A cesspool is a traditional method of wastewater treatment. They were prevalent before septic tanks were installed, but are now illegal in many jurisdictions.
A cesspool, like a septic tank, is an enclosed pit in which a home disposes of its liquid and solid waste (everything that would otherwise be flushed down a drain).
The liquid waste is absorbed into the ground, while the solid waste (sludge) settles to the cesspool’s base.
Why doesn’t my cesspool seem to be doing its job?
Sewage is contained in a cesspool, which is an enclosed chamber that is sealed to avoid pollution of groundwater. Bacteria digest the garbage, and the liquid that results is collected in a cesspool until it can be pumped out by a septic tank truck.
While concrete is the most common material for cesspools, other options include fiberglass and polyethylene.
In most cases, septic tanks and cesspools are buried underground, and their capacity may vary greatly, from a few thousand liters to millions. A cesspool won’t do its job unless it’s emptied and cleaned on a regular basis.
History of the Cesspool
The word “cistern” was first used to describe the space beneath a toilet in England in the 17th century.
How large is a typical cesspool?
Most cesspools have a diameter of three feet, and they are used most effectively when they are dug into porous dirt. This implies their depth might change depending on the ground underneath. The cesspit has brick or cement along the walls.
A cesspool is often an underground building made of cement or brick. They take in sewage and wastewater from elsewhere, and the liquids eventually seep below.
If the cesspool has a perforated bottom, the liquid drains out via the pores in the bottom; otherwise, the liquid drains out through the sides.
Two separate sewage disposal systems
Dual cesspool systems are still another option. All solid garbage and wastewater go into the first one. After the sediments settle to the bottom of the cesspool (which has a bottom seal), the wastewater runs into a second cesspool, from which it is eventually absorbed by the earth and replenishes the water table.
The solids (sewage) will build in a cesspool that will need regular cleaning and maintenance. How long it takes to clear up a cesspool depends on a number of factors, including the number of people using it, how often, and how big and deep it is.
How Long Does a Cesspool Tank Last?
A cesspool’s lifespan might be anything from 10 to 40 years, depending on how it’s used and cared for. While the answer to this question depends on several variables, it is recommended that, if purchasing an older home with a cesspool, you set aside money to pay for a septic system update.
How does a septic tank system vary from a cesspool?
A cesspool uses percolation to gently release wastewater, whereas a septic tank uses two separate chambers and pumps the effluent to a leach field.
Flushing the toilet
Cesspools need frequent pumping and maintenance by a professional septic management provider. Raw sewage must be pumped out and disposed of in this process. Your cesspool will last longer if you do this.
Crock-style and standard cesspools exist. Before the 1960s, most cesspools were made of brick or block; thereafter, the precast cesspool became the norm. This type of cesspool is a concrete cylinder with a bottom and holes on the side to allow effluent to seep into the soil.
Never totally clear out a cesspool made of block (or brick). The cesspool may collapse in on itself as a result of this. If you need a cesspool emptied, make sure you select a company that understands what they’re doing. The sediments and any standing wastewater that has not been absorbed by the soil are typically removed using a septic truck’s pump and hose.
When was the last time you pumped out your cesspool?
Tank pumping may take at least 30 minutes and sometimes much more, depending on the size of the cesspool. Make sure the septic expert you choose has expertise maintaining cesspools before hiring them to do any work.
Once a cesspool begins overflowing, it usually need cleaning. Getting in touch with a certified cesspool expert is your best bet. Your cesspool’s days are numbered; it will need to be replaced soon if you still use one.
Emptying a cesspool
A septic pump truck will be brought in and the sewage will be evacuated by a professional. A pump truck and a very long hose are required to empty a cesspool.
It may take up to an hour or more to empty the cesspit, depending on its size. All particles and liquids in the cesspool tank must be removed.
What goes into maintaining a cesspool?
