The-Harder-the-Bigger-They-Fail (1)

Septic tanks are not a new concept, especially for families and businesses located in areas outside the cities and the sewer options available to urban folk. They were invented by a man named John Mouras, a Frenchman, around the year 1860. His prototype was quite simple. He created a concrete tank and connected it to pipes made of clay. Although the plumbing system has changed so that we use far fewer clay pipes today, many septic tanks are still being manufactured out of concrete.

Industrial Options

Concrete is no longer the only option available. Septic tanks can now be made of steel, fiberglass, or hardened plastics, and each of these options has their own strengths and weaknesses. Fiberglass is a newer option and essentially functions as a harder plastic option. Steel septic tanks have been around for a while and are popular among industrial areas that need larger tanks. Both steel and fiberglass are often more expensive, and steel has the potential to rust and decay over time, and this can only really be fixed by replacing the entire tank. Fiberglass, on the other hand, does not rust, but it is vulnerable to fractures and cracks if it is mishandled.

Plastic Septic Tanks vs. Concrete

If you are a homeowner or you operate a small business operator, you are probably looking for a more affordable option than steel or fiberglass. These are easy to find in the form of plastic and concrete septic tanks. Both plastic and concrete tanks are significantly less expensive and perform the same as steel or fiberglass over time. Each material type has their own strengths and weaknesses, and potential buyers should weigh their options carefully before making a decision in purchasing a new septic tank.

The Rise of Concrete Septic Tanks

Concrete is the original material from which septic tanks were made. It was introduced from France to the United States in 1883, but it quickly became apparent that mishandled septic systems led to disease and environmental pollution. In response to this unfortunate discovery, Massachusetts put into place a set of regulations called “Title 5”, which was used to ensure the safety and uphold proper standards of septic systems.

By 1950, concrete septic systems were the norm and the regulations, created by the Massachusetts Board of Health, had created sustainable, environmentally safe draining fields. With a few further innovations in the form of septic tank risers and special filters, the septic tank today is a safe and successful alternative to the sewer systems found in cities.

The Benefits of Concrete Septic Tanks 

Concrete septic tanks have stood the test of time. John Mouras went out and dug up the original concrete septic tank in 1880 – 20 years after he had installed it, to see what was inside. His system moved effluent into a cesspool in his backyard, and when he opened up the tank, he discovered it was mostly empty. It had lasted 20 years and still had plenty of use left in it. Of course, we need to remember that the septic tank that only has to work for one person or one small family will likely outlast a tank established for a business or a commercial center because they will easily have to do exponentially more work. Nevertheless, concrete septic tanks usually have a long life.

Another great benefit to concrete septic tanks is that once they are installed, they settle quickly and do not move regardless of the activity of their contents. They are large and bulky; unless you attack them with a jackhammer, you are not likely to damage them very easily.

With proper maintenance, a concrete septic tank should last you decades. Most of this maintenance involves having your tank pumped out regularly to remove the buildup of sludge (solid material) and the addition of special enzymes to the tank contents to keep up a level of healthy bacteria that break down waste.

The Downsides of Concrete Septic Tanks

Everything has a breaking point, and concrete septic tanks are no exclusion to that rule. When properly cared for, they can last decades, but eventually, they begin to wear down. Concrete is not carved stone, and over time, acids in the wastewater can begin to break down the bonds that hold the concrete together, forming weakened areas, corrosion, and eventually cracks in the tank itself. Lower quality concrete also utilizes steel struts for support, and these are susceptible to rust over the years.

When these tanks crack, and waste begins to leak out, it causes a horrible smell and can poison the area and any nearby water supply. If a breakdown occurs, the tank must be dug up, and in some cases raised up and emptied. Since concrete septic tanks are so big and bulky and settle so quickly into the ground, this is often a very difficult task. While concrete can be easily patched (as we often do in sidewalks or other outdoor pavement), those patches do not match the same molecular level as the original concrete and will fluctuate their density in response to temperature changes differently than the original tank. This means, any kind of “patches” are often just a band-aid that can be worn off or refracted within a short amount of time. These are short-term fixes at best. Most often, any serious damage to a concrete tank requires the replacement of the entire tank.

To be fair, significant cracks in tanks of any material type often require replacement. However, due to its size and weight, concrete replacements are often more expensive than lighter materials. Attempts to purchase less expensive concrete will decrease the amount of time it will last and increase the possibility of it suffering accidental breaks.

When these concrete tanks work, they work well. When they break, though, it is a burdensome, expensive, complicated mess to clean up.

The Benefits of Plastic Septic Tanks

When some people think about plastic tanks, they think about milk jugs, plastic cups, or occasionally the plastic containers used to hold fuel for lawnmowers and chainsaws. Plastic as a material, however, is a technology that has enjoyed continual improvement throughout the 20th and 21st century. Plastics have been used to create armor to deflect bullets, withstand high heats, frozen temperatures, hold together large and small pieces of equipment at once, and protect property from harsh weather conditions. As a material, it can be made quickly and easily, which means it is far less expensive than materials like steel or fiberglass.

