The invention relates to an aeration device for digestion pits, or similar waste disposal sites and a method for operating said aeration device. According to the invention, the extant aeration channels (1) are separated into aeration chambers (16), by dividing walls (15), with an aeration pipe (3) leading to each aeration chamber and terminating in said chamber. On the feed-side, the aeration pipes are connected by means of a stop-cock (13) and/or a flow regulator (14) with a compressed air supply distribution line. Furthermore, a closable leached water drainpipe (2) leads from each aeration chamber, whose outlet end opens out into a drainage device. The drainage channels (10), for leached water, which run alongside the aeration channels, have no dividing walls and have, on the front face thereof, a cover with a stopcock (18) arranged therein. The disclosed configuration permits the operation of the digestion pit with either forced ventilation or with chimney-effect ventilation.