Which Septic System Do You Have?: Cesspool

(Also known as a Cesspit)Which Septic System Do You Have

  • Wastewater flows from the home or business into a cesspool septic tank.
  • The tank is a hole lined with stone or concrete to form a pit, into which sewage is discharged.
  • Solids settle on the bottom of the tank, while liquids remain on top.
  • Wastewater is absorbed into the soil of the septic drain field, from both below and through the sides of the cesspool.

A cesspool is a bit different than a septic tank, where wastewater flows into a leach field, where it is filtered. A cesspool, meanwhile, is a pit lined with cement or stone. Sometimes, it has an outlet pipe connected to another pit. A “tight tank” as it is called is just an enclosed tank without an outlet. About 25% of North America uses septic tanks for private sewage disposal, replacing the cesspool in most cases. While it is outdated, there are still some cesspools in operation.

Cesspool sludge needs to be regularly pumped to keep the lower holes open for water flow. Cesspools often require relocation, too, when surrounding soil becomes saturated and wastewater pools at the surface. Failed cesspools are typically replaced with a modern septic system.

Hopefully this helps when you are asked, “Which septic system do you have?”

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