Professional cesspool maintenance involves removing the top layer of dirt from over the tank. The septic tank must then be emptied. To do this, the effluent, scum, and solids must be pumped (vacuumed) out.
The price will be determined by how much septum has to be cleaned out. Additional expenses may be incurred for the purpose of unclogging pipes or fixing damaged components of the system. Those remaining expenses may include time and resources spent.
Inquiring about the price of cesspool maintenance before any work is done is always recommended.
Repairing a Cesspool
There should be regular upkeep of your cesspool. Your cesspool’s health may be prolonged by doing routine maintenance on your septic system. If you mistreat it, it will cost you a lot of money in the long run.
Advice on Cesspool Upkeep and Problem Avoidance
- If you want your cesspool to survive as long as possible, follow these maintenance guidelines:
- Get a certified technician to pump and maintain your cesspool on a regular basis.
- Keep an eye out for leaky sink, tub, and shower fixtures.
- Fix any running or leaky toilets immediately. A cesspool will fill up quite rapidly with this.
- Never flush anything other than toilet paper designed for use with septic systems, including feminine hygiene items.
- Always use liquid soap, never powder soap.
- Never flush a plastic item down the toilet.
- Even though they say “flushable” on the package, you shouldn’t flush baby wipes.
- If you want to keep your septic tank from overflowing, you shouldn’t use a trash disposal.
- For the sake of the planet and your cesspool’s longevity, please turn off the water.
Over time, the cesspool’s scum layer coats all of the cesspool walls, sealing off the soil from the wastewater (effluent). When leaching rates drop, excess water in the cesspool might cause overflow into the home.
Having your cesspool pumped on a regular basis and cleaned out at the same time might help you prevent this issue.
The crumbling of cesspool walls is another common issue. This is more common in older cesspools and may indicate the need for a replacement.
Method most likely to avert cesspool malfunction
Keeping up with routine cesspool maintenance is your best bet for avoiding issues. Since cesspools are no longer seen as the optimal septic system, several states have stopped providing licenses for them.
Installing a new septic system to replace your aging cesspool may cost anywhere from $8,000 to over $35,000, depending on the complexity of the job. To learn more, get in touch with the appropriate municipal office in your area.Anticipating Clogged Toilet Issues
Pay close attention to the following signs of a malfunctioning cesspool:
Domestic septic tank issues:
- Shower, sink, tub, washing machine, and other drains clogged up.
- Bathtub, sink, and shower draining slowly
- Septic tank stinks inside the home.
- Issues with the outside cesspool:
- Areas of your grass that are soft and wet
- The septic leach field has water sitting on top of it.
- Some of the grass in the yard is noticeably greener than the rest of it.
- The cesspool’s surrounding earth has begun to slump, which may indicate that it is collapsing and should be avoided.
When Should You Have Your Cesspool Cleaned?
To maintain a long and useful life, cesspools, like septic tanks, need regular maintenance. Most experts recommend having your cesspool drained and serviced once every three to five years. It all comes down to how often you plan to use that wide of a range. When compared to a household of four with two adolescents, one person uses a lot less water and creates a lot less garbage.
Therefore, there is no one set schedule for how frequently a cesspool has to be cleaned. However, if you see any of the following, it could be time to contact a cesspool and septic service in your area.
Local Septic Tank Repair Service
Find a local cesspool service technician using the interactive map below.
Low-Cost Septic Tank Maintenance
It might be difficult to locate reasonably priced cesspool services. Follow this guide to ensure that you choose a qualified septic service provider.
What should I inquire of a professional who works with cesspools?
Creating a list of needed services should be your first order of business. Think about the following if you need convincing:
Should I get the tank emptied of the solids?
Have I got water pooling in my leach field?
Do I have any unpleasant scents in my home?
Do my home’s sluggish drains indicate a problem?
Whether or whether this is a cost-effective cesspool service depends on the specifics of your situation, so it’s important to be informed.
You should know that several states have outlawed the use of cesspools, so you may need to replace yours with a septic tank.