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Cesspools act as a solution for locations without mains drainage where the discharge of treated effluent is not permissible due to unsuitable ground conditions, or where infrequent use such as for a holiday home would prevent the use of a septic tank or packaged sewage treatment plant.

Cesspools are purely a holding tank without an outlet, and will require emptying on a frequent basis depending on usage.

Sizing Criteria for Cesspools

British Water sizing criteria should be used when calculating the capacity of a cesspool based on a loading of 200 litres per person per day in residential applications. The tank should be of a sufficient capacity to hold 45 days worth of effluent. For a single dwelling 18,000 litres (4,000 gallons) is the minimum allowable capacity. This capacity is suitable for two residents only.

Silage Tanks


Silage tanks are manufactured in the same sizes as cesspools, and are used for the storage of more toxic natural or chemical waste. Silage tanks are manufactured using special resins designed to be resistant to aggressive silage effluent and to comply with all statutory regulations.

Silage effluent has the potential to cause severe environmental damage if allowed to enter a watercourse as it has a very high BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand), up to 200 times greater than that of domestic sewage. Therefore, if it enters a watercourse it can very quickly remove all of the oxygen and kill off all aquatic life withing the ecosystem.

As silage effluent has caused numerous severe pollution incidents in the countryside, there are now a number of very strict statutory controls to regulate its collection and storage.

A typical application for a silage tank would be for a touring caravan site where a collection vessel was required to hold elsen waste from chemical toilet cassettes.