Quantcast
septic vs. sewer - which is better? - Homesteading Today
Homesteading Today

Come enter the Lehman's Aladdin Lamp Giveaway!

Go Back   Homesteading Today > General Homesteading Forums > Homesteading Questions


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 07/15/06, 10:04 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,353
septic vs. sewer - which is better?

I think I know the answer to this question but I want to ask other members. I think septic because the sewage is confined to a small area, it takes less energy to run and is more 'self-sufficient'.

So why do cities require you to use the public sewer system?

Any other thoughts? Just trying to educate myself here.

Thanks,

Beaux

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07/15/06, 10:59 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 7,154

Septic tanks have to have a leach bed to get rid of the fluids coming into it. Most city lots are too small to have a leach bed.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07/15/06, 11:10 AM
MELOC's Avatar
Master Of My Domain
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,209

in areas like mine where many home owners have enough land to support septic and yet are required to hook on to sewer, i feel the municipaities require the hook up to generate a large volume of business. this allows sewer expansion projects which lead to development. i think if the developers were hit with the true cost of maintaining the sewer for their projects that it would cut too deep into the profits. municipality leadership seems to appreciate the larger tax base generated by development and choose to encourage it. i could go on to say it is all a conspiracy of sorts involving business interests and kickbacks of and to the leadership but folks would call me crazy.

in other words ,the little guy has to pick up the tab for the infrastructure needed by the profit hungry developers.

__________________

this message has probably been edited to correct typos, spelling errors and to improve grammar...

"All that is gold does not glitter..."

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07/15/06, 11:35 AM
Countrybumpkin's Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NW OHIO
Posts: 416

I agree w/ MELOC-I work for the sewage dept of our local town, and see all the time where the city will put in a new line for a subdivision, then require everyone that has that new sewer by their property to hook in, no matter the age and condition of their private sewage system. I feel that the property owners should not be allowed to put in a new septic system should theirs go bad, but be allowed to keep their present system until such time a new one is needed. But who am I? Then if their property is out of the city limits, they get a surcharge tacked on to their bill! All they want is the $$ that comes from everyone hooked in...another way our government is looking out for the health and welfare of the people...

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07/15/06, 12:09 PM
MELOC's Avatar
Master Of My Domain
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,209

i also want to discuss the actual sanitation of the two systems. a dense population coupled with improper septic systems in the right (or wrong as it were) geological area, can contaminate ground water. so can poor farming practices. this becomes an argument for public sewer systems. however, i have seen far too much improperly treated waste water dumped into tributaries of the chesapeke, from several different municipalities, when the systems were overwhelmed. this can result from equipment failure or from flooding. i bet if you were able to quantify the level of pollution of both the failed sewer systems and improper septic systems, it would be about the same.

i am against mandatory hook-ups in areas where folks have enough land to use a modern septic system.

__________________

this message has probably been edited to correct typos, spelling errors and to improve grammar...

"All that is gold does not glitter..."

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07/15/06, 12:25 PM
Countrybumpkin's Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NW OHIO
Posts: 416

We have about1 dozen overflow pipes in our town, whereas in a heavy flow situation the raw sewage is diverted into a stream or river. Of course, that is only in an overflow situation, but still, that sewage is going into our waterways. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, thousands of gallons of waste is going somewhere, perhaps in the same creek we play in. Not much we can do, people do not want to pay for upgrades, but they sure complain when overflows happen. Catch 22 here...

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07/15/06, 03:54 PM
proud to be pro-choice
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: a state in the 21st century
Posts: 2,493

My neighboring town did not have their sewage system secured and some teens disabled the backup battery and shut down the system, dumping 150K gallons of sewage into the river. Of course no one knew until 10 days later but rest assured, we're told it "poses no threat".
I prefer septic as one has control over the situation. In too many areas, the sewer systems are outdated or undersized. New sewer pipes in a close by subdivision failed twice, making messes of basements. 1st time construction problem (wonder why when growth is unchecked and everything is rush, rush for the developers), 2nd time rags were in the pipes - I can't remember their explanation for that one. A relative of mine (she's ill to add insult to injury) had sewage backing up in her tub. Come to find out, when the previous owner added the garage, he built it over the sewer pipe! Fortunately the pipe was broke under the driveway which was mostly gravel but still a $1700 job to dig it up, get it fixed, and bury it back.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07/15/06, 09:17 PM
Cabin Fever's Avatar
NRA LifeMember since 1976
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
Posts: 13,423

Septic systems are fine when the population density is sparse. One thing most people do not realize is that even a properly working septic system contributes about 50 pounds per year of nitrate to ground water (4 person family). Our drinking water standard for nitrate is 10 parts per million. In other words, a properly working septic system has the potential to contaminate about 120,000 gallons of ground water per year.

