How Much Does a Septic Tank Cost? A Guide To Septic Systems

How Much Does a Septic Tank Cost? A Guide To Septic Systems

Septic Tank System Cost by Project Range

Low
$3,000

Small gravity system with a 750-gallon plastic tank for a two-bedroom house

Average Cost
$6,100

Standard anaerobic system with a 1,000-gallon tank for a three-bedroom house

High $22,500 Larger aerobic system with a 1,500-gallon tank for a four- or five-bedroom house constructed of concrete or fiberglass

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What Kinds of Septic Tanks are There?

Just like there are different types of septic systems, there are also different kinds of septic tanks. Septic tank types include:

  • Plastic tanks
  • Concrete tanks
  • Fiberglass tanks
  • Steel tanks

The type of material you choose can affect your septic tank cost. For example, a concrete septic tank might be more expensive than plastic septic tanks, but one may better meet the needs of your septic system.

A plastic septic tank may crack and you’d need to replace it sooner than a concrete tank. Concrete septic tanks are some of the most common types of septic tanks because they’re sturdy and last a very long time.

Each of these septic tanks has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to talk to your plumbing professional to see which one will work best for your property, needs, and budget. They can all affect the cost of septic system installation and septic system costs.

What’s Included in the Cost of My Septic System?

Be sure to ask exactly what’s included in the sept

Be sure to ask exactly what’s included in the septic system installation costs when you’re gathering estimates for your new septic tank installation. Generally, you should expect to see things like:

  • New septic tank
  • Labor costs to remove the existing septic system and install the new septic system
  • Septic system components like piping and leach fields
  • Permitting

The cost of septic system supplies will vary depending on the type of system you choose as well as materials. For a homeowner on a specific budget, let your plumber know so they can suggest materials and systems that will work best within the cost to install that.

The plumber who comes out to give you an estimate for your new septic system will also look at the condition of your soil by doing soil testing.  They’ll also look at the water table. The land surrounding your property is another thing they’ll look at to see if there are wetlands or anything around.

The septic system installers will work to gather the septic tank materials and get your system installed quickly and safely once you decide on the type of system you need.

Septic Tank Riser Installation Cost

A tank riser is a pipe installed on the top of a ank to give you access to the tank at ground level. This makes your system more accessible and makes maintenance and repairs cheaper, faster, and easier. The average plastic or concrete riser cost ranges from $300 to $600, with plastic being lighter and slightly easier to use. Concrete risers are a little more expensive toward the higher end of the range, but they are very durable and can end up saving money in the long run by creating an access point to your tank that is at grade.

MaterialCost (Installed)Plastic$300 - $400Concrete

MaterialCost (Installed)
Plastic$300 – $400
Concrete$350 – $600

Septic Tank Cost: Types of Septic Tanks

There are only a few materials approved for septic tank designs, and each have their pros and cons. Adequately maintaining a septic tank can prolong the life of the system regardless of which material is chosen. The most common septic tanks are designed from concrete, fiberglass or plastic, and steel.

Concrete

Concrete tanks are the most common and durable for an average lifespan of 20 years. Over time, they can begin to crack and allow seepage of liquid waste out and groundwater into the tank, so it’s important to have inspections completed regularly. The average price of a concrete septic tank ranges between $2,350 and $6,750.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass septic tanks are a great alternative that resists any rusting, corrosion, and algae growth. They do not expand or contract either. While fiberglass tanks are heavier than plastic tanks, they are still at risk of shifting if water tables change or the ground shifts. These septic tanks cost approximately $1,600 to $2,000.

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Plastic

With an average cost of $830 to $1,900, plastic septic tanks are a lightweight option compared to a concrete tank. They resist rusting and cracking as well. Though the lighter weight can make them easier to install, if installed improperly, they can rise through the shifting ground to the surface or break under shifting pressure.

Steel

Stainless steel is a durable metal for many uses, but stainless steel septic tanks are the least preferred style, as those made of this material can break down before their expected 20-year lifespan. Buried in the ground and subjected to corrosive materials, a steel septic tank has ample opportunities to rust or corrode. Older homes for sale will likely need an inspection to review the safety of the tank before they are sold.

Mobile Home Septic Tanks

Mobile home septic tanks are basically the same as fixed home septic tanks in size requirements, permits, and installation. The challenge with a mobile home septic tank system is installing it in a location that will not be driven over by the home itself or trucks moving the home. The weight of the mobile home or trucks could damage the septic tank, so it’s best to review its position before moving the mobile home.

Photo: depositphotos.com

Options to Repair a Failed Septic System

The cost to repair a septic system depends on if you choose a full system replacement or conversion from an anaerobic to an aerobic system with an Aero-Stream® product.

How much does it cost to repair a septic tank?

If your tank isn’t working properly, repairs can run you anywhere up to $1,500. However, your issue might not be with the tank itself but some other part of the septic system.

It really all comes down to which part is broken:

  • Pump repairs can cost $250 to $400.
  • Filter replacement will run you somewhere in the $200 to $300 range.
  • Baffles cost anywhere from $100 to $900 to fix.
  • Septic lines average around $1,500 to repair, but it’s not unheard of for them to run up to $4,000.

