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How deep should the hole for an outhouse be? And I know you pour lye down there every now and then, but how often? And how far should the outhouse be from your water source?
 

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Dig it deep enough so you don't get back splash, eyuckey pitooooooey, but not so deep that the walls cave in, about 3-5 feet above your water table depending on your soil type.

There are no hard and fast answers, as you can see.

I'd suggest between 100 feet from your water source. There may be local restrictions so check into this to be in compliance.
 

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Don't waste good lye, just put a scoop of wood ash down the hole after every use. It's kind of like flushing. Water run through wood ash makes lye. So does urine.
Kirk
 

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If I need a Shelter
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Not so deep you find your mate dead the next morning after falling in head first.Like that Guy in Leadville,Colorado,found his Wife :eek:

big rockpile
 

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Rockpile, just for the sake of curiousity - doesn't matter to me, SHE got rid of me, nicest thing she ever did for me - but just what did that guy in Colorado have her drinking?
 

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Check with your local health department. If outhouses are permitted, they can give you the minimum specifications. It may be possible to have a commercial concrete pit put under one and then having it pumped out when it fills ups. Of course, a variation of SSS may apply here - s**t, shovel and shut-up.

I remember reading about one homestead which used a fairly shallow hole and a moveable outhouse. When it was near filling, they moved the house, put in some dirt and planted a tree.

Ken S. in WC TN
 

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Big Rockpile:

When I was about five or so I did something my older brother didn't like. He drug me to the outhouse and then held my ankles while he dipped my head down in the contents to the hairline. I have never forgiven him for that and it has been over 40 years now.

Ken S. in WC TN
 

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big rockpile said:
Not so deep you find your mate dead the next morning after falling in head first.Like that Guy in Leadville,Colorado,found his Wife :eek:

big rockpile

:) Ok big rockpile, have'nt heard you talk about the little woman lately. :confused:

How is she doing ? Hope She is not getting discouraged
and tired or just wanting to :waa:

Maybe she needs to drop us a line to let us know how thing are going.
That way we will know she is still kicking. :dance:
Don't over work her now :no: just steady. :yeeha:

Or do we have to pay a visit on the family
to see what you been up to lately ? :rolleyes:

Or are things just the same old ( bull ) piling up as usual
like here at my place ? :eek:

Hi Brother :haha:


bumpus
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.
 

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I strongly recomend you look into composting toilets instead of an outhouse. If you don't want to put one inside the house, use 50 gallon plastic drums as collecters under the outhouse. Do a web search on humanure for sites describing 5-gallon bucket types.

==>paul
 

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I visited a place in Washington State which was being developed as a 'homesteader' community. Property was being resold in small acreages with the specific understanding it would be lived lightly on. They had a community outhouse which had the hole over a 55-gallon plastic drum. After each use you sprinkled some sawdust in and then a dusting of lime. On the side was a urinal made out of a plastic jug for the men, In front of the hole was another funnel the women and men aimed for. The urine went into a underground gravel/rock pit. Almost no odor at all. I don't remember what they did with the contents.

Ken S. in WC TN
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, guys. I really appreciate your responses. I'm going to build a house, but I'll be living on the property in a very primitive lean to. I like the idea of a movable outhouse and planting a tree when the hole fills up.
 

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jerneeon said:
I like the idea of a movable outhouse and planting a tree when the hole fills up.
There's another, easier way way. Rather than moving the entire toilet, use an old-fashioned pan (or composting toilet setup). When the receptacle fills up, replace it with a spare, then bury the contents of the first one. If your ground isn't kind, use a post-hole auger to dig a row of holes, then back-fill them one by one with a pan of poop each, then the original soil, then plant the tree (or just mark them with a twig this year, and plant the trees next spring).
 

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Swamptiger is right you would use lime, or wood ashes, or some plant carbon material, (ie; shredded leaves, peat most sawdust, chopped straw) NOT lye.

We used a post hole digger down as deep as hubby could get it for our first toilet out here and just knocked some soil back in as needed to cover deposits.
 

