Category Archives: Septic vs. Sewer

Conserving Energy & Wastewater Recycling: Supporting Septic Infrastructure

septic expertsAs we continue to explore factors for a greener and more sustainable way of life – its important to look at the conservation of energy, efficient energy consumption and how these factors affect our environment and wallet when it comes to wastewater management. Wastewater recycling via onsite septic systems is without a doubt the most efficient, green and cost effective way to manage and process wastewater – but if you’re looking for some detailed statistics to help support a reliance on septic versus public wastewater facilities, there is a significant amount of compelling data to support decentralized wastewater management facilities.

Energy Efficiency in Public Wastewater Facilities.
The global energy crisis is a reality that governments have yet to come up with a viable solution for. With oil prices soaring and global supply limited, it’s crucial that we make changes in our utility and production operations in order to conserve this limited resource. Within public wastewater facilities, energy represents nearly 30% of the total operational and management costs. While the EPA has developed an Energy Use Assessment Tool to better manage the energy consumed by these locations, the majority of these assessments are made from non-process information such as HVAC improvements or electrical efficiency rather than the delivery of wastewater to the treatment facility. The cost of transporting wastewater from the home or business to a treatment facility makes up for more than 12% of energy requirements. Another 55% of the energy requirements go to aeration and solids processing at the wastewater treatment facility. That is almost 70% of the total energy budget, representing about $3 billion annually.

Cost of Energy.
An estimated $4 Billion is spent annually on energy costs to run drinking water and wastewater utilities. This number is equivalent to 56 billion kilowatt hours of energy. Beyond the scarce energy factor, the cost of managing these facilities is passed on to the user in the form of utility bills and sewer expenses. With no control over the efficiency of how these facilities are managed, homeowners are subject to the energy standards and operating costs of the municipal facility.

Goals of the EPA.
The EPA is taking action to try to better identify energy consumption issues and increase efficiency in public wastewater facilities. These actions include: evaluating existing power consumption, mechanical system audits, electrical system audits and process system audits.

While government programs will go a long way towards the management and efficiency of public wastewater management facilities, the cost of the energy itself and the environmental impact of these large facilities are a huge factor to consider when making your decision on septic vs city sewer wastewater management options. Septic systems have been known to greatly reduce the carbon footprint of wastewater management by using less energy, recharging the groundwater and reducing environmental impacts.

For more information on septic systems and septic maintenance, contact Crews Environmental. 239.332.1986 or visit www.crewsenvironmental.com

Septic vs. Sewer: Cost Comparisons

While some continue to debate the pros and cons of septic vs. sewer, when it comes to cost comparison of city sewer vs. septic systems – septic always wins. As we have discussed many times in the past, maintenance for septic systems only requires septic tank pump outs every 3 to 5 years. The cost for pumpouts ranges from $250 to $500.

However, those connected to city sewer to manage their wastewater pay monthly bills for service to and from their home in addition to assessments for connections and repairs. We recently saw an article published in the Miami Herald about a $1 billion dollar repair bill to repair a crumbling sewer system in Miami-Dade county. According to a study quoted in the article, “Miami-Dade County’s two sewage plants and nearly 14,000 miles of pipelines are so outdated it would take $1.1 billion just to replace the most deteriorated and vulnerable section of the system.”

Read the full report on the condition of the sewer system here.

How will the county pay for these repairs? The article states that they will rely on rate hikes for the majority of the revenue. Compare the growing monthly bill for public utilities to your minimal maintenance with a septic system and you can quickly see why septic wins the cost comparison argument.

Arguments stack up in favor of a self-reliant septic system. Septic systems are growing in popularity because of their decreased cost and environmental control in comparison to city sewer.

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Educating you on Septic Tank Maintenance in Southwest Florida

Yesterday I saw an editorial in the News-Press criticizing newly signed legislation in regards to septic tank maintenance. The author questioned the need for mandatory septic inspections every 3 to 5 years, stating that they were unnecessary. It’s important to us to educate our clients, friends and the community on the importance of Septic Tank Maintenance in Southwest Florida and understand the facts when it comes to septic tanks.

