How Do Cesspits Work?

So..how do cesspits work?

Cesspits may vary in shape and size and are usually discreetly placed underground with only a single manhole cover declaring their whereabouts. Many older properties may have cesspits made of traditional brick unless they have been replaced; modern tanks are generally made from fibreglass and other modern materials.

Cesspits are in the form of a sealed tank, which takes all of the property’s liquid waste including waste from sinks, baths, showers as well as toilets. As the cesspits are completely sealed apart from the manhole, they will need to be emptied on a very frequent basis to avoid problems occurring.

Cesspits are usually installed in preference to septic tanks because of ground conditions or to remove the potential of pollution.

How often will I need my cesspit emptying?
The frequency will depend on factors such as; size of property, size of tank, number of occupants and the general usage such as the amount of people bathing or showering everyday and  how often the washing machine and or dishwasher is used.

How should I care for my cesspit?
Have the tank emptied on a regular basis.
Don’t allow flammable liquids to enter the system.
Keep the service area (manhole) free from overgrown plants.
Cesspits are easy to manage and following the advice below will help to avoid some potential problems. But be aware of the following;

A leaking tank can pollute nearby land and water any leakage should be dealt with quickly, leakages can be caused by a damaged or full tank.

How do Septic Tanks work?

A typical household septic system consists of two major components: the septic tank and the soakaway. Wastewater, in most cases, by gravity to the septic tank. The tank’s main purpose is to detain the wastewater for 1 – 2 days. It uses this time to separate solids, greases, oils, and floating objects from the wastewater bacteria within the tank starts to attack and break down the waste immediately.

Although the bacteria does a good job, it can’t eat everything. Septic tanks develop a layered look. Scum floats on the top, partially treated wastewater is in the middle, and sludge settles at the bottom.
After its 1 – 2 day stay, the partially treated wastewater leaves the tank. If everything is working right, virtually all of the solids have settled out of the water. The wastewater now heads for the drain field. This area is comprised of a series of interconnected pipes that lie in sand or gravel filled trenches. The pipes are perforated. The wastewater exits the perforations and enters the soil. The soil acts as a biological filter. Oxygen and organisms in the soil combine to break down any remaining toxins, bacteria, or viruses in the wastewater.

Septic tanks must be sized in accordance with the number of people in the household. Tanks with too little capacity allow the wastewater to enter the drain field too quickly. Solid particles that were supposed to settle into the tank are inadvertently carried into the drain field. These tiny solid particles can clog the sand, gravel and soil filters in the drain field. If this happens, your septic tank can backup and/or the drain field can become flooded with untreated wastewater. Both of these situations are unsanitary and pose serious health risks to you and the environment.

You can extend the life of your entire septic system by watching what you put into your drains and toilet. Minimize the introduction of solid particles and scum forming compounds. This means no food scraps, coffee grinds, sand, gravel, greases, oils, washing machine lint, etc. Beware of chemicals or solvents that will kill the helpful bacteria in your tank.  Finally, have your septic system inspected annually and emptied on a regular basis. Remember, the sludge and scum must not be allowed to accumulate. If they enter the drain field, you will have an expensive repair bill.

How often should my septic tank have the solids removed/be emptied?
Like cesspits this will depend on the size and usage, but a minimum of once a year is important. To avoid problems future. If the water table is high due to very wet weather then your tank could fill via the soakaway almost immediately after emptying.

How do I know it needs emptying?
If the tank needs emptying you may smell an unpleasant odour.



About

Having served 16 years in the army Colin re-educated during the early 1990’s including two years at the Camborne School of Mines reading Mineral Surveying and Resource Management achieving a first class Diploma (Dip CSM). This allowed direct entry to the second year at The University of the West of England, Bristol reading Valuation and Estate Management. Training and experience was gained with Exeter City Council Estates Department and Sheperds Chartered Surveyors qualifying as a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in June 2003. Colin set-up the company in May 2009 and covers the complete range of services.

2 Responses to “How Do Cesspits Work?”

  • It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • this post is very usefull thx!

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