Septic Tank System Cost by Project Range

Low
$3,000

Small gravity system with a 750-gallon plastic tank for a two-bedroom house

Average Cost
$6,100

Standard anaerobic system with a 1,000-gallon tank for a three-bedroom house

High $22,500 Larger aerobic system with a 1,500-gallon tank for a four- or five-bedroom house constructed of concrete or fiberglass

How Much Do Plumbers Charge to Install a Septic Tank?

Ok, now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of septic systems, let’s talk costs.

The national average cost to install a new septic tank is around $4,000. This includes the cost of the tank as well as any labor costs required during the process.

Depending on the amount of excavation needed, the soil conditions, the style of septic system you’re installing, and the size and number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home, your total cost can fall anywhere between $3,000 and $15,000.

One of the most significant cost factors for a new septic system will be the style of system you choose. Standard systems are the most affordable, around $3,500, while mound systems can reach the higher end of the cost range of $15,000. Sand filter and aerobic systems typically fall between $8,000 and $10,000.

Regardless of the type of system, the tank size will affect your price significantly. For example, a 1,000-gallon tank for a 3-bedroom home will be significantly cheaper than a larger one for a 5 or 6-bedroom house.

Finally, the tank material you choose will influence the total septic system cost as well. For example, a concrete septic tank can reach up to around $2,000 for the equipment alone, while a PVC or plastic septic tank averages around $1,000.

Keep in mind that these replacement costs don’t include restoring your landscaping to its previous condition, which can add several hundreds of dollars to your total.

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Signs your septic tank is full

If you notice any of the following around your home, your septic tank may be either full or broken:

  • Slow drains
  • A toilet that won’t flush or is slow to flush
  • Gurgling noises after flushing the toilet or running water
  • Sewage odor in the yard
  • A very green lawn, specifically around your septic tank
  • Pooling water in the lawn

Any of these signs could mean that something is wrong with your septic tank, but there’s a big difference between your tank being broken and it being full. Pumping rectifies a full septic tank, and it should only cost you about $300 to $600. On the other hand, a broken septic tank needs to be either repaired or replaced, and those will usually cost you more money.

Septic Tank Cost by Material

There are several different materials for septic tanks. Each material has benefits. Some are more appropriate for different soil types, climates, or uses. They all do the same job, but there is a cost difference among them. The costs below are for a 1,000-gallon tank, which typically serves a standard three-bedroom home.

MaterialCosts (Materials Only)Concrete$800 - $1,25

MaterialCosts (Materials Only)
Concrete$800 – $1,250
Plastic$830 – $1,400
Fiberglass$1,600 – $2,000

Concrete Septic Tank Cost

The average cost for a 1,000-gallon concrete tank is $800 to $1,250. Concrete tanks are very popular and the most common material used for tanks. They are durable and have a long life when made of high-quality materials and are constructed well. A good concrete tank can have a life of over 20 years. A concrete tank is very heavy, so big equipment is needed for installation. Other price factors impact the cost, depending on if it is precast or reinforced with rebar.

Plastic Septic Tank Cost

The typical cost of a plastic tank is between $830 and $1,400. Plastic tanks are more durable than you might think. They do not typically crack, but they can break if soil conditions change or shift. Plastic tanks are much lighter than their concrete counterparts and are typically less expensive to install. While the cost of the tank is similar, the installation costs vary greatly between a plastic tank and other heavier materials.

Fiberglass Septic Tank Cost

The typical cost for a 1,000-gallon fiberglass tank is $1,600 to $2,000. Fiberglass has many unique benefits. It is not a porous material, so there is very little chance algae will grow on the tank. It also is very sturdy and does not deteriorate underground. Like plastic tanks, fiberglass tanks are lighter than concrete or steel, so they are cheaper to install. There is also no chance of fiberglass cracking, which could happen to concrete.

When Should You Hire A Professional To Install a Septic Tank?

The short answer? Always!

