A few common cesspool problems

by | Jan 24, 2014 | Home and Garden

A cesspool is a large tank, buried in the ground that holds human biological waste and other household waste water. The purpose of the system is for the tank to hold the waste long enough that it breaks down into gas, solids and water. Cesspool pumping in Suffolk County is an important part of keeping the system operating peak efficiency. Cesspool problems can begin when material such as non-biodegradable products are introduced into the tank; these can be oil, grease and indeed, even excess water. This will result in clogged outlet pipes as well as inefficient operation.

The three components of a cesspool are gas, sludge and water. The gas accumulates and is then dispersed through vents, the sludge settles to the bottom of the tank and the remaining water runs out through pipes into the drainage field. The pipes in the drainage field are perforated, allowing the water to escape into the ground or a gravel bed. Cesspool pumping in Suffolk County must be carried out periodically to eliminate the buildup of solids that do not decompose. The problems with a cesspool begin when any of these three issues are compromised such as clogged or damaged pipes.

The introduction of non-biodegradable products into the cesspool is a major problem. It is not that this is done purposely but at times a disposal diaper, a feminine hygiene product or paper towels are inadvertently flushed down the toilet and end up in the tank. There are also some common detergents which have phosphates which encourage algae growth that eventually will clog pipes. Although inadvertent disposal of certain items will always happen, the responsible homeowner will switch to using soaps and detergents which do not contain phosphates.

Kitchen grease and oil should not be disposed of down the drain as these can cause problems with the cesspool. These products do not break down the same as human waste; paint, paint thinners and solvents should never be sent down the drain as they never break down, they will remain in the tank or the drainage field for many years.

If you find that you are introducing too much water into the tank you should consider staggering water consumption. Excess water can be damaging to the system as well as the solids do not have time to break down properly. You may consider doing one load of laundry every day rather than multiple loads on one day which will overload the tank.

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