Would you leave park on septic or convert to sewer?

I have a new park that is about 70 lots. 7 lots are on sewer and the rest are on septic (2-3 homes per septic tank). Currently everything works just fine but the tanks range from 30-50 years old.

The paved roads are pretty bad and need to be paved. Is there a reason to run the city sewer up through the park and slowly convert all the homes to sewer, or just leave everything as-is and replace the septic tanks as-needed? I don’t want to pave the road yet if I’m going to be digging it up for new sewer.

Thanks in advance

1 Like

What’s the estimated cost to hook up? Wouldnt worry about the tanks. It’s the field that needs your focus. How old is park? Quality of infrastructure? Septic failures suck.

The estimated cost to put sewer in to the remaining homes is about $500,000. The city waived the connection fees so there’s no cost there.

The park’s infrastructure is good, no water leaks and no issues at the moment with the septics. The road is the only thing that’s in really bad shape. The park was built in 1966. The seller was the original developer and he did everything the right way. The only thing is he doesn’t know where the leach fields are for every tank.

1 Like

Is the city billing you, or are water/sewer charges billed direct to residents?

Easy answer then. Replace 100%.

Currently the park is billed for the city water and the 7 homes on city sewer. Plus the park pays to pump the 25+/- septic tanks. Nothing is direct billed to the tenants at this park.

You’re saying replace the septics with sewer? Or replace the septic systems as needed?

$7k per lot, hopefully in a good market, amortized over many years is a wise investment. Plus you get the bonus depreciation.

If interested, follow me here: https://twitter.com/jdmiser

You’ll learn a lot from this ReTwit community. More than just mobile home parks. It’s helped me greatly.

1 Like

Yes, replace with sewer now. High degree of failure and cost to fix in future + operation problems will likely way exceed the price now.

1 Like

The cost to maintain the septic for 7 lots is minor in the long run compared to spending 500K for city sewer. Cost to replace a tank is about 5K, a septic bed of the size for 2-3 homes maybe 30-50k. Based on the fact that you are only talking 7 homes it would be a no brainer for me. Spending 500k plus interest on the loan compared to “maybe” having major septic costs in the future makes very little financial scense. The interest cost and investment value of 500k alone would more than cover the cost of having to replace the entire septic system over time.
Many would unnecessarily replace the system more out of fear of septic than any other reason, I would not.
Spend a few hundred to pump each tank once yearly and spend the money as needed down the road.


Got it. Thank you very much!

Greg it’s the other way around. 7 are on sewer and 61 are on septic. Does that change things for you or would you still keep it as-is?

That makes good sense, I didn’t think of it like that. Going to check that link out.

Yea that changes everything. 500K dosn’t sound so bad now but my advice is do it all as fast as you can otherwise that 500 is going to increase considerably. Pass the capitol expense cost along to your tenants through higher rents.


10-4…I guess that’s what I have to do!

1 Like

I would definitely look into some type of grant program.

Check with your local County and/or State offices as well. The problem with accepting a grant is you will have to use prevailing wage contractors and do a ton of extra studies, but if you can get it done for free who cares.

I would take advantage of the City’s willingness to "waive’ the hook-up fees. That most likely means they have excess treatment capacity and want more billable customers.

How much of your existing infrastructure is usable? It may be quick and easy to just make the tanks into lift stations. That way you can use a lot of the existing underground going to each home. Using a pressurized line means you don’t have to worry about how deep the mainline is/Fall etc.

Another idea is to keep the tanks and just pump the effluent up to the City lines. If that’s possible the city should charge you less for taking effluent than for taking raw sewage. Plus Effluent pumps work better and last a lot longer than lift station pumps (no paper towels/tampons etc to clog the pumps). The Downside is you’d still be pumping tanks and operating the lift stations.


Great point by Anthony on the grant program — lots of infrastructure money sloshing around at the state level too. A local engineer would be a good person to run that by (St Germain Collins out of Westbrook is who I’ve used in the past). If not a grant, possibly financing from the state at a lower rate than a bank would give you.

I’d consider submetering as part of any effort like this— might add 10% to your costs but then the water/septic expense is mostly off your books.


This is example A of why this community F&D built is so helpful.

1 Like

Great point here, this is definitely something to look into.

1 Like

I’m having Metron install water meters in July so I can at least get the water off my books. The water district won’t direct bill the tenants at this new park like they do at my other park because the tenants call them every time there’s a problem (like frozen water lines and other things that aren’t the city’s problem) and a handful of them don’t pay. So thanks to them I can’t get the same sweet set up here.

I’ll ask around about grants and loans. I’ve got a local engineer here and also the economic development office at city hall is usually helpful with identifying grants like this.