Off Grid Septic Tank How To Build? (Best solution)

  • Dig a trench that’s 4 × 26 × 3 ft (1.22 × 7.92 × 0.91 m). Use either a shovel or an excavator to make a hole in the spot where you want your tank. Keep digging until the hole is 4 feet (1.2 m) wide, 26 feet (7.9 m) long, and 3 feet (0.91 m) deep. You can usually rent excavators for digging from a heavy machinery supply store.

Can you have a septic system off grid?

Off grid sewer and waste management options include, septic, grey water, Humanure, and composting toilet. Installing a water system on your property could be one of the most expensive parts of going off grid, depending on the choices you make and the options you have available where you live.

How much is an off grid septic system?

Some homeowners can spend around $3,000, though it may go closer to $8,000 in some instances. While the cost can seem a bit high, it is usually money well spent as it will ensure that your property will stay clean and free from waste. This is all about providing you with a comfortable and healthy space.

How does off grid septic tank work?

Off Grid Septic Systems Septic systems use a combination of proven technology and nature to treat household waste from kitchen drains, laundry, and bathrooms. If it is soil-based, the waste enters perforated pipes that slowly release the waste into the ground.

How does GREY water handle off the grid?

The easiest way to do this is with the bucket method—simply dumping the greywater directly into the toilet to flush it. However, you can also install a system that combines a sink with the toilet, so that you can wash your hands (turning the water into greywater) that goes directly into the toilet and helps it flush.

What is the alternative to a septic tank?

Mound systems work well as alternatives to septic tanks when the soil around your home or building is too dense or too shallow or when the water table is too high. Although they are more expensive and require more maintenance than conventional systems, mound systems are a common alternative.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

How do you build a septic tank drain field?

There should be at least 100 feet of drain field for a 1,000-gallon septic tank. This can be accomplished by making four trenches 25 feet long or two trenches 50 feet long. The trenches should be at a slight downward slant of no more than 1/4 inch per 8 feet of pipe.

How can I tell my septic tank is full?

Here are some of the most common warning signs that you have a full septic tank:

  1. Your Drains Are Taking Forever.
  2. Standing Water Over Your Septic Tank.
  3. Bad Smells Coming From Your Yard.
  4. You Hear Gurgling Water.
  5. You Have A Sewage Backup.
  6. How often should you empty your septic tank?

How do you get water off the grid?

If your cabin has a drilled well and fully off-grid power system, set up your water system just as you would on the grid. Hook a supply line to your drilled well and outfit the well with a submersible pump to push water into a pressure tank in your cabin. From there it can be piped anywhere it’s needed.

Can you pump a septic tank too often?

If your septic tank is pumped too often, that bacteria will have no place to go but out into the drain field, which can lead to clogs and failures. So unless your septic tank’s sludge and scum levels reach certain thresholds, it’s actually beneficial to leave the septic tank alone.

How do people off the grid deal with human waste?

The easiest solution for dealing with sewage is to dig a pit latrine or “outhouse.” You dig a deep hole and put a floor slab over it with a hole for a squat or seat toilet. Make a shelter around your latrine, and you are good to go. Of course, some additional factors need to be considered to dig a latrine safely.

What does it take to go off-grid?

Going completely off the grid, meaning you do not rely on the government for electricity, water, gas or septic, is called “ roughing it ”. This is the least expensive option and requires you to commit to significant lifestyle changes.

How do off the grid houses work?

Residential homes that use solar power typically have photovoltaic (PV) solar panels located on the roof or near the house. These panels contain cells made up of silicon semiconductors. When the sun’s light hits the panel, these semiconductors collect the energy and knock electrons loose so they can flow freely.

A better option for an off grid septic system

An improved alternative for an off-grid septic system As you are undoubtedly aware, there are many different kinds of off-grid homesite options. On one hand, I’ve seen off-grid sites that were nothing more than a collection of enormous tents tied together, and on the other hand, I’ve seen off-grid sites that had houses that were 4,000 square feet or larger. Many off-grid homes and businesses lack indoor plumbing, mainly because the owner is unsure of how to properly dispose of waste / waste water, particularly that generated by a toilet or other waste disposal device.

By the way, that is not a particularly hygienic strategy to employ.

Some of the locations had full-sized septic systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars each to install.

I’ve spent a lot of time on off-grid locations, replacing different sorts of “DIY” septic systems that were not working properly.

  • The failure of these haphazard systems is not rare, and they generally collapse very quickly.
  • In the photo above, you can see a photo that I took in 2011.
  • While on site, I was outfitted in a complete hazmat suit as well as a respirator to protect myself from the potentially hazardous materials in the sewage.
  • You never want to find yourself in the position of having to cope with a failing handmade system.
  • After I build my DIY System, the owners are always overjoyed because they know they have a septic system that will endure for many years.
  • It was really an off-grid hut that I constructed more than 30 years ago that housed the very first DIY system I ever installed.
  1. It is well-designed and long-lasting
  2. It is not prohibitively pricey. It is capable of handling much more than simply a toilet.

Over a 30-year span, I’ve installed more than 50 of the DIY Systems, and they’re all still in use today.

The DIY system is far less expensive than other types of systems. As I demonstrate in this essay, the majority of home-built systems are only capable of handling a single toilet. The DIY System is capable of handling the following tasks:

  • A full bathroom (with a basin, shower, and toilet)
  • A kitchenette
  • A fully equipped kitchen (which includes a dishwasher)
  • There is a laundry room with a washer and dryer.

The DIY Septic System may also be readily enlarged if additional space is required once it has been entirely completed. This is a unique feature that no other DIY septic system can match. To extend other types of septic systems, you will typically have to dig up the entire system and start again from the ground up. It’s impossible to find any off-grid septic system that is as long-lasting, affordable, and comprehensive as my DIY System. What others have stated about the Do It Yourself Septic System is as follows: Great George Jon (Bygeorge Jon) The 16th of October, 2014 Purchase that has been verified This is ideal for my off-grid toilet.

