How to Fill in Abandoned Cesspools

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Things You'll Need

  • Jackhammer or sledgehammer

  • Shovel

  • Clean fill dirt, sand, gravel or concrete.

Cesspools are deep holes lined with brick, cement or concrete. Cesspools hold wastewater that absorbs through holed walls and into the soil. Cesspools take in overflow from septic tanks. A cesspool is indicated by a circle on the map of your property. A disadvantage is that they can infect groundwater. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulated that all cesspools had to be replaced with a different system by April 2005. The EPA also banned large-capacity cesspools in 2000. Hawaii was the most affected because cesspools were more common there than in other states.


Step 1

Remove the waste from pool. Find a company in your area online or in the phone book that performs this service, which isn't a task you can complete yourself due to EPA standards. The EPA requires professional removal be completed before the agency will give the "all clear" to fill the pool in.


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Step 2

Call your local Building and Safety Division; the agency will examine the cesspool. Give the inspector a copy of the receipt from the removal of the waste. After the local inspector gives you a permit, you can start filling.

Step 3

Take off or destroy the top of the pool. Depending on the material, a jackhammer or sledgehammer could be necessary.


Step 4

Make a hole 12 inches wide at the bottom to allow for drainage of surface water as it trickles into the ground.

Step 5

Fill the cesspool with earth, sand, gravel or concrete. Compress the material so it doesn't settle. Ensure you don't fill it over the side or near an outlet pipe.


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