How Much Does a New Septic Tank System Cost?

Lauren Murphy
Written by Lauren Murphy
Updated February 11, 2022
New septic tank installation
Photo: Petegar / Getty Images

A new septic tank system will cost between $3,060 and $9,810 on average

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Simply put, waste is a part of life. Handling it isn’t pretty, but septic tanks get that job done for you. Traditional anaerobic septic systems cost between $2,000 and $10,000. Aerobic systems are more costly at $8,000 to $20,000. What’s best for you will depend on the size of your property as well as its soil composition and water table depth.

How Much Does a New Septic Tank System Cost Near You?

Whether it’s for your summer cabin or full-time home, you’ll need to factor a septic tank system into your budget. The national average price for a new septic tank system is $6,420, though specific prices vary from state to state based on several factors. 

First, each state has its own costs and requirements for building permits and licenses. Check on your area’s rules before breaking ground on a septic tank project. 

Septic system costs also differ regionally because of varying soil content across the country. In general, sandy soil that’s well-drained works best. In places with sandy soil, septic tank system costs are around $3,000 because of reduced labor and material costs associated with well-drained soils.

In states with more waterlogged soil, like clay, and strict septic tank system license and permit requirements, average costs are upwards of $9,000. For these reasons, costs tend to run higher in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

Those who live outside of these areas can expect septic system costs to align with the national average.

Septic Tank System Cost Breakdown

The total cost to install a septic system will ultimately depend on three factors—the materials and labor required to install the system plus the cost to dig a leach field on your property.

Materials

Common septic tank system materials include concrete, fiberglass, and plastic. Concrete tanks are the most common because of their durability—they can last up to 30 years with proper maintenance. On average, concrete septic tanks cost between $700 and $2,000.

Plastic septic tanks are relatively inexpensive, costing between $500 and $2,500. Fiberglass tanks, on the other hand, are more expensive at $1,200 to $2,000

Labor

Labor costs can differ by region and will depend on the size and materials of the new septic tank system. But in general, labor costs account for 50% to 70% of the total septic tank system cost. You’ll likely pay more for installation than you will for the tank alone, which is worth it when you don’t have enough room on your plate to take on yet another home project. 

Make sure you discuss details with your contractor or plumber. If they don’t cover excavation costs, expect to pay another $1,200 to $4,500. Other extras that may or may not be included in your septic tank installation costs are building permits, which are typically between $400 and $2,000, and perc tests, which cost between $750 and $1,300 on average.

Leach Field

Septic tank systems consist of a septic tank and a kind of trench, commonly referred to as a leach field. A leach or drain field is the section of your septic system that transports the wastewater back to the soil. Leach fields cost $2,000 to $10,000.

newly installed septic tank in a country yard
Photo: Natalia / Adobe Stock

How Much Does a New Septic Tank System Cost by Type?

Each septic system type comes with its own set of pros and cons. While anaerobic systems are relatively low-maintenance, they aren’t great for small properties. Similarly, anaerobic systems can do well in small spaces, but they require extra work.

Anaerobic

Septic tanks can be either anaerobic (not needing oxygen) or aerobic. Anaerobic systems are more common and cost between $3,000 and $8,000 on average. They’re typically cheaper to install than aerobic systems but are less efficient and call for a larger leach field.

In an anaerobic septic system, a pipe runs from the house to the septic tank where another pipe runs from there into the leach field. Anaerobic bacteria break down solid waste before the system distributes the wastewater into the soil. These systems don’t require extra power or chemicals, making them a popular choice among homeowners.

Aerobic

Aerobic septic systems utilize oxygen pumped into the tank to activate bacteria that feed on the solid waste. These systems are more expensive than anaerobic systems at $10,000 to $20,000, but they’re more efficient and can work well for smaller properties. Unlike anaerobic systems, they do need additional power to run. To ensure everything works properly in the case of a power outage, hook it up to a power generator. Otherwise, aerobic systems can plug into your property’s main power source.

