My family and I live in an area that uses cesspools instead of sewers. We also live in an area where there has been a number of cesspool collapses, some of which with tragic results. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, some friends of ours woke up one morning to a large sink hole in their yard, the result of an overnight collapse.

Which has my wife (who grew up with sewers) in a state of panic and I'm not far behind her. Especially now that we have two little boys who play in the backyard a lot.

My question is this - is there anything we can do to prevent this from happening or to possibly predict when it will happen? The last time we had the cesspool drained, the technician said it was impossible to predict how long cesspools will last (in fairness, I was asking how frequently we'd need to have it drained, not when it would give way).

I'm assuming it's the original cesspool. We're only in the house between 6-7 years, but the house itself is about 50 years old.

Two more things to keep in mind - everything that can go wrong with this house, does. And we don't have the money right now to dig up the old one and put a new one in.