Whether you’re installing a septic system where one didn’t previously exist, or you’re replacing your cesspool with a septic tank, you should always hire a professional to do the work for you.

Septic tanks and cesspools are not only very challenging to unearth and access, but the gases and contents within the containers are hazardous to your health and potentially deadly.

Additionally, any mistakes during the installation of your septic system could easily lead to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in property damage and fines from the health department.

As such, no homeowner or DIYer should ever attempt to install or replace a septic tank on their own.

How Much Does a Septic Tank Cost?

The cost of a septic tank depends on several factors. The most significant factor in how much you will have to pay for a septic tank is the number of bedrooms your home has. More bedrooms mean more possible occupants and a higher capacity septic tank requirement.

For a 3 bedroom home, the size of a septic tank is usually 1000 gallons. The cost of a 1000 gallon septic tank ranges from around $600-1200. Keep in mind that your location can change the cost from one end of the pricing spectrum to the other.

For homes with 4 bedrooms or more, you can expect the septic tank’s size to be 1500 gallons or larger. You can expect to pay between $1200 and $2000 for a larger septic tank.

When most people think about septic system costs, they think about replacing a tank or installing a new one. This, however, is not where the highest costs come into play when talking about septic systems.

The real expense of installing a septic system comes from the installation of the leach field. When you think about installing a new septic system or replacing an old one, the money will be spent installing the leaching area.

The location of your property, the soil’s quality, and the water table are some of the other things that could change your septic system installation costs.

Extra Services

Now you should have a detailed estimate of how much you would pay for a new septic tank or whole new septic system for your home. But don’t stop there. If you want to know how much you’ll really spend on this project, there are some related services you’ll need to take into account. 

For one, you may need to prepare your property in some way before it’s ready for the installation of your septic tank. For another, you’ll definitely spend more money over the years maintaining your septic tank with regular pumping and cleaning and the occasional part replacement. 

Part replacements

If you have a problem with your septic system somewhere down the line, don’t panic. Most of the time, replacing a single part will solve your issue quickly and easily. You likely won’t have to replace the whole system or the tank itself for a few decades. 

Keep in mind, even though replacing a small part might seem easy, it’s still a good idea to hire a professional. As with installation, even a minor error can cause major problems that could be expensive to reverse. 

PART OF SEPTIC SYSTEMAVERAGE COST TO REPLACE*includes materials and labor
Tank lid$45 – $112
Baffle(s)$23 – $500
Filter$230 – $280
Riser$300 – $600
Pump$620 – $1,300
Leach field$3,375 – $12,000

Regular maintenance

Photo Credit: SuSanA Secretariat / Flickr / CC BY
Photo Credit: SuSanA Secretariat / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

For your septic system to perform to the best of its abilities for as long as possible, the tank will need regular pumping and cleaning. Experts recommend hiring a plumber (or other specialist) about every three to five years to pump your septic tank. On national average, you can expect to pay a pro $294 to $563 for pumping and cleaning. This preventative expense is much less than you would spend repairing a malfunctioning septic system. 

Percolation test cost

Before you install your septic system, you’ll need to get a percolation test from a qualified engineer to figure out the type of soil your installer will be dealing with and the height of the layers in the ground (water table, bedrock, etc). The results of the perc test will determine which type of system would be best for your property. 

Your septic tank installer might be able to conduct the perc test for you, or you may need to hire a separate professional. Either way, expect to pay between $670 and $1,430 for the test.

Land clearing cost

Photo Credit: GoingLikeSixty.com / Flickr / CC BY-
Photo Credit: GoingLikeSixty.com / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Especially on a new construction site, you may need to remove obstacles such as trees and bushes before the installers can break ground on your septic tank project. This job involves excavation and requires a lot of open space, so you may need quite a few obstructions removed. 

More often than not, you’ll need to hire a separate land clearing company to prep the area for your septic tank installation. Clearing a large space usually costs between $1,210 and $4,820.

