How Much Does It Cost to Install a Septic Tank?

Purchase Cost

There are many costs associated with septic tank installation. Often, the tank itself only makes up a portion of the purchase cost, unless you are experienced in the installation and maintenance of this type of product yourself. First, you have to decide on the type of tank you want:

An aerobic system needs oxygen, and it usually uses a pump system to oxygenate and aerate the wastewater in the tank. This encourages the waste to break down. An aerobic system is complicated and will require at least two tanks. The typical cost of buying this type of system is $10,000 to $20,000 and you should expect installation and maintenance costs to be higher, too. Anaerobic systems use bacteria that dislike oxygen. These bacteria break down the waste as it reaches the tank. This type of system is more convenient, easier to maintain, and it normally has a lower purchase price and maintenance costs associated with it. Expect to pay between $2,000 and $6,000 for one of these tanks.

Image Credit: trufero, Shutterstock
Image Credit: trufero, Shutterstock

As well as the type of tank, you will need to choose one that is an appropriate size. All wastewater from your property will pass into the tank where it is broken down before being spread in the drain field. Concrete is the most commonly used material in septic tank construction, and the price for a tank of this type would be:

For a 3- or 4-bedroom property, you will need a 1,250-gallon tank, which will cost approximately $2,500. A 1,500-gallon concrete tank, suitable for a 5- or 6-bedroom home, will cost $2,700.

As you can see, there isn’t a lot of difference in the price between these two sizes, but the larger tank will cost a lot more for groundworks and permits.

Septic System Repair Cost by Type of Repair

Many issues can arise with your septic tank, and the cost depends on the problem. Some issues can be repaired quickly and cheaply, but others require more costly parts and long hours of labor, leading to higher bills. The table below shows common repairs and the average price for each.

Type of RepairAverage Costs (Labor Included)Lid$15

Type of RepairAverage Costs (Labor Included)
Lid$150 – $500
Pipe$200 – $800
Pump$250 – $1,500
Outlet Baffle$300 – $900
Wall$500 – $4,000
Line$1,000 – $4,500
Leach Field Rejuvenation$1,000 – $5,000
Septic Field$1,000 – $5,000
Leak$1,000 – $10,000

Septic Tank Lid Repair Price

Repairing this lid averages $150 to $500. This typically needs to be done if there is cracking or other damage on the lid surface. If the surface is not in excellent shape, it may be possible for debris to move through the lid and into the tank. Repairs also may be needed if odors are making their way from the tank.

Septic Pipe Repair Cost

The average cost to repair these pipes ranges from $200 to $800. This is an important repair to handle as soon as damage is noticed. If odor and standing water are found between the drainfield and tank, it is likely that a pipe is broken and should be repaired. If there are issues with the pipe, you may also experience backups in the toilets or showers of the home.

Septic Pump Repair Price

A homeowner having a pump 2 repaired can expect to pay around $250 to $1,500. If there is damage to the pump, it can cause bad smells, sewage backups, pooling water, and slow drains. This pump connects to the home’s internal plumbing and needs to be maintained regularly to keep it in good shape. A damaged pump can be a health hazard and should be repaired by a professional as soon as possible.

Septic Tank Outlet Baffle Repair Cost

Baffle repairs on a septic tank cost between $300 and $900. The baffle is a key component in any septic system because it stops the pipes from becoming clogged. But baffles can wear and may become cracked or damaged. In most cases, full replacements are needed, but you can patch minor damage on some baffles.

Septic Tank Wall Repair Cost

Tank wall repairs for a septic system average $500 to $4,000. The tank wall can be damaged by tree roots, exposure to the elements, and Earth movements. Cracks and holes may lead to worrying leaks if left untreated. Contractors use special equipment to fill cracks and repair damage. While small cracks may not be a problem, larger ones may create additional issues. Once filled, the tank can continue to be used as normal.

Septic Tank Line Repair

On average, repairing this type of line costs about $1,000 to $4,500. The lines are typically made of PVC plastic, ABS, or cast iron and connect the tank with the drainage system in the home. If the line is damaged, the tank will not work as expected. Leaks and other problems can occur. To repair this line, excavation is required to access it. At that point, a professional repairs the line to ensure the system is in good shape and ready to be used.

