Seepage Pits/Cesspools

What is a seepage pit ? Cesspool ?

A seepage pit is no more than a drain. It is built the same way as a well. In fact, if you look into one it looks just like a well. Seepage pits typically are 5-7 ft in diameter, and depending on soil condition anywhere between 15-40 feet deep. The actual walls of the pit are only 4′ in diameter, and the surrounding area is filled with gravel. The gravel allows for better draining, and helps limit clogging due to excessive dirt contact with the walls. As seen above the pours in the pit allows the water to drain directly in the gravel, which then disperses and is filtered into the soil. With proper septic tank maintenance, pits can last up to 40-60 years. Typically, pits last about 15-20 years, but this is due to abuse and improper maintenance. Both compartments of the septic tanks must be pumped every 2-5 years to limit the amount of solids entering the seepage pit. This will ensure a long life for your septic system. Another good idea, is to add enzymes, or “Bacteria” which will break down the solids in the tank. The idea is to NOT let solids enter the pit, but it is normal to replace a seepage pit.

Seepage pit vs. cesspool?

In reality, there is no difference between a cesspool or a seepage pit. In essence, they are constructed the exact same way.

The difference is in a technicality

Cesspool : A pit that functioned as the sole component of a septic system. A system has NO tank and the pit functions as the tank and drain field. Cesspool were common before the 1970’s governing jurisdictions began to require septic system consisting of a tank and drain field.

Seepage pit : A component of a septic system that follows the septic tank.

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