cause it to fail.

Second, buyers should be aware of the costs. Urban residents pay a set amount for sewer service each month. But expenses related to septic systems may be sporadic.

There two basic types of septic systems: a conventional system that consists of a tank with a drain field and an advanced system, like an aerobic system that adds air to the tank, creating a highly oxygenated environment in which bacteria work. Aerobic systems break down organic matter rapidly. The effluent from an aerobic system is usually chlorinated and then sprayed on the surface of the ground or may be dripped subsurface into the lawn.

Conventional systems are relatively inexpensive to operate; the only expense is pumping out the tank every three to five years. Pumping a 500-gallon tank costs from $150 to $200. Advanced system costs vary widely from little to a lot.

Aerobic systems use energy constantly, and owners of these systems are required by the state to maintain them in proper working order. Homeowners can either be trained to maintain the system or they can sign a maintenance contract with an approved contractor.

Maintenance contract costs vary widely from $150 to $450 per year, generally representing ranges in service from none to extensive.



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