__________________
This is the government the Founding Fathers warned us about.....
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07/15/06, 09:46 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 762
Septic or sewer

if you have the choice sewer, we have four septic tank systems here on the farm. right now one needs a new field line, leech field thats about 1500 and two of the tanks need pumping thats 185 each wish we had the choice.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07/16/06, 03:46 AM
garden guy
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: AR (ozarks)
Posts: 3,516

Neither! a composting toilet or "out house" is best.

__________________

marching to the beat of a different drummer

Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07/16/06, 01:24 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: WI
Posts: 2,180

First choice, composting toilet (not an old fashioned out house), and a well run and properly operating city sewer system is going to be better than hundreds of small septic systems scattered over the countryside. It is VERY is to have too many septic systems in an area, as no one seems to care how many there are. Forty per square mile is an upper limit that I was told from an expert in ground water, more than that and there can be increasingly serious ground water contamination issues.

Notice that I said a "well run and properly operating city sewer system".

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07/16/06, 01:24 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 6,908

I'd condiser both about equal?????

Individual septic costs a lot to start out, but is cheaper for a sparsly populated area than running all that pipe. With enough land for the leach field, proper maintenence, works fine.

Sewer system works well if you have enough people online to make it ecconomically doable. As well, on property too small to handle a leach field & a well & not contaminate anything, it's the only way to handle wastewater. With proper maintenence & design, works fine.

Le Suer MN, during the floods of the '90s, had their raw waste line wash out & burst into the MN river. Spilled 100,000 gal of raw sewage a day, they figured that would last for 3 months, but it was deemed no problem! (Ended up able to fix it in 6 weeks.) I don't consider a municiple sewer to be any _better_ for the environment than many individual septics...... One big centralized setup rarely is 'better' than small units scattered about. Either will have issues from time to time.

--->Paul

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07/16/06, 02:51 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,353

Very interesting comments, all. I guess I didn't even consider composting or sawdust toilets because of the local regulations issue.

I'm still building my imaginary homestead in my head. I have a very comfy traditional home now with septic. But I like to imagine, if/when I have the time and resources, what my perfect homestead would be like. The funny thing is that it changes dramatically - i.e. sometimes no electric, sometimes off-grid, sometimes powerline. So I guess it depends on my mood, or something.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Beaux

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07/16/06, 06:08 PM
fantasymaker's Avatar
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: IL, right smack dab in the middle
Posts: 6,787
BOTH ARE CRAPPY!

SURFACE DISPOSAL IS THE ONLY REASONABLE STANDARD Area to crowded for that? LOL yep the area is overpopulated!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07/16/06, 08:42 PM
ET1 SS's Avatar
zone 5 - riverfrontage
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Forests of maine
Posts: 5,484
Quote:
Originally Posted by WisJim
First choice, composting toilet (not an old fashioned out house), and a well run and properly operating city sewer system is going to be better than hundreds of small septic systems scattered over the countryside.
A big problem in areas where composting toilets are not allowed.
__________________

Forest Gump for president

Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07/16/06, 09:15 PM
celticfalcon's Avatar
tom
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: mid michigan
Posts: 601

i have a septic tank and hate it. however i have a family of 8. so pump it twice a year.we are surounded by a corn feild tho and in the middle of nowwhere,so we deal with it

__________________

to understand reality,one must define the concept of fantasy

Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07/16/06, 09:59 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: East TN
Posts: 6,976

Composting of some sort would be the best. A septic that is pumped is like having a holding tank for the sewage system because that's where we hope it's going when it's pumped. Both septic and sewer are a tremendous waste of clean water which will be a problem in the future that we're in denial about just like the oil deal, but a little more important. A septic in a perfect environment would be the next best to composting, but there are very few ideal soils for septics. Most septics operate very marginally in poor soil and with a septic we are contaminating the ground water especially in denser populated areas.