Leach Field Rejuvenation Cost

Leach field 3 rejuvenation costs between $1,000 and $5,000. This method is used to clean leach fields that have become clogged or soaked with wastewater and solid waste. Rejuvenation essentially gives the soil a helping hand and allows the field to absorb wastewater easily. It also involves pumping the field to remove excess water before adding good bacteria and enzymes to refresh the system.

Septic Field Repair Cost

Repairing the septic field costs between $1,000 and $5,000. The field, also known as the drain or leach field, transfers wastewater into the soil. Drain field problems can develop, leading to nasty smells and soaked ground. You can clean the area and resolve the problem’s root cause without resorting to a drain field replacement.

Septic Tank Leak Repair Cost

Repairing leaks costs $1,000 to $10,000. This wide price range is because there are many possible issues behind a leak. It might be a leak in the line or tank caused by various issues like corroded pipes or damaged leach fields. When the tank leaks, this can change the water level inside and result in the death of the bacteria that break down waste. Signs of a leak include lush grass nearby, a foul odor, or a moist yard in the area near the tank.


How to Prepare for Your Septic Tank Installation

To ensure septic tank installation goes smoothly, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Receive Multiple Estimates

Before any excavation or signed paperwork, receive estimates from licensed septic tank installers and read reviews about each company using trusted, third-party consumer reviews. Ensure the contractor you select holds the proper insurance and licensing and includes necessary preparations like excavation and drain field testing in their estimate.

Test the Soil and Obtain a Permit

Septic systems rely on permeable soil surrounding the tank to absorb and naturally treat liquid residue so that it doesn’t contaminate runoff water or leak into the water table. This area is known as the drain or leach field.

Before installing a septic tank, you’re legally obligated to obtain a percolation or “perc” test. This test confirms the soil meets requirements set by the city and local health department. Usually, the soil is required to have adequate amounts of permeable contents like sand or gravel. Once the land passes the percolation test, you’ll be able to obtain a permit and start the installation process.

Note: If you want to put a septic tank on a piece of land, it must pass the percolation test. We recommend ordering a test before purchasing the land you want to use for residential purposes.

Plan for Excavation

Heavy equipment is needed to excavate the large amount of land necessary for a septic tank. If you currently reside on the land, make sure to budget landscaping costs to fix any damage incurred during excavation.

If you’re building a new home, schedule the excavation at a time when it’ll have minimal impact on the construction process. Typically, this is before paving the driveways and sidewalks, but after the main frame of the home is built.

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

Septic Tank Replacement Costs

If you take care of regular maintenance, you won’t need to think about replacing your treatment system for many years. Most tanks store three years’ worth of a home’s wastewater before they are due to be emptied/pumped. Septic tank pumping costs an average of $370 every three years or about $0.25/gallon.

 Septic Tank Replacement Costs   Replacement Item

Septic Tank Replacement Costs
Replacement Item Average Cost
Drain Field Replacement $3,500 – $11,000
Tank Pump Replacement $500 – $1,200
Tank Removal $5,500
Tank Baffle Replacement $23 – $44
Tank Lid Replacement $30 – $65
Tank Filter Replacement $230 – $280

Septic Drain Field Replacement Cost

Septic Drain Field Replacement Cost

Septic drain or leach field replacement will cost between $3,500 to $11,000 with most homeowners paying a total of $7,000 on average. It will cost about $30 per linear foot to dig up the old leach field and $9 to $12 per linear foot to lay the new filtration materials or leach field. A drain field will flood if it gets overloaded with too much liquid, causing sewage to back up in toilets and sinks.

Septic Tank Pump Replacement Cost

When your septic pump goes out, it will generally cost between $500 and $1,200 to replace. A pump is required to bring effluent up to the drain field. The pump is an essential piece due to the fact you need to pump your system every 2 to 3 years for about $370.

Septic Tank Removal Cost

Septic tank removal includes emptying the tank first and then removing or replacing it. Pumping the tank will cost about $250 to $600, depending on local labor costs, tank size, how far you are from a dumping ground, and dump fees. Removing and replacing a 1,000-gallon concrete tank will cost approx. $5,500.