  1. Everything is in working order.
  2. There will be no more composting toilets!
  3. Purchase that has been verified I recently purchased a little house in 2017, and I wanted to install a septic system since I don’t care for the way composting toilets function.
  4. It was well worth it to have a fully functional (although little!) bathroom now.
  5. This was found to be useful by one individual.
  6. Check all of your email folders to ensure that you have received the information.

13 DIY Septic Systems-Install Your Own To Save Several Thousand Dollars

A do-it-yourself septic system may save you thousands of dollars while providing you with the same level of safety as a professional installation. Certain regulatory standards and precautions must be respected, and certain places may require permits; but, with a little investigation, you can uncover and adhere to all of the rules and precautions required. A properly designed DIY septic system can survive for years and is an excellent choice for folks who are constructing homesteads in rural areas of the country.

Consider these 13 DIY septic systems, then double-check your state and county regulatory and permit requirements before getting started on your project.

1- Septic Tank Install

Installation instructions for a big concrete septic tank in your backyard are included in this free PDF guideline. If you are familiar with operating a backhoe, the installation process will be straightforward. This installation, as well as all of the necessary components (including the tank), will only cost you $1,500 in total.

That’s a little price to pay for the convenience of having a functional toilet in one’s own house, though. If you have access to a backhoe or can borrow one, the overall cost will be considerably lower.

2- Trash Can Septic Tank

A simple and reasonably priced method of installing a functional aseptic system in your hunting or fishing lodge is presented here. In this case, a huge garbage can serves as the tank, and its capacity is adequate for a cabin that is only used on weekends. If you put a box of Rid-X to your trash can tank a couple of times a year, the tank will survive for years without the need to be emptied. As a safety precaution, install plywood or another robust, solid surface on top of the garbage can before backfilling the area with soil to ensure that the lid of the trash can does not collapse when the space is filled with dirt.

3- Tank Replacement

It’s possible that as the family expands, the old septic tank may be unable to keep up with the increased bathroom usage, and that an old little tank will need to be updated to a larger tank. You can see how a 300-gallon septic tank was removed and replaced with a 1,500-gallon tank by watching this YouTube video. By demonstrating how to construct a septic tank, the detailedDIY septic systeminstallation may save you hundreds of dollars in septic system installation costs.

4- Small Septic Tank

A modest septic tank is all that is required for a little house with only two occupants, so there is no need to spend thousands of dollars on a professionally fitted, large-capacity septic tank. Make use of these step-by-step instructions to learn how to construct an aseptic tank out of two 55-gallon barrels. This inexpensive DIY septic system is excellent for a small residence and is simple to construct. Get the building instructions right at your fingertips by downloading and printing the free PDF file provided below.

5- Off Grid Septic Tank

It will walk you through the whole installation process and give you with several tips and ideas on how to accomplish it in the quickest and most efficient manner. Even though an off-grid cabin may lack in creature conveniences, an indoor flushing toilet makes off-grid life considerably more pleasant for people of all ages and backgrounds. The expense of this do-it-yourself septic system is modest, yet it will endure for years.

6- Plastic Container

Making an aseptic tank out of a huge plastic container is simple, and this YouTube video will demonstrate how to accomplish it. Many off-grid homesteaders utilize these plastic containers that are encased by metal frames as water tanks or food storage containers; one of them may even be used as a septic tank if it is large enough. Because of the strong, durable plastic and metal cage, these containers are perfect for a variety of tasks around the farm. When you follow this video lesson, the cost is modest, and the installation is straightforward.

7- Doggie DIY Septic Tank

All dog owners may appreciate how exhausting it can be to having to pick up after your dog while you’re out for a stroll in the park. While it is permissible for the dogs to run free within the bounds of a fenced-in yard, it is still necessary to clean up after them. There is a better approach, and it is known as a doggieseptic system, and it is a simple do-it-yourself job. It’s a private, unnoticeable, odor-free area for your dog to relieve himself, and you won’t have to worry about picking up after him any more.

The doggy septic system functions in the same way as a regular septic system, albeit on a smaller scale. The tank is made out of a 5-gallon bucket, and the rest of the complete instructions may be found on the page linked above.

8- Cabin DIY Septic System

Installing aDIYseptic system in your off-grid hut will transform it into a pleasant place to live with indoor plumbing. YouTube’s instructional video will demonstrate how to use tools that will make the installation procedure much more straightforward, as well as providing step-by-step directions. Underground storage tanks are constructed of sturdy 55-gallon barrels, which are very affordable to acquire.

9- Homemade Septic Tank

People working together to build a DIY septic tank in a distant place may be seen in this incredible YouTube video posted by a friend. The do-it-yourself project is completed entirely by hand and produces results that are comparable to those produced at a concrete manufacturing factory. This demonstrates what can be done when individuals work together and are not afraid to get their hands filthy a little bit. This step-by-step video will walk you through the process of building a DIY septic tank, which you may scale down to the size you require.

10- Three Barrel DIY Septic System

Easy, inexpensive, and effective are three words that characterize this three-barrel septic system. The septic system is made up of three 55-gallon barrels, which is the perfect size for a cottage in the woods, a workshop behind your house, or any other site where you won’t be flushing the toilet very often. The compact system is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly, since it recycles old barrels and makes them usable again.

11- Brick Septic Tank

This YouTube video will teach you how to build a septic system out of repurposed bricks and other materials. Learn how to lay bricks in the quickest and most efficient manner possible for this do-it-yourself project. It is not necessary to use any special tools to complete this septic tank installation, and it is large enough to accommodate the needs of an average household.

12- Above Ground System

Septic systems do not have to be buried; they may be installed above-ground and in plain sight if they are necessary. Create an above-ground aerated waste water treatment method that can manage the waste without emitting a foul odor by following the instructions in this YouTube video. The essential components of this do-it-yourself project are large, durable plastic tanks enclosed by metal cages and crates. In the event that you do not want to dig a large hole in your garden, an above-ground system may be the solution for you.

