How Much Does Septic Tank Removal Cost?

How much does it cost to remove a septic tank?

We’ll be discussing the average prices to decommission a septic system today.

Septic tanks need to be removed for a variety of reasons. Such may be necessary when the tanks are displaced by tree roots, damaged beyond repair, or when a new one is to be installed in place of the old.

Whatever the reasons may be, removing a septic tank comes at a cost and this is what we’ll be dwelling on.

Reasons For Septic System Removal

The decision on septic tank removal is hinged on many reasons.

First, a city’s sewer system may have expanded or become more accessible to rural communities. Also, a septic tank may be removed when it’s due for removal.

In other words, such a septic tank may be old and needs to be replaced.

Both of these reasons are good enough and require carrying out the procedure in the right way. DIY septic tank removal isn’t something you should consider. This job is better left to the pros.

Now, involving the pros incurs cost. The use of heavy excavation equipment will be necessary.

Is Septic Tank Cleaning the Same as Removal?

Before we get into details on removal cost, it’s necessary to make certain basic clarifications. There’s often a mix-up between septic tank removal and cleaning. The truth is, these concepts are distinct.

Septic tank cleaning is just that; the removal or cleanup of its contents.

Such contents include the scum, effluent, and sludge layers. Septic tank removal on the other hand involves removing or excavating it from the ground due to the reasons given earlier.

Comparing Underground to Above Ground Septic Tanks

Before a septic tank is removed, considerations are made as to the type or location of the tank. Here, we’re talking about underground tanks versus septic tanks meant for above-ground installation.

Removing tanks found above-ground comes at a much cheaper rate compared to tanks installed below ground.

The reasons are obvious. Underground septic tanks will need to be excavated. This involves more work which translates to higher removal costs.

Here is how much to remove a septic tank.

Average Cost To Remove Old Septic Tank

Here is how much septic tank removal cost.

If there’s an old septic tank on your property still in use, chances are that it will require more frequent maintenance. Sometimes, such maintenance isn’t worth it as it takes up more resources than necessary.

Under such circumstances, having the septic tank removed will be the best action to take.

Now, to remove a septic tank, several factors will come into play.

One of them includes the cost of the project. This article seeks to discuss septic tank removal costs to inform readers interested in knowing the cost implications involved.

  • Septic Tank Removal Price

How much does it cost to remove an old septic tank?

When you call for septic tank removal, expect to incur a removal fee within the range of $3,000 to $10,000.

Certain septic tanks may pose a greater challenge to remove. These may be larger or may not be easily accessible. For such, removal costs may exceed the $10,000 mark.

To know the definite cost of a septic tank removal procedure, the contractor will have to be onsite to consider all cost-influencing factors into consideration.

Speaking of factors affecting septic tank removal, there are several you’ll need to know of.

  • Reducing Removal Cost

There are ways to work around finding a cheaper removal cost for your septic tank.

One of them involves finding the best deal possible. What does this mean? It means several things. The most obvious include asking for quotes from multiple companies and comparing their rates.

This is meant to not only choose a cost-effective option but also get the best service possible. Here, you’re interested in leveraging the competitiveness of the industry.

Some septic system solutions providers add septic tank removal services to their long list of service offerings.

So, who you should hire is an important part of the process when considering cost reduction for septic tank removal.

Factors Affecting Cost To Decommission A Septic Tank

The cost of removing oil tanks or septic tanks can never be determined in isolation from the conditions surrounding them.

Here, we’re referring to the factors involved.

Such factors include the tank’s location, tank size, distance from dumping ground, and labor cost.

Other considerations include the type of materials, septic tank condition, and pumping costs. All of these factors have a role to play in determining the cost of removal.

To come up with a quote, a technician will have to consider these factors by taking a look at prevailing conditions.

  • Septic Tank Size

The size of a septic tank will mostly determine its removal costs. Smaller tanks typically cost less to excavate than larger ones. In any case, you’ll need to know the size of your septic tank to have an idea of how much it will cost you to have it removed.

For a better understanding of how much removal services cost, a 1,000-gallon septic tank made of concrete will cost about $5,500.

  • Labor Costs

Labor cost varies from region to region. Certain states typically have higher labor costs than others. Differences in labor costs will consist of a couple of hundred dollars.

This also depends on the amount of time spent getting the job done.

  • Septic Tank Condition

The condition of a septic tank plays a major role in determining its removal cost.

Now, these tanks are made of different materials. Tanks made of certain materials may be delicate at the end of their lifespan. As such, there’s a likelihood of these giving way during excavation.

The more challenging it is to remove an old septic tank, the higher your removal cost is likely to be.

  • Pumping Costs

Before a septic tank is removed, there’s a need to have it pumped or emptied. This increases the removal costs as you’ll have to pay more to have the contents of such a tank removed.

Usually, a few hundred dollars are added to your bill as pumping costs.

  • Type of Materials

Septic tanks are made of different materials.

Such materials range from fiberglass, concrete, steel, and plastic tanks among others. Now, some of these may pose a greater challenge during excavation or removal.

An excavation company will consider this when preparing a price quote.

  • Tank Location

We earlier mentioned the role played by tank location in determining removal costs. A septic tank installed above ground will certainly cost less to remove than one found below ground. This is due to the excavation to be carried out.

  • Distance From Dumping Ground

When septic tanks are removed, they need to be moved to a dumping ground. The proximity of the dumping ground to your location will impact the overall costs of removal.

Such a tank will need to be transported using specialized equipment installed on a truck.

Dumping fees also apply not only to the tank’s content but also to the tank itself. However, this won’t apply to all jurisdictions or locations.

Existing Laws and Regulations

Septic tanks spend decades before they are due for replacement or removal.

During this time, a structure may have had multiple occupants. As the present occupant or owner of the structure, you’ll need to find out what laws apply to septic tank removal.

These laws and regulations aren’t uniform across all regions or states. Therefore, finding out what these are will help with properly going about the removal process without running afoul of the law.

Some regulations may be stringent thus adding red tape to the entire process.

Septic tank removal cost is likely to be impacted by such.

Filling In A Septic Tank As An Alternative

When a septic tank reaches the end of its lifespan, the common action taken involves removing and replacing it with another. However, an additional option exists.

You don’t have to remove a tank if another one won’t be installed in the same location.

Such situations require crushing the old tank and burying it. The soil on top of the tank is compacted for safety reasons. Compacting the soil prevents the sand from sinking when someone walks on it.

This is one way to save costs if you’re working on a tight budget.


The removal costs for septic tanks are largely influenced by many factors. These range from the size of the tank, the condition of such tanks, as well as the material these tanks are made of.

Also, damaged septic tanks will need to be emptied and prepared for excavation. All of these add to the total cost of removal.

Having successfully provided the cost information for septic tank removal, we’ve seen the multiple factors involved.

In other words, removal costs are determined by varying factors. Some or all of these will play a role in determining the final cost for septic tank removal incurred.

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