What Causes Cesspools Systems to Fail?

How would you know that your cesspool is failing, or has failed? What signs should you look for? We have listed a few situations that may signify septic system failure.

1. When you experience problems with your drains especially during rainy days or when the ground is wet.
2. If sewage backs up into your house.
3. If there is a need to pump your system more frequently than every few years or so.
4. If the area around your cesspool is wet, even in the absence of rain.
5. If the drains empty slowly for reasons aside from clogged pipes.

Failing cesspools cannot treat and dispose of sewage in safe manner and may lead to noxious bacteria entering nearby wells and surface water. Why do cesspool systems fail? Here, we have listed the major factors that cause failure of such systems.

Poor Maintenance. Obviously, any material or major appliance would eventually fail if it lacked proper care and maintenance and the same goes with cesspools. Proper cesspool maintenance should always include routine checkups and regular pumping. Ideally, the cesspool needs to be pumped at least every 1 to 3 years depending on the number of people in the household and the amount of waste that goes into the tank. If a garbage disposal unit is present in your home, it requires septic tank pumping more frequently. Proper system maintenance also includes avoiding chemical and non biodegradable materials from flushing down the toilet drain. These materials include, but are not limited to, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, medication, cigarette butts, plastics, etc. Chemicals may kill the bacteria in the septic tank that are necessary in digestion of scum/biosolids, while those non biodegradable materials may cause clogging in the baffles. Basically, if you did not, would not and could not eat it, then it should not be in the septic tank.

1. Excessive Use of Water. Overloading the system with water more than it can handle/absorb can cause trouble with the cesspool system. In the construction and design of the system, a specific wastewater flow has been considered and in the event that this flow rate is exceeded, the excess water backs up in the surfaces in the yard or into the house. The excessive use of water may result from a leaky or dripping faucet, and additional number of people in the house using the water.

2. Poor cesspool System Design and Installation. Adequate space and the right kind of soil are the main factors in designing and installation of the cesspool system. The space requirements depend on the amount of sewage flowing into the system and conditions of the drain field. The soil is the most essential part of the septic system when it comes to treating and dispersing the treated sewage. Even if a system was designed properly, if the soil cannot handle the wastewater flow rate, it may still lead to problems in the system. Failure to properly design the septic system may eventually lead to failure of the whole system.

It is important to report your problems to your local environment health department and request for evaluation when you see hints of cesspool system failure. Fixing the problem as soon as possible may help save the life of your cesspool system and take a major bite out of potential replacement costs.

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