13- Lots of Drain Lines

There are certain regions with poor soil drainage, and the earth is not capable of absorbing the waste water from a septic system without some assistance. With poorly draining soil, your septic tank will require an extensive network of drain lines, which you may learn how to construct by watching the following YouTube video.

See also:  What Size Is A Standard Septic Tank And Leach Field? (TOP 5 Tips)

10 DIY Septic System Plans You Can Build Easily

The installation of a septic system by specialists will cost you several thousand dollars.

Why not take use of your spare time or weekend to construct a usable facility on your own time? That’s right; we’re talking about a DIY septic system that’s both basic and extremely functional, all at the same time. Understand the most effective ideas to adopt without exceeding the entire budget.

1. Three-Barrel Assembly

The simple video presentation allows you to set up a cost-effective system in a short amount of time. You’ll need a few empty barrels to collect the garbage that will be generated by the connecting pipelines. Unfortunately, the portrayal is somewhat brief; it simply provides a cursory description of the facility in a few basic lines. It is vital to cut the apertures with great precision in order to keep the assembly in precise alignment. The structuring procedure, on the other hand, is quite straightforward for anyone who is familiar with the fundamentals of plumbing.

2. Off-Grid Septic Cabin

Make a professional-looking installation of your essential septic tank, which you practically completed by yourself. A basic understanding of the fundamental needs of any setup on open ground is provided by this tutorial. The majority of the do-it-yourself effort consists of digging trenches to a certain depth and backfilling them. After you’ve finished excavating, you’ll need to build one drum/barrel using pipes that you found. Simple fittings will connect the empty barrel buried beneath the earth to the PVC pipe that will serve as the intake.

3. Concrete Septic Tank

Support your composting toilet with the most advanced septic system available, constructed entirely of concrete. Using the instructions in this article, you may convert an old composting toilet into a functional subterranean tank. All that is required is the excavation of a pit into which the prefabricated concrete block will be dropped using a crane. Digging trenches at various angles will ensure that the entrance and outflow are entirely separated. Filling the trench bottom with gravel once the perforated pipes have been installed will accomplish the desired result.

However, you may use internet tools to help you make decisions about your tank requirements.

4. Septic System Installation

It’s a long film that covers practically everything that happens on-site during the ongoing procedure. The envisaged system should be able to accommodate garbage from small to moderately sized dwellings, depending on their size. You will be responsible for digging trenches to connect the base pipe to the main bathroom line. And the pipe is routed directly into a holding barrel, which is secured firmly with a rubberized band around the edge of it. Despite the fact that it looks to be a professional DIY plumbing work, the entire process is straightforward.

5. Retreat Property Septic System

It is possible to create a simple septic system on your property by using some well-conditioned garbage cans. The assembly is made possible by keeping the can vertical and in an upright posture. After digging the desired dirt, you must connect three-inch PVC pipes to the existing infrastructure. Rather than showing the construction process, the film begins with a description of the technology.

Anyone who wants to grasp certain points in a speech must pay attention to the current debate. Although it appears to be simple to idealize a design, you do not have to ignore the reality when it comes to accuracy.

6. Off-Grid Septic System

Make your own small-scale off-grid septic system for the house out of materials you already have. When you consider that you will be working with brand new materials, the initial cost may appear to be a little exorbitant. The essential tools, equipment, and materials are discussed in further detail in the next section of the introduction. The onscreen live commentary should keep you interested for the whole 19-minute duration of this presentation. Its whole procedure, including the obvious facts, is documented in order to make the video longer.

7. Aerated Sewage System

A functioning wastewater system helps you manage your sewagenature while you’re doing it. A facility consisting of five interconnecting containers should be able to accommodate a large number of users. The first two containers continue to be anaerobic, but the third and fourth containers are completely aerobic. You’ll also need to chlorinate the fifth container to ensure that all bacteria are eliminated. One important point to note is that the containers must be installed on a flat surface. Simple explanatory comments should be plenty to keep you informed for the duration of the demo.

8. Complete Septic System Setup

The information in this post is particularly designed to help you set up your septic system like a professional. Everything, from the original cost to the final ground filling, will be made available to you upon request. Everything from site inspection to septic tank sizing based on usage to trench dimensioning is covered in detail in this instructional video. Not to add that the layout is ideal for a multi-story housing complex with an open backyard. The completion of its layout drawing should signal the start of the initial stages.

A solid concrete building appears to be the most suitable solution for meeting the requirements properly.

9. Multi-Lined Septic System

With a single sewage system, you can perfectly service a large number of one-story residential arrangements. The video instruction demonstrates how to construct a unique institution with a large number of drainage pipes. Of course, the setup will take a significant amount of time due to the fact that a vast pit with multiple trenches would need to be dug. Easy changes, on the other hand, are able to keep the task simple enough for people with limited hand strength. You must either install a single massive tank or construct one for yourself out of concrete or a durable polymer covering.

10. Step by Step Septic Tank

Despite the fact that it looks to be a professional work, you can afford to have a few extra hands on deck for the project. To add insult to injury, it is the best septic tank to utilize for any normal multistory building. Even if the time-lapse video portrayal is likely to go at a quicker rate, it will nonetheless complete the work in question. Unless the facility is extremely large, the cost of setting up such a facility is prohibitively high.

The goal of this project cannot be achieved only by the project manager within a reasonable time frame. Furthermore, the time demand is significant, requiring you to wait for days to enable the required goods to dry before continuing.


A do-it-yourself septic tank is a cost-effective solution for any DIY enthusiast who is interested in saving money. All that is required is that you match the requirements with the available solutions. You’re all ready to start gathering the items you’ll need for the project right there.

Off Grid Septic System and Sanitation: The How-To Guide

Waste and sewage are unavoidable byproducts of human activity on a daily basis. The government is responsible for removing garbage from the environment in the most sanitary manner feasible for the majority of people in the Western region of the world. However, because you are living or intending to live off the grid, you will be responsible for your own sanitation. You can manage a clean and pleasant farm by understanding everything there is to know about off grid septic systems and off grid sanitation systems.

