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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Using the septic tank for outhouse
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Sylvan
Member
# Posted: 11 Aug 2020 10:52
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Does anyone know if you can put an outhouse over the manhole cover of a septic tank. We will have a traditional septic and drain field. We do not have a structure yet, or a well. Our excavator says we can put a small toilet right over the tank for now and make "direct deposits". We do not live there full time. My question...won't it just sit there in the concrete tank? Will there be odor issues? We could try venting but I think that only works if the outhouse is getting at least some sun to encourage the air flow. (Our septic will be in the shade) I know we can just dig an outhouse, which we may end up doing but just wondering about the above scenario. Thanks.

hueyjazz
Member
# Posted: 11 Aug 2020 11:41
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You need flow of water to make it work the way it should. I think you would just be filling up a tank you would need to get pumped out when you do want it to work right.

jhp
Member
# Posted: 11 Aug 2020 13:48
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The whole tank is supposed to be watertight, keeping contents in and rainwater out. Your outhouse idea would let a ton of rainwater in and probably overwhelm the drainfield in a big storm. Also I don't think you could ever get enough venting to vent a chamber that big fast enough.

I am guessing your excavator meant just direct connect the toilet to the inlet pipe and fill and flush that toilet manually if you don't have a water line there. That would work the same as if it was in the house, the water in the trap in the toilet keeps gases out.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 11 Aug 2020 16:46
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The septic tank is where you want solids to stay. Since I assume your going to put liquids in there too you will basically have a holding tank. Just like a porta potty. You will have to get it pumped more often than with a leachfield but it will work fine.

ICC
Member
# Posted: 11 Aug 2020 17:30 - Edited by: ICC
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Quoting: Sylvan
. We will have a traditional septic and drain field. We do not have a structure yet, or a well. Our excavator says we can put a small toilet right over the tank for now and make "direct deposits".


It sounfs to me that a toilet connected to the septic is what your septic excavator recommended. That will need some water for flushing. Otherwise a typical outhouse onthe hatch will result ina pyramid of excrement building up. I don't see a problem with a toilet as eventually treated water will exit bythe pipes and leach field. But that does need water along with the excrement. An outhouse will not supply the liquids, unless as mentioned rain gets in and you do NOT want that.

I think you need to haul in water in sugficient quantity to allow flushing or use porta potties. Maybe it is time to get the well drilled? That is often done before building and IMO is a good idea. Septic first, well second, along with electric grid connection if any. Then build the cabin.

I assume the road or driveway is in already as that is needed for equipment access and supplies. That should be wide enoughand done well enough for delivery trucks, propane and septic pumping as well asemergency vehicles and have a turnaround. Zoning often has minimums.

jhp
Member
# Posted: 11 Aug 2020 17:45
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Something you could do if you don't have a well yet is capture rainwater off the roof of the outhouse. Just checked a calculator and a 4x8 roof will net about 20 gallons in a 1 inch rainfall.

So if you built a nice oversized outhouse, say 6x8 and captured rain off of both sides of the roof you'd be able to fill a rain barrel with pretty much any good rainstorm.

Figure you can hold maybe 45 gallons of water in a 55 gallon barrel (you lose a few gallons at the top and bottom of the barrel for inlet and outlet), 1.6 gallons per flush that's about 28 flushes per storm.

If you mount the rain barrel above the toilet height-wise, you just have to open a valve to refill it, though it will take a bit of time.

If you want to get really fancy, grab a small solar panel and charge controller, a small AGM battery, and small 12v water pump and make the whole process super simple. Probably cost around $200 for the whole kit, except the building and gutters.

old243
Member
# Posted: 11 Aug 2020 21:08
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I think an out house over a septic tank would work well. It really is no different than a pit except larger. You should fill the tank with water, as well . At our place if you left a septic tank empty , it would float out of the ground much like a boat I think your contactor gave you good advice. We have a high water table, old 243

Shadyacres
Member
# Posted: 11 Aug 2020 21:37
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I have a 1000 gallon concrete tank at the cabin i just bought beside us. I was thinking of maybe building an outhouse and use that . It would have to be pumped out though. I don't know how long it would take to fill up. We also have a well and power at that location. Only about 400 feet from our cabin. I didn't want anyone else to buy it and be so close.

Sylvan
Member
# Posted: 14 Aug 2020 17:34
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Thanks everyone. Appreciate all the input. I'll keep you posted how it turns out. I am leaning towards putting the covered outhouse over the hole so no rain getting in. Setting up a rain barrel as jhp suggested and using that to keep water in the tank. Still not sure about odor. Guess I'll just have to see.

toyota_mdt_tech
Member
# Posted: 14 Aug 2020 19:07
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It needs to enter the septic tank via the inlet, not the manhole cover. Septic systems develops a crust at the top and sludge at the bottom, the incoming goes between these. Using the manhole cover would not let this happen. Also, no air entering tank. With open manhole, it would.

Can you hook up a holding tank into outhouse, and after its filled up, dump it via a pipe hooked to inlet with a gate valve etc like an RV?

Aklogcabin
Member
# Posted: 15 Aug 2020 09:30
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I like this . Good ol figure it out . Using what you have. The government doesn’t have the perfect answer. I think jhp had a great idea. Maybe missing something. But if you had a vent pipe coming from the other manhole . Like a regular cleanout. But extended above the outhouse for odor. If there is water in the pee trap it will stop odors. It is an outhouse. And old 243 always has good ideas ( thanks ) .

ratfink56
Member
# Posted: 17 Aug 2020 19:37
Reply 


I did this for a bit years back. It can be splashy.

NorthRick
Member
# Posted: 18 Aug 2020 18:08 - Edited by: NorthRick
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Quoting: jhp
Something you could do if you don't have a well yet is capture rainwater off the roof of the outhouse. Just checked a calculator and a 4x8 roof will net about 20 gallons in a 1 inch rainfall.

So if you built a nice oversized outhouse, say 6x8 and captured rain off of both sides of the roof you'd be able to fill a rain barrel with pretty much any good rainstorm.

Figure you can hold maybe 45 gallons of water in a 55 gallon barrel (you lose a few gallons at the top and bottom of the barrel for inlet and outlet), 1.6 gallons per flush that's about 28 flushes per storm.

If you mount the rain barrel above the toilet height-wise, you just have to open a valve to refill it, though it will take a bit of time.

If you want to get really fancy, grab a small solar panel and charge controller, a small AGM battery, and small 12v water pump and make the whole process super simple. Probably cost around $200 for the whole kit, except the building and gutters.



While I think all that would work, building a regular outhouse would be easier especially if you have your excavator dig the hole while he is on-site.

You didn't mention how long you expect to use this setup.

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