- Alternatively, you could build a cheap septic system using recycled barrels. Materials needed: 3 plastic barrels of 40-gallon (151.41 L) capacity Drill A plastic pipe connecting all the 3 barrels approximately 9 ft (2.74 m) and fittings Shovel Follow these steps: Arrange the Barrels With Holes in a Well Drained Spot
Can you use a 55 gallon drum for a septic tank?
In areas with no zoning or building restrictions, 55-gallon drums or barrels may still be used as a temporary solution before other more permanent methods of waste containment are put in place. Dig a hole in line with the bathroom 10 feet away from the structure that needs a temporary septic tank.
What size septic tank do I need for a tiny house?
Tiny homes typically require a 500 to 1,000-gallon septic tank. Though, it’s not always possible to implement a tank of this size. In some states, for example, the minimum tank size is 1,000 gallons. There may be exceptions to this rule if your home is on wheels.
What is the smallest septic tank available?
If you’re looking to install a septic system, the smallest tank size you’re likely to find is 750-gallon, which will accommodate one to two bedrooms. You can also opt for a 1,000-gallon system, which will handle two to four bedrooms.
What is a GREY water dry well?
A drywell, or “seepage pit” is used at some building sites to receive “gray water” from a laundry, sink, or shower. A drywell design may be similar to that of a cesspool, but only gray-water and not sewage is discharged into a drywell.
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.
What is the cheapest septic system to put in?
Conventional septic system These conventional septic systems are usually the most affordable, with an average cost of around $3,000.
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.
What to put in septic tank to break down solids?
Yeast helps actively breaks down waste solids when added to your septic system. Flush ½ cup of dry baking yeast down the toilet, the first time. Add ¼ cup of instant yeast every 4 months, after the initial addition.
How much does it cost to pump a septic tank?
How much does it cost to pump out a septic tank? The average cost is $300, but can run up to $500, depending on your location. The tank should be pumped out every three to five years.
How to Make a Septic Tank With a 55 Gallon Drum
Home-Diy Temporary septic tanks were formerly constructed from whatever materials were available at the time, such as 55-gallon drums or barrels, according to legend. Despite the fact that these drums or barrels had a limited capacity, they performed well and provided a quick solution to the problem of holding untreated sewage.
- The following items are required: jigsaw
- 1-by-10-foot-long 3-inch-diameter black PVC pipe
- 1-by-10-foot-long leach-line pipe
- 55-gallon plastic drum or barrel with lid
Invest in a natural septic digester, which can be purchased at any ranch supply store, to supplement your temporary septic tank.
It is not permitted to drive or park on top of the temporary septic tank. While 55-gallon drums or barrels may still be utilized as a temporary solution in places where there are no zoning or building limitations, they should only be used as a temporary solution until other more permanent measures of waste containment are put in place.
- Dig a hole 10 feet away from the structure that requires a temporary septic tank, in line with the bathroom and 10 feet away from the toilet. For optimal gravity flow while flushing the toilet and to avoid sewage backlog, dig down at least 8 feet. To keep the building from being damaged, dig a ditch 2 feet below right in front of the hole. The trench should be a minimum of 10 feet long. This will be the leach line for your system. Take the jigsaw and cut a hole in the side of the plastic barrel 4 inches below the top to accommodate the 10-foot-long leach line, which is made of 3-inch-diameter PVC black pipe. Make certain that the hole is large enough to accommodate the pipe. Drop in the 55-gallon plastic barrel and insert the black PVC leach-line pipe into the hole you just dug. Cover the leach line with a coating of black plastic and a thick covering of cinders to prevent it from leaking. The soil you took from the leach line when excavating it should be used to re-fill it. Attach the other 10-foot length of solid PVC pipe to the structure and insert it into the bung hole at the top of the drum or barrel, if applicable. Place a black plastic sheet over the whole drum or barrel lid and backfill with earth until it reaches ground level.
How to Construct a Small Septic System
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Toilets that conserve water nowadays utilize less than two litres of water every flush.
- It might be a lifeline for those who live in areas where septic treatment is not available.
Part 1 of 3: Cutting the Tanks
- 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 more manageable. 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. Make sure the flanges are securely fastened to the tanks so they don’t shift or move after you’ve placed them. 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.
