Cesspool and Cesspit Facts

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Cesspools and cesspits are the standard method for disposal of human wastewater in many suburban and rural areas. The simplest type of cesspit is the Standard cesspool and cesspit system consisting of two parts: a holding tank or covered cistern cylindrical type chamber leading to a seepage pit that make up the leach bed or in some cases a drain field area consisting typically of 4 lateral drain field lines that expand to lengths of 200 to 2000 lineal feet.

The typical cesspool itself is usually made of (2) concrete tanks, and will usually hold 750 to 2500 gallons each. Household wastes flows through the plumbing system of the residence into the holding tank, where anaerobic bacteria creates a process referred to a digestion where the organic solids are broken down into a simpler organic compound referred to as effluent.

Heavier solids drop to the bottom of the tank as sludge and will take longer to digest, lighter solids float to the surface and form the scum layer floating on the top of the tank. Everything else flows out through a pipe into the perforated second tank or leach bed, The drain cesspit is typically made up of a large perforated concrete tank that acts as the leaching system. The cesspit tank will typically rest on a 4 feet to 10 feet bed of stone. The effluent will leach directly down into the soil. Pipe elevations are such that the cesspit holding tank remains almost full at all times, which permits bacteria to form and "digest" virtually all the solids that enter the tank. The remaining liquid is dispersed into the cesspit and leached into the gravel and soil base. The most common failure for cesspit systems is that the soil around the leach bed becomes clogged with bio mat. Bio mat is made up from undigested solids, fats oils and greases that result from a lack of bacteria reducing the rate of digestion in the system. This is common in today’s septic systems due to the over loading of household anti bacterial products such as hand soaps, soap powders with phosphors additives and bleach type products. When this happens, the water level in the cesspool holding tank and cesspit increases and the house refuse to drain properly causing sewage backs ups, odors and wet areas around the pit. Unpleasant odors and drains in the home will no longer work properly. Replacement cost of a cesspool and or cesspit septic system can be astronomical.

The engineering, design and permit fees alone can run into the $1,000 to $10,000 range not to mention the actual replacement coast of the new system which can run as much as $60,000 in some parts of the country. Some areas of the country have outlawed the old cesspools and cesspit type septic systems forcing home owners to upgrade to new and more costly type systems. Some of the new systems require large areas of land necessary for proper installation creating large sand mounds destroying landscaping and creating eyesores for the property owner. Property owners have found that massive bacterial enzyme shock treatments have been beneficial and a great alternative to replacing septic systems. Properly treated septic systems will recover in a short period of time restoring the septic system to a well balanced functioning system.

Bacterial products have been used in homes and waste water treatment plants around the world for decades with great success. A good bacterial supplement added monthly to your cesspool or cesspit system will ensure a long lasting and trouble free system.

By: Bradley Skierkowski

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