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How Much Does A Septic System Cost?

January 03, 2020

How much does a septic system cost? - Unique Drain + Septic

Key Points: 

  1. The cost to install a conventional septic system will cost on average between $1500 and $5000. However, if you choose to install an engineered system (i.e., with additional pumps or components), the cost of the system can be between $9000 and $15,000. 
  2. The cost of a septic tank will vary based on size (and thus compatibility with the size of your home). Septic tanks cost between $750 and $2500. 
  3. A drain field can cost between $2000 and $10,000. The cost highly depends on the type of soil where the drain field will be located. 
  4. Other costs you should consider are those for soil testing, system design, permits, clearing of any land, connection of your septic tank to your home, and a potential pump alarm. See below for specific average costs of these components. 
  5. Finally, proper long-term maintenance of a septic system will include regular pumping every 3-5 years at $300 to $600 per pumping. Additionally, proper maintenance will help to keep repair costs to a minimum. Proper maintenance will include facilitating the growth of beneficial bacteria in your tank and avoiding putting anything harmful down your drains. 

If you live in a rural area, or a neighborhood where public sewer access is not available, you are most likely on a septic system. New and seasoned home owners may worry about the cost of such a system and need to know upfront what expenses they can expect. Well, we’re here to break down the cost of the various components, the installation, and the maintenance of a septic system.  

Let’s jump in! 

Average Cost of Installing a Septic System

To begin, we will quickly look at the overall cost of installing a complete septic system, then we will break down each component of the system by cost. For most homes, the cost of a conventional septic system will typically vary between $1500 on the low end and $5000 on the high end. The specific cost of your septic system will depend upon your particular situation. For example, a four-bedroom home will need a larger and more expensive system than a two-bedroom home. Moreover, soil conditions will also play into the costs of installation. On average, most people spend about $3200 to $5000 for a conventional septic system.

On the other hand, if you are looking to install an engineered system (i.e., a system with additional components like alternating pumps), your cost can quickly jump up. These systems can cost between $9000 and $15,0000!

For the purposes of this article, however, we’re going to assume that you are looking to install a conventional septic system. A conventional system consists of a septic tank that naturally breaks down waste and uses gravity to feed waste water into a lateral line system (i.e., a leach field or drain field) where it is purified of contaminants and safely dispersed back into the ground water. In other words, a conventional system is the simplest system out there, and therefore, it is the cheapest. 

Septic Tank Cost

In a conventional septic system, the septic tank itself is one of the biggest expenses you will have to consider. Depending upon the size of your home, you will need a larger or smaller septic tank. For instance, a 750 gal septic tank will service a 1 to 2 bedroom home, and a 1500 gal tank will service a 5 to 6 bedroom home. 

Cost breakdown of different sized septic tanks:

  • 500 gal = $725
  • 750 gal = $1200
  • 1000 gal = $1600
  • 1250 gal = $2300
  • 1500 gal = $2500

The numbers above account for both soil excavation and inlet and outlet fittings. Of course, these are estimates and will vary depending upon your specific situation; all the same, they provide a useful range of costs. 

Drain Field Cost

The next big expense of installing a septic system is the drain field or leach field. The leach field consists of a lateral line system of perforated PVC pipes that are buried in a layer of gravel that lies under the native soil. This gravel filters the waste water, purifying it of contaminants before it disperses back into the groundwater. The average cost of installing a drain field is between $2000 and $10,000. 

Generally, it will cost between $9 to $12 per linear foot to install lateral line pipes. Additionally, you will need to factor in the cost of gravel, which should cost between $12 to $30 per ton. 

Other Costs

In addition to the two biggest costs of a septic system—the septic tank and the drain field—there are some other costs you should consider. 

  1. Soil testing. Before you begin your project, you will need a soil test. This will help to determine the percolation rate of your soil, the height of the water table, and the location of bedrock. A soil test will typically cost between $100 to $400. However, some sources say that a deep hole percolation test can cost between $1000 and $2000. 
  2. Permit. A permit for a septic system will normally vary between $250 to $450. 
  3. Design of the system. Professionally designing a septic system will generally take between 2 to 3 weeks and cost about $600 on average. 
  4. Clearing the land. If applicable and depending upon your situation, it may cost around $950 to clear a quarter of an acre of flat land. 
  5. Connecting pipes from your home to your septic tank. Including excavation and installation, the cost of connecting your septic tank to your home is normally between $25 to $33 per linear foot. 
  6. Pump alarm. To be alerted if water exceeds a certain level in your septic tank or if your pump fails, you will need a pump alarm, which will cost about $750.


Properly maintaining a septic tank entails regular pumping, proper habits, and assisting the bacteria in your tank by using the best septic tank bacterial products

Depending upon usage, a septic tank should be pumped every 3-5 years. Failing to pump a septic tank can lead to gross and expensive complications, so it is important not to skip this crucial maintenance step! The cost of pumping a septic tank is between $300 and $600 with an average cost of about $400. 

Beyond the cost of pumping your septic tank, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of damage (and thus, costly repairs!) to your septic system by only allowing human waste and toilet paper into your system! All other items (e.g., grease, food, bathroom articles like floss, feminine hygiene products, “flushable wipes” or hand wipes) will lead to clogs and backups in your system. These are no fun and are expensive to repair! 

Finally, we recommend that you supplement your system with a high-quality, bacterial-based product that will add beneficial bacteria to your septic tank and help to facilitate the breakdown of waste. By using such a product, you will increase the life of your system and keep any repairs to a minimum. Some may argue that a properly working septic system should not require the use of treatment additives, but this is a common fallacy that we discuss here.

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While all the information above may seem overwhelming at first, in the end it can be worth it to install a personalized septic system! Regardless of what you decide to do, we hope that this article has been helpful if you are trying to determine the cost of a new septic system for your home! As always, we are more than happy to answer any of your questions or concerns. Please feel free to reach out to us at support@uniquemm.com

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