Cesspools-When you think of this word a pretty picture does not come to mind. There is a reason for that especially here in New Jersey if you have a septic system instead of sewers. According to NJDEP code N.J.A.C 7:9A Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems -Subchapter: 7:9A-3:16 Other sanitary sewage disposal systems
a) Cesspools, privies, outhouses, latrines, pit toilets or other similar sanitary sewage disposal units are not systems.
What is a cesspool?
A cesspool is also known as a drywell which is made from cinder block or brick. Some are cast in concrete. They were used for the disposal of sewage. Liquids leak out through the soil as conditions allowed, while solids decay and collected in the bottom as compost matter. As the solids accumulate, eventually the partials block the escape of liquids causing the cesspool or drywell to drain more slowly, overflow and/or malfunction. This type of system is subject to overloading and/or flooding by heavy rains as it is not enclosed or sealed like a septic tank. The waste disposed in the cesspool or drywell does not break down easy or can be removed as would having a septic tank (acting like a filter and can be routinely cleaned) before it. This type of system is very antiquated system which can cause more harm than good. A very deep cesspool can deposit raw sewage directly into the groundwater with minimal biological cleaning, which can lead to well water contamination and polluted drinking water.
So what does that mean to a homeowner that has one?
When an administrative authority discovers a pit toilet, privy, outhouse, latrine or similar sanitary sewage disposal unit, or any cesspool that serves a structure and that is in need of repair or alteration, it must order these units abandoned and a conforming system installed except:
1) If it is not possible to bring the system into conformance with this chapter, the system shall be brought as close to conformance with the requirements of this chapter as the administrative authority (your local health department) determines is possible, provided the system as improved, results in a discharge that is protective of human health and the environment or
2) If the administrative authority is not able to approve a system under (a)1 above, application shall be made for approval to utilize a holding tank in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:9A-3:12c
If you are buying and/or selling a home what does this mean for you?
b) Effective June 2, 2012, except as provided at (c), all cesspools, privies, outhouses, latrines, and pit toilets that are part of a real property transfer shall be abandoned and replace with a system in accordance with (a) above.
c) A cesspool that is not malfunctioning may continue to serve the structure after a real property transfer only in the following circumstances.
Consult with a qualified Septic Contractor in your area to determine if you have or may be buying or selling a home with an active cesspool.
Keep your septic system happy & healthy. In the long run it will keep your home, property and environment healthy & working well for many years to come.
Consult with A-Norton Septic Contracting. We know Septic!
Remember it is the most expensive utility in your home-make it last!