Types Of Septic Systems By Design And By Material

Blog, Plumbing

A septic tank is a self-contained or buried watertight treatment system for wastewater. It is used for homes and businesses that are not connected to the central sewage system for that region. There are many types of septic systems, and each of them has one main objective; which is to which is to treat and dispose of wastewater.

This wastewater is water from toilets, sinks, washing machines, showers, etc. Once this water flows into the septic tank, it is treated before it is reintroduced into the environment. How do you choose the right one for your home you ask? No worries, we got you covered.

In this article, I will discuss the various types of septic systems and their pros and cons in order to help you make a more informed decision. So, let’s get down to business, shall we?

Types of Septic Systems

1. Conventional septic system

A conventional septic system is one of the most popular types of septic systems in the United States today. It consists of a circular plastic or metal septic tank and a trench or bed subsurface wastewater infiltration system known as a leach field or drain field.


  • Relatively simple to install
  • Very budget friendly
  • Low maintenance requirement
  • Long lifespan


  • This kind of septic system can be problematic if the soil in your region is not suitable for a drain field
  • If the system is not maintained, a drained clog can be a thing of worry about. You may end up spending a lot on repairs.

2. Aerobic septic system

Another very common type of septic system is the Aerobic septic system or the Aerobic treatment unit (ATU). This system uses oxygen to treat the wastewater, which is more effective than the Conventional septic system. The Aerobic septic system is used in areas with a high water table or in areas where the soil cannot absorb enough water.


  • An aerobic septic system is more effective
  • Can handle high volumes of wastewater
  • They require less space than conventional septic systems


  • More expensive
  • Maintenance is more expensive
  • Requires electricity to operate; this can be an issue in rural areas

3. Chamber system

Basically, the chamber septic system is a system that uses a series of chambers to treat wastewater. The first chamber is used to break down the wastewater, and the second chamber treats and cleans the water. Afterward, the water is allowed to flow into the soil for absorption.


  • Easy installation
  • Eliminates the need for gravel
  • Fairly affordable
  • Long lifespan


  • Operation tends to be slower than other types of septic systems
  • Can be difficult to maintain
  • Larger sizes mean more pumping and cleaning are needed

4. Drip distribution system

Another very common type of septic system is the Drip distribution system, also referred to as the pressure distribution system. It features a large amount of piping buried in gravel-filled trenches. The effluent from the septic simply drips through slowly onto the gravel and gradually, into the soil.


  • Simple and inexpensive to install
  • Low maintenance requirement
  • Compactable with different soil types


  • Not suitable in smaller plots
  • Installation can cause damage to tree roots and other objects
  • Not suitable in areas or regions with shallow soil or high water tables

5. Mound system

The mound system is best suited for areas with high water tables or areas where the soil depth is low and not suitable for a conventional system. This type of system is more like a mixture of Conventional and drip-distributed systems. But instead of a drain field, it features a raised mound wherein the effluent is distributed.


  • Can be used for areas with space limitations
  • Can be used for areas with unstable soil
  • Better aesthetic appeal


  • Not too budget-friendly
  • High maintenance requirements

Materials Options for Septic Tank

Septic tanks are classified into 4 types based on materials, and they include the following;

  • Concrete Septic Tank
  • Steel Septic Tank
  • Fiberglass Septic Tank
  • Plastic Septic Tank

1. Concrete Septic Tank

Concrete septic tanks are made from concrete; they are usually massive in size and are pre-cast for easy installation. They are very strong and get stronger over time, although concrete cracks can happen, causing wastewater to seep out and groundwater to seep in.


  • Very durable
  • Not damaged easily
  • They are rustproof


  • Expensive when compared to other septic tank materials
  • Although repairs aren’t really that common with this type of septic tank material, it tends to be difficult to repair when it happens
  • Cracks may also happen if low-quality concrete is used
  • Installation can be difficult and costly because you have to transport and install pre-casted concrete

2. Steel Septic Tank

Steel septic tanks are made of steel and are not really too popular because they are costly and are not really durable. The main reason for this is that the steel deteriorates easily and quickly, so Steel septic tanks are not often chosen by homeowners.


  • They are heavy and will not float if the tank is near the water table
  • Good resistance against buoyant forces


  • Steel corrodes easily, reducing the lifespan
  • High price, low durability
  • It is hard to remove or replace steel septic tanks

3. Plastic Septic Tanks

Plastic septic tanks, also called Poly septic tanks are made of polyethylene plastic. They are durable, lightweight, won’t rust, and not susceptible to cracking compared to concrete. What’s more, since plastic is a light material, it makes them easy to handle and install.


  • Very economical
  • Rustproof
  • Durable
  • Easy to install


  • They do not have weight, which means they may float if they are close to the water table
  • Prone to damage under critical conditions

4. Fiberglass Septic Tank

Fiberglass septic tanks are made of fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP). They are very similar to plastic septic tanks but reinforced to make them stronger. However, this does not affect their weight; it is still lightweight and easy to handle and install.


  • Better strength when compared to plastic septic tanks
  • Watertight
  • Rustproof


  • Just like plastic septic tanks, fiberglass septic tanks cannot withstand buoyant forces


What is the most common type of septic system?

The Conventional septic system is one of the most common choices among many homeowners. This is mainly because it is inexpensive, easy to install, easy to maintain, and has a long lifespan.

Which concrete tank material is most durable?

In terms of durability, Concrete is the most durable septic tank material.

Which type of septic system is the most efficient?

The Aerobic septic system or the Aerobic treatment unit (ATU) is more efficient in breaking wastewater than other septic systems.

Which septic system is cheaper?

In terms of cost, the Conventional septic system is one of the most budget-friendly options.

What is a septic tank made of?

A septic tank can be made of various materials, such as steel, concrete, plastic, and fiberglass.

Choosing the best septic system for your home

Conventional septic system

Choosing the best type of septic system and material for your home is not an easy decision as one would hope.

This is because the septic system that is conducive for homeowners in a certain area may not be applicable to others in another area.

So, after being informed about the various types, you must also know which septic system is right for your region or soil type.

This is why we recommend contacting a professional to guide you through this project. Get in touch with a professional now!

Thanks for reading this article.

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