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Cesspool 101

There are two basic components to a septic system

  • The septic tank
  • The cesspool (soil absorption area)

Here is the how the septic system works

  • Waste flows from the home into the septic tank.
  • Organic solids float to the top and inorganic solids sink to the bottom of the tank.
  • Natural occurring bacteria in the septic tank converts the organic solids to liquid.
  • The clear liquid in between the "solids" and "sludge" layers flows into the cesspool.

How does a septic system fail? SOLID BUILD-UP!

By not servicing and maintaining your system properly, solids build up within the septic system and flow into the leaching field. This clogs the leaching field and could permanently destroy the field.
As well, household cleaners like detergents, toilet cleaners, bleach, and disinfectants kill the natural bacteria in the septic tank.


A cesspool is the draining component of the system, this should be checked every 3 years as well . If the cesspool fails there are only 2 remedies for this.

FIRST remedy is AERATING along with a chemical (sufuric acid) to open the drainage in the cesspool to allow the water to seep into the earth naturally.

SECOND remedy is called HYDRO-JETTING along with chemical (sufuric acid), this service is the best service available.

SEPTIC TANKS: should have at least 250 gallons of capacity for each person in the house. Standard sizes are 750, 1000, 1200, and 1500 gallons. They can be constructed of precast concrete, plastic or fiberglass. Older tanks may be made of steel, which often corrode over time, or they may be built in place of block construction. Larger tanks are often divided into two chambers to improve solids separation. Manholes and inspection ports are located in the cover for service and inspections.

CESSPOOLS: A cesspool incorporates both functions of a septic system in one structure. It consists of a large perforated tank in which digestion takes place, surrounded by an absorption bed where suspended and dissolved solids undergo final digestion and water is filtered. Cesspools are not as efficient as other systems, more prone to failure, and difficult to restore to operation.

Inside the tank, bacteria will reproduce in the floating scum mat and bottom sludge layer. By a process called anaerobic (without oxygen) digestion. Most solid matter will be converted to water, sewer gas and a small volume of indigestible sludge which must eventually be pumped out.

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