A Word About Cesspools
As there are almost no municipal sewer systems on the east end of Long Island, most properties utilize underground septic systems comprised of various types of holding tanks, dry wells and cesspools. Prior to the mid 1970s, the cesspools were built of concrete blocks and clay bricks held together by mortar.
Over the years, due a number of factors such as freezing and thawing, the composition of the mortar, and the sandy soil on the island, many of these underground structures have become unstable and weak. As a result, in recent years, there's been an increasing number of collapses and unfortunately, even several fatalities.
Therefore, we strongly recommend that anyone planning an event determine the locations of all the underground components on the property before bringing in trucks or other heavy equipment. A reputable building inspector, engineer or septic system service company can render invaluable assistance in this area.
We have been in business since 1932, so Norsic has extensive records on the types and locations of thousands of underground resources on the east end. We are happy to share this information with anyone who needs it.
What is a Septic Tank?
Septic systems have been installed since the late 1800s, replacing the old outside facility commonly known as the outhouse.
A septic system is a mini on-site sewage treatment system used when municipal sewers are no available.
Septic systems on Long Island usually consist of a primary receiver (septic tank) and drainage area (cesspool or drainage field). Homes constructed after 1972 will have a septic tank as the primary receiver. Some home built prior to 1972 will have a cesspool as a primary receiver. Most homes have a septic tank serving as the primary receiver and a cesspool or multiple cesspools serving as the drainage area. If properly installed and maintained on the regular basis. Your septic system will provide many years of trouble free service
How Do Septic Systems Work?
Waste water leaves your home through a pipeline called the mainline, and then enters the septic tank (primary receiver). The septic tank holds the waste for primary treatment where solids and liquids are separated by gravity. The heavy digested solids called sludge accumulate at the bottom of the tank. The lighter materials (grease and oils) are called a scum layer that floats to the top of the liquid. Natural bacteria generated by the solid waste partially decomposes the waste in the septic tank and reduces the amount of solid material by as much as 60%. The septic tank is only part of your septic system. It is designed to remove the solids from your waste from your water as shown above prior to the waste water entering the cesspool (drainage area). Solids and sludge should be pumped form the septic tank every 2 years (as recommended by the county health department) by a licensed septic hauler to prevent solid materials from entering the cesspool. This will avoid cost repairs to the cesspool drainage area commonly referred to as the overflow
What is an Overflow?
The cesspool (drainage area) commonly referred to as an overflow is designed to leach water only.
The cesspool should receive water only – solid waste will clog drainage area.
The homeowner should have their pumping contractor inspect the overflow system when the solids and sludge are pumped from the septic tank to insure proper drainage. If it is determined that the overflow requires service the homeowner may elect pumping, aeration and application of drainage additives to the overflow to restore drainage.
Why do septic systems fail?
Generally. Systems fail due to the lack of maintenance. When the septic tank is not pumped on a regular basis it will become overloaded with solid waste. This overloading will cause solid waste to enter the cesspool (drainage area). The cesspool will become clogged, as it is not designed to handle solid matter. This will cause the system to overfill leading to the possibility of waste backing up into the household.
How long should a septic system last?
A properly installed septic system with proper maintenance will provide many years of trouble free service in most cases.
What are signs of a failing system
- What are signs of a failing system
- Sluggishness when flushing the toilet
- Plumbing back ups in sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc.
- Gurgling sounds in the plumbing
- Grass in the yard growing faster and greener in one particular area
- Ground mushy underfoot
- Obnoxious odors inside or outside your home
- Low spots beginning to appear in yard, whether or not any of the above symptoms have occurred.
Do's and Don'ts
- Know where your septic system is located.
- Have your septic system is located.
- Direct all storms water run-off away from the septic system.
- Conserve water by using water saving plumbing fixtures.
- Fix all leaking plumbing fixtures
- Drive or park over the septic system.
- Plant trees or build anything over your septic system.
- Dispose of non-biodegradable materials in the system.
- Dispose of kitchen grease and food scraps in the system.