Septic Tank Baffle Replacement Cost

It will cost $23 to $44 for the septic tank baffle part—this directs wastewater through the septic tank properly without disturbing the natural settling of the tanks’ scum layer.

Septic Tank Lid Replacement Cost

Metal tank lids will typically rust over time, and concrete covers can crack and will need to be replaced. A septic tank lid costs about $30 to $65 to replace not including professional installation.

Septic Tank Filter Replacement

Septic Tank Filter Replacement

The most common repair you will perform on your septic system is filter replacement. Expect to pay around $230 to $280 to install a quality filter for your septic tank.

Cost to Install A Septic Riser

Installing a septic tank riser will give you access to your septic tank at ground level by adding a piped shaft from the top of the tank to the ground level. A riser will cost you about $300 to $400 installed—very much worth it to give maintenance crew easy access should it needs repairs or maintenance. A polyethylene riser will be lightweight and easy to remove, while a concrete riser can be cumbersome and difficult to install, and can crack. Newer tanks usually come with the riser already attached, but old tanks can be fitted with one.

  • Septic Tank Riser Installation Cost – Installation or the labor cost to install your riser will be approx. $200. Add that to the price of the riser (below).
  • Plastic Septic Tank Riser Cost – A plastic septic tank riser with an adapter ring and lid costs approx. $75 to $155, with the highest-rated riser kits by Aero-Stream costing $195–$325, available from 7”–51” tall.
  • Concrete Septic Riser Cost – Concrete risers come in varying lengths with square, rectangular, or round holes and walls that are 3”–4” thick. Prices are only available from manufacturers upon request.

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Septic systems do not require much hands-on maintenance. They should be pumped regularly, according to the schedule determined by you and the service provider. You may also want to have it inspected every few years by the same provider to ensure things are working. During this inspection, they may identify small issues that can be corrected before they become expensive repairs.

If your septic provider recommends it, you can send additives through the system by flushing them down the toilet. These additives contain bacteria that help your system work efficiently. Not every system operates the same, so do not add anything to your tank without first checking with your service provider.

Using a smaller amount of water keeps the system healthy. When it has additional water, this causes it to take longer to break down waste. Using water-saving showerheads, faucets, and toilets will help. Homeowners should also make sure the tap is turned off when the water is not actively being used. It is also important to avoid disposing of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials in the septic tank. Large amounts of chemicals, disinfectants, or medications should never be placed in the septic system. However, detergents and bleaches are okay to dispose of in moderate amounts.

Cost of Septic Tank Installation by Location

Conditions in your specific area such as terrain, climate, and soil type will determine the type of septic system you should use and therefore will affect the overall cost of the project. Consult a local pro to determine the best type of septic system for your area and the average cost. 

Labor costs vary by location, too. A homeowner in a metropolitan area will likely pay much more for a new septic system than one in a rural area. We’ve estimated the national average cost of labor, but the price you actually pay could be significantly lower or higher. Get at least three estimates from local pros for your septic tank project — or any home improvement project — to give you a good idea of labor costs in your area. 

Bottom line

There’s a lot to think about when dealing with septic tank issues. Getting professional advice is important, but it helps to know what to expect so you can make educated decisions.

Whether you’re budgeting for a new tank or trying to keep your system running, it’s a good idea to shop around, read reviews and get multiple quotes to learn about your options.

If you’re just planning ahead or worried about septic tank costs down the line, consider a home warranty to help offset the costs. Read up on what they cover and whether they’re worth the money to learn more.

Average Septic Tank Installation Costs

A traditional septic tank for a 3-bedroom house will cost around $3,900 to install on average. For conventional systems, prices start around $5,000 in the Midwest, whereas in coastal areas, one could cost $10,000 or more. For an engineered system, the costs will average around $15,000 for installation.

 Septic System Installation Cost   Septic System T

Septic System Installation Cost
Septic System Type Average Cost
Conventional $3,500 – $10,000
Alternative $6,000 – $15,000
Engineered $12,000 – $15,000

Septic Tank Cost By House and Gallon Size

The size of the tank needed for your home depends on the home’s size in square feet and the number of bedrooms. Standard septic tank sizes usually start at 750 gallons for a one- to two-bedroom houses under 1,500 sqft, and go up to 1,500 gallons for a six-bedroom house that is less than 5,500 sqft.

