What Is A STEP Sewer System? (Here's What You Need To Know)

Tiffany Nichols
by Tiffany Nichols
The sewage system on your property is essential. So, it has to function correctly, or else things can get stinky. And since there are several different types of sewer systems, choosing the right one isn’t easy. But that’s why the STEP sewer system is a wise choice for some.
STEP sewer systems are gaining popularity. They use a single septic tank and multiple pumps to force contents into a community main. Another word for a “community main” is a low-pressure sewer. And many cities have those that they regularly drain.

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What Is A STEP Sewer System?

In this case, STEP stands for “Septic Tank Effluent Pumping.” That means it eliminates wastewater from your plumbing system as efficiently as possible. And this sewer system usually includes a separate septic tank and pump to ensure maximum dependability.

How Does the STEP Sewage System Work?

The way this system works is innovative and conservative. Your effluent (or waste) is moved by gravity instead of by energy derived from non-renewable resources. Then, all liquid waste gets pumped under pressure through your sewage lines.

Meanwhile, all solid waste stays inside the tank for later maintenance. Most solid waste will naturally dissolve and is eventually pumped out as liquid waste. And the process takes anywhere from two days to a week, depending on your water use.

NOTE: Certain sewer systems can create a foul odor that seeps into your home through the drains.

Is a STEP Sewer System Hard to Maintain?

The STEP sewer system isn’t difficult to maintain in most cases. You’re supposed to get it checked out once every five or six years to ensure it’s functioning correctly. But if you suspect a problem with your septic tank at any time, contact a tech right away.

Usually, a city inspector can come to locate your system. If not, you can hire someone from the utility company or ask a private contractor to examine it. You can also call 8-1-1 for more information. Either way, you will have to invest some money into the STEP method because it can get dirty fast.

How Much Does a STEP Sewer System Cost?

Fortunately for homeowners, the Septic Tank Effluent Pumping System requires little maintenance. It also costs less than many other options. On average, you can get a STEP sewer system installed on your property for about $3,200.

However, the price of installation depends on several factors. For example, you may have to pay different fees for running the line and setting it up. So, ask your contractor or a local plumber for more details.

Remember, the Septic Tank Effluent System (STEP) is not your only choice. Nor is it the least expensive or easiest to maintain. That’s why it helps to discuss the pros and cons with an expert.

What Are Some Other Types of Sewer Systems Besides STEP?

The STEP sewage innovation might be your best option. But modern plumbing has changed drastically over the years. So, you have multiple choices now. And here are the top 8 types according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • Conventional Systems – Personal and decentralized wastewater filtration
  • Septic Tanks – Subterranean watertight container for domestic waste
  • Chamber System – Drainfields that don’t use gravel
  • Drip Distribution Systems – Shallow drip laterals requiring slight soil mounding
  • Aerobic Treatment Units (ATUs) – Oxygen injections to increase natural bacteria activity
  • Recirculating Sand Filters – Septic tank, pump chamber, sand filter
  • Evapotranspiration Systems – Evaporative process that preserves soil and groundwater
  • Mound Systems – Gravitational drainage from high to low

Carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each system. And be sure to ask about reducing sewage line leaks. That’s because some methods are better than others.

How Do I Know If a STEP Sewer System Is Best?

The STEP sewage removal system works great for millions of people. However, it isn’t always the best system for all properties. So, here’s how to tell if it’s right for yours:

  • Your Location – Watch out for shallow water tables and bedrock.
  • How Much It Costs – Septic Tank Effluent Pumping is less expensive than other options.
  • Insurance Coverage – Not all insurance providers cover STEP system installation.
  • Your Water Usage – This configuration may not handle heavy water usage.
  • City Code – Some municipalities don’t allow certain sewer system types.

NOTE: Calculate your budget and find out what permits you need from the city (if any).

Enjoy Efficient Effluent Removal

The STEP sewer system might be the perfect configuration for your home. But it also might not be. So, talk to an expert for more detailed information before breaking ground.

Do You Need a Septic System Installation or Replacement?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

What’s the Difference Between a Septic Tank and a Sewage System?

There are several differences between a sewer system and a septic tank. For one, a sewer system treats the wastewater that you produce. They’re also connected to water mains in the surrounding city as well. But septic tanks are installed underground and house effluent until it dissolves on its own.

What’s the Most Expensive Sewer System?

The most expensive type of sewer system is the mound system. That’s because it’s typically hard to install. Plus, homeowners usually install them in areas with high water tables and shallow bedrock. And those areas are prized for being helpful in agriculture instead.That means a mound sewer system costs between $10,000 and $20,000 on average. Meanwhile, different sewer systems can cost less than $5,000. So, talk to an expert before you decide which option is best.

How Much Does It Cost to Empty a Septic Tank?

It costs different amounts to empty a septic tank. But the national average is between $300 and $600 for the entire shebang. Most people end up paying around $350, but the price depends on your tank’s size, condition, and location. The good news is that you should be able to get free estimates from plumbing pros nearby.

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Tiffany Nichols
Tiffany Nichols

Tiffany Nichols specializes in aesthetics, design, marketing, and manufacturing. She's a copywriter and editor for several home renovation companies in the U.S. and works alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Her hobbies include architecture, art, mental health, and fashion.

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