Septic systems are a necessity in places that do not have access to regular drainage systems. Without the proper means to dispose of wastes, your home could become a health hazard.  The most commonly used systems are anaerobic septic systems and these cost between $2,000 and $5,000 on average. Maintaining these systems involves pumping them out regularly. You will need to clean out your septic tank every three to five years. 

However, we’re going to talk to you about what aerobic systems are, what they cost, how they work, their pros, cons, and more.

What are aerobic septic systems?

An aerobic septic system also called an aerobic treatment system (ATS), is a sewage treatment system that differs from regular septic systems in that it uses an aerobic process to break the waste down. 

In a conventional septic system, the septic tank is used to break down and separate solids, fats, and grease. In an anaerobic system, oxygen is introduced into the tank to help digest the same.

Wastewater is treated in an ATU the same way it is in a conventional septic system: by natural processes using a bacteria-rich environment to break effluents down.

How the process works

The wastewater treatment works in multiple stages. Let’s take a look at each of these stages.

The pre-treatment stage

The wastes flow into the trash tank or the settling tank which is a part of the ATU. It is in this tank that the solid waste materials settle at the bottom while the liquid wastes rise to the top.

The aeration stage

In this stage, wastewater leaves the trash tank and enters an aeration tank. The purpose of this tank is to host the means to introduce oxygen into the wastewater.

A blower or an air compressor forces air into the chamber with the wastewater. This introduction of oxygen promotes the growth of bacteria that help break down the solid wastes and convert them to sludge.

The disinfection stage

In this stage, you need to disinfect the liquid effluents leaving the ATU using either chlorine or ultraviolet light.

The disposal stage

In this stage of the sewage treatment process, the effluents are drained out to a drain field, sand filter, absorption field, or evapotranspiration bed.

Pros of an aerobic septic system


Aerobic septic system

Aerobic septic systems are very long-lasting in comparison to conventional septic systems. On average, a well-maintained aerobic septic system can last you as many as 40 years.

Among the factors that affect the longevity of your system, professional septic system installation is one of the primary ones. In addition, regular maintenance, which includes yearly inspections and cleaning, also goes a long way in keeping the system operational.

Designed to be space friendly

Most conventional septic systems can be quite space-consuming. The larger your home and family are, the larger your tank size will be.

However, that isn’t the case with ATUs. These systems are designed to take up as little space as possible. This makes them the ideal choice for homes that may not have a large space to spare.

Better treatment

Because of the way the aerobic septic system functions, the effluents released by these systems are a lot cleaner than those released by anaerobic septic systems. This greatly reduces the chances of groundwater contamination.

For this reason, ATUs are a great choice if you live in an area that has a high groundwater table, like the banks of a lake, for example.

More environmentally friendly

This sewage treatment system ought to be your first choice if you are environmentally conscious. Because water from your laundry, showers and other areas can be recycled by these systems and repurposed for gardening use, ATUs are a lot more environmentally friendly than other systems.

In addition, since the wastewater effluents are cleaned even more thoroughly by this system, your costs on maintaining the drain field are a lot lower as well. 

Works faster and more efficiently

An aerobic septic system breaks down residential solid wastes a lot faster than an anaerobic system does. This means the build-up of waste is also a lot less in comparison, which in turn means you will not need to pump your septic tank as often as a conventional septic tank.

More versatile

septic system space

You can use aerobic septic systems on any type of land. Anaerobic systems need a large amount of land. These can work on compact pieces of land. 

Anaerobic systems cannot function on land that has a high water table. Aerobic septic systems thrive on such land. While you can put an aerobic system practically on any land anywhere, the same cannot be said about regular septic systems.

Cons of an aerobic septic system

More expensive

While the actual cost of an aerobic septic system varies depending on the system design and the location of the installation, ATUs do cost a lot more than regular systems do. In some cases, the cost can be more than three times that of a conventional sewage system.

Increased maintenance costs

Aerobic septic systems are more expensive to maintain as well. Electrical systems and air injection systems need to be checked and maintained regularly. In addition, you need to keep records of your maintenance as well. If you don’t adhere to these maintenance activities, repairs and replacements costs can be astronomical.

Possibility of smell

Unless properly vented, aerobic systems tend to emit an unpleasant smell.

Aerobic septic system maintenance tips

  1. Keep checking the access ports. in case of discoloration or cracks, replace them immediately.
  2. Most ATUs have a light that turns on to indicate a problem with the system components such as the tank pump. Keep an eye out for this indicator, and check what the issue is as soon as you notice the light. 
  3. Check your owner’s manual and add chlorine to the tank as frequently as advised. Do not use swimming pool chlorine. You will need to purchase septic-friendly chlorine for this purpose.
  4. If you notice a constant foul odor if the spray heads are always on or if you notice smelly puddles, call in the experts.
  5. Always maintain a record of all maintenance activities.

Read more: About plumbing permits

Aerobic septic system costs

Here are indicative break-up aerobic septic system costs for replacing your septic tank system or installing a new septic system.

  1. Site evaluations and permits will cost between $200 and $400.
  2. Aerobic septic system costs ranges between $10,000 and $20,000 including installation costs.
  3. Getting the system professionally pumped and inspected every three years can cost around $200.
  4. Repairs cost around $100 and $600 for parts like timers and motors as and when they break down.

Read more: Drain tile system

Aerobic septic system costs was last modified: October 14th, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
Your opinion matters, leave a comment
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Oh wow, they did it, they did a tedious job on something annoying and brainy… I prefer to create a septic tank every 5 years..