If you can have your septic tank or system repaired and still get many years out of it, then that’s generally the favorable option. However, not all problems are fixable.

A septic tank professional should consider the following as they help you determine whether repair or replacement is right for your home:

  • Are puddles forming quickly? Generally speaking, puddles in the yard aren’t too problematic. Puddles in the yard that quickly form overnight are a whole different matter, though. When puddles form slowly, it typically indicates a full septic tank, but it could also mean there’s a problem with the pipes or the leach field. If the puddles are springing up quickly, it points to a more serious problem, such as a cracked tank that you’ll need to replace.
  • What’s your household size? Larger households need larger septic tanks. If your household has grown over the years but your tank has not, it may be a good idea to replace it with a larger tank that can keep up.
  • How often are you needing repairs? An occasional repair isn’t a big deal, but when repairs start becoming a common occurrence, it’s time to reevaluate. A problematic septic system is likely on its way out, meaning you’ll need to pay to replace it.

Whether you’re repairing or replacing your unit, it’s worth noting that you can dramatically reduce your out-of-pocket expenses if your septic tank is under warranty. While some new septic tanks come with warranties from the manufacturer, a home warranty can cover older units as well. You’ll pay for the coverage, but should something happen with your septic tank, you may only have to pay a relatively small service fee before your warranty company covers the rest.

Types of Septic Tank Systems

The total cost of installing or replacing your septic tank is largely dependent on the type of system you choose. Here are some of the most common kinds of tanks:

Anaerobic Septic System

Anaerobic systems are a common choice for many homeowners because they don’t require additional power or chemicals. An anaerobic system contains bacteria that do not need oxygen to survive. The bacteria break down solid waste and the remaining liquid waste is piped out and distributed under the soil. The waste is naturally recycled as the water passes into the soil.

These systems cost about $2,000 to $5,000 to install.

Aerobic Septic System

Unlike anaerobic systems, aerobic systems use bacteria that do require oxygen to survive. Oxygen is pumped into the tank to activate the bacteria, which then feed on solid waste. Aerobic systems work well where the soil isn’t favorable for other systems and the groundwater table is high. It’s a good option for homes located near a body of water.

Aerobic systems are more expensive to install. Expect to pay between $10,000 and $20,000.

Gravity Septic System

A gravity septic system uses gravity for filtration and water flow. They need to be installed on a gentle slope to enable water flow without a pump.

Installation costs $1,500 to $4,000.

Conventional Septic System

The conventional septic system consists of a septic tank and a trench that acts as a drain field. The trench is constructed on stone or gravel and allows water to pass through. To prevent sand or dirt from contaminating the clean soil, geofabric is installed on top of the trench. A conventional septic system needs a large space to operate.

These systems cost between $2,000 and $5,000 to install.

Mound Septic System

If your groundwater is close to the surface, a mound septic system is the best choice. A sand mound is constructed on the septic system area to pump wastewater from the tank into the mound in small quantities. The sand then filters the water before it gets into the soil and groundwater. This design requires a lot of space.

They’re also expensive to install because a sand mound has to be constructed. Total cost ranges from $10,000 to $20,000.

Chamber Septic System

Chamber septic systems have recently become a popular choice. They’re similar to conventional systems, except plastic chambers are used in the drain field instead of gravel. These are easier to construct and have a smaller carbon footprint.

They cost $1,500 to $5,000 to install.

Cost of Septic Tank Installation by Location

Conditions in your specific area such as terrain, climate, and soil type will determine the type of septic system you should use and therefore will affect the overall cost of the project. Consult a local pro to determine the best type of septic system for your area and the average cost. 

Labor costs vary by location, too. A homeowner in a metropolitan area will likely pay much more for a new septic system than one in a rural area. We’ve estimated the national average cost of labor, but the price you actually pay could be significantly lower or higher. Get at least three estimates from local pros for your septic tank project — or any home improvement project — to give you a good idea of labor costs in your area. 

Septic Tank Cost: Replacement Parts

As with any mechanical system, issues are bound to arise. Septic tanks that are properly cleaned and maintained can last an average of 20 to 40 years. While some of the problems with septic tank systems are easy to solve, others will require significant assistance from a professional. From baffles to tank lids, these are the most common parts of a septic tank that may need to be replaced or repaired.

Baffle Replacement

Baffles are designed to help prevent scum from clogging inlets and pipes. Baffles that fail or get clogged are a common issue, and replacing them is usually much cheaper than replacing the entire tank. Replacement costs range between $300 and $500 including labor.

Septic Tank Pump Replacement

For septic tanks that require a pump to push the effluent from the tank to the drain field, it’s possible that the pump may fail to do the job properly. The average cost to replace a failed pump ranges between $800 and $1,400 including labor.

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Tank Lid Replacement

A broken or rusted lid is a minor repair that costs between $30 and $70 before labor. Metal lids are the easiest to replace if they have rusted over, while a concrete lid may require some special equipment to remove and install the new lid.

