February 5, 2020

What Is A Cesspit?

What Is A Cesspit?

The world of sewage is a wonderful place full of wonderful words. One of which is "cesspit".

But what actually is a cesspit? How does one work? In this blog, we'll go through everything you need to know about cesspits.

What Actually Is A Cesspit? Well if you really want to know...

To put it simply a cesspit is a sealed, fully-enclosed tank that collects and stores sewerage. However, it does not treat any of the waste that is collected, it simply stores it to be emptied when needed.

So, it's purely a holding tank without an outlet. None of the waste collected is treated or drained. It simply collects waste and stores it in an underground tank.

Cesspits, like septic tanks, are normally buried underground, for this reason, they won’t take up too much room. Of course, you will have one or more manholes that are needed for access when emptying.

As there is no drainage or outlet cesspits require a lot of maintenance and upkeep. You'll be looking at getting a cesspit emptied every month, possibly more depending on the size of your household and your water usage.

It's important to note that when you do get a cesspit emptied you should use a registered waste handler. This will ensure any waste will be disposed of properly.

It's down to you to ensure you employ a registered waste carrier, and make sure you get all the correct paperwork. Make a note of the disposal site as well.

So, why get a cesspit? It depends on the situation.

In rural areas, septic tanks are the more common and preferred option. However, your soil could fail soak away tests, or if the property doesn't have a watercourse or surface water drain the sewage can go into, a cesspit is really your only other option.

Most of the time cesspits are only used as temporary sewage systems. Think construction sites, or often in locations where they won’t be used often and thus won’t need to be emptied as often.

For example, having a cesspit as the main sewage system for a house should be avoided. However, it wouldn't be uncommon at a campsite.

Cesspits don't need to be registered, but if you plan to install one you will need to getting planning permission to do so.

How Does A Cesspit Work?

As you can probably infer from the above a cesspit is pretty simple in the way it works.

Your drains are connected to the underground tank with all waste water flowing into here. Here it is simply stored until it needs to be emptied.

How Often Does A Cesspit Need Emptying?

Like septic tanks and other holding tanks this answer depends on a few variables. The main two being:

  1. Size of tank
  2. Number of users

If you use a cesspit you will need to have it emptied more often than aseptic tank. The above two factors will determine whether it needs to be emptied monthly, quarterly or yearly.

However, the cesspit may also need to be emptied at any point between those time periods so it's important to keep on top of maintenance.

The general recommendation for cesspit emptying is every six weeks.

This regular emptying interval will avoid the build-up of solids or the possibility of an overflow. Both of which you want to avoid!

How much does it cost to empty a cesspit?

This really depends on the size of your cesspit, as it would for the size of your septic tank.  Cesspits should be emptied and inspected more than septic tanks, this will also add to the overall cost of having a cesspit. If you want to get a quick idea of you can get a quote from us today.

What is the difference between a septic tank and a cesspit?

Cesspits and septic tanks both collect wastewater and sewage from households or businesses that don't have a mains sewer connection. However, there is one key difference between the two.

A septic tank offers a simple treatment process, whereas a cesspit simply collects waster water and sewage.

Most of the time a cesspit is a sealed underground tank with the sole purpose of just collecting wastewater and sewage. There's no processing or sewage treatment involved and it’s important to note that cesspits are storage only and cannot have an outlet.

However, a septic tank can store and uses a simple treatment process that allows the treated wastewater to drain away to a soakaway or stream.

Are cesspits legal in UK?

In short, yes cesspits are legal in the UK. You do not require a permit for cesspools and you do not have to comply with the general binging rules that apply to septic tanks. You do however need to get planning permission and building regulations approval if you wish to install a cesspit at your property.

If you do own a cesspit the most important thing you need to do is stay on top of its maintenance. As laid out by the government.

You must maintain your cesspool and make sure it:

The Environment Agency or your local council can make you repair or replace your cesspool if it’s in poor condition.

Christian Heritage

After joining the business at the end of its first year of trading, Christian has been involved in all aspects of the business.
PSE LogoNSQ LogoRHA LogoConstructionline LogoBeating Bowel Cancer LogoEnvironmental Agency Logo
Get a Quote