Septic tanks are part of a sewage treatment system and have an outlet that runs to a soakaway, typically they require emptying every 12 months.
A cesspit or cesspool is a holding tank without an outlet.
It is not part of a sewage treatment system it is just used for the storage of waste. Cesspits require regular emptying, typically every 45 days dependent upon the capacity and the level of use.
A cess pit usually acts as a temporary solution for locations without mains drainage and where the discharge of treated effluent is not permissible due to unsuitable ground conditions, or where infrequent use such as for a holiday home would prevent the use of a septic tank or sewage treatment plant.
On campsites where they receive chemical toilet waste they are a necessity as this waste would kill a septic tank or sewage treatment plant.
All cesspits should have an alarm fitted to indicate when they require emptying.
This should be the only method of checking the level in the cesspit, as opening a lid can release dangerous and noxious gases that can overcome someone very quickly.
Cesspits generally smell badly as they need to be vented to allow the gases to escape.
Overflowing and leaking cesspits are an offence under the Public health Act 1936, and should it pollute a watercourse can lead to fines of up to £20k and 3 months imprisonment.
In older properties that have had a cesspit installed back in the past, great care should be taken when walking or driving over the top of them.
Below ground they may cover as much as 20m2 which means they can be quite weak and bear in mind they are only brick built and it is quite a corrosive environment.
Cesspits can only be emptied by a licensed waste disposal carrier, it is not legal for a farmer or anyone not licensed to do so and the fines are high.
Only install a cesspit if there really are no other alternatives available.
GoEnviro provides drainage solutions in South Wales, Cardiff, Cowbridge, Barry, Pendoylan, Vale of Glamorgan, Caerphilly, Bridgend, and Newport to all drain problems including blocked pipes, smelly drains, foul odours, blocked sewer, and supplies various drain services including drain cleaning, unblocking, drain surveys, CCTV, root removal. Please call 02920 553370 to speak to a B. Eng (hons) engineer at a local professionally run family business.