Septic Tank Filter Replacement

Replacing a septic tank filter is the most common issue for most homeowners. The cost to have a replacement filter installed on a septic tank averages between $230 and $280.

Septic Drain Field Replacement

If a septic tank leach field or drain field becomes oversaturated, sewage can back up into the house. The average cost to dig out the existing drain field and install a new one runs $7,000.

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Bottom line

There’s a lot to think about when dealing with septic tank issues. Getting professional advice is important, but it helps to know what to expect so you can make educated decisions.

Whether you’re budgeting for a new tank or trying to keep your system running, it’s a good idea to shop around, read reviews and get multiple quotes to learn about your options.

If you’re just planning ahead or worried about septic tank costs down the line, consider a home warranty to help offset the costs. Read up on what they cover and whether they’re worth the money to learn more.

Septic System Design

The initial Design, Construction and Installation costs of a New Septic System may scare many Monticello MN area property owners. But, when you consider the longevity of a good Septic System and the relatively low cost to maintain and operate such a sewer system compared to a sewer bill from a municipality, then the costs seem much more reasonable.

Soil type, home size and site location are some of the biggest determining factors for the Cost of a New Septic System. Each job is unique because each property is unique. A ballpark estimate for design and installation could range anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.

Permits and Red Tape

Various tests will need to be undertaken before you can even consider having a septic tank installed. A deep hole percolation test, costing $1,500, determines the type of soil you have. A positive test means that you can have a standard leach field. A negative test means that you will have to have an above-ground or mound septic system, which will cost two or three times as much as a normal septic system.

Once the tank and system are fully installed, you will have to have them inspected. Permits cost approximately $300, with costs being determined by the area you live.

It’s also worth taking into account additional costs that might be incurred once the job is done. Expect to budget between $50 and $200 a year for maintenance, with pumping required every three to five years.

Finally, you may have to pay for landscaping and other work to make the area look good once the tank is installed and operational.

Image Credit: AuntSpray, Shutterstock
Image Credit: AuntSpray, Shutterstock

How long will your septic system last?

Your septic system should last from 15 to 40 years. This is such a large range because multiple factors contribute to its lifespan. If a septic system isn’t well-maintained and is damaged, then it will have a shorter lifespan and will require greater care. 

One of the biggest factors that contributes to the lifespan of your septic system is its material. A steel septic tank will rust over time – especially in certain areas with highly acidic soil. Poorly-made steel tanks will also rust faster than others. Rust breaks down the tank, to the point where it bursts or starts to leak. This could create an undesirable smell in your yard and a potential health hazard. Some steel tanks will last barely more than 15 years.  

A concrete septic tank has a much longer lifespan, close to the 40-year mark. As long as the materials are high quality and the installation was done correctly, it should service your home for the next several decades.  

Replacing Non Conforming Septic MN Systems

If you have been informed that your existing Septic System is Non-Compliant, Non-Conforming or in need of major Repairs or Replacement, then it may be time to check into financial considerations. In Minnesota, there are a variety of Funding Opportunities that become available through several different special Low Interest Loans or Grants.

Check out the Low Interest Financing page on our Custom Septic, Inc. (CSI) website or do a little digging yourself (so to speak). Be sure to check out fund sources including:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)
  • of Trade & Economic Development
  • Local Zoning Commission
  • MN Housing Finance Agency
  • Soil & Water Conservation Districts

Building a Drain Field

The drain field is an integral part of the septic system. Also referred to as leach fields or leach drains, a drain field is a network of pipework where the separated waste is passed. The effluent trickles out of the pipes, through aggregate that is used to prevent flooding, and into the soil below. Here, the soil disposes of bacteria before the cleaned water is passed back into the water table. Expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $8,000 to have an effective drain field built as part of your system.

Image Credit: Slave SPB, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Slave SPB, Shutterstock

What is a Septic System, and How Does it Work?

A septic system is an underground wastewater treatment structure most often used when a municipal sewer system is not available. They are commonly found in rural areas rather than cities.

A typical septic system consists of a septic tank, a distribution box, and a leach field. A leach field is also called a drain field or soil absorption field. A septic tank will help digest organic matter and separates floatable matter such as grease, oils, and solids from the wastewater.

The system discharges the liquid from the septic tanks into perforated pipes buried in a leech field, designed to release the effluent into the soil slowly.

Although the first septic tanks have been in use since the late 1800s, they did not become popular until the 1960s. Up until that time, a cesspool was common in most homes.

How Long Does a Septic Tank Last?

A septic tank’s lifespan varies depending on the material and type of system installed. Clogging caused by roots or flooding from groundwater can decrease the septic tank’s lifespan. On average, septic systems last 15 to 20 years.

Regularly servicing your septic tank is the best way to increase its longevity. It’s important to note that servicing is more than just pumping out the tank; it’s also necessary to have a professional inspect your tank regularly and perform routine maintenance.

A home plan from HomeServe can help you be prepared for any unexpected maintenance and repair costs. When you have a plan in place, you can call our 24/7 repair hotline whenever a covered issue arises. We’ll send over one of our local, licensed and highly skilled contractors to get the job done.

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