How Much Does a New Septic Tank Cost by Style?

The size and location of your property will help determine which septic tank system style is right for you. Those with smaller properties should go with mound or sand filter aerobic septic tank systems, while those with more space have an array of options.

Mound

Expect to spend more on a mound septic system—they cost $10,000 to $20,000 to install. They pump wastewater from the tank into a sand mound, which is built over top of the septic system area. The sand filters the water before it goes into the soil and groundwater. These systems are expensive, but they’re necessary in areas with a high water table.

Sand Filter

Sand filter septic systems use a pump to push the wastewater through a sand filter at a low pressure before it enters the soil or groundwater, effectively treating and removing nutrients. Nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen naturally occur in waste, but they can reduce water quality and damage aquatic ecosystems when they accumulate in surface water.

They cost between $7,000 and $18,000 and can be built either above or below ground. Sand filters protect the underlying water table from not-so-clean septic wastewater (great news for the environment), and they can last decades. These systems are best for areas with high water tables or that are near bodies of water.

Chamber

Chamber septic systems are similar to conventional systems, but they use plastic chambers in the leach field rather than gravel. They cost $5,000 to $12,000 to install. Chamber septic systems are great choices for places where input volumes vary, like vacation homes.

If you do opt for this style, avoid placing it near your driveway or parking area as driving over it could cause serious (and smelly) damage.

Drip

Drip septic systems use drip tubing and a dosing system to release smaller, timed doses of waste periodically. They work well in areas with a shallow soil depth. Drip septic systems require more components than a conventional septic system, including a dosing tank and pump, and can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $18,000, depending on their size.

Evapotranspiration

Evapotranspiration septic systems cost $10,000 to $15,000 and are useful in arid climates and in areas with shallow soil. They have unique leach fields that allow effluent to evaporate from the top of an open-air tank. If you live somewhere where there’s a chance of snow or rain, just say no to an evapotranspiration septic system. The moisture could ultimately cause them to fail, and the repair process for a septic tank isn’t glamorous.

Built Wetland

As you may have already guessed, built wetland septic systems mimic the natural water treatment process seen in wetlands. Microbes, plants, and bacteria treat effluent in a wetland tank before releasing the wastewater into the soil. In turn, the waste helps the plants and microbes thrive. These sustainable systems run from $5,000 to $12,000.

What Factors Influence the Cost of a New Septic Tank System?

The cost of a septic tank depends on a variety of factors. In general, costs increase as size increases. If landscaping and permits are required to install your septic tank, expect to pay an additional $600 minimum

The type of material you use will also influence the cost, with plastic being relatively cheap compared to concrete. And if you opt for a more custom design as opposed to a stock model, you’ll foot the bill for the added labor.

Tanks are easier to maintain and install in sandy, coarse soil and more difficult in clay. For that reason, the location of your home and the corresponding soil type will determine the amount you pay.

FAQs About Septic Tank Systems

Should I hire a pro or install septic tank myself?

An improperly installed septic system can lead to big problems, including water pollution and damage to your home. Septic system repairs aren’t cheap. Because the risks involved in installing septic tanks are high, this project should be left to a pro. Call around and discuss your needs (and budget) with multiple septic tank companies in your area to determine the best fit.

What should I consider when installing a septic tank system?

A septic tank is an important part of a home. Structural damage and leaks can be detrimental to your property and hazardous to human and environmental health. The nastiness could even force you into a hotel room for the night. So before installing your septic tank system, consider the following: 

  • Soil type

  • Landscaping

  • Structural risks (avoid areas near vehicles or heavy machinery)

  • Property size

  • Septic tank size

  • Future maintenance

  •  Tank location

What other projects should I do at the same time?

Installing a septic tank system often requires excavation (unless you opt for an above-ground tank). Once excavators break ground, you can complete other underground projects to save time and money down the road, like:

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