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If you are in the market to buy a new home, you may have noticed that some neighborhoods are on public utility sewer systems and some neighborhoods use septic systems. Generally speaking, homes located in and around bigger cities and towns are usually linked to public sewer systems. In this case, wastewater leaves the property and travels to a community treatment facility for processing and cleaning. If a neighborhood is outside the area serviced by the local sewer system, the homes will generally use a septic system to handle wastewater.

If you are looking at homes in multiple neighborhoods, you will need to make quite a few decisions and choices in order to make the best decision of where to buy. Having some basic knowledge of the pros and cons of each type of waste water system will help in choosing between neighborhoods that are on public utility sewer systems compared to those on septic systems.


Septic vs Sewer System: The Biggest Differences

For a new house in a remote area, connecting to the public sewer system is typically costly and difficult. In some cases, it is even impossible due to the lack of nearby sewage lines. For those situations in particular, septic systems provide a cost-effective alternative.

A sewer system is a large, public utility attached to an entire neighborhood, maintained by a public works department. With sewer systems, the homeowner has no responsibility for the maintenance or unexpected costs associated with upkeep. Instead, the homeowner pays a monthly fee for the utility. Waste is carried in sewer lines to a water treatment facility. If something goes wrong, the homeowner simply needs to call the local municipality public works department.

With septic systems, the homeowner is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the septic system. Waste goes into a holding tank on the property, where it is broken down into liquid. The liquid effluent is then released into a drainfield. The homeowner is responsible for the maintenance or unexpected costs associated with upkeep. However, if maintained well, a septic system is more affordable long-term than the annual cost of paying for the sewer utility.


Benefits of a Septic System


Saves Money

A septic system can save you money over time. If you install your own septic tank, you will have to pay for the installation cost. If you are buying a home with a septic system, then the price of it should be included in the listed home price.

If your property connects to a sewer system, you will be responsible for paying monthly sewer fees to your city. Some areas include the sewage costs with your water bill, whereas others will separate the two. These costs can run on the high end, depending on where you live and what type of equipment your city uses. If you live in a remote area, it can be costly, if not impossible, to connect to a local sewer system.

Besides installation, the only other costs associated with your septic system are the minimal maintenance expenses you will encounter over time. It would be best if you had your septic tank pumped by a professional every two to three years.


Greener and Cleaner

Large public treatment plants use harsh chemicals (such as chlorine) to disinfect and treat wastewater. They also consume a lot of energy to pump that water into nearby rivers. Environmentalists have raised concerns over the years about the potential impact of sewage water on the local ecosystem. In contrast, septic systems use only naturally existing bacteria to break down waste, which is considered a big plus by environmentally conscious homeowners.

Wastewater treatment plants are also far more susceptible to overflows due to high capacity, power outages, or pumps breaking down, but a quality septic tank that is properly maintained should never overflow.

The environmental benefits of septic systems are:

  • They use naturally existing bacteria and no strong chemicals
  • They use much less energy than sewer systems
  • They are less susceptible to overflow


Personal Control Over Your Drainage

When your local government controls your wastewater removal, you have to rely on them to manage problems, backups, and efficiency. Additionally, they can charge you for system upgrades at a moment’s notice.

With a septic system, homeowners have complete control over every aspect of their wastewater removal—from monitoring how much water is used in the home and what goes down the drain to making sure your system is properly maintained year after year.



At West Coast Sanitation, we know that you do not have time to deal with septic problems. If you think that your system is being affected by invading tree roots, please give us a call at (951) 780-5922 right away. We have professionals ready to answer your questions and get your system working properly again.