cesspit owners this way please

(16 Posts)
Neverjoketodogs Fri 30-Sep-16 18:27:00

DH and I have fallen in love with a beautiful cottage which ticks all our boxes except that it is not on mains sewerage and has a cesspit (not a septic tank).

I am interested in hearing from anyone who has a cesspit. How often do they need emptying? Do they smell? Is there a risk of overflow if there is too much toilet action? Would this put you off buying an otherwise perfect house?

Glitterspy Fri 30-Sep-16 18:33:11

We have a shared septic tank with 4 neighbours. (Sorry not a cess pit)

It's absolutely fine, we all share costs of maintenance and emptying. It doesn't smell, even on rodding/emptying days. We do have to be careful (and tell guests to be careful) not to put wipes/sanpro/anything but loo roll into the drains - but that's really not been difficult and we've only had one blockage in 3 years which was easy to diagnose and sort.

It's also cheaper water rates as we don't pay waste water!

mollie123 Fri 30-Sep-16 18:37:13

did not realise cesspits were still in use - most rural cottages have a septic tank which rarely needs emptying (unlike cesspits) provided you are careful and do not use things like bio detergents etc.
ask lots of questions about cesspit with EA or seller - they should give you the gen and you can decide whether it is something you can compromise on. As pp said - saves on your water rates!

Neverjoketodogs Fri 30-Sep-16 18:55:37

I'm sure the EA said cesspit and that the current owners have it emptied periodically (not sure how often) which makes it more likely to be a cesspit rather than a septic tank but I will clarify. I'm never sure how honest vendors will be about this sort of thing if they are keen to sell. I will quiz the EA further. The cottage is quite rural and there is no mains sewerage or gas to the village. The central heating is oil powered which doesn't worry us but really unsure about the cesspit/septic tank.

didireallysaythat Fri 30-Sep-16 21:25:54

Replacing a cesspit with a septic tank isn't too big a deal - it's a day on a man with a digger, gravel, pipes and you're done. A cesspit means you do need to think carefully about discharging baths, washing machines etc into it just because of the volumes involved, while a septic tank can handle these. As a kid we had our tank emptied every month but the pit that replaced it emptied every 12 months.

specialsubject Fri 30-Sep-16 22:06:03

If you are planning to change anything, do some research on new rules - i dont know much more but it may be aint broke dont fix.

Oil heating still cheap, and you can cook on lpg if you prefer it to electric.

Jugglingballs65 Fri 30-Sep-16 22:13:32

We have a cess pit. It needs emptying 3-4 times a year. Depends on the size and the amount we put in it.
Emptying it is easy, just order the wagon to come and empty it. Smells a bit when being emptied but not for long.
Need to keep a check when it needs emptying or it can back up and call out as an emergency double the price. Costs us about £115 to empty.
One problem being brick is that in very heavy rainfall it can fill with groundwater, so many have pumps to lose the water elsewhere in the garden!

justaweeone Sat 01-Oct-16 09:28:49

We have a septic tank, empty once a year
New regs here
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/general-binding-rules-small-sewage-discharge-to-a-surface-water

Neverjoketodogs Sat 01-Oct-16 22:18:52

Thanks for responses so far. Anyone else able to share their experience? Still undecided as to whether this is a deal breaker.

TheCaptainsCat Sat 01-Oct-16 22:27:19

My MIL has a cess pit at her house. In hot weather it does smell when it's getting full - by hot I mean about 30 degrees, which it regularly is where she lives. I've not noticed a smell in cooler weather. When it's full it does leak and make the ground above it boggy. This can smell a bit. When we stay there are 6 people in the house and it needs emptying about every 3 weeks. Hope this helps!

iMatter Sat 01-Oct-16 22:47:17

Don't let this be a deal breaker. I get that the idea of having your own poo festering underneath your garden is a bit weird but actually it's completely fine and really easy to deal with. We have had a septic tank and a cess pit.

Please don't lose out on a fab property because of your "city ways" wink

iMatter Sat 01-Oct-16 22:50:11

CaptainsCat - your mil needs to get someone in! It shouldn't be like that at all!

chattygranny Sat 01-Oct-16 22:55:53

We have a cess pit. Not all land is suitable for septic tanks. It's no problem. The only ones which are a problem locally are ones where people don't get them emptied so they overflow. The vendor should be able
to tell you how often, who and cost. One advantage of a cesspit over a septic tank (we had one in a previous property) is that you have to be careful what you put down the drains as it can disturb the balance whereas with the cesspit we treat it like mains drains.

TheCaptainsCat Sat 01-Oct-16 23:24:54

iMatter, it probably is true that my MIL has a dodgy cess pit! She lives in Eastern Europe and the infrastructure can still be a little shaky, it takes a long time for the maintenance people to come in the summer months, probably because they are so busy. When I've been in spring/ winter there is never any smell or boggyness. I hope I haven't put you off OP, sounds like a sufficiently serviced cess pit would be fine!

fluffikins Sun 02-Oct-16 07:11:41

My parents do, they planted two willow trees near it though and now it only needs emptying every few years, the trees just suck it all up!

misson Sun 02-Oct-16 07:32:51

Septic tank here. No problems and very economical.

Very different to a cess pit. So I would confirm.

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