Septic tanks are becoming increasingly popular here in the UK. For homes with poor drainage or ones that aren’t connected to the mains sewage works, they allow you to safely dispose of household wastewater by collecting it in an underground tank. Deciding to have a septic tank installed isn’t a small feat and there are cost implications to consider too. In this guide, we’ll cover the different aspects of installation prices to help you understand whether it’s the right option for you.

Why Consider a Septic Tank?

The majority of households here in the UK won’t have to consider whether or not to install a septic tank because they will automatically be linked up to the mains sewage system. However, if you live in a remote location or have poor drainage in your area, it may be a consideration you need to make. Septic tanks offer a wealth of benefits against traditional systems, including:

  • Reduced risk of leaks.
  • Lack of required infrastructure and energy costs for smaller communities.
  • Long lifespans of up to 40 years.
  • Independence from mains system – reduces your reliance in the event of area-wide blockages or leaks.

When considering off-mains drainage systems, you may also want to look at cesspits, drainage fields and reed beds.

Costs Associated With Septic Tank

So, how much should you be setting aside to install a septic tank on your property? The overall cost will depend on several factors including those associated with the installation and those linked to the purchase of the right tank. All of these will need to be factored into the overall costs and are something that an experienced drains and water specialist will be able to support you with.

Installation Associated Fees

The costs of having an old septic tank replaced like-for-like will be substantially different to having a brand new system installed – namely because of the preparation and groundworks that go into this process. During fitting, you will need to consider the costs of:

  • The need for secure concrete foundations.
  • The disposal of the soil dug up to lay pipes and fit the tank.
  • The subsoil needed to ensure the septic tank can drain properly.
  • The costs of engineers, contractors and specialists to install the tank.

The exact costs of each of these will be entirely dependent on the site and the right team of experts will be able to give you an accurate quotation, after a site visit.

Size of the Tank

To get the most out of your septic tank and ensure it’s working at full capacity, it needs to be sized appropriately for your property. This includes taking into account the number of people living in your home and how dependent they are on this form of waste removal. On average, a 1,500 square foot house will need a minimum of a 750-gallon septic tank. Larger houses over 2,000 square feet will need a tank with a 1,000+ capacity to meet demands.

Septic tanks can cost anywhere between £650 for a small-sized one up to £1500 for a larger model. You will also need to consider whether you need a single-chamber septic tank or a double-chamber tank. As you can imagine, double-chamber tanks hold most wastewater, need to be emptied less frequently and require less maintenance, as a result. However, they can be too big to work functionally which is why it pays to work with the right company.

Material of the Tank

Septic tanks are manufactured from a variety of different materials, to suit different needs.

  • Concrete septic tanks – The most common option for septic tanks, concrete septic tanks are considered low-cost and durable. They cost somewhere in the region of £500 – £1200.
  • Plastic septic tanks – While not susceptible to cracks, they can collapse in harsh conditions. They cost somewhere in the region of £700 – £1500.
  • Fibreglass septic tanks – While fibreglass septic tanks are more expensive, they are lightweight, easier to install and high-quality. They can last up to 50 years and can cost between £1,000 up to £1,800.

Above or Below Ground

Septic tanks can be installed above or below ground, depending on your available grounds. Above ground septic tanks are less expensive to install, because they require fewer excavation works and the associated costs. They are easier to maintain, can be modified quickly and are generally more durable. Classic septic tanks are installed below ground to treat the effluent and digest it via aerobic soil bacteria. When installed underground, they are less of an eyesore and won’t ruin the aesthetics of your property.

Will I Need Planning Permission?

Installing a septic tank is a large-scale construction project and requires permission from the local authority. For new septic tank installations, you will likely need full planning permission. However, some works can be carried out under a Building Notice.

You will need to gain EA/SEPA approval (Environmental Agency approval) before full planning permissions can be granted. And, you must make sure that your septic tank does not:

  • Contaminate local water supplies.
  • Limit access for cleaning or repair.
  • Affect the health of surrounding persons.
  • Be unable to work in the event of a power cut/failure.

It must also be fitted with suitable ventilation, be built to prevent leaks and be a reasonable size to store the right amount of waste.

Why Work With a Reputable Company?

Septic tank installation is a specialist process, requiring the support of industry-professional and drainage experts. Here at West Country Drainage, our experienced team considers everything from ground conditions and geology in their pre-evaluation of your property to ensure that your chosen septic tank meets your exacting needs. We’re on hand to provide additional advice, information and guidance so, if you would like to speak to a member of our team, please do get in contact here today.