A cess pit is generally used when a property isn’t connected to the mains sewerage system. It collects wastewater and sewerage from a dwelling or business premises, storing the material in a sealed tank underground. The term “cesspool” means the same as cesspit.
People sometimes confuse cesspits and septic tanks, but there are key differences. A septic tank has two chambers, and can process the sewage to some degree, through the bacteria that live in the tank, and through settling of the contents. Then it’s possible for the remaining wastewater to be drained off into a soakaway, or a drainage field used especially for the purpose. However, sometimes a soakaway or other drainage system isn’t not available, and then the only option may be a cesspit.
A cesspit doesn’t process the waste at all. It’s simply an underground collection tank which is usually accessed through a manhole cover, when it needs to be emptied. Emptying has to take place regularly. The time interval obviously depends on the number of people in the property, as compared to the tank size. Some cess pits are emptied as often as monthly, whereas others are only emptied once a year.
Because cess pits are buried, and only need to be accessed through the manhole cover, they don’t take up much space on the property.
Cesspits are regulated by the Environment Agency, who recently (2020) brought in new rules.
You must keep the cesspit in good repair, so that it doesn’t leak or overflow. It must be emptied regularly. Many cesspits have an alarm fitted to notify you when the tank is getting full.
If you’re planning on installing a new cesspit, you’ll need planning permission and a building regulations inspection when the work is complete. Also, the tank will need to be capable of holding 18,000 litres for the first two people using it, and another 6,800 litres for every person after those first two.
The cesspit has to be emptied by a registered waste handler, such as NO1PHD. We are licensed to do this work, and we will dispose of the waste in a special site. All of our staff are fully trained in carrying out the work safely, and without any adverse environmental impact.
As a registered waste handler, we will issue the correct documentation to say that the work has been carried out, and give details of the site to which it has been taken. It’s best to keep a full set of the certificates, to show how often the cesspit has been emptied in the last couple of years.
If you don’t maintain your cesspit to the required standard, the local council or the Environment Agent can force you to replace or repair it. So it’s best to carry out regular inspections and maintenance, to fix problems before they become serious. When they have been emptied, cesspit tanks can be inspected and repaired by our professional staff, who have appropriate safety training and equipment.
Any aspects of the tank that need repairing, can then be dealt with. Pipes feeding a cesspit tend to get clogged up, and we can also pressure wash the tank interior if required. This will ensure that it continues to operate effectively, without blockages that can cause spillover.
If your cesspit tank is in poor condition, for example it is leaking, then it will have to be taken out and a replacement tank dropped in. Again, some of this work needs to be done by a licensed waste handler such as No1PHD. We can dispose of the old tank safely, and issue a certificate to say that the tank has been taken to a designated waste facility.
At No1PHD we are used to dealing with the full range of off-grid drainage installations, and fully licensed experts in the emptying, inspection and maintenance of cesspit tanks. Call us today on 08006906777, to talk over what you might need, and what we can do for you.
After noticing that the house was unusually cold, we found that the heating wasn’t coming on and that our hot water had also failed. We called the team at No 1 PHD who dispatched an engineer to investigate. After discovering that the culprit was a faulty boiler part, they ordered in a new part and got it fitted as quickly as possible. The guys were great, and we couldn’t be happier.
For days, we’ve noticed a foul smell coming from outside and a gurgling sound coming from one of the drains. Whenever it would rain, the area around it would flood slightly and take ages to drain. We tried buying drain unblockers, but none seemed effective. Eventually, we turned to No 1 PHD and were left wondering why we didn’t do this sooner.