Landscaping costs

It’s safe to assume that you won’t be happy with the appearance of your yard once your septic system is complete (unless you’re a fan of barren dirt lots). So, after installation, you may want to hire a professional landscaper to cover the site with more aesthetically appealing scenery. 

Landscaping costs are highly subjective because the umbrella term “landscaping” covers so many different services. For example, installing a new flagstone walkway will cost a lot more than planting a few bushes. In general, you can expect to spend $5 to $24 per square foot for professional landscaping, depending on the complexity of the landscape design.

Find a professional septic tank installer near you

Septic Tank System Cost

A new septic tank system costs $3,918 to install on average, with prices ranging from $1,500 to upward of $5,000. Most homeowners spend between $3,280 and $5,040 for a 1,250-gallon system that supports 3 or 4 bedrooms. Septic system installation with two alternating pumps costs $9,571 on average and can go up to $15,000.

 Septic System Cost    National  Average Cost   $3

Septic System Cost
National Average Cost $3,918
Minimum Cost $1,500
Maximum Cost $15,000
Average Range $3,280 to $5,040

Your final cost depends on the conditions of current waste lines and the soil where the septic tank will go. When building a home on raw land that is not connected to a local municipality waste system, this type of system is your best option for sewage treatment.

Cost Factors To Put In A Septic System

The average cost to put in a new septic system is $3,280 to $9,550. A basic septic system for a 3-bedroom home will cost $3,918 on average with most homeowners spending between $3,280 and $5,040. When you install a system with two alternating pumps, expect to spend $9,500 to $15,000.

Cost To Put In A Septic System
Installation Items Head Average Cost
Basic Quality – Including fiberglass basin, pump, installation from the septic tank or sewer line, 40′ pipe run, and automatic float switch (no electric work or pipe included) To 15’ head $3,280
To 25’ head $3,880
To 30’ head $5,040
Higher Quality – With two alternating pumps, 700- to 800-gallon concrete or fiberglass basin, automatic float switch, indoor control panel, high water or pump failure alarm, explosion proof electrical system but no electric work or pipe Per pump system $9,950

Cost Factors To Install

Cost Factors To Install

Installing a septic system is expensive because of the amount of labor involved in doing it correctly. From start to finish, the entire project could take up to three weeks or longer, depending on the permit processing and the complexity of the system you need for your property.

  • Soil testing – A deep hole percolation test by a qualified engineer costs at least $1,000 but ranges between $1,000 to $2,000. Testing will reveal the type of soil in the area and what depths the different layers are at; how deep each layer is; and with the combination of layers, how well suited the area is to filter and drain from the system. Positive results from the survey and test will also allow you to get approval for the drain field (also called leach fields or leach drains).
  • System design – The design of the septic system will generally take between 2–3 weeks to design and cost an average of $600, depending on your location and the complexity of the system. Use the same engineer to do both the percolation test and the system design, as he/she might not accept the test results from the percolation test if done by someone else.
  • Clear the landLand clearing costs around $950 on a quarter-acre for light clearing on flat ground without rocks.
  • Install and connect pipes and tank – To take wastewater from the house to the septic tank costs $25 to $33 per linear foot for excavation, installation, and backfill; and an average of $1,000 to $1,500 for the tank.
  • Leach Field – A drain or leach field costs $3,000 to $15,000. Lay the filtration materials or leach field – $9–$12 per linear foot. Add $25–$33 per linear foot of vitrified clay pipe from the house to the septic tank.
  • Inspection and testing – Pass all checks and final inspection and testing – Building permits cost about $250 to $450, and your local health department will determine which permits are required.
  • Pump Alarm – Add $720 for a high-water or pump failure alarm. Other add-ons and septic tank repairs cost $600 to $3,000 on average.
  • Landscaping costs – Include the costs of any landscaping needed once the tank is installed and dirt has been backfilled over it.

