Septic tanks are an essential part of any property’s wastewater management system. They collect and treat the waste from a property’s plumbing system, separating solids and liquids and allowing the liquid to drain into the surrounding soil. One of the key decisions that property owners need to make is whether to install a concrete septic tank or a plastic septic tank. In this article, we will explore the differences between concrete and plastic septic tanks to help you make an informed decision.

Concrete Septic Tanks

Concrete Septic Tanks:

Concrete septic tanks are made of reinforced concrete and are a traditional choice for septic systems. They are durable, long-lasting, and can last up to 40 years with proper maintenance. They are available in different sizes and shapes to meet specific property requirements.

Advantages of owning a concrete septic tank

  • Septic systems are essential for managing wastewater in areas where access to centralized sewer systems is limited. Among the different types of septic tanks available, concrete septic tanks are a popular choice due to their durability and cost-effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the advantages of owning a concrete septic tank.
  • Durability: Concrete septic tanks are known for their durability and strength, which is an essential feature of any septic system. They can withstand harsh environmental conditions and are less likely to crack or collapse, even under heavy loads. Compared to other materials, such as plastic or fiberglass, concrete septic tanks are less prone to damage caused by the weight of the soil or water pressure.
  • Longevity: With proper maintenance, a concrete septic tank can last for decades. Unlike other types of septic systems, concrete tanks do not require frequent repairs or replacements. Their robust construction ensures that they can withstand the test of time and continue to function efficiently.
  • Cost-effective: Concrete septic tanks are cost-effective and offer a lower cost per gallon of capacity compared to other materials. Additionally, due to their longevity and durability, they require fewer repairs and replacements, resulting in significant savings in the long run.
  • Environmentally friendly: Concrete septic tanks are eco-friendly as they do not contain harmful chemicals or release harmful toxins into the environment. Furthermore, concrete is a sustainable material that can be easily recycled, reducing the overall carbon footprint of the septic system.
  • Versatile: Concrete septic tanks are available in different sizes and shapes, making them versatile and suitable for various applications. They can be installed in different locations, including residential, commercial, and industrial areas, depending on the specific requirements.
  • Easy to install: Concrete septic tanks are relatively easy to install, and the process usually takes only a few days. Moreover, they do not require extensive excavation or landscaping, making them a hassle-free option for homeowners.

Disadvantages of owning a concrete septic tank

  • While concrete septic tanks have many advantages, they are not without their drawbacks. In this article, we will explore the disadvantages of owning a concrete septic tank.
  • Heavy: Concrete septic tanks are heavy and require heavy machinery to install, which can be expensive and challenging in some locations. Furthermore, the weight of the tank may put pressure on the surrounding soil, potentially leading to soil compaction, settlement, or even collapse.
  • Prone to cracking: Concrete is prone to cracking, especially if it is subjected to extreme temperatures or seismic activity. Even a small crack can allow sewage to leak into the surrounding soil, potentially contaminating the environment and compromising the health of the residents.
  • Absorption issues: Concrete is a dense material, which means that it is less permeable than other materials, such as plastic or fiberglass. This can lead to absorption issues, where the soil around the tank becomes saturated and less able to absorb the effluent, leading to backups and overflows.
  • Corrosion: Although concrete is a durable material, it is susceptible to corrosion if it comes into contact with certain chemicals or substances, such as saltwater or acidic wastewater. Over time, this can weaken the tank’s structure, leading to cracks and leaks.
  • Maintenance requirements: While concrete septic tanks are relatively low maintenance, they do require periodic pumping and inspection to ensure that they are functioning correctly. This can be costly and time-consuming, particularly if the tank is located in a challenging or hard-to-reach location.
  • Environmental impact: While concrete septic tanks are eco-friendly in that they do not contain harmful chemicals or release toxins into the environment, they do require a significant amount of energy and resources to produce and transport. Furthermore, when the tank reaches the end of its useful life, it must be disposed of properly, which can be expensive and difficult.
Plastic Septic Tanks

Plastic Septic Tanks:

Plastic septic tanks are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and are a newer option for septic systems. They are lightweight, versatile, and easy to install, making them popular among homeowners and contractors.

