Differences Between Cesspools and Septic Tanks

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Wastewater management is an important part of any building project. If a building is not able to be connected to a municipal waste water system, it needs another way to process wastewater. The most common solution for this situation is a septic system.

Differences Between Cesspools and Septic Tanks

An older and less common variation for handling waste water is a cesspool. You may have heard this word but have little understanding of what a cesspool actually is or how it differs from a septic tank. While cesspools and septic tanks both deal with wastewater, the two have some major differences.

  • Operational. Cesspools are underground tanks which accumulate and collect all wastewater from a home or a building. They do not use chemical processes for waste treatment but rely on the soil for natural absorption and filtration of the liquid, while the solid stays in the pit. Septic tanks, however, are more complex, as they are split into two different chambers. While they are also underground, the first chamber gets all the wastewater with the solids settling at the bottom and the liquids go into the second chamber. In this station, bacteria breaks down all organic waste, treating before it exits the tank.
  • Maintenance. Cesspools need much more frequent pumping and maintenance as opposed to septic tanks. Cesspools do not have the treatment process that septic tanks go through, and the solid wastes build up faster, hence the regular maintenance to reduce chances of blockage and clogging. Septic tanks on the other hand need less frequent maintenance because they have two chambers and utilize bacteria that help break down the waste.
  • Environmental impact. Septic tanks are more environmentally friendly due to the bacterial treatment which rids the waste of contaminants and pollutants. On the other hand, since cesspools rely on the soil for filtration, they are not effective at removing harmful bacteria. Due to these environmental concerns, most areas have banned or are phasing out cesspools, and require home owners to use septic tanks.

Every building needs to check local regulations to meet their compliance on wastewater management. If you have a cesspool and would like information about upgrading to a septic system, we would be happy to help. Visit our location at Marion Pumper to get all your wastewater management needs today.