While it comes closer in price to concrete, it is many times lighter, which means you incur less cost installing a plastic septic tank than a concrete septic tank. In most home installations, you do not require heavy machinery or special lifting equipment to get it into the ground. This light weight and ease of transport can be especially important for rural dwellers who may live in places that are not accessible to the heavy machinery required to install heavier types of septic tanks. Plastic is also impervious to rust and much more resistant to any form of decay that plagues concrete and steel tanks in particular.

There are basically two ways that plastic septic tanks suffer damage. One is if they are hit or dropped during installation. If this happens, they are less likely to crack than fiberglass, and more likely to form a dent, which will not likely affect their function in your septic system. The other way they suffer damage is through temperature changes that can change the density of the plastic material compared to any metal pipes or fixtures. Plastics, however, are more flexible and perform significantly better than the harder materials such as fiberglass, steel, or concrete. Plastic bends where other materials break.

The Downsides of Plastic Septic Tanks

Plastic tanks are a much cheaper and more durable option for septic tanks, but there are a few challenges they face as well. The lighter weight of these tanks is the cause of many of these challenges. In areas with high water levels, the tanks can sometimes shift around underground. This causes them to tilt and sometimes disconnect from their intake and output pipes due to the strain. Because of this, certain areas require that plastic tanks be weighted down to help hold them in place. Other areas do not allow them to be installed at all. It is important to check with local ordinances to be sure plastic septic tanks are allowed on your property before you purchase and install one.

The only other downside to plastic septic tanks is that they do not come in as large of sizes as steel and concrete septic tanks can be made. For this reason, plastic septic tanks are an excellent choice for homeowners and small businesses rather than major industrial or commercial areas. Maintenance is far simpler and more affordable for them, and even if a full replacement is necessary, it will be an easier, more affordable solution for you than dealing with a harder, heavier septic tank.

The Conclusion?

While there are pros and cons to both plastic and concrete septic tanks, the facts seem clear: if you value convenience, plastic is the way to go. To find the right plastic septic tank for your home or business, reach out to the experts at Go To Tanks.

7 Steps to New Plastic Septic System

Plastic septic tanks are just one significant piece of a wastewater management system in your home. It is essential to recognize and remember that when you are preparing for your plastic septic tank installation that there are several critical steps to take when installing a new septic system, and if you do not do each of them carefully, you may have some very expensive consequences to deal with later.

Step 1: Design Your System

The first step is to design your entire system carefully. There is some important information you will need to research and obtain for this. You will need a site survey to help you identify where the boundaries of your property are so that your septic system placement is in compliance with regulations about how close to your neighbor’s property the wastewater may flow underground.

The important pieces of information to look for in the site survey are:

You will also need to do a percolation test on the soils in the area which your plastic septic tank installation will be located. This test is very important because it will determine whether the ground is suitable for a plastic tank and what type of structural precautions you will need to make to ensure that the plastic septic tank does not fracture or crack under the pressure of the ground around it.

The soil test will measure:

Once you have these tests done, you will have the information you need to design an appropriate septic system for your home.

Step 2: Seek Permits

The second step for installation is to submit your designs and applications for the permits and approvals required by your local government. In order to receive approval of these plans, you need to comply with all the laws related to plumbing and building codes. Without these important approvals, you may be fined and forced to remove your system at great cost.

Step 3: Gather Equipment

Gather together the equipment required for you plastic septic tank installation.

Here is a list of the equipment and parts you will need:

Step 4: Install Intake Pipe

Locate the side of your home or building from which you want the septic tank to intake wastewater. At that place, you need to dig down at least 2 feet and either make a hole in the wall or dig deeper underneath the footing of the house or building. If you have a gravity fed system, plan the flow to go downhill since gravity fed systems do not use mechanical methods to move the waste from the tank to the drain field. It is important to realize the downhill slope needs to continue for a distance because the building or home plumbing can get the wastewater into the plastic septic tank, but it will not get it out of the tank and into the draining field.

Next, put the 4 inch Sch. 40 vent caps about a foot through the wall or under the footing and at least five feet outside the building or home, going toward the tank. It needs to be level at the wall and slope down about 1/8th inch per foot toward the plastic septic tank. You can take it all the way to into the tank if it is required, or you can then switch to 4-inch 3034. If you switch pipes, make sure you use the correct adapter as you attach it to the plastic septic tank.

Make sure you attach a test cap on the pipe end that comes out of the building. If you chose to drill through the wall, you need to seal around that hole with hydraulic cement, both on the inside of the building and the outside as well. It is important to keep the pitch of your input pipe right at a 1/8th inch per foot and no steeper and right around 5 feet out from the house. If the pitch is too steep, the wastewater will run too fast, and the solids will get stuck in the pipe. You may also have too little room left to sufficiently get the effluent into the draining field.

Step 5: Install Plastic Septic Tank

Dig a large hole that can fit your plastic septic tank below the ground. Use your laser transit to locate the top of the intake pipe and measure the distance from the top of the intake pipe to the bottom of the tank. Add that number plus 1 ½ inches to the measurement you got from your laser transit to your grade pole, and that should give you the depth that you need. Finish digging until you get to that depth.