I’ll go over greywater and blackwater sewage, as well as septic systems and composting toilets, among other things.

Let’s get this party started, shall we?

Greywater Sewage in Off Grid Living

Securing adequate sanitation is crucial to effectively living off the grid in the long term. It is extremely dangerous to your health and the health of others if you do not follow adequate sanitation standards. When pathogenic germs and bacteria are present in runoff, the situation can become exceedingly deadly. As a result, care must be taken in making decisions and taking safeguards. To your advantage, there are regulations that you must follow, and the Environmental Agency must give its approval to any system you put in place.

  • After all of this is said and done, there are two sorts of water waste to consider: greywater and blackwater.
  • This water is suitable for processing and recycling since it does not contain the same hazardous germs and pathogens that are present in blackwater.
  • It must be returned to its natural habitat.
  • Solids separation from liquids is the first stage.
  • Mechanical filtrationcleans and disinfects the water, allowing it to be returned to the environment when it has been properly cleaned.
  • This is true for both water and electricity.
  • In the case of a move into an existing property, re-plumbing may not be a viable option to make at this time.
  • Remember that one of the reasons for living off the grid is to have a less influence on the environment.
  • It is simple to recycle greywater by flushing it down the toilet.
  • Greywater recycling products are available on the market that can do this.

If you are constructing your own system, you should obviously take greywater recycling into account. It is possible to recycle up to 50 percent of your water. That’s a lot of water, a lot of money in your pocket, and a lot of relief for the world’s water supply situation.

Greywater Recycling Products

Depending on your needs, you may use either a greywater diversion device or a greywater treatment system.

  • Diversion devices, such as the Aqua2use Greywater Diversion Devices, recycle water from various sources, such as the shower, bathroom sinks, and laundry machine. This water can be used for irrigation purposes. The Matala filtration system also eliminates pollutants, allowing greywater to be used for irrigation once it has been treated. When used together with the Aqua2use Greywater Treatment System, the treatment system offers many of the same benefits as the Aqua2use Greywater Diversion Device, as well as the ability to recycle, treat, and store water for use in the house.

Greywater may be securely reused if the proper technology is in place, allowing you to save money, preserve water, and be more environmentally conscious all at the same time.

Blackwater Sewage in Off Grid Living

Making your own garbage is beneficial to the environment and, as a result, it is also beneficial to your own health. In order to deal with your sewage, the following are the four most typical options:

  • Cesspool or cesspit: A cesspool or cesspit is a holding tank that holds waste until a waste management company comes to collect the waste. It has been outlawed in many countries due to its detrimental effects on the environment. It necessitates the construction of a massive tank and results in a significant carbon footprint. Septic tank system (also known as a septic tank): This is a tank that separates the solids from the liquids in a liquid-solid separation process. After that, the liquid can drain into a reed bed (see below for more information on the reed bed). Before making any decisions about your options, you should check with your local province or county to see if you are permitted to install a septic tank system. System of sewage treatment plants (STP): A small-scale treatment facility that produces effluent that has been fully treated and is ready to be released back into the environment. This setup is one of the most effective ways to obtain approval from the Environmental Agency while also dealing with your waste completely off the grid
  • This system, which includes a compost toilet and compost heap, is completely self-sufficient and self-sustaining. More information on this subject will be provided in the following section: Off Grid Sewage Options.

Off Grid Septic Systems

Septic systems manage domestic waste from kitchen drains, laundry, and bathrooms with a combination of established technology and natural elements such as bacteria. The septic system is composed of two parts:

  • Unconventional waste management includes septic tanks, which are subterranean watertight containers made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene that separate solid waste from floatable waste (oil, grease), and decompose organic waste. After that, the effluent is dumped onto the field. Pathogens, nitrogen, and other pollutants are removed from the effluent by pumping or gravity-driven movement through sand, artificial wetlands, soil, or another media. It is soil-based waste that enters perforated pipes that gently discharge the garbage into the earth
  • If it is not soil-based waste. A drainfield is a shallow excavation in unsaturated soil that is covered with earth. This process occurs when the soil soaks up and cleanses the wastewater, after which it is dispersed into the soil, where it is further purified of hazardous coliform bacteria (an indication of human fecal pollution), nutrients, and viruses. After then, it becomes groundwater.

You may put in your septic system if you follow these instructions:

  1. Conducting a site survey and soil test can help you prepare for and build your system. Submitting your application and waiting for approval are the first steps. Construct the tank hole and connect the tank to the home with a water line buried underneath. Prepare the leach field by excavating it. Route the pipe to the leach field and surround it with gravel to ensure that the pipe remains in its proper position. Cover the tank and pipe when the examination is completed.

It is possible to use a reed bed as your leach field; a reed bed is a constructed pond of reeds that works in conjunction with natural biological processes to break down the organic matter in wastewater. Gravel and sand are also used to construct the pond. Wastewater either settles at one end of the surface or spreads throughout the entire surface. Because the environment has a high concentration of oxygen, the bacteria are able to efficiently convert waste into cleaned effluent.

Composting Toilets

If you haven’t already done so, you should seriously consider installing a composting toilet in your home. Composting toilets are becoming increasingly popular in compact residences, recreational vehicles, boats, and off-grid homesteads, among other places. Their use is safe, they are good for the environment, they require little work, and they may be extremely economical. In fact, you can even build your own composting toilet, which makes using a composting toilet more simpler than using a commercially available one.

  1. Check with your local government to discover if composting toilets are permitted, and if they aren’t, find out what your best options are for finding a solution.
  2. It is not necessary to connect composting toilets to an existing septic or sewage system.
  3. Neither plumbing nor chemicals nor flushing are available.
  4. So, what exactly is the snag?
  5. It’s not all that horrible, really.
  6. The vast majority of composting toilets separate the particles from the liquid waste they produce.
  7. Solids are guided to the back of the container, while liquid is directed to the front.
  8. Alternatively, the liquids can be diluted with water and thrown onto land that is not being used for agricultural production.