Advantages of owning a plastic septic tank

  • Septic tanks are essential for managing wastewater in areas where access to centralized sewer systems is limited. Among the different types of septic tanks available, plastic septic tanks are a popular choice due to their durability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the advantages of owning a plastic septic tank.
  • Lightweight: Plastic septic tanks are lightweight and easy to install, making them an ideal choice for areas with limited access or difficult terrain. They do not require heavy machinery for installation, and the process can be completed quickly and efficiently.
  • Durable: Plastic septic tanks are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a durable and long-lasting material that is resistant to cracks, corrosion, and chemical damage. This ensures that the tank can withstand harsh environmental conditions and continue to function efficiently for many years.
  • Easy to transport: Plastic septic tanks are lightweight and easy to transport, making them a convenient option for rural or remote areas. They can be delivered directly to the site, eliminating the need for expensive and time-consuming transportation.
  • Cost-effective: Plastic septic tanks are cost-effective and offer a lower cost per gallon of capacity compared to other materials. Additionally, they require minimal maintenance and repairs, resulting in significant savings in the long run.
  • Versatile: Plastic septic tanks are available in different sizes and shapes, making them versatile and suitable for various applications. They can be installed in different locations, including residential, commercial, and industrial areas, depending on the specific requirements.
  • Environmentally friendly: Plastic septic tanks are eco-friendly as they do not contain harmful chemicals or release harmful toxins into the environment. Furthermore, they are 100% recyclable, reducing the overall carbon footprint of the septic system.
  • Resistant to infiltration: Plastic septic tanks are resistant to infiltration, meaning that they do not allow groundwater to enter the tank. This ensures that the tank can maintain its structural integrity and prevent contamination of the surrounding soil.

Disadvantages of owning a plastic septic tank

  • Plastic septic tanks are a popular choice among homeowners due to their durability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of installation. However, like any other septic system, plastic septic tanks have their disadvantages that should be considered before making a decision. In this article, we will explore the disadvantages of owning a plastic septic tank.
  • Not suitable for high-traffic areas: Plastic septic tanks are not recommended for high-traffic areas or locations where heavy equipment, or vehicles may pass over them. They may crack or rupture under heavy pressure, leading to leaks and contamination of the surrounding soil.
  • Vulnerable to UV rays: Exposure to UV rays can weaken the structural integrity of plastic septic tanks, leading to cracks, leaks, and eventual failure. Therefore, they should be installed underground or covered with soil to protect them from sunlight.
  • Limited lifespan: While plastic septic tanks are durable and long-lasting, they have a limited lifespan compared to other materials. The average lifespan of a plastic septic tank is around 20-25 years, after which they may need to be replaced or repaired.
  • Vulnerable to damage: Plastic septic tanks are susceptible to damage from tree roots, rodents, and other animals that may burrow into the soil around them. This can compromise the structural integrity of the tank and lead to leaks and contamination of the surrounding environment.
  • Limited capacity: Plastic septic tanks are available in different sizes, but their capacity is generally lower compared to concrete or steel tanks. This means that they may require more frequent pumping and maintenance, increasing the overall cost of ownership.
  • Installation challenges: Although plastic septic tanks are lightweight and easy to transport, their installation may be challenging in certain locations. For example, rocky or uneven terrain may require additional preparation or excavation, leading to higher installation costs.
  • Chemical resistance: While plastic septic tanks are generally resistant to chemical damage, they may be vulnerable to some types of chemicals that are commonly found in household cleaning products or medications. This can lead to deterioration and eventual failure of the tank.

How much do concrete and plastic septic tanks cost?

When it comes to choosing between a concrete septic tank and a plastic septic tank, one of the most important factors to consider is the cost.

Average cost of a concrete septic tank:

Concrete septic tanks are known for their durability and longevity, but they are also more expensive than plastic septic tanks. On average, a concrete septic tank can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 or more, depending on the size and capacity of the tank. The cost can also vary depending on the region, as prices may be higher in areas with high labor or material costs.

The installation cost of a concrete septic tank is also higher than that of a plastic septic tank. The installation process requires specialized equipment and skilled labor, which can increase the overall cost. On average, the installation cost of a concrete septic tank can range from $3,000 to $5,000 or more, depending on the size of the tank and the location.

Average cost of a plastic septic tank:

Plastic septic tanks are less expensive than concrete septic tanks, making them a more affordable option for many property owners. On average, a plastic septic tank can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000, depending on the size and capacity of the tank. The cost can also vary depending on the region, as prices may be higher in areas with high labor or material costs.

The installation cost of a plastic septic tank is also lower than that of a concrete septic tank. The installation process requires less specialized equipment and labor, which can reduce the overall cost. On average, the installation cost of a plastic septic tank can range from $1,500 to $3,000 or more, depending on the size of the tank and the location.

Other cost considerations:

In addition to the purchase and installation costs, property owners should also consider other costs associated with owning a septic tank, such as maintenance and pumping. Both concrete and plastic septic tanks require regular maintenance and pumping to ensure optimal performance and prevent damage. On average, septic tank pumping can cost anywhere from $200 to $500, depending on the size and location of the tank.

Choosing the right septic tank:

Ultimately, the choice between a concrete septic tank and a plastic septic tank depends on your specific needs and preferences, as well as your location and budget. Concrete septic tanks are more durable and have a longer lifespan, but they are also more expensive. Plastic septic tanks are less expensive and easier to install, but they have a shorter lifespan and may require more frequent maintenance.

When considering the cost of a septic tank, it is important to keep in mind that a septic tank is a long-term investment that can last for many years with proper care and maintenance. It is essential to work with a professional septic contractor to determine the best option for your property based on your needs, budget, and location. With the right septic tank, you can ensure efficient and effective wastewater management for your property for years to come.