Next, you need to dig out your draining field (or leach field) according to the specifications of your survey results and local regulations. Be sure that you keep enough slope to maintain an outward flow from your plastic septic tank installation to your draining field.

Step 6: Install Draining Field

Most places will require a 1 ½ inch layer of washed drain rock around the pipe to keep it steady while it moves substance. Your local health requirements will determine the size of gravel and the depth of this layer. When installing the perforated pipe in a gravity septic system drain field, remember that it has no slope on either end and is capped on its ends.

Step 7: Inspection and Filling In

Once you get the approval of your local health inspector, it is time to cover it all with soil. The drainage area will likely require a special fabric that acts as a filter, untreated building paper, or four inches of straw to cover your washed drain rock before you cover it over with soil.

Bonus for Pump Plastic Septic Tank Installations:

If you have a pumped plastic septic tank installation, there will only be a few differences in your process. Before you connect your plastic septic tank to your draining field, you will need to install a pump chamber. The pump chamber is set it up very similarly to the septic tank itself, but the electrical aspect of the pump will require a licensed electrician to make sure you are up to code for state regulations. Regions that have high groundwater may have an empty pump chamber most of the time, and some may require extra weight added to the floatation device that turns the pump on and off.

If you do the necessary research and tests on your property, submit your applications and designs for approval, and follow these steps, you should have no problem with your plastic septic tank installation. Do not start digging until you get your permits and ask for help from local septic experts at the first sign of trouble, not after you put everything together, fill it in, and find signs of leaking sewage when you first turn it on. If much of this tutorial sounded foreign to you, there’s no shame in asking for help! Reaching out to the experts early in the process will save you a lot of time, money, and the frustration of fixing an improperly installed septic system.

7 Steps to a new plastic septic tank system infographic


A septic system is a holding unit and filtering system that purifies wastewater, which is the water that leaves your household from sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets, along with anything else that goes down with it. There are several different types of septic systems, but each has the same goal of cleansing water so it can safely re-enter the groundwater system for future use.

In North America, at the beginning of the 21st century, approximately 25% of the population relied on septic tanks.  That divides out to nearly 145 million people who use septic systems. These areas included some suburbs and small towns, not just rural areas, though rural areas certainly make up the bulk of septic users. One example of an urban area that relies on septic tanks is Indianapolis. Many of their neighborhoods still rely on separate septic systems.

There are three layers of material in septic systems:

Septic Tanks vs. Cesspools

What are the key differences in a septic tank vs cesspool?

The main difference between these two forms of wastewater management is the word “system”. The cesspool is similar to a well-liner but with holes in its concrete or block ring. There is no broad distribution of effluent. It all goes into the cesspool, with the resulting sludge piling up at the bottom, and effluent and scum escaping through the holes directly into the immediate surrounding soil. That makes for really messy soil surrounding the cesspool.

The cesspool has to be pumped frequently to keep lower holes open for water flow. Also, the cesspool needs to be dug up and moved when the surrounding area’s soil begins pooling wastewater at the ground surface. Older cesspools should be replaced with a modern septic system.

Septic tanks, on the other hand, distribute the scum and effluent into a tile field. This provides a broader area of distribution than a cesspool, which means it is unlikely that the septic tank would need to be relocated.

When choosing septic tank vs cesspool, septic tanks are a cleaner and easier to maintain option for you.

Septic Tanks vs. Sewer

What is the difference in septic tank vs sewer? The biggest differences are size, availability, and frequency of cost.

Sewer systems are large, complex systems of wastewater treatment that serve entire neighborhoods. They require daily professional maintenance and are usually contracted out by cities.

Most homes within city limits are connected to a sewer system. However, most homes outside of city limits do not have access to sewer and it can be very expensive to connect them in.

The large sewer systems typically charge a monthly fee for use, but the homeowner does not have to handle any maintenance costs for the service. Septic tanks, on the other hand require a one-time installation cost, without monthly fees. There are additional costs for maintenance and regular pumping that the homeowner must pay for septic tanks. These costs tend to be more frequent with less expensive tank models. Generally the question of whether to use septic tank vs sewer is based upon which one is available for your property.

Septic Tanks vs. Holding Tanks

What is the difference in a septic tank vs holding tank? Don’t they both just hold wastewater?

Holding tanks are used by homeowners who do not have a suitable tile field to install a septic tank.  When you install a septic tank, you have to prepare a nearby area of land to pump out the effuse and scum, distributing it through soil, which then purifies the water from it. If your land is too steep or not large enough, you may be limited to the option of a holding tank.

A holding tank, just as it sounds, is simply a tank that holds waste. It does not distribute out anything, which means it must be pumped out more often. It must be monitored carefully so that toilets and sinks do not get backed up if the tank gets too full. If you have a large family, this may mean getting your holding tank pumped every week, which could cost you $100 a month. Furthermore, some communities do not allow them, due to the risk of leaks or the chance that the homeowners would not be able to pay to pump them out.

