De-mistify Sewage Tanks For Your Acreage or Farm


It was the first time building his own house. Eric Clark had just bought 2 acres on the outskirts of town, where he planned on building a 3-bedroom home for him and his family.

Eric chose everything he thought he needed for his new home.

The contractors were hired and he was ready to see construction begin. But when Eric was asked whether he wanted a plastic septic tank or a concrete septic tank, he froze.

Eric has always lived in the city, he never thought about septic tanks, he didn’t even know there were different types. Luckily, his contractors caught on to Eric’s confusion and answered his biggest questions…. What is a septic tank? And what’s the difference between plastic and concrete?

What is a Septic Tank and How Does it Work? 

Septic tanks are crucial in on-site wastewater management, especially in places where centralized sewage treatment isn’t an option.

These buried tanks have a big job: they’re the cleanup crew for all the home and business wastewater. This includes dirty ‘grey water’ (showers, bathtubs, whirlpool tubs, washing machines, dishwashers and bathroom sinks) and ‘black water’ (toilets and kitchen sinks.)

Through a natural separation and biological breakdown process, septic tanks help remove solid waste and contaminants from sewage, allowing for the safe release of treated effluent into the soil.

Inside the tank, heavy solids sink to the bottom, forming a layer of sludge, while grease floats on top as scum. The in-between liquid, called effluent, gets broken down by bacteria. Once it’s somewhat cleaned up, the effluent heads out to a drain field or leach field, where it seeps into the soil, undergoing further purification.

So, septic tanks might be out of sight, but they’re definitely not out of importance – they play a vital role in keeping our properties and the land around them healthy and happy!


Plastic vs. Concrete Septic Tanks

There are two popular types of septic tanks: plastic and concrete.

Plastic tanks tend to be more affordable and quicker to install. For these reasons, they tend to be more popular with homeowners and farms. However, they may not be as durable as concrete tanks and could be susceptible to damage from heavy machinery or shifting soil.

On the other hand, concrete septic tanks are less likely to be damaged and can withstand harsh environmental conditions. But, they are heavier, making installation more labour-intensive, and may require special equipment for transport which means higher costs to install.

concrete septic tanks vs plastic septic tanks

What to Consider When Choosing a Septic Tank

When it comes to picking the perfect septic tank, whether it’s for your home, business, or farm, it’s important to seek professional advice beforehand. It’s recommended to speak with a registered onsite wastewater practitioner or a local septic system professional to ensure that your choices align with the specific needs of your property and local regulations.

Ultimately, the choice between plastic and concrete septic tanks should consider factors like


Determine cost for the entire septic system project, including tank selection, labour and ongoing maintenance.


Assess the average daily wastewater flow in your household or property to determine the required tank size.


Evaluate the soil percolation rate, groundwater level, available space, site topography, and any environmental considerations to inform system design.


Understand local regulations, including setback requirements and permitting processes.


Factor in the budget needed for tank installation, removal and disposal of the old septic tank (if necessary), including excavation, labour, and equipment.


Assess the expected maintenance needs and cost for the chosen tank material, including regular inspections, repairs, and pumping.

Advantages of Plastic Septic Tanks


One of the standout benefits of plastic septic tanks is their lightweight nature. Compared to their concrete counterparts, plastic tanks are significantly easier to transport and manoeuvre into place during installation. This not only saves on transportation costs but also reduces the labour and equipment required for placement.


Plastic septic tanks are often the more budget-friendly option. Their lower initial cost, combined with reduced installation expenses, make them a cost-effective choice for homeowners and businesses.


The lightweight nature of plastic tanks makes them easier and faster to install. This speeds up the overall installation process, reducing labour costs and the disruption experienced by property owners.


Plastic septic tanks often come with pre-installed inlet and outlet fittings, streamlining the connection to plumbing systems and reducing the complexity of plumbing work during installation.