If you are cultivating plants for eating, you should avoid putting any human excrement on the plants you are growing. This is a tragedy waiting to happen. Composting toilets are available in a variety of designs. Take a few minutes to learn about the many types of composting toilets available.

  • Composting toilets with Incinolet technology: Using heat, these toilets practically evaporate the fecal matter that they collect. Power is required to operate these composting toilets, but the final product is a fine dust that may be added to your non-food compost pile. Automatically sealing cartridge composting toilets: This form of composting toilet automatically seals the waste in plastic bags, which may subsequently be thrown away after use. However, because plastic is harmful to the environment, this technique somewhat negates the point of having a composting toilet in the first place. Nonetheless, some people may find the set up to be less difficult to work with than others. These toilets are more inexpensive, but you will have to continue to purchase plastic bags in order to use them. Composting toilet made at home: You’ve created a composting toilet that is precisely how you wanted it. Because you created it yourself, they are extremely economical and simple to repair. Detailed instructions for building your own compost toilet are provided here.
See also:  How Frequently Do You Need To Pump A Septic Tank? (Question)

Compost Toilet Made at Home This part is divided into three sections: construction of the compost toilet, construction of the compost heap, and maintenance and use of the compost heap. Compost Toilet Supplies are available at Compost Toilet Supplies. Steps for Using a Compost Toilet

  1. Make a box large enough to accommodate the 20-liter bucket. Place the toilet cover on top of the tank. Make your own decisions (there is no need to separate the liquid from the solid). To add the sawdust, use the scoop to do so.

Compost Heap Supplies are available.

  • One or two containers (each container should be 1.6 square meters in area and 1.3 meters in height)
  • Straw or cardboard
  • A rotating fork designated for this purpose

The Compost Heap Procedure

  1. Construct the containers and then cover the bottoms with a thick layer of straw or cardboard to protect the floor. Dump the contents of your pail of waste onto the cardboard, and then cover it with new straw or cardboard.

When you’re through with another bucket.

  1. Make a hole in the pile with the turning fork that has been specified
  2. Fill the bucket with water and pour it into the hole. Cover the new waste with the old waste, and then cover the mound with fresh straw or cardboard to protect it from the elements.

Here’s a step-by-step video that illustrates how to construct a low-cost DIY composting toilet: Suggestions for a Healthy Compost Heap

  • Maintain a smooth surface at the top of the pile
  • Add additional material to the middle of the pile
  • Ensure that both liquid and solid waste are included in order to maintain a balanced ratio of wet to dry materials Maintain the heap’s cover
  • When the first container is completely filled, start a new heap in the second container. Only put completed compost on plants that will not be eaten
  • Otherwise, discard it.

The compost toilet is a great method to reduce your carbon footprint in a safe and simple manner while still maintaining sanitation. You must, however, exercise caution while working with compost and compost heaps. Always make sure that the completed compost is not used in or near your gardens or fields where you are producing food.

Final Words

Maintaining all of the parts of your everyday life that are normally taken care of by the local government becomes necessary when you live off the grid. Cleaning up after yourself is just another part of the bargain, an unavoidable aspect of off-grid living that cannot be avoided. If I have been successful in explaining how off grid systems and off grid sanitation function, I hope that you will be better equipped to confront this modest but important obstacle as a result of reading this tutorial.

For example, you’ll need to learn how to cultivate your own food and even how to communicate without the need of technology.

It is my hope that this essay will address any and all questions you may have concerning off-grid life.

All About Off Grid Wastewater: Options, Septic, Code, and Advice

I am disclosing this because I do receive merchandise or commissions from affiliate links or relationships that I promote on my site. It is my policy to only recommend items and services that I believe will be beneficial to you.Learn more.Off grid wastewater is not a topic that is often associated with lovely cabin photographs, but it is an important element of designing an off grid house. What kind of systems are available for purchase? What difficulties may you run into? In our role as green builders, we spent a significant amount of time researching alternative methods of waste disposal, such as greywater systems and composting toilets.Unless you are completely outside the scope of any type of code enforcement and/or don’t care about being a good steward and neighbor, you will almost certainly run into problems with your waste water management plans.It isn’t pretty, but it is necessary to understand.

To understand why we chose a septic system for our off-grid wastewater management, as well as what other options are available, and how these systems work, it is necessary to first review some basic terms and concepts.We installed a septic system for our off-grid wastewater management and will go into full detail about our install in this post.

Basic Terminology and Off Grid Water Options

Greywater is water that has been used in various applications such as washing machines, sinks, tubs, showers, and so on. Used toilet water or any other water containing human waste is referred to as “blackwater.” Take note that there is a totally reasonable case to be made that tub and shower water does not qualify as real greywater because it is likely to include skin cells, bacteria, and occasionally human excrement (you can’t tell me you’ve never had a child poop in the tub, can you?).

Off Grid Waste Water Options

The usage of a composting toilet is one of the most frequent methods of dealing with waste water generated by humans. From a pail filled with sawdust to an artistically built toilet that costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars, these may take many different shapes and forms. When you consider how much water you’re saving by not flushing the toilet, composting toilets are a terrific choice when you consider how much money you’re saving. Even with this, you’ll still need a means to deal with the water that comes out of showers and sinks, which brings us to the following choice.

By doing so, waste is diverted away from the tank, increasing the life of the system and reducing water use.

2. Greywater Systems

Greywater reuse, when done properly, may be a very effective method to save money and resources. There are a lot of approaches you may use when designing your own greywater system, including the following:

  • Purchase a greywater tank and system that has been professionally developed
  • Design and build your own complete home automation system from scratch using your own resources. Construct a system to redirect grey water from certain appliances (such as your washer) to alternative areas, such as toilets or an outside tank for the garden.

Learn more about greywater system designs by checking out these two books: here and here.

3. Lagoons

Lagoons, which are comparable to septic systems, are widely utilized in places where the soil is inadequate as a filter and are thus necessary. Drainage of wastewater is directed to an earthen basin, which contains and treats the waste through microbial activity. Lagoons are often less expensive than full septic systems, but they come with their own set of issues (notably, the fact that they are an open pit of sewage), and they may not be permitted in your location. More information may be found here.

