Have you ever wondered what purpose a concrete septic tank would serve if it wasn't being used to collect waste water from the various outlets in your house? Approximately 20 percent of American homes use a septic tank system. Each homeowner can expect an average cost of about $1500 to $6000 to install a new septic system, depending on the size of the system and the number of people it is meant to serve. However, a septic tank can do much more than be the holding area for a septic system.

So here are a few suggestions for how a septic tank might otherwise come in handy especially for those living in the rural areas.

Use it as storage

A root cellar is a place where fruits, vegetables, and ground provisions can be stored for weeks or months at a time while maintaining much of their freshness. Concrete is often better for this as it has a way of keeping cool, moist, and dark, which are suggested to be perfect conditions for a root cellar. If you do not plan to build one from scratch, then a concrete septic tank can be converted into one.

The best size suggested for a septic tank that is to be used for this purpose is one that has a capacity of at least 1500-gallons or larger. The cost for this could come to about $1,100. You might be able to get it cheaper if you find a brand new septic tank that has been damaged or has some flaw that would prevent it from being usable in a septic system. Flaws such as a hole in the base or chipped edges would not affect its use as a root cellar. 

Use it to collect rainwater

If you are considering decommissioning your septic tank, it can probably be used as a rain collection receptacle to collect non-potable water for use on plants and non-domestic uses.

This can be especially helpful in areas that may have a water shortage for part of the year. A polyurethane (plastic) septic tank might be better for this purpose as it is less porous and less likely to have developed cracks over time where bacteria could continue to contaminate both the water in the tank as well as ground water. 

The cost to decommission a septic tank depends on the regulations in your state. Usually, decommissioning a septic tank involves filling in a concrete tank so that it doesn't collapse in later years, and crushing and burying the plastic kind. However you might be able to arrange with a septic system contractor to simply pump and wash out the tank for an arranged price that is just in excess of the $150 to $250 mark that it usually takes to do a simple pump out.

For more information about septic tank installation or cleanout, talk to a professional like those at Schlegelmilch Plumbing & Well Drilling.

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