Septic treatment systems last, on average, 20 to 30 years. Most modern systems last at least 25 years. The septic system includes both the tank, where solids remain, and the leach field where all of the liquid will drain down into the soil.
The larger the home, the larger the septic tank will be, which adds to the overall costs of the system.
Bacteria and nitrates in the water are a sign of contamination and a septic system that no longer drains properly. You may also need to replace the system if it’s 40 years old, the home has been expanded with more bathrooms and occupants, drains don’t drain properly, or you find standing water in your yard.
In all cases, the septic upgrade cost will be the major concern for homeowners.
Average Septic Upgrade Cost
System upgrades can vary from $5,000 to $20,000+, depending on what needs to be replaced. If you have standing water in the yard, it may be a sign of a bad septic tank, but it can also be a drain field issue, which is cheaper to replace.
In Suffolk County, lawmakers have been pushing for homeowners to replace their aging septic systems due to environmental concerns. All new construction projects are required to use nitrogen-reducing septic systems, which are designed to be more environmentally friendly and protect water quality.
And in some counties and cities, these advanced systems are required for certain renovations. In this case, the average cost is $20,000.
Your cost for replacement will depend on:
- What needs to be replaced. A drain field is less expensive than a septic tank to replace.
- Local requirements on the type of system that can be installed.
- Size of the septic.
State, County, and Town Grant & Rebate Programs
In areas where water quality is already bad, it’s in the best interest of the local government to enforce the installation of alternative septic treatment systems. The lower nitrate levels will help lead to cleaner drinking water and fisheries.
Nitrogen pollution can also be seen in the tides, which turn to rust or red color and result in the collapse of fisheries.
Local municipalities in these areas where nitrogen pollution is high often offer grant and loan programs to help homeowners pay for these critical upgrades.
Suffolk County and many of the surrounding areas are running programs that will cover much, if not all, of the septic upgrade costs that homeowners incur.
New York State offers grants of up to $10,000 (covering 50% of the cost) to replace aging septic systems with new I/A OWTS systems. Suffolk County also offers their own grants, on top of the state grant, of up to $20,000.
Special loan programs are also available for residents in Suffolk that provide 3% interest on loans up to $10,000 with a repayment period of 15 years. East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island all have their own rebate programs that are available, too. While grants and rebates may not be available in all states, counties or cities, they’re worth looking into before taking equity out of your home to cover the costs of replacing a septic system.