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All Memorial City homes get rid of wastewater in one of two manners: via sewer line or a septic tank. In most cases, you don’t have a choice between the two. If your home is on the local sewer grid you are likely already connected, and if the grid doesn’t reach you then your only choice is a septic tank. However, cities are expanding and that means that sewer lines are starting to expand with them. In particular, cities are extending their sewer lines to reach new developments which means that as a home you may have the option of calling a plumber and tossing your old septic tank away.
Of course, at this point, the question becomes whether or not you should. Moving to a public sewer system and getting rid of your septic tank can be a costly endeavor. That is why it is a good idea to talk to a plumber first to get an idea of where your system stands. If your septic system is older or starting to fail, this might be the perfect time to jump onto the sewer line to avoid high replacement costs. On the other hand, if you recently had a new septic system installed by a professional, the idea may be less appealing.
Septic Tanks Versus Sewer Lines
As mentioned, most people usually only have the choice of one or the other. Traditionally, urban homes have access to public sewer systems while homes situated in rural areas need to use a septic tank since they don’t have a sewer system they can run pipes into. However, as cities continue to develop some homes that are on the border of urban and rural areas may now have the option to switch. In this situation, it is important to look at both systems equally.
Benefits of Choosing the Public Sewer System
If you call a plumber and choose to connect to the public sewer system your wastewater will likely become an afterthought. After you pay the monthly wastewater fee you won’t have to worry about much else since the city water department is responsible for any repairs to the sewer line. Sewer lines are less likely to clog versus a septic system since they are built to move large amounts of wastewater. They also can handle a lot more materials compared to septic tanks, although this does not give you a free license to flush anything you want down your drains unless you want to place your plumber on speed dial. Remember, just because your sewer line won’t drain doesn’t mean that the rest of your plumbing lines won’t.
Plus, when you choose a public sewer system you don’t need to worry about maintaining a septic tank. Tanks need flushed every three to five years and if the system fails your yard can end up smelling like a toilet. Keep in mind that if the option exists to change to the public sewer, home buyers in the future may require you to switch before they will purchase your home. If you are preparing your home for sale, this may be one reason to proactively talk to a plumber about making the switch.
Benefits of Choosing a Septic System
Despite the fact that septic systems require more upkeep, there are advantages to sticking with a septic tank. To start, they are better for the environment and consume less energy than public sewer systems. In addition, septic tanks also grow bacteria that break down wastewater which can reduce the chance that leaks will occur between your home and where the water is taken after you have your tank flushed.
More importantly, outside of the costs of having your tank flushed every couple of years, septic tanks generally don’t incur any additional costs. You don’t have to worry about any monthly bills for your sewage use and if something happens to the local sewer lines you will not be disturbed. In short, a septic system allows your home to run independently of the local municipal sewage system which many people enjoy. Of course, you still need to talk to a plumber to see if a septic tank is an option, because not every home has space or the proper plumbing to adopt one. In addition, if you live within city limits you may not be permitted to just purchase a septic tank system just because you want one.
Is it Hard to Switch to a Public Sewer System?
If you have talked to a professional and want to move towards the public sewer system, the next step is determining how hard it will be to make the switch. Most plumbers can complete the tank within a few days. During this time your wastewater should only be affected for a couple of hours at most. The professional will wait until you are almost ready to connect to the public lines before disconnecting your septic tank so that your home plumbing is virtually unaffected during the project.
The biggest factor to contend with is the price. Outside of the basic labor costs, most cities charge a large fee to connect to public sewer systems. This type of work also requires proper permits so a plumber cannot just jump in and connect you to the system. How much the project will cost in total will heavily depend on how close the nearest sewer line is to your home.
Unsure of what to do? The best thing you can do is talk to a local plumber who can assess the current condition of your septic system and offer you some advice. Replacing an old septic tank can cost thousands of dollars, so at that point, it may be a wiser idea to just put the money towards joining the city grid. On the other hand, unless you are selling your home it may be wise to just wait a little longer. bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston in Memorial City would be happy to come out and inspect your sewer tank to help you make a more educated decision.