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Family run business

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Environmentally Friendly

What’s the difference between a cesspit and a septic tank?

06 February 2023

For households and businesses not connected to a mains sewer system, a cesspit or septic tank is necessary for the collection of waste water and sewage. Here, we look at the similarities and differences between them.

While septic tanks and cesspits both collect waste, there are differences in how they work and how they should be maintained.

What is a cesspit?

A cesspit is a sealed tank kept underground that simply collects and stores waste. There is access to the cesspit to enable the waste to be collected, usually via a manhole cover, but there is no outlet. A cesspit does not treat the sewage it holds and is literally just a holding tank.

What is a septic tank?

Although kept underground like a cesspit, a septic tank is much more sophisticated and is made up of two chambers, allowing the tank to carry out a simple treatment process. Solid waste is separated from the liquid in the first chamber and the liquid then passes into the second chamber where it runs into a drainage field or soakaway.  

Septic tank and cesspit emptying

Both cesspits and septic tanks must be emptied on a regular basis and, by law, this must be carried out by a registered waste carrier, like Fortis Hire, experienced in the disposal of hazardous material at specialised sites. 

Cesspit emptying

Depending on the number of people the cesspit serves, their water usage and the size of the tank itself, a cesspit may need to be emptied annually, every quarter or even monthly. This ensures that the waste does not solidify nor the tank overflow, which would cause pollution in the surrounding ground.  

Septic tank cleaning

Where the solid waste that is separated from the liquid settles in the septic tank’s chamber, it forms a sludge which needs to be removed regularly, usually once or twice a year depending on the capacity of the tank. Septic tank emptying ensures the tank operates effectively and will reduce the risk from blockages. Where the sludge has been allowed to solidify, the septic tank will need further servicing. 

Liquid waste disposal from Fortis Hire

Fortis Hire is a registered waste carrier with the Environment Agency (upper tier licence number CBDU234474), and we operate a fleet of vacuum pump trucks which enables us to  clean septic tanks and empty cesspits. Whether you require a regular service or a one-off clean, you can be confident that we will dispose of your cesspit sewage and septic tank sludge at an authorised disposal site, in line with all current government agency guidelines.   

If you have a cesspit or septic tank on your property in any of the locations we serve, and would like to arrange for it to be emptied and cleaned, or if you would just like to find out more about the liquid waste disposal services we offer, please contact us by email at ,or give us a call on 01525 643850. Our friendly sales staff will be happy to answer any questions and to help with any enquiries.

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