4. Septic Systems

This is most likely the most prevalent and easily permitted technique of wastewater disposal available today. In a septic tank, wastewater from the house drains into a leach field in the backyard, where solids settle to the bottom and are broken down while water percolates out via perforated pipes into the ground. This is one of the most often used methods of wastewater treatment in our area. Both of us grew up in homes that had septic systems, which is not surprising.

Local Codes and Requirements

A word to the wise for all of my fellow aspiring green builders out there: you may be required to install a SEPTIC SYSTEM, which may be a source of sadness to you at this stage. However, even if you have the best of intentions, if you reside in an area where you are required to obtain a construction permission for your home (as we did), one of the requirements of the building permit may be the acquisition of a septic permit, if you are not connected to a municipal sewage system. The health department is in charge of all waste water in our county, regardless of its source.

As part of our building project, we spoke with the health department about the possibility of using an alternate system such as greywater collection. Their response: a greywater system would have had to be constructed EXACTLY THE SAME AS A SEPTIC SYSTEM, according to the experts.

Additionally, we could not have obtained a building permit without having a septic permit and plans to install.

As a result, we invested in a complete septic system. How should I approach my local code authorities if I wish to develop in accordance with green building principles?

Should I install a septic system myself or hire a professional?

Several components of our off-grid home-building project have been completed by us, including everything from constructing the frame to running the plumbing to erecting the cordwood masonry walls. There are countless additional things that I would want to say we completed on our own, but we are well aware of our limits. Professionals are better at some tasks than amateurs because they are more efficient, less expensive, and safer. One of those jobs was the installation of a septic system for us.

Reasons to consider hiring a professional, they may have:

  • • Possessing access to and expert operating knowledge of heavy equipment such as backhoes and bulldozers. Working understanding of the code standards for septic systems in your local jurisdiction
  • A professional connection with the code enforcement officers in your jurisdiction is most likely to exist.

Additionally, the cost of hiring a professional may eventually out to be less expensive than the expense of renting equipment and procuring the necessary components on your own.

A look at our septic system installation

It is essential that the leach pipes of any septic system be installed in soil that is capable of efficiently filtering the liquids that travel through them. Our land is largely comprised of rocky clay soil, which is a poor filter due to its high clay content. Consequently, we were compelled to install a “fill and wait”septic system, which is called as a “fill and hold.” In other words, we had our topsoil removed and relocated to the location where the leach lines would eventually be installed.

This photograph was taken during our initial dig in the summer of 2015.

As soon as the leach line area has been filled with high-quality soil, it must be allowed to settle for one year before the lines can be placed, thus the terms “fill” and “wait.”

Phase 2: Tank and Line Install

In order to install the septic tank, a backhoe was used to dig the hole: The next picture shows Mark and our son standing on top of the dirt mound from the pit to give you a feeling of scale: They constructed the trenches for the leach lines and set up the leaching chambers, which were as follows: They lowered the tank into the hole and connected all of the component pipes and fittings, which were as follows: The inspector inspected the installation, and after giving his permission, our excavator returned to backfill the system:

Lessons Learned

It is critical to conduct thorough study in order to choose the most appropriate wastewater management system for your needs. A great deal will be determined by the location of your land, the type of the soil on your property, and any rules that may apply to you and your property. As we discovered, there were several laws and regulations that we needed to adhere to, and it pays to be thorough when asking questions. When it comes to code enforcement, every community is different. To get started, contact your local building inspector’s office or, if there isn’t one in your area, contact your general county government offices and inquire.

In the long term, hiring a professional may be a wise investment.

In addition to having a thorough understanding of the regulations in your region, a local excavator will know how to design a system that is tailored to your property’s terrain and will understand what an inspector will be looking for.

We are quite fortunate to have discovered someone who is ready to collaborate with us and provide a plethora of valuable advise. He has saved us numerous hours of effort and, more importantly, thousands of money in the process.

Wondering more? Check out ourhomestead progressandfind out more about our cordwood homestead projecthere. You should also join us onFacebook,Twitter, andInstagram. I’m always pinning lots of great ideas onPinteresttoo! Thanks for reading!

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation There are two main sections to most private septic systems: the holding and digesting tanks, and the dispersion field or leach field. As the liquid waste in the first holding tank fills up, it will be transferred to the second holding tank. Once the second tank is completely filled with liquid, the liquid will dissipate into the earth underneath it. The system displayed here is a modest system that is intended for limited use by two persons who do not need to do laundry.

  1. When compared to a conventional house septic system, this system employs two 55 US gallon (210 L) drums, rather than the 1,000–2,000 US gallon (3,800–7,600 L) tanks that are utilized in a standard home septic system.
  2. Property owners considering installing a system similar to this one should be advised that this system would fail inspections by any public health department in the United States, and that the owner may be liable to a fine if the system was discovered in operation by a health official.
  3. Toilets that conserve water nowadays utilize less than two litres of water every flush.
  4. It might be a lifeline for those who live in areas where septic treatment is not available.

Part 1 of 3: Cutting the Tanks

  1. 1Cut a hole in the center of the top of each drum that is the same size as the outer measurement of the toilet flange. Take the outside diameter of the toilet flange that you’re using and multiply it by two. Place the hole close to the edge of the drum so that you may simply connect them to pipes in the near future. Cut the drums using a saber saw to make them lighter
  2. 2 Each hole should be capped with a 4 in (10 cm) toilet flange. Push the flanges into the top of each tank until they are flush with the surface. As soon as the flanges are in position, tighten them down so they don’t move or shift once they are in place. Promotional material
  3. 3 Cut a hole in the first drum that is 4 in (10 cm) in diameter on the opposite side of the drum from the hole in the top. Placing the hole approximately 4–5 inches (10–13 cm) below the top of the drum and ensuring that it lines up with the hole on the top of the tank are the most important steps. 4 Make a hole in the wall with a saber saw or a hole saw. Cut two holes in the side of the drum at 45-degree angles to the center of the hole on the top, one on each side of the drum. The center line is the line that runs through the middle of the hole on the top of the drum. Make 45-degree angles from either side of the centerline, then mark them on the second drum using a permanent marker. Make your holes in the barrel by cutting through the side with a saber or a hole saw and drilling them out. Advertisement
See also:  Septic Tank Backs Up When It Rains?

