Types of septic tanks and septic systems + their advantages 

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Waste elimination related to natural physiological processes has been an issue since the dawn of human civilization. Nowadays, with modern city sewer systems available to the public, people start to give more thought to the complex processes, systems and equipment involved if they move to a suburban area without conventional sanitation. 

It’s only then that these people realize there’s an affordable and incredibly sustainable wastewater treatment that was invented ages ago and only improves with time – septic systems. Combined with new scientific findings, this old sanitation method becomes an efficient and reliable solution for many properties unconnected from public sewer lines. 

Not only that, but it’s a versatile solution as well. You can install different types of septic systems designed to treat wastewater based on the type of soil, inclination angle, etc. The septic tank, a major element of a septic system, can also vary in material, form and size, and each type has its advantages. 

Types of septic tanks 

First, it’s crucial to differentiate between septic tanks and septic systems, as many use these terms interchangeably. Septic system refers to an entire onsite wastewater treatment system containing many components. On the other hand, a septic tank is a single but essential element of the individual septic system. 

Now that we have straightened that out, it’s time to look into the various types of septic tanks and their advantages. 

Concrete septic tanks and their advantages 

Some of the most commonly preferred septic tanks are the ones made of concrete as they tend to be larger than the ones made of other materials. They are also very efficient and tend to last long if maintained properly. 

Unlike metals, concrete won’t rust or begin to corrode due to its constant exposure to liquids. It’s considered an environmentally-friendly material as it’s non-toxic and won’t extract harmful toxins into the soil and surrounding environment. 

The concrete is pre-casted for installation and can be single-structure tanks or all-in-one systems. The solid and heavyweight concrete is incredibly durable and will not get easily damaged by heavy machinery. In addition, it will not shift its position easily or float towards the surface. 

Steel septic tanks 

Septic tanks can also be made of metal, typically steel, as it’s an appealing, more lightweight alternative to heavy concrete models. Steel is a durable material, but when used for septic tanks, it lasts between 20-25 years due to the inevitable rust and corrosion. 

Although you might take good care of your tank when rusting and corrosion occur, you might find it necessary to replace the tank’s cover (lid), so it continues to support the ground weight. This is a budget-friendly solution for homeowners unless rust has formed on other tank parts. 

Overall, the advantages of steel septic tanks are that they are lightweight, resistant to floating, suitable as a short-term solution and can resist buoyant forces. 

Fiberglass septic tanks 

Fiberglass is a composite material that’s lightweight and cost-effective and is used for the making of septic tanks. Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are corrosion-resistant and will not rust, offering sturdiness and a long lifespan for the tank. In addition, you won’t have to worry about roots damaging the tank.

Fiberglass septic tanks are made from materials with excellent thermal properties that quickly transform into different shapes. They are great for remote and not easily accessible areas as they are easy to transport and install but need to be anchored to the ground, so they don’t float or shift. 

Plastic septic tanks 

These types of septic tanks are made of polyethylene plastic and are another common choice for homeowners due to their relatively low costs, lightweight and durability. The installation is straightforward as the septic tank won’t weigh much, but it might cause damage to the soft structure and requires the additional step of anchoring it to the ground. 

Plastic tanks do not present the risk of rusting or cracking, which can increase the septic system’s life. Another considerable advantage is that their lids fit almost perfectly, causing less odor to escape through the ground and into the open air.