By Damien Andrews
I’ve installed a number of septic tanks and their necessary drain systems over the past forty years or so. Back in the day, we only got to choose from concrete or steel. Today, polyethylene septic tanks are available and offer several advantages to both the installer and home or property owner.
You will not need to dig as large a hole for a polyethylene septic tank as you will for a concrete septic tank. A polyethylene septic tank is complete when it’s installed in the ground. Concrete will need a lid installed, and that will usually mean mortar all around the outside edges to ensure a good seal. The hole for a concrete septic tank must be large enough to accommodate the application of the mortar by a person, as well as the thicker concrete walls and bottom.
Digging a smaller hole means less backhoe digging time, less cover-up time, a faster installation and saved dollars!
Since a polyethylene septic tank is not porous, tree roots won’t bore through the walls and into the tank. Polyethylene septic tanks are not totally immune to tree root damage, but the chances of such damage are appreciably reduced.
Polyethylene septic tanks are much, much easier – and therefore less costly – to install. A 1,000 gallon polyethylene septic tank weighs between 350-400 pounds. These can be moved in a pickup truck. The backhoe can easily lift a polyethylene septic tank, and one man can shift it for perfect positioning. Moving and installing a 1,000 gallon concrete septic tank requires special heavy equipment and more manpower.
The lighter polyethylene septic tanks are also easier to re-position when they are placed in their holes. We shift them all around using a couple of 2” x 4” x 8’ pieces of stud lumber. This is especially helpful when leveling the septic tank properly.
A 300 gallon polyethylene septic tank shown during installation. Only two people were needed to lower this lightweight, durable septic tank into position.
Polyethylene septic tanks are not damaged by prolonged exposure to sewerage and sewerage gasses.
Easier connections can be made on polyethylene septic tanks. You don’t need to mix mortar and stabilize in and out piping for polyethylene septic tanks. The in and out holes are cut much more precisely, and are about as simple to plumb as PVC drain lines. Also, unlike mortar connections, which require extended drying times, connections in and out of a polyethylene septic tank dry in minutes, thus further shortening installation times.
A polyethylene septic tank is easier to repair. Patching polyethylene is a much simpler and less costly event than repairing concrete. When we have to do a concrete repair job, I call in a mason. To ensure a concrete patch is perfect, you need that kind of (costly) expertise. When we need to repair a polyethylene septic tank, we just use fiberglass repair kits from the local hardware store. We’ve never had one fail yet.
Since a polyethylene septic tank weighs so much less, it can be installed in many more locations. This is a tremendous advantage if you live in a hilly or mountainous area – like I do. You can get your polyethylene septic tank installed where you want it, not just where the large, heavy truck can get in and drop it off.
There are many advantages to installing a polyethylene septic tank. Whether you’re the land owner or the installer, polyethylene is the premium choice for easy installation, longevity and incident-free service life. Also, the advantages of a polyethylene septic tank always add up to saved dollars – now and later. I always recommend installing a polyethylene septic tank – and you should always insist on having one installed.
Impact drivers don’t have the range of driver drills – they won’t work with drill bits or many other attachments. But for screwing in hardware, the impact driver has no rivals. You’ll also appreciate the quick bit change system – no loosening and tightening needed, just pop in the bit you need for the project. It’s great for jobs where you’re constantly changing between 2 or 3 bit types or sizes.