You may be asking yourself: are septic tanks a new invention, or have they been around for a long time? One hundred years ago? Two hundred years ago? Even older? The best answer lies almost two hundred years ago. Still, exhaustive research into the topic will take you further out into the weeds than you might think. Read on to learn about the unique solutions humans have found for their own waste throughout history.
Waste Management in Ancient Times
Going back to ancient days, waste management was handled in different ways by different groups of people, but before the advent of running water, things looked very different. Even in ancient Rome, sewer systems that were built were designed to carry rainfall and other surface water away from buildings, not to solve sanitation problems. Much more recently, architecture in Paris began to accommodate for wastewater drainage in the 1300s, but this method still doesn’t resemble a septic system or even a modern cesspool.
Early Development of Septic Systems
The modern idea of the septic system builds off the older design of cesspools. Many people today still have cesspools, and Maui Pumping offers services for cesspool pumping, rehab, maintenance and more. When they were first invented however, cesspools were little more than containers buried deep in the ground, sort of like a well. Designs where waste collected in cesspits or cesspools yet drained moisture out into the soil first came about in the 1500s. Still, that design had a long way to go.
Pre-industrial cesspools that filled up had to be emptied by little more than shovels. Problems understandably arose, like lingering odors, poisonous gases, and even well water contamination. It wouldn’t be until the 1800s that primitive pumps and revised construction standards would keep people safer.
The Invention of the Septic System
It wouldn’t be until the mid-1800s when Jean-Louis Mouras invented what is commonly thought of as the first septic system. This system used pipes that connected his home to a cesspool, and later added more pipes designed to let the liquid waste out into the soil. Improvements in plumbing and more durable materials would come about, but everyone using a septic system today can thank Mouras for his ingenuity in human waste management.