Disadvantages of Plastic Septic Tanks


Plastic septic tanks are typically buried at a shallower depth, often limited to around 4 feet below the ground surface. This depth may not provide as much protection against external factors like freezing temperatures or heavy vehicle traffic.


Plastic septic tanks last 30 years or more, but in comparison to concrete tanks, they last a little shorter.


Plastic tanks may need more check-ups because they’re prone to wearing out. Fixing them usually costs less, but when you add up the maintenance over time, it might end up being pretty close to what you’d spend on concrete tanks.

Advantages of Concrete Septic Tanks


Concrete septic tanks are known for their exceptional strength and durability. They can withstand heavy loads, making them a good choice for places like driveways and parking lots.


Due to their substantial weight and density, concrete tanks are less prone to floating or shifting within the ground. This ensures their stability over time, reducing the risk of damage or misalignment.

Disadvantages of Concrete Septic Tanks


Because concrete septic tanks are made of solid material, they often require the use of heavy machinery like cranes or specialized equipment during installation. That can bump up the labour costs, and it might not work in places with tight spaces.


Concrete tanks may not be your go-to choice if you need something big or with a unique design, They have limitations, and it might not fit the bill for specialized or larger tank needs.


Concrete tanks are known for their durability and don’t need as much looking after. But, when issues do happen, repairs can be expensive because of specialized equipment and labour that’s needed.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Septic Tank for the Right Application

Using the right septic tank for the right application is important for effective wastewater management and environmental protection.

Septic tanks are not one-size-fits-all; they should be chosen based on factors like the property size, soil type, local regulations, and the expected wastewater load.

Picking the right septic tank size and design is a smart move. It keeps your wastewater system running smoothly and avoids problems like overloads, pollution, and big repair bills.

Choosing the wrong tank? That can spell trouble with your local authorities, and harm the environment.

Make sure you pick the right tank – it’s not just good for you but also for the environment.

ROWP’s: Your Key to Choosing the Perfect Septic Solution

It’s a good idea to consult an Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner (ROWP) who can check your specific situation and provide personalized advice that’s right for your property. Their experience can save you from costly mistakes, save time and make sure your septic tank keeps working well for years.

Must-Have Products to Support your Septic Tank


These are vertical extensions used to raise access points in concrete septic tanks, allowing for easier inspection and maintenance.


Effluent filters are crucial components that help remove solids from the wastewater before it leaves the septic tank, improving the overall system’s efficiency and preventing clogs in downstream components.


These are specialized compartments within septic systems designed to house the pump equipment responsible for moving effluent to its designated treatment area.


SJE and Aquaworx panels are electrical control panels used to monitor and manage various aspects of a septic system, such as pump operation and alarm systems, ensuring smooth and efficient performance.


These are filtration components often employed to reduce odors in septic systems by adsorbing and neutralizing volatile compounds within the wastewater.


Adapters are connectors and fittings used to join various components of a septic system, ensuring proper integration and functionality.

All of these products help keep septic systems running smoothly and make them last longer while being kind to the environment.

View all of our septic products in our extensive catalogue.

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The Pros and Cons

In the world of septic tanks, plastic and concrete are two popular choices, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

Plastic septic tanks are lighter, budget-friendly, and resistant to corrosion, while concrete tanks offer unmatched durability and stability. However, the decision should always be tailored to your unique needs and site conditions.

Contact us with any questions. Read more about septic tanks.


  1. Infiltrator – Decentralized Wastewater Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities
  2. Infiltrator – The Science Behind the Strength of Infiltrator Chambers and Tanks
  3. Government of British Columbia – How to Find a Septic Tank
  4. United States Environmental Protection Agency – How septic Systems Work
  5. Bio-Sol – Septic Tanks Explained | The Resource For Canadian Homeowners In 2023
  6. Science Direct – Septic Tank- An Overview
2023-10-26T14:32:24-07:00October 20th, 2023|Septic, Septic Tanks|