Part 2 of 3: Placing the Tanks Underground

  1. 1 Dig a trench that is 4 ft 26 ft 3 ft (1.22 m 7.92 m 0.91 m) in length and width. Excavator or shovel are both good options for digging a hole in the ground where you wish to put your tank. Continue excavating until the hole measures 4 feet (1.2 m) in width, 26 feet (7.9 m) in length, and 3 feet (0.91 m) in depth.
  • Excavators for excavating are often available for hire from a heavy machinery supply company. Look for equipment rentals on the internet

2Place the drum at the end of the trench, with one side hole drilled in it. When you place the drum on the floor, make sure it is level. Check to see sure the drum’s top is at least 4 inches (10 cm) below the surface of the water. 3Dig a hole that is one foot (30 cm) deeper than the first to accommodate the positioning of the second drum in front of the first. As much as possible, make your hole the same diameter as the drum you’re putting into it so that it fits tightly and doesn’t move. 4Level the hole with gravel until the 90-degree curve between the hole in the side of the top drum and the toilet flange of the bottom drum is able to be made with no difficulty.

  1. If you need to make the pipe line more stable, you may need to dig the hole a little deeper.
  2. With a hacksaw, cut the ABSpipe parts, also known as nipples.
  3. Repeat with the remaining parts.
  4. Insert the end of the 21 2in (6.4 cm) nipple into the side hole of the first drum and tighten the nut.
  5. Install the 31 2in (8.9 cm) nipple into the toilet flange on the second tank using hot glue or a strong adhesive.
  6. Don’t be concerned with the connection to the first drum for the time being; you’ll make that connection later.
  7. Glue a Y-bend to a 31 2in (8.9 cm) nipple, and then bend the angled piece of the Y-bend at a 45-degree angle.
  8. Align the angled pipe on the Y-bend so that it meets the incoming waste line, and then glue it into the toilet flange to complete the installation.

9 21 2in (6.4 cm) nipples are cut and glued to one end of the 45-degree bends at the bottom of the lower drum, and they are then inserted into the side of the lower drum. Directional bends are defined as those that are perpendicular to the bottom of the trench at their ends. Advertisement

Part 3 of 3: Connecting the Drain Pipes

  1. Put a stake into the ground and level it with the bottom of each of the 45-degree bends. 2Put a stake into the ground and level it with the top of the 45-degree bends. It doesn’t matter what sort of stakes you use since they all work. Use a mallet or hammer to pound the stakes into the ground. Attach a one-inch-wide block to the end of a four-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) level using duct tape. This will assist you in ensuring that you create sloped drain pipes so that your tanks can empty
  2. 3Place another stake approximately 37 8ft (1.2 m) down the trench from the first one
  3. 4Place another stake approximately 37 8ft (1.2 m) down the trench from the first one
  4. 5Place another stake approximately 37 8ft (1.2 m) down the trench from the first one. Drive the stake down until it is the same height as the first one using your hammer or mallet
  5. 4 Place the end of the level without the block on the first stake and the block on the second stake to complete the level without the block. Continue to pound the second stake into the ground until the level is balanced. 1 inch (2.5 cm) lower than the previous post, or 1 inch (0.64 cm) lower per 1 foot (30 cm)
  6. 5Repeat this method until you have stakes running the whole length of the trench
  7. Continue to place stakes down the rest of the trench every 37 8feet (1.2 m) from the last one, ensuring that the stakes slope away from the drums
  8. 6Place gravel in the trench until the top of the gravel is level with the top of the stakes
  9. 7Place gravel in the trench until the top of the gravel is level with the top of the stakes The gravel will now slope away from the drums at a rate of 1 4 inch (0.64 cm) per 1 foot (30 cm) of horizontal distance
  10. 7Place 20 ft (6.1 m) of perforated drain pipe into each hole on the second drum
  11. 8Place 20 ft (6.1 m) of perforated drain pipe into each hole on the third drum
  12. 9Place 20 ft (6.1 m) of perforated drain pipe into each hole on the fourth drum
  13. 10P Insert the ends of the drain pipes into the 45-degree bends on the lower drum to complete the installation. 9Make certain that the perforations in the pipes are facing down so that liquids may soak back into the earth
  14. 8checking the pipes with a level to ensure that the 1 4in (0.64 cm) slope is consistent throughout the length of the pipe. Fill up any gaps in the slope by adding or removing gravel under the pipe. Seal the 45-degree and 90-degree bends that connect the lower and top drums, respectively, with silicone. For the greatest seal possible on your drain pipes, use a two-part epoxy or silicone caulk. For this purpose, consider utilizing flex pipe, which will yield a little bit if the ground changes. Tenth, fill the lower drum halfway with water to keep it from collapsing under the weight of all the gravel. Place the remaining gravel over the trench and into the bottom drum, covering it completely. 11Lay landscape fabric over the top of the gravel. As a result, the dirt will not be able to seep into the gravel and you will be able to keep proper drainage on your tanks
  15. 12Fill the remaining trench area with soil, compacting it to the original grade. When you have finished filling up the area with your dirt, check to see that the ground is level. 13Fill the upper drum with water, leaving the top pipe from the first tank exposed so that you can readily reach the tanks if you need to drain them later. 14Fill the lower drum with water. Fill the top drum with water and pour it directly down the exposed pipes on the bottom drum. Continue filling the drum until it is completely filled, then secure the top with a cap to keep out the elements. Advertisement

