Outhouses - how far out should they be?

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We are planning to dig a pit for an outhouse but are unsure of the location. We basically live on top of a gravel aquifer with one shallow well in our basement, one to the south about 70 feet and one south west about 200 feet. We have a grove of cottonwood trees about 150 feet to the west north west. That is where we were thinking of putting the outhouse. We are on a fairly level stretch of about 20 acres with the house in the north east portion, about 200 feet from the north edge of the property and about 80 feet from the east edge. The prevailing winds are from the northwest but to put the outhouse on the south east is to set it out in plain sight on our lawn. Any ideas?

-- Steve A (Albrecht@ndak.net), November 05, 1999


OOps should be a small a in albrecht@ndak.net

-- Steve A (albrecht@ndak.net), November 05, 1999.

At least at a lower elevation/depth than your well or as far as possible away. Consider doing a simple indoor potty frame with a five gallon bucket under it, toss in a handfull of moss or sawdust and compost when full. Somewhere there is a great website and info posted - perhaps called "humanure" - Perhaps someone else has a link for you. Sorry I don't. Properly composted, this will make it a lot safer for your water supply - once composted use it to fertilize shrubs, trees, etc. Anyhow find info and read up on it. Contamination of the water table is a big problem with outhouses. Good luck.

-- Kristi (securxsys@cs.com), November 05, 1999.

Depends which way the wind is blowing

-- (aroma@Tacoma.soma), November 05, 1999.


If you go to http://www.y2kwomen.com ,then go to back issue #40 for sanitation information.

There is a book "The Humanure Handbook".For more info on composit, go to Http://net.indra.com/~topsoil/Compost-Menu.html

-- Maggie (aaa@aaa.com), November 06, 1999.


If you go to http://www.y2kwomen.com ,then go to back issue #40 for sanitation information.

There is a book "The Humanure Handbook".For more info on composit, go to Http://net.indra.com/~topsoil/Compost_Menu.html

-- Maggie (aaa@aaa.com), November 06, 1999.

Steve, we used one for about 9 years, before we had electricity, during which time we moved from our temperary house to permenant house.

From the temperary house, the privey was 200 "steps" away, which was about right, and approved by the local public health dept. From the new house, it was over 400 "steps" away...that was, for all practical purposes, WAY to far.

One might think it strange that a person would count the steps, but after enough trips, you can literally make your way in the dark.

We where surprised the local county Sanatation and health dept. required a permit, and inspection, for installation of a privey, especially since we where in such a remote location. We went that route, because we didn't know for sure on the local regulations.

They gave us a really nice paper with info on the construction and care of the privey too. (Which is around here somewhere). Had we not, future construction and hooking to electric service could have been a problem.

From memory alone (take for what is worth), it needed to be 200 ft from water source, and for our soil type, apparently elevation wasn't a problem, yours may be different. It also needed to be set back same distance from property line.

I am glad we choose an elevated spot though, since it kept run off water from going into it. Be sure and install a gutter system of some sort for this.

I will post or e-mail you our construction specifics if you or anyone is interested.

-- Lilly (homesteader145@yahoo.com), November 06, 1999.

Consider the composting method as described in the "Humanure Handbook" using sawdust or peat toilets. Very cheap and effective. The advantage being you won't foul your water supply, end up with good compost of ornamental plants and it can be used indoors with no smell or bugs which is very handy when it's stormy outside. I've been doing this for 2+ years and am pleased with how it's worked out. Get the book...well worthwhile.

-- Don Kulha (dkulha@vom.com), November 06, 1999.

Our house sits on hardpan- so digging is not an option. I am fairly familiar with the composting method, however I do have a big question remaining-- what makes this compost safe to use on food plants? What happens to the E-Coli?

-- Midnightmom (myhouse@bigfoot.com), November 11, 1999.

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