Avoiding Cesspool Sinkholes

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Most block cesspool cave-ins are unavoidable, according to the Long Island Liquid Waste Association, so it is key for homeowners to be prepared and aware by following a set of guidelines.

• Know where the septic system is located and be aware of all cesspools on the property.

• Do not drive or park cars, or heavy machinery, in or around the vicinity of the septic system. Heavy weight above or around the cesspool can cause a collapse.

• Avoid using areas directly above cesspools as common areas of usage, i.e. picnic tables and children’s play areas.

• Keep an eye out for settlement or sinkholes, which can indicate a possible collapse. If there are symptoms, contact a licensed septic contractor immediately for further investigation.

• After heavy rain, snow or the first thaw at winter’s end, avoid the septic system area. Saturated soils are the most common periods of cesspool collapse.

• Stay away from block cesspools that are pumped out. It can collapse in the absence of outward pressure within the cesspool.

• Consider replacing the block cesspools as soon as possible, which is the only way to eliminate the danger of a collapse.

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