Community Q A

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  • Question What is considered a low level of use? Low consumption is defined as less than 125 gallons per day. Question Was the ‘y’ elbow on the first tank’s tank for any particular reason? Is it left open or sealed when it has been completed? Isn’t it going to stink if it’s left open? The clean out requires a threaded cap or plug, which is provided. Question What kind of water do you use to fill it? “Fill” is the most important term here. Continue to fill the drum with water until the level does not rise any more
  • Question Suppose I neglected to attach a slip coupler to the perforated pipe and only had 10 feet of it. Is it still possible to use this? Yes, however you will need to raise the depth of the field in order to get the same cubic feet of capacity
  • Nevertheless Question What is the best way to find out if something is legal in my state? This is a quick and easy approach that is unlikely to be appropriate for long-term usage in the majority of states. It is possible that the property owner and/or the installation will be penalized if this is uncovered. Question Is it possible to utilize two or three 275-gallon water totes instead, or a water tote and barrel combination? It doesn’t matter either direction you go. It’s best to utilize a single tote and a barrel as a digestion tank and a distribution box if you have only one tote. Question What is the purpose of filling the higher barrel with water? You fill the top barrel with water so that when sewage waste is introduced into the barrel, it flows into a sufficient amount of water to initiate the anaerobic digestion process. Question What is the best way to clean up this system? If there is enough bacteria in it, it will clean itself with minimal effort. If it starts to fill up, you may call a septic service to have it emptied
  • If it doesn’t, you can do it yourself. Question What is the correct grade slope of the drain field for every ten feet of length of the drain field? It is possible for the field’s bottom to be level. When running away from the drums, the pipe system should be sloped at 2 percent, or 2.5 inches every 10 feet. Question Is it possible for this system to freeze in the winter? And might I use antifreeze in the mix as well? Antifreeze will destroy the beneficial bacteria that are required for the process to function properly. The process is biological, and it will generate some of its own heat as part of the process. It’s always possible to dig a little deeper to gain a little extra insulation above it.

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  • The horizontal side of the “Y” links to the waste source, and it should be fitted with a connector that is compatible with the source supply line
  • Instead of using a 90° elbow, you should join two of them together to produce a U-shaped connection. In this manner, the end that is in the first barrel will be pointed towards the bottom of the tank, rather than the top. This should be reinforced with a short segment of straight pipe that is several inches deeper towards the bottom. Solids either float or sink depending on their density. They don’t seem to congregate in the middle. As a result, only the broken down liquid waste makes it to the second tank, and the solids are never seen again. The same procedure should be followed for each of the drainage pipes that originate from the second barrel. Just to be completely certain that no solids find their way into the global drain field, the waste is dumped into the first tank, with the solids settling to the bottom of the first tank. Whenever the liquid level exceeds the outfall to the second tank, it is drained into the tank below it. If there are any solids present, they will sink to the bottom. Whenever the liquid from the second tank reaches one of the two outfalls, it is transported to the gravel leaching field for dispersion. Over time, the vast majority of the solids will liquefy and disperse. Solids may accumulate at the top of the tank after many years, necessitating the removal of the solids. Thirty percent of the waste is absorbed into the earth, with the remaining seventy percent being dissipated by sunshine. It is important not to compress the soil since this would interfere with the evaporation process
  • The vertical side of the “Y” will be used to pump out the tank after it is entirely filled with solids
  • The depth of the trench should be proportional to the depth of the waste source line. If the line is deeper or higher than the one depicted, you will need to dig the trench deeper or shallower to suit the new line depth or height. It’s not that difficult to find out. In the event that you have a septic system that is too shallow, it may be more susceptible to damage. After a period, you may discover that the ground has sunk below the trench’s location. Fill it in with extra dirt and compact it
  • It is assumed that you are familiar with working with ABS plastic pipe. In addition, you must have the necessary tools to dig the trench (or be ready to put in a lot of effort).

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  • This is a system with a relatively limited capacity. This is not intended to suit the demands of a big family or group of people. It is intended for use with a modest travel trailer and two individuals. In order to extend the life of this little septic system, it is recommended that you do not place anything else in it but water, trash, and toilet paper. You may have to pump the upper drum once or twice a year if you don’t do so. During the course of five years, the system depicted here will only require pumping twice. Do not drive through the area where the drums are located. When establishing a septic system, make sure to adhere to all applicable municipal regulations. It is against the law to establish a septic system without first obtaining a permission. In the permission, you can find information on the local regulations for installing a septic system. You should avoid situating a septic system too close to trees since tree roots will grow into your lines, block them, and eventually cause damage to your system.


Things You’ll Need

  • 3/4 or 1 1/2 crushed rock or blue metal
  • 80 square feet (7.4 m 2) of landscaping fabric
  • 9 cubic yards (6.9 m3) of 3/4 or 1 1/2 crushed rock or blue metal 55 US gal (210 L) plastic drums
  • 10 feet (3.0 m) of ABS plastic pipe with a diameter of 4 in (10 cm)
  • 4 in (10 cm) ABS 90-degree bend
  • 4 in (10 cm) ABS Y-bend
  • 3 ABS 45-degree bends with sizes of 4 in (10 cm)
  • 2 55 US gal (210 L) plastic drums A total of 40 feet (12 meters) of 4 inch (10 cm) perforated drain pipe
  • Two 4 inch (10 cm) diameter drain pipe couplers
  • And two toilet flanges with 4 inch (10 cm) diameters are included. PVC glue, two-part epoxy or silicone sealant, a level, and ten wood stakes are all required. 1 in (2.5 cm) thick wood block
  • Duct tape
  • 4 in (10 cm) ABS detachable cap
  • 1 in (2.5 cm) thick wood block

About This Article

wikiHow Staff Writer contributed to this article. This article was written in part by members of the wikiHow Staff. Our highly skilled staff of editors and researchers checks articles for correctness and completeness before publishing them. The work of our editorial staff is regularly monitored by wikiHow’sContent Management Team to ensure that each article is supported by reliable research and fulfills our high quality standards. A total of 2,322,799 people have looked at this article. Co-authors:53 The most recent update was made on January 15, 2022.

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