Cesspool Maintenance and Problems

Cesspool Maintenance and Problems | Home Owners Guide

Many nations and older rural households employ a self-contained septic system for waste disposal, whereas urban homes typically connect to a municipal sewage system.

In contrast to sewer systems, a septic system needs routine maintenance because of how it manages your waste.

When done through a waste management company, this is expensive, but if you take care of the septic system yourself, you might be able to save money.

Work of Septic Systems


Two parts comprise septic systems: a well or septic tank and a drain field. For greater efficiency, modern systems substitute septic tanks for wells. However, some older properties still employ wells.

Although the premise is fundamentally the same, there are a few little design variances that could cause various problems.

The Present-Day Septic Tank

The main sewage pipe for your property is immediately connected to this sizable subterranean tank.

The wastewater from flushing the toilet or running the sink enters the tank, where anaerobic bacteria break it down. The method divides the garbage into three categories.

Lighter particles accumulate on the surface as scum, whereas solid debris sinks to the bottom. Older water is forced down drainpipes and seeps harmlessly into the following field as additional sewage is discharged into the tank.

Previous Cesspool Wells

Instead of a tank, the wastewater runs into a sizable masonry-lined well covered by a stone or concrete lid in earlier well-based septic systems.

The anaerobic bacteria start eating the sewage as soon as they enter the well. Solid trash sinks and scum develops on the top.

The sound walls include tiny gaps through which the water seeps into the surrounding ground, unlike tanks, which have pipes leading to a drain field.

Cesspool wells are prohibited in several places since the procedure is less effective than septic tanks.

Septic Systems: Common Issues

Septic systems often need little upkeep over a year and are, therefore, easily forgotten.

This causes problems that could result in sewage backing up into your home or flooding your yard. The two most typical issues you’ll run into are clogs and a full septic tank.

Obstructed cesspool wells

Cesspool wells rely on bacteria to distinguish between liquid and solid wastes, but this method is not flawless.

Your cesspool’s openings could block up with time, leading to a backup of sewage. The cesspool may need to be pumped many times a year if it is not kept clean.

Due to the inability of water to leave may even happen if the bottom does not contain a significant amount of solid waste.

Septic Tank Fullness Signs


Your septic tank can overflow if it isn’t pumped every three to five years because of a buildup of solid waste.

The least harmful indicator is a prolonged bad smell in the bathroom or close to the tank. In hot temperatures, you might be able to smell this decay more clearly.

A toilet that drains slowly or gets clogged frequently is another typical symptom.

If the issue is with the septic tank and not just a blocked drain, plunging and drain cleaners won’t work.

The moist ground above the tank’s placement is the third indication that the tank is full. The floods might even contain toilet paper or visible sewage in extreme circumstances. Any plants in the inundated region could get ill or die, causing bald spots on lawns or other aesthetically degrading effects.


Methods for Septic Cleaning

Your septic system can be cleaned out in one of three ways, each of which has benefits and cons. Before attempting to empty the cesspool on your own, make sure to check the rules in your city and state.

  • Aeration

Aeration entails adding sulfuric acid to the well or tank as a chemical substitute for cleaning up the cesspool. The acid dissolves the sludge and solid waste, allowing air to get through.

As a result, less pumping is required to dissolve the waste. Sulfuric acid is caustic and might harm your septic system if improperly handled, which is a drawback to this procedure.

  • Hydro-Jetting

Hydro-jetting is another alternative technique utilized in wells that could minimize or do away with the necessity for pumping. The solids are broken up by a high-pressure blast that injects water into the ground at the cesspool’s bottom. When cleaning a well, this technique offers the quickest recuperation time.

  • Pumping

The use of a huge pumping vehicle is the most popular technique for cleaning out cesspools. Your cesspool is emptied into a sizable storage tank by this vehicle.

This estimate excludes additional expenses like filling in and excavating the ground above the tank. You have the option of renting a backhoe for major projects or excavating the manhole cover yourself.

Pumping is recommended every two to four years and is the generally accepted standard procedure for clearing out septic tanks. Even big and rarely used tanks should have their contents pumped at least once every five years.

Some smaller tanks may need to be pumped annually if they are used often. Keep in mind that it is forbidden to pump a cesspool without the appropriate certification in several states.


Septic System Upkeep


Maintenance in advance

Taking care of what gets into your septic system is one of the simplest methods to keep it operating well. Many compounds are difficult to break down and may even kill the good bacteria, which are necessary for both septic tanks and wells to break down the waste. Several instances of these chemicals include:

• Diapers, paper towels, and other hygiene and paper items are not intended to be flushed and may cause blockages. Household chemicals, particularly ammonia or antibacterial cleansers, will kill the bacteria and prevent the sewage from being broken down.

 • Grease solidifies when it cools and has sticky properties, so it may remain in the septic system until the next scheduled pumping because it isn’t made to decompose as quickly as toilet paper. In addition to sticking to hair and other debris, grease will line pipe walls and accumulate to the point of blocking the pipe.

• Don’t throw vegetable or bone scraps in your waste disposal. Grease, lard, or other soluble liquids may enter the septic system if you do this. Laundry detergents in powder form often contain an insoluble clay that can clog drains. Use only liquid detergents as a result whenever possible.

Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid using too much water at once. Keep multiple water-intensive appliances from operating simultaneously and direct downspouts away from the septic system.

Regardless of whether you have a well or septic tank, the waste takes time to decompose, and a sudden influx of a lot of water could be too much for your system’s limited capacity.

Septic Level Testing

Waste separation and storage are features of septic systems. They must, therefore, occasionally be cleaned out to avoid overflows or blockage.

Use a stick that is long enough to touch the bottom of your tank or well to conduct a quick test.

The sludge level should be no more than one-third of the tank’s height when it is dipped and checked. You must pump if the level on the stick is higher.


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