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Should You Switch From Septic To Sewer?

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If your city or county has recently offered to put you and your neighbors on the public sewage system after an expansion takes place, how can you know whether switching is a good idea? Read on to learn more about the advantages (and disadvantages) of transitioning from a private septic system to a public sewer system, as well as what you should do to dispose of your septic tank if you do decide to make the switch. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of switching from a septic system to a public sewage system?

Both septic tanks and sewer systems have several advantages, and neither is a clear winner -- your choice will likely depend on your own personal circumstances.

Septic tanks can require a bit more maintenance than sewer systems, and will require you to periodically have the tank pumped of solid waste. However, these tanks aren't associated with any sort of monthly cost. Septic systems are also easier to secure against flooding -- if the main sewer line becomes filled with water after a heavy rain, the sewage within the pipe can back up into your home's drains. Meanwhile, you can install a backflow control switch onto the main pipe traveling to your septic tank and prevent this same thing from happening if your tank were to become flooded.

This switch to sewer is also not without cost -- and in most cases, this cost will be borne by you, the consumer. You'll likely be asked to pay an initial "buy in" fee that will cover the cost of rerouting your pipes from your septic tank to the central sewage line. However, once you're on a sewer system, your home's resale value will likely rise (as many potential buyers don't want to deal with the hassle of maintaining and pumping a septic tank).

What should you do with your old septic tank if you convert to a sewage system? 

If you've decided to convert to a sewage system, you may be wondering what should be done with your septic tank. Unless your tank is directly in the way of the only route for the sewage pipes, it can likely stay put -- the crews will cap it once the pipes are rerouted. Over time, bacteria will continue to dissolve the solids in the tank so that eventually there won't be much left. 

You can also choose to excavate your tank, but this can be an expensive proposition -- and in most cases, is unnecessary. Leaving your tank in the ground will also give you the flexibility to switch back to the septic tank if you decide you no longer want to be hooked up to the public sewer system.

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