Residential vs. Commercial Septic Tank Systems in Erie County, NY

April 12, 2018 Published by Leave your thoughts

If you live somewhere that does not have a municipal sewer system, or if you simply prefer to take charge of your own waste management, you’ll instead use a septic tank system. But is there much of a difference, if any, between commercial and residential septic systems?

Both types of systems operate using the same general concepts. However, a commercial septic system is almost always going to be significantly larger, and will also likely require extra treatment before it can begin dealing with waste.

Here are some of the differences you should know between commercial and residential septic tank systems in Erie County, NY.

Design differences

In any septic system, the tank and overall system will be designed in such a way that the waste will flow away from the building and down into a holding tank, where it naturally breaks down through biodegradation. Once the waste has been sufficiently broken down, it then gets released into drain field pipes, where further breakdown occurs until it is safe for the waste to be released into the ground.

Commercial buildings obviously produce much greater volumes of waste, which means the system needs to be larger to accommodate this greater strain and waste amount. Sometimes there may be extra pre-treatment steps and precautions needed to ensure timely degradation of the waste. Taking these extra steps can help reduce the need for maintenance or additional drainage from outside sources.


Because commercial systems tend to be larger than residential systems, they also typically have more vertical and horizontal extensions. These extensions of the drainage field allow for increased waste volume.

Space restrictions of the area designated for the drainage field can make it harder to insert horizontal extensions, but the system can be extended vertically, farther down underneath the surface of the ground. The holding tank can also be installed in such a way that it’s above ground and then covered with dirt and grass to make a manmade hill. This allows the drains to extend out underneath without having to dig quite as deeply to ensure there’s enough space for all the drainage pipes.

Again, these types of methods are not nearly as common in residential septic systems.


The types of ongoing routine maintenance needed can vary between commercial and residential septic systems. All septic systems require at least some level of routine maintenance, usually involving pumping out waste buildup that has not drained properly. There are other times when the tank might become corroded and need to be entirely replaced, or the drainpipes became clogged, or the drainage rocks below the system need to be replaced after having reached the end of their useful life.

A commercial septic system might simply need this maintenance performed more often, given the larger demands placed on the system because of more people using it.

For more information about the differences between residential and commercial septic tank systems in Erie County, NY, contact the team at Macken Services today. We look forward to assisting you!

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