How much does a septic system cost?

There are a wide range of answers to this question; web opinions vary from $1,500 to more than $40,000 to repair a residential septic system.  Such a wide range is not very helpful to most homeowners.  We take a different approach and provide tools to help you control (reduce) the cost of septic system repairs.

For most of us, the septic system is out of sight and out of mind until there is a problem.  The cost of the septic system repair is money we would rather spend on other things.  See our Maintenance section to avoid having to spend money on septic system repair (since you are reading this page it is probably too late for that). See Septic Repairs to evaluate if one of the partial septic repair options (rather than a full septic system replacement) might work at your site. 

Septic system installation costs vary significantly depending on combination of factors that include:

  • State, County, District, and City requirements (codes and regulations)
  • Site physical parameters (e.g. available area, slope, soils, etc.)
  • Setbacks required from sensitive receptors (e.g. wells, wetlands, groundwater drains, buried structures, etc.)
  • Availability of materials that may be used to construct a septic system
  • Cost of materials (including transportation costs)
  • Contractor labor and equipment costs
  • Contractor availabilty (a contractor that is very busy may ask a higher price)

Costs for a septic system replacement can vary by more than 50% due to contractor availability.  This is a function of the contractor's desire to stay employed versus the desire to make a higher profit.  See Cost Controls to find methods to use contractor availabilty to your advantage.

You can also reduce the cost of your septic system repair by investigating various alternatives for financing the septic system construction cost; see Financing Repairs.

What will the septic system repair look like?

This is the other cost of a septic system repair.   The look and operation of the septic system repair can affect the value of your property.  We recommend hiring a septic system designer by reputation (not by cost); see Cost Controls.   A poor septic system design or installation can cause drainage problems and look terrible.  We have seen some septic system repairs that have improved the value of the property by more than the cost of the septic system.   This requires a good septic system design and selecting a septic system contractor with a good eye for landscaping.