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A Septic System vs. Sewer System

This article is especially important for those who are in search of their first home or even just a new home. If you don’t know the difference between a sewer system and a septic system, read on.

During your home search, you may have noted that some homes are located on public utility sewer systems and some depend on septic systems. There are some notable differences to consider.

Public sewer systems charge a monthly fee, and the homeowner is not responsible for maintaining any pipes outside of the home associated with wastewater. On the other hand, septic systems do need maintenance, which is the responsibility of the homeowner.  There is, of course, no monthly fee associated with a septic system, and, in all honesty, these systems are usually less expensive in the long run.

When purchasing a home, it is always best to have basic knowledge of each type of wastewater system. Below are some pros and cons and also costs associated with each.

First of all, both systems are intended to handle “blackwater” which is essentially wastewater from the toilet and “greywater” which comes from showers, sinks, dishwashers and washing machines.

Many people choose to be on a shared system because the burden of keeping the system running falls on the local town. Also, in a shared system, wastewater is taken to a centralized treatment facility.  Having said that, septic systems, if professionally designed, installed and maintained will hold up even in the biggest of storms. The best way to guarantee an effective septic system is simply to have a trained professional ensure adequate installation and maintenance.


Septic System:  The cost of a septic system varies depending upon size, type and the landscape you are installing on. A smaller system could cost you as little as $2,000.00 or upwards of $10,000.00 for a larger system.

Public Sewer:  If your home is not already connected, it can be very expensive to connect to a city sewer system. Fees can range anywhere from $5,000.00 to $20,000.00.  If you are already connected, you will be required to pay a monthly sewer bill, which ultimately can end up being very costly.

Bottom Line – Do your research and decide which is best for you!!