Septic tanks and cesspools are both commonly used to treat and dispose of household wastewater, but they are not the same. Understanding the key differences between these two systems can help you make an informed decision about which one is right for your home.
A septic tank is a buried, watertight container that receives and stores wastewater from the home. Inside the tank, bacteria break down the waste, reducing its volume and separating liquids from solids. The liquids are then discharged into a drain field, where they are further treated and dispersed into the ground. Septic tanks are typically made of concrete, fiberglass or plastic, and come in various sizes to accommodate different household sizes.
A cesspool, on the other hand, is an underground chamber that receives and stores wastewater, but does not have any means of treatment. Instead, cesspools rely on the natural processes of evaporation, filtration, and bacteria action to reduce the volume of waste. The liquids are then discharged into the surrounding soil, where they can be carried away by groundwater. Cesspools are usually made of brick, stone, or concrete and are less common than septic tanks.
One of the main differences between septic tanks and cesspools is the level of treatment they provide. Septic tanks offer a higher level of treatment, with bacteria breaking down waste and separating liquids from solids. Cesspools, on the other hand, do not have any treatment process, and rely on natural processes to reduce the volume of waste.
Another difference is the discharge of liquids, septic tanks discharge the liquids into a drain field, where they are further treated and dispersed into the ground. Cesspools discharge the liquids into the surrounding soil, where they can be carried away by groundwater.
It's also important to note that cesspools are illegal in many states, and not recommended by health and environmental agencies, because of the potential for contamination of ground water and the lack of treatment.
In conclusion, septic tanks and cesspools are different systems for treating and disposing of household wastewater. Septic tanks offer a higher level of treatment and are legal in most states, while cesspools rely on natural processes and are illegal in many states. When deciding which system is right for your home, it's important to consider the level of treatment you need, the local regulations and the potential for contamination.
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