24 hr Emergency Callout

How to Stop a Cesspit from Smelling

How to Stop a Cesspit from Smelling


Foul smells around your property can be a deeply unpleasant frustration, especially if you know where they are coming from but not how to get rid of them. If you want to know how to stop a cesspit from smelling, we’ve created this guide to help you. We have years of experience in carrying out cesspit emptying and other services, and know how to pinpoint causes of bad smells to come up with the most effective solutions to neutralise them.

Common Causes of Cesspit Smells

Most commonly, a cesspit will smell because the tank is full and needs emptying. However, there are a few more reasons that you might find your cesspit, or areas around your home, starting to smell. Many of these reasons are shared with owners of septic tanks who are having the same problem:

Your Cesspit is Broken or Damaged

If your cesspit is old, there is a chance that it may have become worn down from years of use. This may have resulted in cracks or other damaged parts, which are now allowing sewage and its smells to escape.

Blocked Drains

If the drains to your cesspit are partially or completely blocked, this might be the cause of any bad smells around your property.

Food Waste in the Cesspit

When we eat food, our bodies will break it down and leave only waste as a result. This waste will then pass into the cesspit via a property’s drainage system. If the property owner lets food waste enter the cesspit through a food disposal unit, they will be adding waste that hasn’t already been broken down by a human body. This could result in the food sitting there and rotting, creating a bad smell.

Incorrect Ventilation

Most homes will be fitted with a soil stack, which allows fumes from the property’s sewer drains to go up through a vent and be released out above the roof. It’s important to ensure the air flow is correct when you have a private system such as a cesspit. Air must be flowing out of the soil vent pipe, or plumbing vent pipe, in order to enable poor-quality air to flow up and out. 

A Crack in the Soil Stack

If you are experiencing smells in your home and you know that your cesspit does not need emptying, then it is possible air could be getting into your property via a crack in your soil stack.

An Air Admittance Valve Has Been Used

Air admittance valves are acceptable for use on mains sewage, but they cannot be used on private systems like cesspits. 

The Water in Your U-Bend Has Dried Up

U-bends prevent gases from escaping up through toilets because the water acts as a barrier. If this dries up for any reason, then smells from your cesspit will escape up through the pipes and into your bathroom.

How to Neutralise Cesspit Odours

The most efficient and effective way to stop a cesspit from smelling is to get the tank pumped. You should never attempt to clean or empty a cesspit yourself, however. The work is dangerous and should only ever be carried out by a specialist, using the right tools and equipment. They should also be able to maintain it, to ensure there are no leaks coming from the tank.

Cesspits will need to be emptied on a very regular basis in order to keep them in their best condition. Depending on the size of the tank and the number of people using it on a daily basis, this could mean having it pumped as often as monthly or as little as yearly. 

Other things you can do to stop smells coming from your cesspit include:

  • Not allowing food waste to go directly into the cesspit
  • Having your pipes and drains inspected and cleaned regularly
  • Having your soil stack checked to ensure correct installation
  • Having your soil stack checked to ensure there is no damage
  • Regularly flushing all the toilets of your property

Do You Have a Foul-Smelling Cesspit?

If you have a cesspit that is starting to plague your property with foul smells, Coastal Drains will be there whenever you need to get it pumped out. We can also maintain it for you, ensuring long term performance. Our services for cesspits are all competitively priced, we never ask for call-out fees, and all of our work is completed by experienced, local professionals who will know exactly how to maintain your tank. 

Contact us today and let us help you keep your cesspit functioning properly, so that the air around it and the rest of your property stays as clean and fresh as it was before.