Cost to Install a Septic System Leach Field

The average cost to install a septic system drain or leach field is $3,000 to $15,000. Septic sewer drain fields or leach lines are built with unsaturated paper, piping, and gravel. The fields are excavated, and 4 PVC pipe is laid in 3′ deep by 1′ wide trenches, after which it’s backfilled, and excess soil is disposed of properly.

  • With 12″ gravel base – $30/LF
  • With 24″ gravel base – $11/LF
  • With 36″ gravel base – $30/LF
  • Add for pipe laid 6′ deep – $20/LF

Septic System Permit Cost

Septic System Permit Cost

You’ll need your permit from local authorities allowing construction of your new septic system. Expect to pay about $250–$450. It’s usually required to need a site plan: a scale diagram of your land which details the location of the house, outdoor elements (like a detached garage, any walkways, any swimming pools), and the location of the septic system. You can apply for the permit yourself, or your local contractor can include this in the quote. On average the permit will take about 1–2 weeks to secure, and costs include the inspection during construction and after this work is complete.

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Questions to Ask About Septic Tank Cost

A septic tank might not be a product that is familiar to a homeowner. Having a basic understanding of what owning a septic tank will entail is an important step to successful home maintenance. Whether you’re buying a home with an existing septic tank, or you’re building a home that will need a septic tank system, here are some helpful questions to ask.

  • What is the difference between a septic tank and a sewage system?
  • Will I smell raw sewage all the time if I install a septic tank in my backyard?
  • Why do I need to get a percolation test?
  • How much space do I need to reserve for a septic tank?
  • What’s the best size septic tank for my house?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Can I install one on my own?
  • Do I have to maintain it myself?
  • Can it be repaired?
  • How often do septic tanks need to be replaced?
  • Are there any best practices I should implement with my water usage in my home to prevent problems with my septic tank?
  • How often do I need to have my septic tank pumped?
  • What is the septic tank pumping cost near me?
  • Why does my septic tank seem to have problems when it rains?
  • Can septic tanks freeze?
  • Can I plant trees near my septic tank?
  • If I lose power, will my septic tank still work properly?

Options to Repair a Failed Septic System

The cost to repair a septic system depends on if you choose a full system replacement or conversion from an anaerobic to an aerobic system with an Aero-Stream® product.

Septic Tank Cost: Replacement Parts

As with any mechanical system, issues are bound to arise. Septic tanks that are properly cleaned and maintained can last an average of 20 to 40 years. While some of the problems with septic tank systems are easy to solve, others will require significant assistance from a professional. From baffles to tank lids, these are the most common parts of a septic tank that may need to be replaced or repaired.

Baffle Replacement

Baffles are designed to help prevent scum from clogging inlets and pipes. Baffles that fail or get clogged are a common issue, and replacing them is usually much cheaper than replacing the entire tank. Replacement costs range between $300 and $500 including labor.

Septic Tank Pump Replacement

For septic tanks that require a pump to push the effluent from the tank to the drain field, it’s possible that the pump may fail to do the job properly. The average cost to replace a failed pump ranges between $800 and $1,400 including labor.

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Tank Lid Replacement

A broken or rusted lid is a minor repair that costs between $30 and $70 before labor. Metal lids are the easiest to replace if they have rusted over, while a concrete lid may require some special equipment to remove and install the new lid.

Septic Tank Filter Replacement

Replacing a septic tank filter is the most common issue for most homeowners. The cost to have a replacement filter installed on a septic tank averages between $230 and $280.

Septic Drain Field Replacement

If a septic tank leach field or drain field becomes oversaturated, sewage can back up into the house. The average cost to dig out the existing drain field and install a new one runs $7,000.

Conclusion

A new septic tank or septic system, either for new construction or an existing property, will always cost at least a few thousand dollars. The national average cost of professional installation is about $5,828, with a typical range of $3,138 to $8,518

The overall cost of the project depends on the type of septic system you use, the size of your home, and any additional services you may need to complete the installation. Though the typical price range is a good set of guidelines, keep in mind that you could end up paying as little as $1,013 or as much as $18,163

Most importantly: DON’T attempt to install your own septic tank unless you’re a professional plumber or other specialist experienced with septic systems. No matter how handy you are, no matter how much money you think you’ll save, the risk of DIY in this case isn’t worth it. 

