What is the Cost of a Septic System?

A new septic system is a huge capital expense for most homeowners. Unfortunately, the cost of the septic system often times does not represent the total cost of the project.

Depending on the system design and location in the country, septic system cost for a new gravity fed system can range anywhere from a few thousand to over ten thousand dollars. Some of our customers have quotations for new mound systems that range between $30,000 and $40,000! As the economy has deteriorated over the last three years, there has been some softening in the septic field replacement market. We have heard of quotations for as low as $3,000, but that is rare. Many pumpers and contractors have gone out of business as new home construction continues to stagnate.

Construction of a new drainfield

Most people will need to finance the cost of their new septic system. This financing cost is often not considered in their initial analysis or evaluation of the replacement quotation. If a person has to finance a $10,000 septic replacement cost at 6% interest and takes out a 15 year loan, they will pay almost $5,200 in interest in addition to the $10,000 principle at the end of the loan. Depending on the interest rates and length of loan, the amount of interest a person pays obviously varies, but the point is that this is a real cost that is often not considered in evaluating options. A lot of people that need to resolve a septic problem owe more money on their home mortgage than the property is worth. It is even more painful for them to have to invest thousands of dollars in a new system knowing they may never recover any of that money.

Another cost that is often not considered in the initial evaluation or quotation is landscaping. Depending on the property, landscaping costs can be significant. A new drainfield requires extensive excavation, leaving the ground above the new drainfield and between the road and the new drainfield in need of repair. These repairs can be very expensive, requiring professional services to return the property into usable condition.

Finally, the time a family spends on dealing with construction and landscaping is almost never considered in evaluating options. During construction, the site will become a source of dust or mud once the ground cover has been removed and large portions of the lawn may be unusable, greatly inconveniencing the homeowner. In addition, new landscaping will require the homeowner to investment time caring for new plants and lawns to ensure they become established and thrive.

In short, there are several hidden costs involved with replacing a septic system that need to be carefully thought through before proceeding with the project. These costs can be significant and warrant a thorough review of alternative solutions to septic system replacement.

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