__________________

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self confidence"
Robert Frost

Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07/17/06, 12:44 AM
Micahn's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Ocklawaha, Florida
Posts: 390

I have never heard of a place that had a sewer and still let people use a septic system.
A couple of people above gave some of the main reasons why a sewer system is better then a septic system. However I do not remember seeing one of the biggest reasons.
In areas that have both wells and septic systems it is not all that uncommon for a well to become contaminated with septic waters. In them areas the well and septics have top be so far apart to try and help stop that. However with homes being so close it still happens. When you drink septic water you can become very sick or die and that is a bad thing to happen. a lot of time the people will be sick a very long time before it is figured out just what happened.

Where I am from in Indiana they have city water even a long way from the cities so that people will always have good water. my mother lives 15 miles from a 1 stop light town and has city water. But every one uses a septic system out there.
They do not run city water and sewers to make money that is just silly to say that. They do it to help protect the public from getting sick plain and simple. Oh and I was a plumber as well as a teacher in a plumbing vocational school so I know all about plumbing related things :-)

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07/17/06, 07:10 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,353

Wow, you guys raise some good points.

So on my imaginary homestead, what's the ideal way to go? Say that I could get permits, etc. As an intellectual exercise, and for spiritual satisfaction, I would like the homestead to be as self-sufficient as possible. But I can't imagine that anywhere I'd like to live would let me be totally off public utilities!

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07/17/06, 07:13 AM
michiganfarmer's Avatar
Max
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Near Traverse City Michigan
Posts: 6,421

I think anything that the government has the smallest ability to regulate is always the best option

__________________
http://lownfamilymaplesyrup.com/ max@lownfamilymaplesyrup.com
Professional Tool. 1220 Woodmere Ave,Traverse City, MI. 49686. 231-941-8003. http://professionaltool.com/
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 07/17/06, 09:39 AM
MELOC's Avatar
Master Of My Domain
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 7,209

my point about cost and revenue is that a sewer system is very costly to construct and maintain. municipalities never tell the truth about the long term cost. they are often created to allow new and dense development for the benefit of developers. the existing population is forced to connect to help pay for it all.

__________________

this message has probably been edited to correct typos, spelling errors and to improve grammar...

"All that is gold does not glitter..."

Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 07/17/06, 10:05 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 459

Kalifornia had a huge study done and concluded that septic was in all cases (except neglect) far superior to city sewer. The waste water to the leach field was cleaner, eyc, etc. They passed a law mandating that septic be encouraged anywhere the lots/parcels were big enough to support leach fields.
TOTALLY ignored by local bureaucrats, of course, because of the usual $/power issues.

What we should do is pass laws that anyone who WANTS to be a pol/bureaucrat CAN'T be!!

__________________

You can't ride, til you get on....

Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 07/17/06, 10:43 AM
Question Answerer
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: ME
Posts: 3,119
http://www.presbyeco.com/prod_enviro.html

I wish I had put one of these in, instead of my normal system.
But if you watch what you put in a system, a septic is better because you have to watch what you put in it. And nothing is "overflowed" into the local lakes...EWWWWWW.
In Newfoundland Canada they used to dump it all into the ocean. EWWW.
__________________

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 07/17/06, 11:33 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 6,908
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellebeaux
Wow, you guys raise some good points.

So on my imaginary homestead, what's the ideal way to go? Say that I could get permits, etc. As an intellectual exercise, and for spiritual satisfaction, I would like the homestead to be as self-sufficient as possible. But I can't imagine that anywhere I'd like to live would let me be totally off public utilities!

How can you have a homestead in an area that _does_ have public water/septic utilities????? Generally such locations around here are so regulated, one can't have livestock, dust, noise, etc.....

Much better off with your own well/ septic 'here' but we have lots of water, and farms are big not closely packed.

--->Paul
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 07/17/06, 08:24 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: No. Cal.
Posts: 128

We have several "unincorporated pockets" here that are surrounded by city. If sewers are available you are only required to connect if you want to get a permit for remodeling or in the case of financing, FNMA requires connection if sewers are available. The lots tend to be larger because of the former septic systems. This has resulted in neighborhoods with large lots that are in high demand.

__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:40 AM.