If you live off the beaten path, you’ll need a septic tank to deal with your home’s waste. Whether it’s time to have your current septic system replaced or you’re preparing to build a new home, you need to have a realistic estimate of what it will cost.
Septic systems are essential and, unfortunately, often expensive. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the cost of septic systems, what’s available to you, and what installing or replacing a septic system will cost you.
How much does it cost to have a septic tank installed?
The cost of installation depends on:
- what (if any) system you already have and whether any of that system can stay in place
- how complex your new system is (see types below)
- The size of your home (the more bedrooms, the larger the septic tank – a 3-bedroom house will need a septic tank that costs around $1,500)
- The cost of labor involved (more complex and thus time-intensive projects will incur higher costs)
If you’re installing a new septic tank, you need to be prepared for the additional costs of permits ($250 – $1,000 depending on your local boards), preparation, and percolation testing.
Percolation testing determines the water absorption rate of the area in which you plan to put your septic tank. This is a surprisingly costly test and will set you back $250 to $1,000.
As the owner, you need to be aware of the Title 5 requirements for installing or replacing a septic system.
What are the different types of septic tanks and how much do they cost?
Conventional Septic Systems
A conventional septic tank system is likely what you already have in place, if you are replacing your current septic system. These systems use gravity to move household waste into the tank. These systems require a lot of space, but they are the cheapest option, usually costing between $2,000 and $7,000.
Anaerobic Septic Systems
Anaerobic systems use anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that don’t require oxygen) to break down waste inside the tank. These systems require a sizable drain field, which is a water treatment facility. These systems again require a lot of space but cost $3,000 to $8,000, plus labor, which will usually bump it up to $10,000 – $15,000.
Limited Space Septic Systems
If you only have a small area for your septic system, have a high water table, high bedrock, or have poor soil, these “alternative septic systems” are a good choice. These systems use oxygen to break down the waste. The overall cost for these systems is $4,000 – $15,000, depending on what kind of system you choose.
- Gravel-less chamber septic system: $4,000 – $10,000
- Wetland septic system (eco-friendly option): $7,500 – $15,000
- Pressurized septic system: $6,500 – $9,000
Engineered Septic Systems
These septic tank systems are the most expensive option because they have the most complex system. These systems use a pump instead of gravity to move the waste into the leach field. You can expect to pay $10,000 – $20,000 for one of these systems.
Can you get a septic tank repaired?
Septic tanks are designed to last 20-30 years, so if your septic tank is less than 15 years old, it may be worth repairing it instead of replacing it. There are a few different parts that can be relatively easily replaced. Here are what they are and their associated repair costs:
- Pump – not all septic tanks have a pump, but if yours does and it needs replacing it will cost you $600 – $1,500.
- Lid – A cracked lid is not a big deal, and you may be able to simply replace it yourself. The lid will cost $50 – $150. If you work with a professional to replace it, the total will be $100 – $300.
- Riser – this is a plastic or metal casing in the ground that ensures the lid is on the surface of the ground if the septic tank is buried deep. These don’t often need replacing, but if they do, it’s quite a big job, so it usually costs $350 – $800.
- Baffle – this directs the wastewater through the tank. It is usually relatively cheap to replace, between $25 – $400.
- Filter – Filters often need replacing, and while it’s a relatively simple job, it’s not a nice one! It will cost $250 – $300.
- Leach Field – If this needs replacing, make sure you’re sitting down. You’ll need $4,000 to $15,000 to hand.
What if I can’t afford to repair or replace my septic tank system?
If you’re experiencing financial difficulty and do not have the funds to replace or repair your septic tank system, don’t panic. Because septic tanks are a matter of public health, there is financial aid available to help you fund the work that needs doing.
The Community Septic Management Program provides low-cost loans to Massachusetts communities so they can create septic management and inspection plans. These communities can then provide low-interest loans to local homeowners with failing septic systems. You should contact your local Board of Health to find out whether you can access one of these low-interest betterment loans.
Other Options if You’re Facing Financial Hardship
If you’re facing financial hardship and are finding it difficult to maintain your home, and you aren’t able to take advantage of a low-interest betterment loan from your local Board of Health, it may be time to consider selling your home. Most of us are reluctant to sell the home we’ve lived in and loved for years, but when they become a burden, we hold onto them and allow our quality of life to suffer.
While you may think no one will be willing to buy a home that needs repairs, but this isn’t the case. There are investors out there looking for properties to purchase for cash to renovate and sell or rent out.
If you are based in Massachusetts, we may be interested in purchasing your property. We buy homes in as-is condition, which means we’re happy to look at properties that need immediate repairs. All you need to do is contact us with a few details about your property and we’ll send you our best cash offer. If you accept, we can close in as little as 2 weeks. To find out more about the process or to get an offer for your home, click here.