Holding Tanks


Holding tanks are large cement or plastic tanks into which household wastewater flows and is stored until it is pumped out.

Septic holding tanks can contain between 1,000 and 3,000 gallons. These tanks are used where space is limited or where a septic drain field isn’t appropriate. Ecological concerns and the protection of nearby lakes, streams or ponds are the most common factors that require the installation of septic holding tanks. For example, property owners living too close to a river had no other options until very recently. Today new options are available such as the Eco-Flow peat-moss filtering system. These new systems have significantly changed the minimum distance requirements to lakes.

Contact your municipal office for more information on conditions and specification requirements.

People who choose holding tanks usually have few options for septic systems. Although holding tanks may cost less to install, they are one of the most expensive septic systems to maintain. This is especially true if all your home water and sewage goes into the tank. Two people can easily create 1,000 gallons of wastewater per month.

In many cases, the holding tank is only used to hold septic waste from the toilet. Many homes that use a holding tank also have a separate system for their grey water. This grey water system is a completely separate septic system designed to dispose of grey water from showers, baths, sinks, etc. Municipal regulations also govern the installation of these systems.

Holding tanks can become a significant financial burden to new homebuyers, so beware and get all the necessary information before you buy. Ask the seller to give you the name of the company that regularly empties their septic tank. Call them and obtain information about the property and the prices they charge. Remember that habits and water usage will vary from one family to the next.

Possibilities where a holding tank may be used:

  • A building that isn’t used year round such as a cottage;
  • A house near a body of water such as a lake, river, stream or marsh;
  • A home or business office with very little land;
  • A house whose ground conditions preclude the installation of a septic field.