Why Are Cesspits A Health Risk?

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. Read the Affiliate Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.


Cesspits, also known as cesspools, can pose a health risk if they are not properly maintained or if they overflow. This is because the sewage waste they contain can seep into the ground and contaminate the surrounding soil and water sources. This can lead to the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses.

Why Are Cesspits A Health Risk: Bacteria

Sewage and wastewater contain a variety of bacteria, such as E.coli and Salmonella, that can cause diarrhea, fever, cramps, and sometimes vomiting, headache, weakness, or loss of appetite. These bacteria can also lead to more serious illnesses such as sepsis and meningitis. Additionally, some parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium found in wastewater can cause diarrhea, cramping, weight loss and malabsorption.


Fungi such as Aspergillus and Candida found in sewage and wastewater can also cause respiratory infections, including lung infections such as aspergillosis and candidiasis. These infections can be particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly, young children, and people with chronic illnesses.

Why Are Cesspits A Health Risk: Viruses

Viruses found in sewage and wastewater can also cause a variety of illnesses. For example, Hepatitis A is a viral infection that can be contracted from contaminated water. Additionally, viruses like norovirus and rotavirus that cause stomach flu can be found in the sewage and wastewater.

How To Maintain And Keep Your Cesspit Safe

Why Are Cesspits A Health Risk?

Here are some steps you can take to maintain and keep your cesspit safe:

  1. Have the cesspit inspected and pumped out regularly. The frequency of this will depend on the size of the cesspit and the amount of waste it receives, but it’s generally recommended to have it inspected and pumped out at least once a year.
  2. Limit the amount of wastewater entering the cesspit. Reduce the amount of water used in the home and make sure that water from gutters and downspouts is directed away from the cesspit.
  3. Don’t put anything other than human waste and toilet paper in the cesspit. Items such as wipes, sanitary products, and grease can clog the system and lead to backups.
  4. Monitor for signs of problems such as sewage backups, slow drains, or foul odors. If you notice any of these issues, have the cesspit inspected and repaired as soon as possible.
  5. Keep records of when the cesspit was last inspected, emptied and serviced, as well as any other repairs or maintenance performed on the cesspit.
  6. Keep the area around the cesspit clean and well-maintained to prevent contamination of surrounding soil and water sources.
  7. Be aware of the local regulations about cesspits, and ensure that the cesspit is installed, maintained and pumped out according to the regulations.
Related Post  How Many Years Does A Cesspool Last?

By following these steps, you can help to ensure that your cesspit remains safe and in good working condition.

Difference between septic tank and cesspit

The main difference between a septic tank and a cesspit, also known as cesspools, lies in their functionality. A septic tank not only stores wastewater but also treats it. It employs a natural process where solid waste settles at the bottom, while liquids flow out and are absorbed by the surrounding soil through a drainage field. This treatment process helps break down the waste and minimize environmental impact. On the other hand, a cesspit solely serves as a storage unit for wastewater. It retains all the waste without any treatment. As the cesspit fills up, it needs to be regularly emptied or pumped out by a professional service. Cesspits are typically used in areas where soil conditions or regulations don’t allow for the installation of a septic system.

Final Thoughts

When comparing a septic tank vs cesspool it becomes apparent that cesspools pose a significant health risk as the sewage waste can easily leak or overflow and then seep into the ground, contaminating the soil and surrounding water sources.