In the decision between septic tank vs holding tank, it is far better to go with a septic tank unless that option is unavailable to you.

Septic Tanks vs. Leach Fields

Septic tank vs Leach field may be a misnomer. In reality, these two methods work best when they are working together.

When wastewater leaves a household, it contains a mixture of scum, effluent, and sludge. The main purpose of a septic tank is to divide out the scum and effluence from the sludge so that it can be safely redistributed into the ground. The sludge stays at the bottom of the septic tank, which occasionally needs to be pumped out. The one problem with a septic tank alone is that the water that drains out of it may still contain harmful bacteria and viruses that could contaminate your water supply. With sufficient time and enough soil, the ground itself will clean those out, but it may not get enough time if it is simply draining down out of the septic tank. (The same would especially be true of a cesspool.) The purpose of a leach field (or drain field) is to take the path of that water, from the septic tank, to the groundwater return, and spread it out horizontally, releasing it slower. That gives it more time and good soil to work through before re entering groundwater, making it safer. The problem of trying to just have a leach field without a septic tank is that the sludge would clog the pipes going through the leach field, leading to backed up sewage and ineffective draining through the field. You really need both the septic tank, to divide out the sludge and the leach field to provide a safer purification process for your wastewater. It is not a question of septic tank vs leach field, it is the combination of the two that works best for you.

Not all wastewater treatment systems are available to everyone. Some are not allowed due to community regulations. Some are simply not viable in the property you live on. If you live within city limits and sewer systems are available, that probably is going to be your best option. In some cases, it may be your only option.

If you live outside the range of a sewer system, you probably have multiple options before you. It is wise to consider long term costs before choosing the least expensive method. Cesspools may be cheaper to install but they are difficult to maintain, and over time may end up causing problems on your property as you move them from place to place. They are also one of the least safe methods of dealing with wastewater. What you save in installation you may end up paying out in doctor bills!

Holding tanks are potentially safer, but they have a high maintenance cost since you have to pump them out a lot more often. Furthermore, if they leak you will have a very expensive mess to clean up. Depending on where it is located, you may have the EPA to deal with as well. This is perhaps why holding tanks are often banned in certain communities.

Your best method of dealing with wastewater if a sewer system is not an option is a septic tank with a leach field. There are some property types that are not big enough or suitable for this kind of method, but there are many types and sizes of septic tank systems that accommodate most property types. It may be a little more costly upfront, but you will save money in the long run and you will be spared the headache of having wastewater seeping up through the ground in your backyard, inciting the wrath of your neighbors who are offended by the odor. That is even more important if you have a business on that property because no one wants to visit a business that smells like clogged toilets.

The good news for you is that you do not need to make this decision alone. Your local septic tank experts are available to consult with you and help you get the best possible wastewater treatment for you money. Be advised, you will need to contact the county for permitting and specific requirements from the Health Department. Let’s face it, of all the many things you want to flush down the drain, your hard-earned money is not one of them… so why wait? Contact your local septic experts today so you can get on to cleaner living.




Wastewater management isn’t something you likely have cause to think about very often, but if you’re in the market for a new septic tank, it pays to be educated on the subject. Knowing which type of tank you need for your property can ensure your system works for your needs and budget. You don’t want to end up having it pumped too often or have trouble if it overflows and causes a costly and hazardous problem to your property. In this article, we’ll cover some basic info that will help you feel more confident as you navigate the world of septic tanks.

What is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a plastic, fiberglass, or concrete chamber placed underground to hold wastewater from your household if city sewage is not available to you. We have been using septic systems for over 150 years. The idea was conceived by Frenchman John Mouras when the Thames river became infected after people disposed of their waste into the once-fresh water. He came up with the idea to use pipes to remove bathing and toilet water and store this waste in a collection tank. When that chamber overflowed, more pipes then carried the wastewater to a community cesspool.

Thankfully, septic tanks have evolved into environmentally-safe, regulated systems that do their intended job well. They also provide nutrients to the soil on your property. The septic tank requirements such as size of the tank depends on how many people are in your home, how many bathrooms you have in your house, and the size, shape, and soil of your property.

Septic tanks need to be maintained properly to ensure the long life of your purchase. Some types are designed to distribute certain portions of environmentally-safe greywater back in the deep soil on your property. If you do not maintain your septic tank, waste that is supposed to settle in the bottom could build up and seep into the absorption soil. Most septic tanks can store waste for two to four years on average, but maintenance is a must to prevent hazardous and costly repairs.

How do Septic Tanks Work?

We usually don’t think about how septic tanks work, but if you’re in the market for a new system, there is good reason to understand the processes, types, installation, and maintenance.

Septic tanks use pipes to carry wastewater out of homes and store it in a collection chamber. Inside the reservoir, different types of filtration systems separate the layers into specific types of waste. A bacteria layer forms inside the tank, performing a very important function: breaking down solid waste.

