Sewer System vs Septic System

Clean. Prompt. Professional.
Sewer grate in a street

Most people flush their toilets without giving it a second thought — which is completely understandable; who wants to continually think about their dirty business? Our home’s drainage systems do much more than that though: they make doing the dishes, laundry, and showers all possible. Have you ever stopped to wonder how?

Today, our wastewater management experts at NoCo Septic are diving into the mechanics of the two most popular systems: sewer and septic. We will also go over the advantages of each to help you determine which option is the right fit for your home.

How do septic systems work?

There are three main components that make up a septic system: the pipes, septic tank, and drain field. Wastewater enters the tank that lies underground; next, the solids will settle down, while the oil and grease rise up; then effluent (liquid wastewater) exits the tank into the drainfield; finally treated water seeps into the groundwater.

It’s important to note that the purpose of septic systems is not to treat wastewater to become drinkable but to safely release it in a way that prevents contamination. They are commonly found in rural neighborhoods without centralized sewer systems like Northern Colorado. Since they aren’t connected to communities, maintenance and care are under the responsibility of the homeowner.

Septic system advantages:

  • Septic tanks have a reputation for being a more eco-friendly option over sewer systems since they don’t require chemicals to treat the water; the drain fields act as a natural filter. Concerns have arisen about the impact those toxins have on natural water sources.

  • You can save money because you don’t have to pay a monthly fee associated with operating sewer systems.

  • Septic systems are long-lasting and rarely need to be replaced with the right care.

  • They have fairly low maintenance and only require pumping every three to five years.

How to get the most out of your septic system

Depending on the type of tank you get, your septic system can last up to 40 years. In order to get the most out of your tank, we recommend following these tips:

  • Schedule, regularly, inspection and pumping with a trusted septic system company. The frequency depends on your household size, amount of wastewater generated, the size of your tank, and more. 

  • Use water efficiently. Wash in full loads, install low-flow showerheads and toilets, and try to spread out when you use water appliances, such as your shower and washing machine.

  • Don’t flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper.

How do sewer systems work?

With a municipal sewer system, wastewater leaves your home through a series of pipes where it eventually enters a treatment plant. There, the facility removes the contaminants and discharges the water back into water supplies. They are handled by local governments, which means you don’t have to deal with maintenance, but you do have to pay for the care.

Sewer system advantages:

  • Everything is cared for by the city, which means you’re not responsible for regular maintenance.

  • If something goes wrong, the burden to keep the system running smoothly won’t fall on you.

  • Sewer systems are built to withstand large amounts of water, which means they can handle storms and heavy downpour.

Which one is the right fit for you?

For homes in remote areas, a septic system will be the best, and sometimes, the only option for you. It can be costly to connect to sewer lines or there might not be any near you. However, if the choice is up to you, it comes down to whether you’d like independent responsibility or if you don’t mind the municipal obligations.

Turn to NoCo Septic for all your residential and commercial septic needs in Boulder. You can reach us by calling us at (720) 513-5037 or by filling out our online contact form.