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Does anyone have a cesspool that *never* needs emptying??

(15 Posts)
rak5a Thu 13-Aug-15 20:58:20

We are in the process of buying a house that has a cesspool that has apparently never been emptied since it was built in 1906! They say that the solid waste biodegrades and the liquid runs off. I can't find anything online that confirms that this type of system exists and I wanted to know if anyone else had experience with this. We would love to have an expert come and take a look at it but don't want to end up with a cowboy who says that it has to be emptied for the sake of getting money to do so. Any advice gratefully received! The house is in Surrey if that matters...

threenotfour Thu 13-Aug-15 21:02:26

Yep. This sounds like the type we have. It never needs emptying as it does runs through some filters and biodegrades and the liqud runs off.

elastamum Thu 13-Aug-15 21:02:59

People who live in the wood up the road from us have one. It is a Victorian brick built thing that has been built into the hill below their house. I think everything pretty much seeps into the ground downhill from the house. I don't think it has ever been emptied. Fortunately there is only woodland surrounding them so it doesn't seem to cause any problems

HirplesWithHaggis Thu 13-Aug-15 21:05:06

Yes, we have a cess pool, which works as described. We (in a different property) had a septic tank before, that does need emptied every few years.

PigletJohn Thu 13-Aug-15 21:17:40

Most likely it is brick built and it is leaking.

If it really is a cesspit, then it ought to be emptied as a matter of course.

If it is actually a septic tank, then it is OK for the digested "water" to emerge into a drain, possibly a field drain which is underground, but the sediment still needs to be removed from time to time.

Find your local septic tank expert and consult them.

EssexMummy123 Thu 13-Aug-15 21:28:23

Yes - it's called a 'leaching cesspool' and ours was built around that time, we get it emptied once a year though - it holds 700L.

fridayfreedom Thu 13-Aug-15 21:29:14

We have a brickbuilt cesspit. It needs emptying about 3 times a year. Costs approx £100 each time. Oil has doubled in price where we live but getting rid of * is still the same grin
In the really wet weather it filled within weeks so like everyone else round us we pump off the water .
check it regularly, an emergency empty is twice the price, and rodding the drains on christmas eve is not fun hmm

ThatBloodyWoman Thu 13-Aug-15 21:32:12

Our old house had one like that.Every so often it needed attention with blockages.Make sure nothing other than loo paper goes down the loo.I'm not sure if that was because of the cess thingy or the old narrow pipes though....
We now have the emptying type.

specialsubject Thu 13-Aug-15 21:36:08

I don't know how old our septic tank is, but all well three years in and yes we do check drains, manhole covers, drain fields etc. We have a big garden and also check around so I am certain we aren't sending our waste elsewhere.

just two people, no bleach apart from what is in dishwasher tabs, nothing down the tank except water, body waste and toilet paper. As most people do, I hope.

imagine it will need doing at some point.

Redroad Thu 13-Aug-15 21:58:04

Yes, have something similar...built 1939, brick affair with pipes to drain off water after 'digestion'. Works well...built into a hill below house. Here 9 years, emptied once only because we had been flushing hair away after cleaning plugholes & it blocked outlet. Former owner professed to having never emptied it! I tend to try to ignore its presence. Careful re toilet paper etc, but still use a minimal amount of bleach with no problem and never realised dishwasher tabs were an issue.

PigletJohn Thu 13-Aug-15 22:25:29

dwr tabs and WC cleaners are usually labelled to say if they are septic safe. Most are. Bleach gets "used up" and degrades into salty water on contact with organic grime, so is OK unless you use more than there is muck to neutralise it (the same thing happens to drinking water sterilising tabs; if the water is cloudy or badly contaminated you need more).

HelenF35 Thu 13-Aug-15 23:24:44

We had one when I was growing up. It never needed emptied but did need unblocking every now and again. Mainly due to us kids putting ridiculous amounts of loo roll down the loo.

OnePlanOnHouzz Fri 14-Aug-15 07:47:13

We too have this system - all of the above applies too - so cheap thin loo roll not the lively plush stuff and don't go overboard with the heavy cleaning products ! Bins bags and labels in guest bathroom a to avoid un natural
Waste going in etc ! We have no smells of other problems that you might imagine ! So do t let it out you off !!

lostinikea Fri 14-Aug-15 07:51:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Scoobydoo8 Fri 14-Aug-15 08:02:43

Yes, we have one but there is a big difference between the amount of water used by a family in 1889 and in 2015.

So ours was fine but the water was filtering eventually into a ditch on a neighbour's land and they complained. It was prob fine with microbial action (or whatever it is) dealing with the nasties but we had the drainage from it rerouted to a larger area of ground, so presume it just soaks down into the ground, but also an openable lid added so we can drain it every few years. But for that the pit needs to be accessible from a the sewage lorry with a long tube. They have to cross a field to get to ours.

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