Greywater is considered water that is safe to return to the environment. It comes from baths, sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines. The distribution system inside a septic tank uses pipes to then deliver the greywater safely into deep soil, a resourceful way to maintain your property’s appearance. Other heavier wastes stay inside the bottom of the chamber until it is emptied by professionals who remove this layer entirely from the tank. This usually happens annually but can be done as rarely as every three years, depending on your system.

Understanding how septic tanks work can help a homeowner maintain their system’s functions and prevent overloading the septic tank system. Because these layers are important to keep separate inside the chamber, homeowners should be cautious of certain aspects of water and even land management. If your land settles and the tank is not maintained on level, this could cause the tank to tip to one side and leave the contents building up unevenly inside. Solid waste could then be distributed into the absorption soil layer instead of staying in the bottom to be later removed by a professional.

Overloading of the tank with excessive greywater can also cause an imbalance within your septic tank system. You should immediately fix leaky faucets, running toilets, and refrain from doing a lot of laundry in one day, which will help keep these layers properly balanced. If the filters, risers, and compartments of septic tank systems are maintained by professionals and with care from the homeowner, this system will be a resourceful and cost-saving way of removing wastewater and replenishing nutrients to your land.

Types of Septic Tanks

When deciding what type of tank is right for you, you will first need a soil analysis by a professional. There are four septic tank types, depending on your housing situation. The most basic systems simply involve gravity to collect wastewater into chambers. This system works in places where placing a container underground is feasible. Septic tank requirements include the type of soil on your property and square footage of your absorption field. If you have hard ground, sand, or uneven property, there are other options available to you. The other septic tank designs include low-dose pressure systems, which allow you to pump wastewater out of your home a couple times a day into a much smaller septic tank. Multiple pipes then flood the gravel area under your property’s designated drainfield. There, the properly-aerated land can help break down the wastewater in an environmentally-friendly area. Another septic tank type is the evapotranspiration system. These septic tank designs are for specific regions where arid conditions require an open trench where natural evaporation is utilized.

The most popular and practical septic tank design is the aerobic septic system. This is akin to the sewage waste removal that is provided in city environments. This systems uses oxygen to increase the amount of bacteria in the septic tank. This bacteria breaks down the waste with natural efficiency. These septic tank designs have a pre- and final treatment segments that creates purified greywater that is safe for sprinklers to distribute onto your absorption field. This is the most natural way to dispose of wastewater and return nutrients to the environment.

Septic tank requirements for your location determine your overall cost of purchase of the chamber, style, and installation. There are 225 gallon septic tanks for two-person, one bathroom households with low-dose pressure systems. Multiple bedroom/bathroom households could need a 1000 gallon tank. The septic tank costs vary depending on how big of a chamber you require and what type of land you own for the distribution field. Installation of the entire system is where the bulk of the cost is generated. The tank itself ranges between $500 to $1500 but the manpower required for septic tank installation could range between $2500 to $4500 on average.

Maintenance and understanding of your system is most important after installation, as emergency septic tank costs could be anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the degree of breakdown of the system. If your septic tank backs up and you have sludge rising up from your shower or toilets, the damage done to the interior of your home can bump up these repair costs to much more than just the re-excavation of land and system repairs.

Proper maintenance includes pumping the bottom sludge layer to maintain an equal balance of layers. If the sludge builds up and begins to mix with the distribution of greywater, this is an environmental hazard. Prevention of problems will protect your investment for years to come. Professional drainage can cost between $250 to $500. Anaerobic septic tank systems, such as gravity septic tank designs can need drainage annually. The popular aerobic septic tank systems can extend the drainage schedule to three or even four years apart, depending on your circumstances and system maintenance. Learning about the right design for you can reduce your overall septic tank cost for professional installation, pumping, and maintenance.


Septic Tank Installation

When you schedule your soil analysis with a professional engineer, you will work closely with them to decide the septic tank type, design, and cost that is right for your household and property. Septic tank installation requires that the professional engineer does a site survey and soil test. They will discuss your options based on topography, household water usages, and how close your property is to a well. There are laws for septic tank installation as far as how close to the house boundary a septic tank system can be installed. It is usually 50 feet. The professional company will obtain the proper permits to fulfill these septic tank requirements and begin working on your property.

If you are seeking to install a new septic tank, such as a basic gravity system, a professional company will dig, drill, and place your septic tank and pipes on your property using various excavation and digging equipment. The septic tank installation process will place the entire system underground in the designated areas, including the pipes to drain to your absorption field. You should call to set up appointments for an inspector to come out to ensure that the pipes, tank, and system is within state regulations. Proper inspection should be done before the ground is recovered by topsoil so the inspector can see all hardware. Most professionals suggest calling the inspector when the process begins so you can schedule frequent visits throughout the entire septic tank installation process. They will ensure that health regulations are being met or exceeded to protect your family and property.

Now it’s up to you to choose the right system for your needs. Septic tank cost, installation, and type needed are the most important decisions you will make. Understanding how your system functions and how to best prolong its components as a whole will ensure you get your money’s worth, along with an enduring private waste management system for your household.


