Three Hidden Costs
What You Should Know Before Deciding On a New Septic System
When getting a quote for a new septic system, be sure to consider these 3 hidden costs in your budget:
1. Replacement Dispersal Fields
Systems requiring below-ground dispersal of untreated or partially treated sewage will eventually clog and need to be replaced. Less treatment leads to faster failure. Replacement costs are unavoidable for untreated or partially treating systems. Each replacement of the dispersal field will cost $9,000 to $20,000, depending on how many days the contractor is on site and the cost of any special sand or other materials needed, and whether the treatment system is replaced while the yard is dug up.
2. Land Investment
Extra land is required for leach field and mound dispersal systems, compared with surface or spray dispersal. And a greater amount of land is required for systems that do not treat. Up to two acres is needed for dispersal of untreated sewage to allow for finding soil and an area that can be used. The same amount of land will also be needed for each dispersal system replacement on your property. Only about a half to a third of this amount of land is needed for a partial or full treatment system. You can see how subsurface dispersal area requirements represent a hidden cost of $10,000 to $20,000 in lost property value. The land cannot be reused for septic disposal purposes once it is used. Over time, however, it can become usable as open yard space. Check your local regulations.
3. Costs of Compliance with Health and Environmental Regulations
Even though disposed septic is meant to be contained on your property, water has a way of finding its way to water tables, streams, and lakes off of your property. This can create a nuisance for neighboring private and public land. If it does, your local health department will advise you of steps needed to assure the effluent leaving your property meets standards.
Fixing a discharge quality issue will involve service calls to investigate causes and solutions. Troubleshooting can be complicated by systems that are designed to allow untreated septic to enter the yard during periods of heavy water use. It is hard to tell whether the leakage is due to a system malfunction or improper operation or just heavy use.
It is prudent to make sure that your treatment system will always discharge water that meets health and environmental standards. One step you can take when selecting a treatment system is to ask for assurances and performance information from your equipment provider or from county or state health departments. Health departments often collect performance information from installed systems. Ask specific questions like, “Can you tell me what percentage of systems like the one I am considering always meet the required discharge standards when operating in this county?” A high success rate is an indication that the system functions as required when operated under the variable conditions typical of a home.
When all investment, operating, and hidden costs are considered, what might have been a clear decision based on installed system costs is no longer clear. A system that fully treats looks to be the better decision based on total expected costs. Only you know your situation and expectations for living in your home, but it will pay off for you to weigh both short- and long-term costs.
Need help deciding which type of system will save time, money, and land?
Our experienced staff at Tangent Company can walk you through all of the costs you should consider. Call us at 440-557-4936 or fill out the form below.