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How Does a Septic System Differ From a Sewer?

Drainage systems help us to manage wastewater efficiently throughout the year. If you’ve ever wondered where all this water goes, you probably have already established that it ends up in either a septic system or a sewer. According to Circle of Blue, over one-fifth of American homes lack public sewers. That’s because most of these homes are over 20 years old and use septic systems. Sewer systems are more popular in urban areas as they are maintained and funded by local governments. Septic systems are popular in less populated areas because they are affordable and offer owners full control of their drainage. If you want to learn about septic systems and sewers, here are their main differences.


Septic systems and sewers help you remove wastewater from your home through your toilets and drains. The main difference is what happens after the water enters the drain. In sewer systems, the wastewater and solids are channeled to the local water treatment plant for processing. In a septic system, the wastewater is emptied into a holding tank underground in your backyard. This water is split into three layers; scum, sludge, and clear water. The scum is the floating material, while the sludge is the heavy material.


When it comes to maintenance, sewers require none on a homeowner’s part. In fact, you don’t know what happens to the water once it enters your drains. The local government handles the sewage system, ensuring the water is safely treated for human use. A septic system, on the other hand, requires some bit of maintenance. Once in a while, you need to clean and pump out your septic tank to remove any impurities. Since this is your own system, it is not affected by community clogs, backups, and overflows, reducing the risk of pollutant and pathogen transmission.


Sewers are not privately owned and can handle as much wastewater as possible within your local area. If you’re building a new house, you simply need to connect to the local sewer system, which is usually costly and challenging. If you live in a remote area, finding a sewage line can be difficult and costly. On the other hand, septic systems are easy to set up and maintain as they don’t come with municipal obligations of sewage lines.

For more information about septic system installation, repair, pumping, and maintenance, contact Red Dirt Septic today. We look forward to assisting you!