Scientists tell us that one of our primary connections to memory is our sense of smell. One of the first things you notice when your septic tank is not working properly is the smell. It seeps up through your sinks, your shower drains, and your toilets — and trust us, that is not something you’re going to want to remember. Sometimes it begins to waft up from the ground near your tank and drain field. It is unmistakable. Everyone knows what it is and no one wants to be anywhere near it.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. No one wants to inhabit a space that smells like a Port-O-John. That is why it is imperative that you take good care of your septic tank system.

Things to Avoid

The general rule when considering what to flush down the drain is to limit the amount of solids. An excess of solids flushed down drains and toilets will fill up your septic tank very fast. You will want to avoid flushing things like sanitary napkins, dental floss, cigarette butts, disposable diapers, paper towels, tampons, cat litter, or coffee grounds.  You want to keep anything that does not decompose easily out of your septic system.

Most of the time when we think about causing havoc in the septic system, we think about problematic materials flushed down the toilet. However, it is equally important to consider your kitchen sink. Garbage disposals can be a problem for homeowners with septic tanks, because only the high-end models chop particles up finely enough to decompose properly. It is a far safer option to avoid the garbage disposal altogether and start a compost pile for your cooking scraps instead.

Along with food scraps, you should avoid putting grease and fat down the drain. While they do not cause significant damage to the tank itself, grease and oil can destroy a septic system by clogging the drainfield and polluting the soil around it. This polluted soil is unable to do the work of absorbing and processing liquids from your tank.  If this happens to your septic system, you might have to replace the system.

Be careful with household cleaners. The work of your septic tank relies upon ‘friendly’ bacteria to do it’s decomposition work. Many disinfectants, bleaches, and household cleaners kill this bacteria. If you have a septic tank, you should instead use organic and biodegradable household products. Never use drain cleaners if at all possible – even small quantities of these virulent chemicals can destroy the bacteria and cause your septic system major problems.

Never put hazardous substances into the system. Avoid paint, paint thinners, gasoline, motor oil, or any other such substances. There is no way of salvaging a septic tank with these substances in them.

Conserve Water

Septic systems are water dispersal units that have a wide front end and smaller releasing ends. Like a funnel, they seek to direct an outpouring of water into much narrower streams. Now imagine putting several coffee filters in that funnel. It would not take much water for it to overflow or tear through those filters. Similarly, septic tanks can overflow if they spring a leak from too much pressure or too much water usage in a single day. Anything you can do to conserve water will prolong the life of your septic system.

Use Septic Treatments

Septic treatments, such as RID-X® Septic Tank System Treatment, are made of billions of 100% natural active bacteria that produce enzymes with the ability to  break down waste. When you add these treatments to your septic system, you help restore these beneficial bacteria and enzymes needed to help keep your system working efficiently.

RID-X® contains:

How quickly do these septic treatments work?

These enzymes begin working as soon as they come in contact with water. After just a few hours the bacteria germinate and then begin to breaking down solid waste. The bacteria will multiply to the maximum level that your septic system can hold in about 2-4 days, if the temperature and conditions are favorable. Since septic systems are unique to specific homes, they break down waste at different speeds.

External Care

You might think that the ground near septic tanks would be ideal for growing your plant life, since the ground would be filled with a constant supply of fertilizing materials. That would be true for the plants themselves. However, in their search for those nutrients, trees and bushes grow roots that twist around and break up your drain field wastewater lines. For the safety of your septic system, it is important to keep all trees and bushes clear of the septic tank and draining field.

It is also important to keep heavy objects, such as cars, trucks, and RVs, as well as small buildings like sheds and garages, clear of the area. Excess pressure could damage the pipes, and should a problem arise with the system, small buildings could prevent important access required for maintenance.

Septic Tank with Pump

A septic tank pump is a water pump that is installed either in the last chamber of a septic tank or in another pump sump after the septic tank. Essentially, it is a small electrical water pump that can be submerged in wastewater. It has a float switch which turns the pump on and off as the tank fills with water. It has a small impeller which then pushes the water up through the pipes, into the drainage field. This pump will require electricity to operate so you will need to make sure you have electrical access near your septic tank and that it is installed safely.


Why would you need a septic tank with pump?

In general, a septic tank with a pump is more efficient at dispersing wastewater from the tank, which prevents the tank from filling up as fast. The float switch keeps the wastewater below a certain level in the tank, similar to how the float switch in a toilet shuts the water off when the reservoir reaches a certain level.

Oftentimes, a piece of property is not level. If your septic tank sits at a lower level in your property and you are attempting to create a draining field at an elevated level, gravity works against you and prevents the wastewater from distributing properly, making a pump necessary. It may also be necessary if you have a raised percolation area or a soakaway near the septic tank.

You can install a septic tank pump into an existing septic tank, or it can be installed in a pump station after the septic tank. If your septic tank is only a single chamber unit, then you should not install the pump directly in the tank. If you you do, you will end up pumping settled solids (or sludge) out of the tank. These solids will block your pipes and pollute your draining fields.

However, if your tank has 2 or 3 chambers then you can install a submersible septic tank pump into the last chamber of the tank. Be sure to install a dirty water pump that can handle solids up to 30mm in size, otherwise the pump will clog with small solids.

