Cesspools, Seepage Pits

Traditionally, a cesspool is a deep cylindrical chamber dug into the ground approximately a yard in diameter and 2-3 yards in depth. Cesspools are sometimes referred to as Seepage Pits. Both are big holes in the ground into which sewage is indiscriminately deposited with no care for proper treatment.

Cesspools and seepage pits are no longer allowed in Texas, and for good reason frankly. A cesspool "gets rid of" sewage with no consideration for whether the soils or groundwater are being contaminated. They are an old idea that was a bad idea, and as such need to be removed and replaced with a properly designed, installed, and maintained septic system.

Sometimes people incorrectly refer to a septic tank or field as a cesspool. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Your septic tank is the primary treatment device that collects and settles wastewater from your home. The septic tank holds the wastewater in the tank long enough for solids and liquids to separate.

The wastewater forms three layers inside the tank. Sediments lighter than water (such as greases and oils) float to the top forming a layer of scum. Sediments heavier than water settle at the bottom of the tank forming a layer of sludge. This leaves a middle layer of partially clarified wastewater.

This partially clarified wastewater is then released to the drainfield. In the drainfield, the wastewater is distributed over a large area of soil where it is treated and absorbed. The biology that lives in a well aerated soil will consume the "pollutants" in the wastewater allowing the water to be used by the surrounding plants.

 



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