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Outhouses without a containment container are illegal in a lot of places. Southern Iowa has been battling with the Amish over this for awhile now. I'd check with the powers that be before I started digging - better than paying big fines and clean up expenses later.
 

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I'll stick to my septic system and drainfield. Monthly treatment with yeast culture keeps it composting just fine and the drainfield feeds the wormbeds nicely. Best part is I dont have to squat over a bucket or hole like some third world nation resident. Weather you call it quaint or nostalgic, a privy is still a pain in the nose and often a health hazard and the expense of proper septic system is low compared to the headaches.
 
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Well there were five of us in the family, and we dug a new hole every few years and moved the privy over it. Took some of the dirt from the new site to cover the old.

How deep did we dig it? We had stabile clay after the top soil, so dug it as deep as anyone could work in a small hole that would fit under the privey, and still move the dirt. Since I was smallest, I always did the last digging. I think we used fence posts as rollers to move the building to the new location.

Several of you have me curious--how does someone fall into the pit, or be dipped into the pit? You folks must be using terribly large seat holes if someone would fit through them.

Lime, not lye, was used around where we lived.

Mother Earth News wrote an article years ago about how to cope with a sub-zero outhouse. Their best solution was to make a removeable seat of tough styrofoam and simply keep it stored in the house behind the stove until needed. At least that is the way I remember the article.

You might think about planting a tree about the same time as adding a privey. Kind of nice to have the building shaded and a little cooler in the summer. The trees roots would probably remove some moisture if there is an excess. Should grow well too from the fertilizer benefit.

Make sure you build a unit with a venting system. There should be a vent to remove odors from below the seat, through a pipe to above the roofline.

It is also a good idea to have summer screened vents, that can be closed off during winter. Snow might be soft to sit on, but it would be cold.

The Walton Feed site ( http://waltonfeed.com/ ) under "info" then under "Old Timer" area has information on privies. http://waltonfeed.com/old/out.html

Now don't forget, the Montgomery Ward catalogues were softer than Sears Roebuck and Company catalogues.

Oh yeah, always check for snakes when you lift the lid and before you sit down. Otherwise you might fill the pit in one use.
 

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Shrek said:
I'll stick to my septic system and drainfield. Monthly treatment with yeast culture keeps it composting just fine and the drainfield feeds the wormbeds nicely.

:confused: Just bought a house with septic and drain field. what recipe would yo use for your monthly yeast culture? Would you use bread yeast or wine yeast? Down the toilet, sink or straight into tank?

Thanks :worship:
 

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MN Mom said:
Shrek said:
I'll stick to my septic system and drainfield. Monthly treatment with yeast culture keeps it composting just fine and the drainfield feeds the wormbeds nicely.

:confused: Just bought a house with septic and drain field. what recipe would yo use for your monthly yeast culture? Would you use bread yeast or wine yeast? Down the toilet, sink or straight into tank?

Thanks :worship:
A septic system is much like a human's digestive system.

Your _best_ bet is to keep it healthy & fed properly, and you will have _no_ need for any type of additives.

For exanmple, a lot of people live on Tums & Pepto & the like - fine, that works.

but isn't is better to not have to use all that stuff, and just be healthy to begin with?

Keep your use of bleach to a minumum. And don't use anti-bactierials. and basically don't dump anything odd or harsh down the sink.

Pump it every so many years (based on the size of your tank vs the amount of stuff (#of people using it) that gets dumped into it) to take out the stuff that does not digest. _Every_ septic needs to be cleaned out every so often, as there is grease & solids that will fill it & not decompose.

As long as the eank is airtight & gets a supply of poo and you don't upset it with very many harsh chemicals, it will have everything it needs & you can save your money on the 'additives'. they do not help any with a healthy septic; and if you have an unhealthy one you are only applying a bandaid.

As to the main topic, outhouses are illegal in nearly all locations these days. Depends how much the locals want to enforce the laws in _your_ area.

--->Paul
 
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