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The Difference between Holding Tanks and Septic Tanks

05/24/2012 By tanksalot

When coming to the decision of installing a wastewater tank, many people become overwhelmed with the vast amount of information available. Holding tanks and septic tanks both provide families and facilities with a space to store their wastewater, but they do have certain differences that can make a major impact on deciding which type of tank you purchase.

Septic Tanks

A septic tank is used for taking in wastewater from a source, treating it, and then leaching it into the ground through mounds or a field. They have at least 2 chambers; one which allows for the sewage to separate, and the second which acts as a pumping chamber. The effluent is then leached out into a field or mound where bacteria break it down further. The size of septic tank required is determined by the number of bedrooms in the home, not the number of people; this is because the septic tank must be equipped to service a full household.

Holding Tanks

A holding tank merely holds sewage; it does not leach away into the ground. The tank has a single compartment and can hold a limited amount of sewage. Then the sewage must be removed by a vacuum truck and sent to a municipal treatment system. As you can imagine, because holding tanks do not process sewage, they need to be serviced much more frequently than septic tanks.


2 responses to “The Difference between Holding Tanks and Septic Tanks”

  1. Charles says:

    I’m trying to determine what size septic tank or holding tank I need to service 40 people per day for 48 months on a construction site. Any guidance or where I can find the tank needed to service 40 people a day?

    • Tanksalot says:

      Tanks sizing can be found in the Alberta Private Sewage Disposal Systems hand book, if you don’t have the book we would be happy to refer you to a local designer / installer for support. Feel free to contact us using the contact us button.

      Thank you