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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Plumbing & Waterproofing > Septic System

Septic System Cost

How Much Does a Septic System Cost?

average costMedium: Averages $2,000-$5,000; Runs $4,000-$12,000 in Higher Cost Areashigh costEnhanced System: $10,000-$20,000+
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For homes that aren't connected to a municipal sewer plant, a septic is an on-site system that collects, treats and disposes of household wastewater by slowly filtering it through underground soil. Typically there are two main parts, a septic tank and a soil absorption system (also called a drainfield, leachfield or disposal field). These are located underground and connected to the house by sewage pipes.

Typical costs:

  • Installing/replacing a conventional septic system[1] (including the tank) averages $2,000-$5,000 in the Midwest, but can be $4,000-$12,000 or more in areas where materials and labor rates are higher.
  • Enhanced, engineered or alternative septic systems that use mounds[2] , sand/peat filters[3] , aerobic systems and/or constructed wetlands[4] can cost $10,000-$20,000 or more, according to the Rhode Island Regional Water Quality Program[5] .
  • These alternative septic systems work better than the conventional approach for sites with high groundwater or slowly/rapidly percolating soil, or near drinking water supplies, wetlands, coastal ponds or other water resources.
  • The cost of a septic tank alone runs about $500-$1,800 depending on size (ranging from 300-1,000 gallons) and type. Piping and other needed items adds another $100-$200 to the total cost of materials.
  • New Mexico State University provides an introduction to installing a septic tank[6] . However, many regions require a septic system to be designed and installed by trained and licensed professionals; contact your local or state sanitation department for details.
Related articles: Septic Tank Cleaning, Sewer Line Replacement, Replacing Copper Pipes

What should be included:
  • Septic systems are used when sewage treatment plants are not accessible, which usually means rural or suburban homes on large lots. The septic tanks itself is a large, underground, watertight container made of concrete, fiberglass or plastic (polyethylene).
  • The North Carolina State University Ag Extension explains how septic systems work and where they can be used[7] .
  • It can take several days to a week or more to install/replace a septic system. The process involves extensive digging, often with heavy earth-moving equipment.
Additional costs:
  • Most counties and states require a building permit for installing or replacing a septic system, at a cost of $250-$1,000 or more depending on the location and the complexity of the project. Check with your local building/planning department for details.
  • Installing a septic system usually involves extensive digging and damage to the landscaping; replacement turf and other plantings can run $100-$1,000 or more.
  • In a cluster septic system, each house has its own underground septic tank but they all feed into one drainfield/leachfield/soil absorption system. Typically installed by developers, a cluster septic system splits the cost of the drainfield installation and maintenance among many houses.
Shopping for a septic system:
  • Check with your local sanitation department to see if they maintain a list of licensed septic installation contractors.
  • Referrals to septic contractors[8] are available through the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association.
  • Ask about training and experience. Check that the company is properly bonded, insured and licensed in your state[9] ; and see if there are any complaints with the Better Business Bureau[10] .
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Tank and 250ft Infiltrator leaching system
Amount: $4,500.00
Posted by: a user in Dalton, GA.Posted: September 18th, 2013 06:09PM
Type: concrete
GA- for a 3bdrm house. By North Georgia Backhoe. Took about 6hrs
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just price a new system 3 bedrooms
Amount: $2,800.00
Posted by: no name in harrison, MI.Posted: April 22nd, 2013 05:04PM
Type: convertional system
That was the cost for everything
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New cement 61 by 103 lid, new mortar at outlet
Amount: $1,300.00
Posted by: a user in NorthPort, FL.Posted: April 11th, 2013 09:04AM
Type: Lid
Seems we had gasses that formed a hole, maybe 10 inch wide, 6-10 feet deep. They replaced the cement lid 61 by103 inches. 3 men, trucks and a backhoe. Also ne mortar around the outlet. Total cost $1,300. Too much? Took about 2 hours. I think they did a great job. We will see! Tank is 24 years old. The load lid,2 inch thick concrete, the new one is 3 inch.
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Amount: $0.00
Posted by: rm in goldsboro, NC.Posted: February 26th, 2013 04:02AM
Type: lift system
Lambchops,,,I am in goldsboro also and may need a lift system. can you shoot me an email at have some questions for you
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Hoot 600 System
Amount: $41,000.00
Posted by: lje33437 in Princeton, NJ.Posted: February 15th, 2013 05:02AM
Type: Pump/Drip System
Got a perk, that was the good news. Had to put in expensive Hoot 600 for a 5 bedroom house. 1,500 gallon tank, Hoot 600 and field with mound because of the soil conditions. Lots of shale in area.
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Septic system with lift pump and leach field
Amount: $4,500.00
Posted by: Lambchops in Goldsboro, NC.Posted: September 7th, 2012 07:09AM
Type: Lift System
I just got out the Air Force and Sub Contracted my own home, I had to have a lift site for my septic tank, or put in the mound system, Well I couldn't see this hump of dirt in my yard so I chose the lift site which was a 1000ft away. I know that sounds a long way away but 2 inch pipe is really not that expensive bottom line I did a little research and got a few estimates which in 2000 was really high. there were 3 bids for over $6500.00 And one for $4800, but I did my landscaping and septic system for $4500. Not bad for a guy just using good ole common sense and you can too.
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Septic system with lift pump and leach field
Amount: $12,000.00
Posted by: Will Marcinko in McHenry, IL.Posted: August 30th, 2011 09:08AM
Engineering survey, ground feasability survey plus permits. We had a 1000 gallon septic tank, 750 gallon lift tank, 233 feet of trench line, 240 feet of leach pipe and a Hydromatic SW33M1 effluent pump installed. He also reseeded and landscaped the damages done by the excavating.
My question is, "Did we spend too much?"
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Septic Mound System
Amount: $22,892.00
Posted by: bobswife in Egg Harbor Twp, NJ.Posted: July 30th, 2010 05:07AM
Type: Mound System
Extreme flooding forced new system after old leach system failed. Installed new 44.5 by 18.5, 12.5 deep, engineered designed mound system, added additional 1000 gallon tank with pump to mound system. Installed automatic tank alarm. Approx 12 trees were removed in process.
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Amount: $7.70
Posted by: Gail1 in Pennington, NJ.Posted: February 11th, 2010 05:02AM
Type: Tank
We had slow drainage. The company came out on a Thursday and tried to clear the clog. Afterwards, didn't hear the proper flow into the tank. Friday, brought camera and said pipes were old and damaged by roots, etc. Brought in small backhoe. Dug up pipe to tank, jackhammered a 12 foot section of our bedroom leading to bathroom, replaced pipe for use. (Sat. and Sun. off) Monday, came to fill trench with some gravel and filled dirt back into trench. Put some gravel in small section in our bedroom, poured concrete at connecting point. My husband poured the finishing concrete in our bedroom. This seems excessive in price to me. They said our drain field may need some attention (leading from tank, but that's not their job).
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