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What are the Main Differences Between Septic Tanks and Main Sewers?

14 Jan


What are the Main Differences Between Septic Tanks and Main Sewers?


Hopefully you don’t need to give much thought to the sewage that’s removed from your property. But the safe removal of waste and the way it happens is obviously important to your home, building, and health.


When everything is in good working order the safe removal of sewage is often silent, efficient and forgotten.


There are two very different systems that we wanted to share with you to help you to understand the differences between them.


Most homes will have a system linked up to the main sewers with a network of pipes that flushes and washes the waste into the public sewers.


Depending on your location though, this might not be an option, so some less connected locations will have a septic tank instead, which is situated within the boundaries of the property and maintained by the property owner.


That’s the obvious main difference, but what are the other differences when it comes to septic tanks and main sewers?



The main one is who’s responsible for looking after everything. The majority of homes and buildings will be hooked up to the public sewer system and will incur a utility bill each month, which is a fee for their use. The main benefit here is that, although you’re charged each month to use the system, you’re not responsible for the sewers and the local bodies are tasked with keeping them in good working order for you.


Septic systems however, are the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain. Owners need to keep them cleaned, flowing, and emptied when appropriate. Septic tanks are a great system, but they do require regular cleaning and maintenance. You can find out more about how they work here.


Waste management

If you’re linked up to the main sewer lines, then they will carry your waste away to a nearby a treatment facility to remove harmful waste and treat the water, manage the harmful gases etc. Once you flush, or empty your bath, shower or basin, you’re no longer in control of it.


If you own a septic system then your waste leaves your property and heads into the nearby holding septic tank. In here the waste is treated in a natural way. Various elements of the waste naturally separate and leave the final waste that will need to be removed occasionally with a regular septic tank service.


The way they work

With a sewer system, the nearby treatment facility works to remove contaminants and dangers from the waste. When the water is safe once again, it’s discharged back into local water supplies and thus recycled.


A septic system works in much the same way, as in it treats the waste water with a view to releasing it back into the environment. However, the tank works with the waste on-site, and sends the ‘liquid effluent’ back into circulation via a drain field.



Quite obviously, the sewer system is not yours and the only cost to you is the monthly bill from the utility provider. The cost will depend on your location and in some areas the waste is included in your other utility bills and most likely with your water bill.

On the other hand, a septic system is yours and although it most likely comes with the home or building, you’re responsible for the maintenance and cleaning. Buying it in the first place and replacing parts is down to the owner of the property and it’s also their responsibility if anything ever goes wrong.



As mentioned above, your local authority is entirely responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of a public sewer system.

If you own a septic system, then it’s you who’s responsible for repairs and cleaning of your septic tank and its connected pipes and drain field. You’re usually responsible for drains inside the boundaries of your property. Many homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—that is, the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main (which is usually located in the street) and the building. The sewerage company is responsible for lateral drains, which are outside of the property boundaries, and sewers.


If something goes wrong…

If and when something happens to your sewer system, you simply call your local authority and report the issues and they will come out and fix it.

If you have a problem with your septic system, then you need to call out a company like us to inspect the septic system and then repair it as needed.


Which is best?

You might not get a choice if you’re a long way from the main sewer system, but the main benefits of a sewer system are peace of mind, convenience, and of course little or no responsibility for anything that goes wrong.


A septic tank is yours to repair and maintain. But a well-maintained septic system is going to work just fine and in the long run is a more cost-efficient method of removing your waste.


Maintained well, a septic system causes fewer headaches…

One of the most important parts of owning and using a septic system is to make sure you’re looking after it. A couple visits from us every year will ensure it never overflows and that the entire process is working well and serving you in the best way.


Septic tank maintenance can be arranged right here or by calling us now on (970) 453 – 2339.




Tags:Septic TanksSewers

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