Pumping Your Septic Tank

One of the most important parts of septic tank maintenance is having the tank pumped regularly. Even if you have a septic tank pump, the whole tank needs to have the solid waste pumped out of it every 1-3 years. If you do not do this, it will fill up, clog the dispersing pipes that lead to your drain field, back your sewage up into your household, and potentially crack the tank and cause a leak from the pressure.

At that point you are no longer looking at septic tank maintenance, you are looking at septic tank replacement… and a huge, potentially dangerous mess to clean up on your property. It is the difference between paying ​300 for pumping and paying $10,000 for a new septic system. You cannot afford not to pump, and the more often you do it, the longer your septic tank system will last.

How do you know when to get your septic tank pumped? If you have an internal pump in your large-size tank, it will be running a lot to keep up with elevated levels inside the tank. This means the solid sludge has accumulated to much and the tank cannot hold as much liquid without activating the float switch and turning the pump on. You will hear the pump running and you will notice it in your electric bill.

Your tank will also probably have some kind of gauge to show how full it is. If two years have passed and you do not notice any accumulation on that gauge, it is probably worth having it checked out by an expert.

The whole maintenance process can be simplified by consulting your local septic experts. They can estimate a pumping schedule for you based upon your present septic system and your household size and water usage. They can recommend proper treatments and a schedule of how often to add them as well. Regular inspections can help them catch problems early and prevent huge replacement costs to you.


Septic tanks are the invisible superheroes that keep our lives clean and healthy. Most of us go through life barely noticing them. In fact, they are designed to only be noticed when something goes wrong. When they do go wrong it is very noticeable, very messy, and very unhealthy. That is why it is important to get the right septic tank for your personal or business needs.

Types of Septic Tanks

In the past, the idea of a septic tank was simply a concrete tank buried somewhere in the backyard. It was not cheap, but it was not the most expensive item that people had to buy for their property. Many older properties still have these basic units, but current regulations often do not allow new installations of those old types of septic septic tank systems. It is important to be aware of your area’s regulations regarding septic tank design.

What are the septic tank types? Most septic systems can be divided into four general categories, based upon function.

However, septic tank designs within these general categories can vary according to composition materials. Some septic tanks come precast in concrete. Others are made of plastic and fiberglass, or steel. Steel may sound like the strongest option to go with, but in fact it is the least popular. They are only built to last 20-25 years, but can rust out even before that.

All septic tanks require regular pumping, so the goal is not necessarily to choose the largest option. It is important that you choose something strong enough for your area, land type, and household needs so that you do not suffer a break and have to deal with a leaking tank.

How Big of a Septic Tank Do I Need?

Septic tanks come in different sizes, and which one you need will depend on the size of house or building it is intended for.

For instance, a one bedroom house may only need a small septic tank. A four bedroom house would probably require a larger one because the number of people living in the building will determine how much wastewater is produced. One good rule to go by is to get a septic tank one size larger than you need as determined by the number of people living in your household. That way, when the whole family comes over for Thanksgiving dinner, you do not have to deal with an overloaded septic tank.

Bear in mind also that you need to pump your tank every 2-5 years, so a smaller tank may save you money in the short term, but end up costing you more in pumping fees in the long term by needing to be pumped more often than the standard.

Septic Tank Options

A septic tank system does more than simply store wastewater. Its task is to safely disperse that water through a filter of some kind, purifying the toxins within it, and restore it back to the groundwater system to be used again. Since that filtering method affects the very water you drink and use, it is important that you have a proper and effective filtering method in place.

Advanced treatment systems are more expensive, but are often more efficient as well. Residential projects typically cost between 13,000 and 20,000 dollars. One example of this is an aerobic system. Aerobic septic systems use oxygen to help facilitate faster decay, thus reducing the amount of time for filtration. However, the faster decay can cause more problems in the system itself, so more maintenance care is required.

Other options include a septic tank with drain field and septic tank filters, which may be made of sand, textiles, or a newer method called Glendon Biofilters. General sand filters are not installed new anymore, but you may inherit them with your property. Typically, sand mounds are created instead. Glendon Biofilters are typically used when groundwater or significant rock is located near the surface. They are made of different layers of sand and gravel placed in a sealed box built into the soil with a sand fill placed over the top of the entire area. They work well, especially in areas where the soil type or land available might make other systems tricky, but they are not very aesthetically pleasing, so many have opted for combinations of other types of septic tank filters with or without drain fields instead.

Before You Buy

Before you buy, you need to check into local regulations. The EPA has some basic information you can find here, but the regulations that govern septic tanks are decided by your local government, so you will need to do some local research in order to determine what your first steps should be.

You will need to know the local regulations regarding septic tank types (concrete, steel, plastic, etc.). You also need to know the kind of septic tank designs that are allowed, and if you are allowed or required to have septic tank filters or septic tank draining fields.

Another important thing to consider is how close your tank will be to your property line. We often do not pay attention to the details hidden from our view, but you may be required to have your tank far enough away from your property line so that drainage does not seep into your neighbor’s property.