According to the author:

“The big polluters of our waterways were, and still are, runoff from golf courses, livestock, farms and municipal waste treatment plants, just to name a few. The list of polluters is long before you get down to septic tanks. A booklet I read on septic tanks from Florida State University stated that a properly working septic system is more efficient than a municipal waste treatment system.

Click here to read the full editorial from the News-Press website.

Improperly maintained septic tanks can wreak havoc on our waterways and groundwater sources.

Here is my response to the article:

As a Southwest Florida resident and environmental legislation supporter for the last 30 years, I am aware of the value of a properly maintained and functioning septic system for both the homeowner and our Southwest Florida waterways. EPA guidelines suggest that septic systems should be inspected at least every 3 years by a professional.. Have your tank pumped as recommended by the inspector (generally every 3 to 5 years).

(Read more about EPA guidelines for septic tanks here: http://www.epa.gov/owm/septic/pubs/homeowner_guide_long.pdf)

Its important to understand that a poorly maintained septic system can contaminate groundwater, result in costly drainfield repairs, or be a legal liability. While poorly maintained septic systems sit low on the list of contaminants (and are often scapegoats for bigger pollution sources), I sincerely believe that it is our responsibility to Southwest Florida waterways to maintain our septic system infrastructure. We, as a community, have come together on many other environmental concerns, including littering and the conservation of natural resources. While an individual may not have a significant impact on improving the quality of our waterways, if all 25% of homeowners utilizing septic tanks maintained their tank on a regular basis it would help insure that 21 Million gallons of wastewater per day are not a source of pollution. Properly maintained Septic Systems are:  Healthy, Environmentally Sound and Economically efficient wastewater treatment methods to protect Southwest Florida’s fragile environment. 

Take a moment to educate yourself about septic tank maintenance by visiting our website. If you’re overdue for a septic tank pump out in Southwest Florida, or you’re unsure of when the last one was performed, please contact us.

Sign up for our newsletter to get a FREE $25.00 coupon and stay informed on the legislation and how it will affect septic tank owners in our area.

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The Importance of Sewer and Septic Maintenance in Southwest Florida

 

Improperly Maintained Septic Systems Cause Backups in Home or Plug Drainfield

Southwest Florida Septic Maintenance can mean life-long reliance on the same system for your wastewater needs, resulting in a cost-effective, self-sufficient water treatment option for as long as you remain in your home. Improper maintenance of septic systems can be damaging to your home and the environment. It is this failed maintenance that has required many city governments to step in and require costly hookups to city sewer and public utilities, resulting in hundreds of thousands in sewer assessments (as has been the situation locally in Cape Coral). The costly hookups to sewer facilities have ignored current infrastructure, which, if properly maintained, could safely and efficiently manage wastewater disposal and save hundreds of thousands for many residents in the area.

Septic vs. Sewer – what’s the difference? Both septic and sewer systems function the same way. Your wastewater from showers, toilets, disposals and laundry flows out of your plumbing and into a holding tank, which gets treated by micro-organisms before the clean water is released back into the environment. With septic, your own wastewater is recycled and treated at your own home, whereas public sewer lines run together and are treated at one large off-site facility that treats water from many homes.

Lifespan & Environmental Impact. Each type of system, if improperly maintained, can leak and discharge raw sewage materials into the environment either at your home (septic systems) or on a larger scale (sewer systems). Sewer systems generally can go 20 years before requiring major repairs, whereas properly maintained septic systems can last indefinitely.

Cost comparison. Over the life of a septic system (which costs around $15,000 to install), homeowners pay every 3-5 years for septic pump-outs at $250-$500. This cost is generally significantly less than paying for a monthly sewer bill.

Which option is right for me? Your home may already be connected to public sewer, or have existing septic systems that treat your water. Your municipality may require that your home hookup to public utilities. However, if you have a choice – it’s important to consider all of the environmental impact issues , costs and requirements associated with each system prior to making your decision.

If you’re looking for help with Southwest Florida septic maintenance, or are unsure which option is best for your family’s wastewater needs, contact the septic service experts at Crews Environmental and get guidance for all your septic and wastewater needs.

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