Cesspits versus Septic Tanks

Cesspits versus Septic Tanks

Although most people know what a septic tank is, there are differences between them and cesspits. While many people do not think about their septic tank until there are issues with them, it is important to gain the knowledge about these tools so that you can prolong the life of your septic tank or cesspit system. Furthermore, the more you know about them, the better prepared you can be for when they need maintenance, cleaning and clearing. This post is to highlight some of the differences between a cesspit and a septic tank so that whether you are building a new home or have an existing system, that you can keep up to date with how you can care for your cesspit or septic tank.

How they work

Firstly, we have covered a lot of information on septic tank systems in a previous blog. By all means, for that information, take a read here. To surmise, a septic tank stores the solid material while discharging the fluid away from the tank. Once it is drained from the tank it is taken to a further treatment plant or to a system of underground land drains.  The septic tank system comprises an inlet pipe into which the effluent flows. Once inside the tank, it separates into wastewater and sludge. There is an inspection and clean out port along with an exit to the drain field.

Cesspits are an underground tank which stores sewage until it is disposed of. These are usually emptied annually. Your system must be watertight and are usually constructed out of fibreglass, though older ones may be built from brick. They have an inlet pipe but unlike a septic tank, they do not have an outlet. So rather than outflow the wastewater into further treatment facilities or a drain field, a cesspit acts more as a storage system for the effluent.


Usually, a cesspit can be found a short distance from the property in a field or by a driveway. If the tank has an accessible cover it is usually a good sign it has been serviced regularly. However, there are some important tips to keep safe around these systems and you can read about those here.

Emptying your septic tank or cesspit

To empty the sewage system a competent professional will come with a tanker and completely drains the system taking care to clean out the sludge that has settled on the bottom. With regular emptying and maintenance, your sewage system will work as designed and service your property well.

So, the main difference between a cesspit and a septic tank is the outlet pipe. This blog has also covered how they operate, where a septic tank or cesspit can be found. Also, we have written about the importance of cleaning and maintaining your system. For further advice, quotes and emptying, please contact us.

By |2023-10-27T11:24:37+13:00June 2nd, 2016|News|
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