Has anyone built an outhouse or know how to do the pit area? I am thinking about building one next summer. My soil is very sandy, if that makes a difference. How far away do I put it from anything? Thanks.
Make sure it is at least one hundred feet from your well or any body of water.
In sandy soil you'll probably need to crib the hole. That is, line it with a crib made of poles or something to keep the sides from crumbling into the hole.
Make the hole as deep as possible, at least six feet. To keep odors down and discourage flies, keep a bucket of sawdust or peat or shredded leaves in the outhouse and dump a scoop in after each use. Might need to knock the pile down once in a while and dump in a bucket of organic material (the above-mentioned peat, sawdust, etc.).
A screened ventilation pipe at least 12" in dia. will help with odors, also.
Kathleen in Oregon
Edited to add: depending on how cold your winters are, you probably will want it fairly near your house. We had one that was over a hundred feet from the house when we lived in Alaska, and in the winter that was fun to visit in your nightie in the middle of the night! I'd slip my hubbie's huge bunny boots on to run out, the girls sometimes made a mad dash barefoot, even below zero.
Also in cold winters, you may want to have a styrofoam seat (never feels cold, no matter how cold it is -- except if your outhouse isn't tight and snow blows in through the cracks!). Or take the seat in after each use.
Thanks. I was going to put it downhill from the well but I had forgotten about the 100 ft rule. I don't have to worry about the cold here, just the heat of summer. So I don't need to seal the pit with something?
It depends on your local regulations. They actually work better if they aren't sealed, as otherwise liquids will build up inside. But here in Oregon, for instance, outhouses are only permitted if they have watertight tanks. That means either you empty them frequently, or have several so you can change off and let the others compost for a couple of years.
It would be a good idea to put the house on skids if you expect to move it to another pit someday. Or, you can build a larger house with a double pit under it and just change which side you use once every year or so. A composting toilet that you could clean out would be a good way of doing it also, but an outhouse is probably less expensive and easier to build.
sometimes you can rent a portapotty for just a few bucks if you let them know you intend to keep it for a long time. we had one out by my new barn we built as it was a good ways from the house. we paid 100 bucks for 6 months and they even emptied it for us and kept the tank full of that blue water stuff. doesnt pollute your water and is easy to keep clean. just open the door and spray down with some bleach.
MIL in AZ mountains had a can of lime she sprinkles in the outdoor toitie. She also had 3 coffee cans taped together to make a tube for tp.
I have thought about doing that here in Iowa but have to find out the regs. I thought perhaps digging a posthole with a hand auger with a cut bucket and a toitie seat. Then move it more often. It would be near the shop but have a small surround shelter for privacy.
I don't need more compost, got donkeys for the manure, and peat is a dwindling non renewable resource so that is why I didn't want a composting toilet. I like the humanure system but didn't like the hassle with emptying a bucket. It was just going to be easier in the long run to do the outhouse and probably easier for visitors to understand how to use. One of my neighbors just dug a hole next to a bush and, when it was full, dug another hole by another bush. I would see him walk out to the bush sometimes, kinda embarrassing for me, but it didn't bother him. We are in the desert and can see pretty far and my front porch view is in his direction. He has moved, thank goodness. I am planning on putting my outhouse near some windbreak trees and it will be more private, though it won't matter as my closest neighbor right now is probably over a mile as the crow flies.
That is a great idea, Opus, about using the foam insulation as a seat. Sounds like it would be more comfortable too.
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