Relief for Some Facing Septic Replacement, Others Continue to Pay

The average cost of replacing a septic tank in the U.S. is just under $5,000. Drain field replacements can range anywhere from $5,000 at the low end to well over $20,000 for complex or difficult installations. For most homeowners, these expenses can be financially devastating and may simply be out of reach for those on fixed incomes or with limited budgets. The Soil and Water Conservation District of Winona County, Minnesota, is taking steps intended to help homeowners replace their septic systems and protect the environment from damage due to leaking or failed tanks or drain fields.

Help for low-income homeowners

The Winona County Soil and Water Conservation District is currently working with the state of Minnesota to establish a state grant program that will reimburse homeowners for up to 95 percent of the cost of a full septic system replacement. These grants would be available to low-income homeowners with critically failing septic systems that present a serious danger to public health or environmental safety. More expensive repairs would only be eligible for an 80 percent reimbursement rate, leaving homeowners responsible for a significant portion of the costs even with the added help.

Little relief in the rest of the country

While Winona County residents may soon enjoy this added help, most other homeowners will be stuck with the entire cost of replacement for their failing septic systems. Second mortgages may provide some help in managing these expenses; however, the recent housing industry downturn has left many property owners with little or no equity in their homes. Finding an alternative to replacement can potentially save homeowners thousands of dollars and can extend the useful life of septic tanks and drain fields.

A low-cost option for homeowners

Septic tank problems and failing drain fields can often be remediated by installing an aeration system. These advanced solutions are an affordable way to increase the efficiency of the wastewater and solid waste remediation process to reduce the load on the entire septic tank system. A septic aerator fits into the existing tank and boosts the oxygen levels in the effluent. This allows the growth and proliferation of aerobic bacteria within the tank to replace the existing anaerobic bacterial colonies. Aerobic bacteria are far more efficient at breaking down solid waste and removing impurities from wastewater. As a result, they can provide real help for homeowners with failing septic systems and can extend the life of older tanks and drain fields.

Septic aerators like those available from Aero-Stream can help homeowners maintain their tank and drain field systems more effectively by moving much of the waste remediation process from the drain field to the septic tank. By taking steps now to prevent septic system failure, property owners can avoid the high cost of drain field and tank replacements and can enjoy added years of service from their existing septic systems.

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