It is also important to inquire about maintenance costs. Some septic tank systems require very little maintenance beyond the regular pumping. Others, like many of the aerobic systems, require electricity to run. This means you will incur regular expenses just by running it and will have to keep them carefully maintained because electrical failure will mean septic failure.

Septic Tank Budget

It is important to remember when making your septic tank budget, that these tanks must all be pumped out every 2-5 years, so saving money on a smaller installation may come back to cost you more in the end on more frequent pumps or more frequent maintenance costs due to an overloaded tank. Plan ahead and budget for a size bigger than your average need so that you will be prepared for those above-average events.

What does this tell you about your septic budget needs? It will take you at least $5,000 to get you started. Take a look at your property. Is it flat or sloped? The more slope you have, the more expensive your septic system is likely to be. How much good topsoil do you have on your property? The more soil you have the less expensive your septic system will cost. Plan and budget accordingly.

Consult the Experts

It is important to do some research before making a $10,000 (or more) purchase . It is even more important when you want this purchase to last multiple years without serious maintenance or replacement cost. Septic tank systems are not “one size fits all” pieces of equipment. They need to be customized to fit the unique challenges of your household and your property. They also need to pass area regulations as well. This research saves you money in the long run and protects you from the contamination of broken or poorly maintained septic tank systems.

You can go online and try to track down all the regulations yourself. You can try to do the mathematical equations to come up with the best size fit and type for your particular needs. You can get out and dig a hole in the ground to see how far you have to go before you hit significant rock…

…or you can call the experts at GoToTanks and let them guide you through this process. No one should have to go through the pressure of deciding all this information on their own, knowing that one small miscalculation may cost them $10,000 in replacement costs in just a few years. Why take the risk when you can contact Go To Tanks and save time and money in making this decision? Make the call today to get on the road to finding the perfect septic tank for your property. (Please note: you will need to contact the county for permitting and specific requirements from the Health Department.)

Finding the Right Below Ground Septic Tank for Your Job

When it comes to getting the job done right, not all septic tanks are created equal. If you should ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of experiencing a failing septic tank, uprooting it can be a massive and unpleasant undertaking that you’d rather avoid, but will most likely have to pursue. It is certainly vital to get the right tank from the get go. Let’s look at a few different types of below ground septic tanks that will give you the peace of mind that you deserve after installation.

Plastic Septic Tanks

As a more cost effective option and easier to install when compared to concrete septic tanks, plastic septic tanks are constructed from polyethylene resins, lightweight, built to last (less prone to cracking and freezing issues), and can serve both your residential and commercial needs.

So, whether it’s for your trailers, RV parks, hunting camps, homes, cabins and cottages, or portable construction buildings, these septic tanks are just what you need for human waste, sewage, or blackwater containment.

Standard Septic Tanks

Spherical pump/holding tanks are the most basic of the underground tanks. They are designed to be used as a holding tank or pump tank, and when empty, can be stored underground. Spherical tanks feature a 20-inch watertight domed lid, which makes leak prevention a key advantage. It also has a molded-in elevated pump stand on the bottom of the tank and a gallon capacity between 200 and 525. They are not harmful to the environment and installation in high water table or high clay areas is not recommended.

Norwesco legacy (Ribbed) septic tanks are molded in one piece and are installation ready. It’s superior structural integrity and its light weight makes it easily transportable to a job site by two individuals or in a pick-up truck. Available in single and double compartment (2/3 – ⅓), they must be kept full continually, while 750-1500 gallons and up can feature PVC tees and gaskets fitted loose or with installed PVC tees and septic adapters.

Bruiser Septic Tank

These tanks are available in both single and double compartment and are used for the storage of wastewater and is a lightweight, making it cost-effective. Gallon capacity ranges from 1000 up to 1500. The durability of this tank reflects its ability to be resistant to cracks, chips, and ruptures, as a result of being designed with rotationally molded polyethylene resin. With a 20” manway lid, pre-plumed according to the state code, and the capacity to accept 4″ effluent filters, these tanks need no special backfill and can use native soil during installation.

Low Profile Septic Tanks

Specifically designed with rotationally molded rugged, this one-piece polyethylene resin tank has no seams, minimizing the chances of leakage. Installation ready, molded in one piece, either single or double compartment, low profile tanks may be pumped dry during pump-outs, and installed with 6″ to 36″ of cover. Tanks can feature PVC tees and gaskets, with no backfill required for installation. It can be accessorized with low profile applicable extensions-  double-wall corrugated pipe and ribbed PVC pipe.

Ground Holding Tanks

These can be used as free-standing large capacity septic tanks and designed for storing gray water. Produced from high-density polyethylene with U.V inhibitors, it possible to hold greywater of up to 1.0 gravity. Gallon capacity ranges from 2000 to 2650 and extensions, risers, access covers and fittings can make useful accessories to match your needs.

Ready to invest in a septic tank that will have you covered for the long haul? Go To Tanks has plenty of options for your below ground septic tank job. Reach out to us today and we’ll help you find the perfect septic tank for you job.