Throughout history, civilizations have evolved septic system technologies into what they are today. Nowadays, septic systems come in all shapes and sizes. Their differences depend on the property – its size, it’s wastewater output, and the type – if they are residential or commercial septic systems.

A lot of the articles that we offer our clients have to do with residential septic systems. But, we also provide services for commercial septic systems. If you own both residential and commercial properties, you’ve probably noticed a lot of similarities between their septic systems. But also some significant differences.

So, let’s take a look at both categories, starting with similarities first.

Are Residential and Commercial Septic Systems Different?

Similarities Between Residential and Commercial Septic Systems

Basic Design

Both residential and commercial systems have the same basic designed. Water flows from the building into a septic tank, where the raw material is bio-degraded by effluent bacteria. From the tank, the wastewater goes to a drain field and is released from pipes for additional, natural filtration. The sewage is eventually diluted enough to be released back into the ground.

This is the basic makeup of both types of septic systems. Each has integral parts that must function to process sewage properly.

Need for Maintenance

Since both types of septic systems have several components, they both need regular maintenance to ensure longevity. Just because your residential septic system doesn’t produce the same amount of waste as a commercial system, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t schedule routine inspections.

Don’t wait until something breaks to call your septic professional! It often becomes a bigger, more expensive issue than if you had caught the problem earlier.

3 Differences Between Commercial and Residential Septic Systems

1. Size

Most septic systems differ in size, even from one residential property to another. Tank and drainflied size depend on the size of your property and how much waste the system needs to support. However, it is safe to say that most commercial properties operate on a larger scale.

First, what defines a commercial property?

Well, these types of properties are usually buildings or businesses that generate a profit. This could be apartment complexes, restaurants, or shopping stores. You can see how a group of apartments or a school would require a larger septic system to operate daily than a four-bedroom house.

But how do both residential and commercial septic systems vary in size?

Septic Tank Size

Having a more massive daily output of sewage water means a bigger septic tank is needed. Therefore, commercial properties typically have much larger septic tanks than residential properties.

Average sewage wastewater flow can range from 500 gallons/day to 5000 gallons/day For perspective, a one-bedroom house requires a septic system to support 40-80 gallons/day while a department store needs the support of 400-600 gallons/day.

A septic system that exceeds 5000 gallons/day is under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Environment Protection (DEP), meaning you’re dealing with different permits and regulations than a residential septic system.

Drain Field Size

The drain field is vital in the final stages of your septic system. It filters the wastewater after it passes through the septic tank and aids in its reabsorption into the ground.

Commercial drain fields need to be large enough to take on the wastewater produced on the property. Residential properties need a smaller drain field to meet property size and wastewater production.

2. Treatment

We’ve established that residential and commercial septic systems vary in size. Did you know that this could also affect the way that they are treated?

For residential properties, pre-treatment and additional effluents are not universally required (although Florida does require effluent filters) as the natural balance of the bacteria can handle wastewater treatment. However, commercial septic systems will need extra care.

Larger wastewater flows in a commercial system require extra help to ensure that sewage is broken down correctly and that levels of effluent bacteria (i.e., good, bio-degrading bacteria) are sufficient.

3. Maintenance

As always, we encourage regular maintenance on any septic system. We mostly write about residential septic upkeep, meaning that we suggest at least an annual inspection from your septic professional. But, commercial septic systems may require more.

Because commercial systems process larger amounts of sewage, it’s a good idea to schedule these types of inspections more frequently. Catching a broken septic tank or failing drain field is critical, especially when considering the possibility of groundwater contamination.

Residential and commercial septic systems, while similar in process, require different levels of maintenance and care. We suggest that you speak with a septic professional to ensure that you’re caring for your septic system the right way. If you have any doubts or questions, contact us at Advanced Septic Services.