Painting, landscaping, updating your interior design; homeownership comes with a lot of maintenance. However, of all the things you maintain for your home, make sure you don’t make the mistake of overlooking your cesspool.
How Cesspools Work
A cesspool is an underground tank that is connected to your home via a series of pipes, which are connected to drains and toilets. Wastewater flows through the pipes and collects in the cesspool, where it is separated. Solid and heavier waste falls to the bottom and eventually becomes sludge. Lighter waste floats to the top, where it turns into scum. Between these two layers, the remaining wastewater lies. This wastewater exits the tank through its porous walls and is absorbed by the surrounding soil.
The Importance of Cesspool Maintenance
Over time, the scum on the top of the cesspool and the sludge on the bottom start to thicken, and eventually, the join together with the wastewater in the middle. The scum and sludge start to exit the cesspool along with the wastewater and is absorbed into the surrounding soil. When this happens, the drain field can become clogged and a backup will occur.
It takes quite a while for this to process to happen, and often, the signs that the drain field is in danger of becoming clogged aren’t obvious until a backup actually happens. By the time a backup occurs, the cesspool has likely been extensively damaged, and simply pumping it will not be enough to correct the problem. Instead, a new cesspool installation will be necessary.
If the cesspool were properly maintained before reaching the point of a backup, serious problems, including the backup itself and the need to have a cesspool installer replace the tank, could have been entirely avoided.
What Happens During Cesspool Maintenance?
There are a number of things that occur during routine cesspool maintenance:
- Cleaning. A cesspool company will remove the sludge and scum that has accumulated in the tank. Doing so prevents the two layers from thickening, joining together, and exiting the cesspool. In other words, maintenance prevents clogs that can lead to backups.
- Inspection. Once the solid waste has been removed from the tank, a technician will perform a thorough inspection. He or she will look for any signs of damage or issues that could become problems down the road. Should any damage or other problems be spotted, the cesspool company will repair them.
Is There Anything Else that Happens During Maintenance?
There are several things that occur during the maintenance process. As mentioned, a technician will inspect the tank, checking for any signs of damage and potential issues that could impact the cesspool.
Some of the things that could be problematic for a cesspool include:
- The condition of the baffles. The baffles are the part of a cesspool that direct the flow of wastewater toward the bottom of the tank, preventing it from flowing straight out into the drain field and back into your home. A technician will inspect the baffles, making sure they are there and working properly.
- Tree roots. Tree roots and cesspools are not a good combination. As the roots grow, they can push through various components, such as the access lid, the baffles, and the seams.
Wastewater level. The wastewater should never be higher than the outlet pipe. If it is higher than the pip, the flow of the water out of the tank into the drain field will be compromised.
- Leaks. During maintenance, the tank and all of its components will be inspected for any leaks. If leaks do exist, they could cause serious problems, such as a backup of wastewater that could do extensive damage to your property and your home.
Cesspool Maintenance Tips
In addition to having a professional cesspool company maintain your tank, you should also make sure that you are taking necessary precautions to avoid damaging the tank or causing an overflow.
- Be mindful of water consumption. Cesspools are only designed to hold so much. Once they reach capacity, an overflow is inevitable. Make sure you aren’t inundating the tank. For example, don’t do several loads of laundry over the span of a few hours, or run several fixtures and appliances that require drainage at the same time, such as the washing machine, dishwasher, kitchen sink, and shower. A great way to control water consumption is by installing low-flow fixtures and appliances.
- Watch what you flush. When it comes to cesspools and what can be flushed into them, a good rule of thumb to follow is this: if you can’t, you wouldn’t, or you didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it in the cesspool. This includes any inorganic items, such as cigarette butts, feminine hygiene products, cotton swabs, diapers, etc. Also, certain liquids should not be put into a cesspool, including motor oil, grease, large amounts of household cleaners, and harsh chemicals.
- Remove trees. As we’ve already discussed, tree roots cause major problems for cesspools. If you have any trees growing near the tank or the drain field, make sure you have them removed. While the trees may be lovely, the damage they can cause just isn’t worth it.
Cesspools must be maintained in order to ensure they are working properly. Maintenance also prevents serious issues, such as failure, backups, and even the possibility of needing a complete cesspool replacement. If you live in the Syosset area and are looking for a reputable cesspool company to maintain your tank, contact Long Island Cesspool at (631) 529-2149. For more than 10 years, we have been servicing the residents of Syosset and have developed a reputation for excellence. We are situated within close proximity to the Schenck-Mann House and the Ice Works Skating Center. We can quickly access your location via South Oyster Bay Road, Cold Spring Road, or any other major or minor roadway in town.