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Non-mains drainage - septic tanks, cesspools and road gullies

Non-mains drainage is mainly found in rural areas of Allerdale.

What is a cesspool?

A cesspool is a watertight underground tank with a minimum capacity of 18,000 litres. Older cesspools are lined with brick or concrete, and more modern ones with plastics, polythene or steel. Foul water is stored until the time of disposal. A cesspool must be pumped out or otherwise emptied by a competent contractor. It is an offence for anyone other than a competent contractor to do this.

What is a septic tank?

A septic tank is effectively a mini-sewerage system. Sewage is stored in a watertight tank where bacteria break down solid matter to one third of its original volume. Settled solids are retained and a clear liquid flows out via land drainage.

Installing a new septic tank requires permission from Building Control and a consent to discharge from the Environment Agency.

Problems with cesspools and septic tanks

If you think there is a risk to the environment or human health from a faulty cesspool or spetic tank then you can inform our Environmental Protection team via the general enquiry form.

Road gullies

A road gully is a chamber covered with a metal grate or grill at the edge of a highway. It collects and drains water from the highway. Road gullies are the responsibility of Cumbria County Council.

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