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About your cesspool

What is a cesspool?

All homes on Long Island, with the exception of some that are on public sewer systems, have private sanitary systems known as cesspools. If you have a cesspool, all of your waste water flows through pipes to a single cesspool or multiple cesspools on your property. This is dependent on the age of your home.

The primary difference between a septic tank and a cesspool is that a septic tank is a solid structure that does not drain. Its function is to collect the solid waste and keep it contained so only the waste water flows to the cesspool through a pipe. The cesspool has drain holes and an open bottom which allows the water to drain into the soil below.


Homes built prior to 1975 generally solely have cesspools. In this situation, all of the waste water and solids from the home flow into the cesspool then into the ground below. Homes built after 1975 have a more modern system which is still used today, known as a septic system. The primary purpose of the septic tank is to keep the outflow of waste water cleaner when draining into the soil.

Maintain your cesspool

Understanding how the septic system works

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