Main Photo Credit: Andy Rogers / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Jordan Ardoin is a writer and indoor plant enthusiast hailing from Florida. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her two cats around the house and trying to keep her houseplants alive.

How does a septic tank system work?

Generally speaking, septic tanks function by separating floatable matter (like oil) and solids from your home’s wastewater before sending the remaining treated water out into either the soil, sand, organic matter, wetlands or other media. However, the specifics of how a given type of system works will differ.

In a conventional septic system, the grey water and blackwater from your home flow into the tank. Over time, the solids sink to the bottom of the tank, and fats, oils and grease float to the surface as scum. The scum and sludge are separated from the wastewater, and the treated water is sent to the drainfield for further filtration.

The drainfield removes harmful coliform bacteria and viruses as the wastewater gets sent through a filtration process involving sand, soil or other means. The wastewater is then continuously filtered as it passes through the earth before entering the water table.

What Size Septic Tank Do You Need?

Septic tank size is typically determined by the number of bedrooms your home has. This is used as a way to estimate how much water will flow through the system daily. Generally, the larger the system, the higher the cost.

Two Bedrooms

A two-bedroom house requires a septic system with a minimum of a 750-gallon septic tank. However, in many municipalities, a 1,000-gallon tank is the smallest size allowed.

Three Bedrooms

A three-bedroom house will need a minimum of a 1,000-gallon water tank, which regularly handles about 360 gallons of water per day.

Four Bedrooms

A four-bedroom home requires a larger tank with a minimum volume of 1,250 gallons. It handles around 480 to 600 gallons of water per day.

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Permits and Red Tape

Various tests will need to be undertaken before you can even consider having a septic tank installed. A deep hole percolation test, costing $1,500, determines the type of soil you have. A positive test means that you can have a standard leach field. A negative test means that you will have to have an above-ground or mound septic system, which will cost two or three times as much as a normal septic system.

Once the tank and system are fully installed, you will have to have them inspected. Permits cost approximately $300, with costs being determined by the area you live.

It’s also worth taking into account additional costs that might be incurred once the job is done. Expect to budget between $50 and $200 a year for maintenance, with pumping required every three to five years.

Finally, you may have to pay for landscaping and other work to make the area look good once the tank is installed and operational.

Image Credit: AuntSpray, Shutterstock
Image Credit: AuntSpray, Shutterstock

What’s Included in the Cost of My Septic System?

Be sure to ask exactly what’s included in the sept

Be sure to ask exactly what’s included in the septic system installation costs when you’re gathering estimates for your new septic tank installation. Generally, you should expect to see things like:

  • New septic tank
  • Labor costs to remove the existing septic system and install the new septic system
  • Septic system components like piping and leach fields
  • Permitting

The cost of septic system supplies will vary depending on the type of system you choose as well as materials. For a homeowner on a specific budget, let your plumber know so they can suggest materials and systems that will work best within the cost to install that.

The plumber who comes out to give you an estimate for your new septic system will also look at the condition of your soil by doing soil testing.  They’ll also look at the water table. The land surrounding your property is another thing they’ll look at to see if there are wetlands or anything around.

The septic system installers will work to gather the septic tank materials and get your system installed quickly and safely once you decide on the type of system you need.

Atlanta’s #1 Septic System Professionals

The professionals at The Original Plumber can come out to inspect your existing septic system or area you’d like to put a new septic tank system in your yard. We offer fair, honest, and upfront pricing when we install a septic system. This way, you won’t have any surprises and can trust you’re receiving high-quality work.

Our friendly and helpful team members can give you a free estimate when you give us a call. We’ll factor in the cost of septic tank needs when building your estimate. We can also schedule your septic tank maintenance to keep your septic system functioning properly.

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