 Septic Tank Sizes and Prices   Tank Material Tank

Septic Tank Sizes and Prices
Tank Material Tank Gallon Size House Size Tank Cost
Polyethylene 500 1 bedroom $725
Polyethylene 750 2 bedroom $1,200
Polyethylene 1,000 3 bedroom $1,310
Fiberglass 1,000 3 bedroom $2,300
Polyethylene 1,250 3 or 4 bedroom $2,100
Concrete 1,250 3 or 4 bedroom $2,510
Fiberglass 1,250 3 or 4 bedroom $2,350
Polyethylene 1,500 5 or 6 bedroom $2,340
Concrete 1,500 5 or 6 bedroom $2,660
Fiberglass 1,500 5 or 6 bedroom $2,660

Costs above include excavation with good site conditions, placing of the tank, inlet and outlet fittings, and backfill after hookup. Add the cost of percolation testing, laying about 40 feet of pipes, and building the drain field ($2,000 – $10,000) to get your final cost.

Cost of Septic System for 3-Bedroom House

Cost of Septic System for 3-Bedroom House

The cost for a 1,000-gallon septic tank to support up to 3-bedrooms is between $2,190 and $5,200 with most homeowners spending $3,250 on average.

Cost of Septic System for 4-Bedroom House

The cost for a 1,250-gallon septic tank to support up to 4-bedrooms is between $2,310 and $5,400 with most homeowners spending $3,530 on average.

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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, editor, and classical literature student based in Colorado. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys goofing off with her cats and spending time in nature.

How to Save Money on Septic Tank Cost

There are a few ways that can help save money on septic tank costs. Some of these can be achieved by DIY-ing some of the easier preinstallation tasks. Here are a few ideas to get started.

  • Ask about current or upcoming discounts or promotions.
  • Request a quote from at least two companies, if possible.
  • Ask about all-in-one installation costs, and compare them to expected costs in the event you complete some tasks on your own.
  • Consider preparing the land before installation begins.
  • Consider purchasing and placing the gravel that’s used beneath the tank and drain field yourself.
  • Request soil tests and permits yourself. However, be aware that some companies will only accept permits they obtained.

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.

Additional costs

Fotogrin/Shutterstock Fotogrin/Shutterstock

When installing a new septic tank, you may need to replace additional components or apply for relevant permits. These additional considerations shouldn’t be overlooked when replacing a septic tank.

Permits can raise the cost by a slim margin but are an important part of the installation process

Permitting issues are important to consider when adding a new septic tank to your property. The EPA notes that a typical septic tank installation must be inspected by your local community’s governing body. This oversight is put in place to ensure that your tank is installed correctly — protecting your home and the surrounding community from failures related to improper installation — and that the tank is placed in a location that best supports its function.

EPA guidance reports that septic tank outlets should be at least 10 feet away from the structure they draw wastewater from. The tanks themselves should remain located in areas of the property that aren’t susceptible to flooding or pooling surface water. D-Tox Group notes that a septic tank may be as far away from the structure as 50 meters in some instances (although local regulations and space constraints will dictate the exact placement of your septic utility).

Installing a new tank might be the perfect opportunity to update other components in the septic system

When installing a new septic tank, you may want to consider updating other elements of the system for a seamless integration of parts and to sync maintenance schedules. HomeServe notes that the drain field can often sustain functionality for about the same length of time as the tank, and a drain field replacement operation will cost between $3,500 and $11,000 for more in-depth work.

You might also want to replace the tank pump or filter along with the tank itself. HomeServe reports that a pump will cost between $500 and $1,200, while the filter (as the most common maintenance requirement of the septic system as a whole) will cost between $230 and $280.

How Long Does a Septic Tank Last?

A septic tank’s lifespan varies depending on the material and type of system installed. Clogging caused by roots or flooding from groundwater can decrease the septic tank’s lifespan. On average, septic systems last 15 to 20 years.

Regularly servicing your septic tank is the best way to increase its longevity. It’s important to note that servicing is more than just pumping out the tank; it’s also necessary to have a professional inspect your tank regularly and perform routine maintenance.

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