Although the cost of operating a holding tank may be more than a conventional, or alternative technology system, it is not necessarily more expensive to own when one considers the capital and operating costs combined. A further consideration is the fact that the operational life of the alternative technology systems in unknown at this time. Perhaps their life will be no longer than conventional septic systems (9-10 years in the Anchorage area!). In short, the owners of such systems will have periodic repairs (new pumps, air compressors, electrical components, etc.) as well as the possibility of having to upgrade portions of the system, such as the drainfield.
Holding tanks, unlike septic systems, have no components to fail, other then the alarm, and their useful life expectancy is about 20 years (the tank eventually rusts out and starts to leak). The only costs associated with owning a holding tank is the original capital cost, and the monthly pumping costs. When these costs are weighed against some of the higher priced alternative systems, it becomes clear that holding tanks are perhaps unjustly stigmatized. Another redeeming quality regarding holding tanks is that they, unlike septic systems, are 100% reliable.
If you find yourself in the position of marketing a home with a holding tank, perhaps the most important thing you can do is educate your clients regarding the economics of operating a holding tank and weigh those costs against the capital costs associated with conventional and alternative on-site systems. In many cases, you will find that a holding tank is the most economical solution.