Part 2 of 3: Placing the Tanks Underground
- 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. 3 Dig 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. In order to ensure a tight fit and prevent the drum from shifting, make your hole the same diameter as the drum you’re inserting in it. 4 The hole should be leveled with gravel until a 90-degree curve can be made to connect the top drum’s hole on one side to the toilet flange on the other. Check the alignment of the holes in the 90-degree bend between the two drums by dry fitting it between the two drums. If you need to improve the alignment of the pipe line, dig the hole a little deeper. 5 To make the bend, cut 31 2in (8.9 cm) pieces of ABS pipe and adhere them to the bend with epoxy or hot glue. With a hacksaw, cut the ABSpipe parts, also known as nipples. 6 Insert the pieces into the bend and hold them in place using PVC adhesive. Check the fit between the two drums to ensure that they are in alignment. Insert the end of the 21 2in (6.4 cm) nipple into the side hole of the first drum and tighten the nut. 7Glue the end of the 31 2in (8.9 cm) nipple into the toilet flange on the second tank, making sure that the nipple on the other end aligns with the hole on the top of the second drum. To hold the bent in place, apply PVC adhesive to the inside of the curve. Don’t be concerned about the link to the first drum just yet
- You’ll make that connection later. 8. 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. Using your PVC adhesive, attach a nipple to the end of the Y-bend and let it dry. Make sure to align the angled pipe on the Y-bend so that it intersects with the incoming waste line and glue it into the toilet flange
- 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. The 45-degree bends’ ends should be perpendicular to the bottom of the trench, so that they may be pointed upward.
Part 3 of 3: Connecting the Drain Pipes
- 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
- 3Place another stake approximately 37 8ft (1.2 m) down the trench from the first one
- 4Place another stake approximately 37 8ft (1.2 m) down the trench from the first one
- 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
- 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)
- 5Repeat this method until you have stakes running the whole length of the trench
- 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
- 6Place gravel in the trench until the top of the gravel is level with the top of the stakes
- 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
- 7Place 20 ft (6.1 m) of perforated drain pipe into each hole on the second drum
- 8Place 20 ft (6.1 m) of perforated drain pipe into each hole on the third drum
- 9Place 20 ft (6.1 m) of perforated drain pipe into each hole on the fourth drum
- 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
- 8checking the pipes with a level to ensure that the 1 4in (0.64 cm) slope is consistent throughout the length of the pipe. The slope may be adjusted by adding or withdrawing gravel from beneath the pipe. 9Bend the bottom and top drums at 45 degrees and 90 degrees, respectively, to seal them. 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
- 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. Pour more water into the drum until it is completely filled, and then screw on the lid to shut it.
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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- 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
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“This website has affiliate connections to various items. Purchases bought through these links may result in a commission being paid to us.” Septic tanks for residential use come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so you have plenty of alternatives when making your decision. First and foremost, select a tank with the appropriate volume for your residence. The BioWonder SepticDrain Treatment is what I’m now using. After that, check to see that the tank is durable and will survive for a long time.
Essential Septic Tank Kits and Products We’ve Tested (Recommended)
Choose from the following:Do you treat waste before allowing it to seep into the ground? Homemade septic tanks are available in a variety of sizes and designs; it all depends on your preferences. Whether it is made of plastic or concrete, a well constructed Homemade Septic Tank may last anywhere from 20 to 35 years with regular care and upkeep. It may appear to be simple to construct, but it is time-consuming; yet, with the assistance of a septic tank, you may save hundreds to thousands of dollars in the process.
Homemade Septic Tank 55 Gallon Drum (Step-by-Step Checklist)
Before you begin construction on any septic system, check with the local health department and county government offices to see whether or not the site of your home is suitable for the installation of one. If you have been given permission to proceed, make a note of any prerequisites and get any permissions that would grant you the authority to begin construction. Read, understand, and adhere to the septic system specifications provided before beginning the construction process, or you may wind up having to start over from the beginning if the specifications are not satisfied.
2. Plan your site early
Keep these considerations in mind when deciding where to locate the septic tank and drain field: soil testing may be required to establish the drainage capabilities of the soil as well as the seasonal water tables of the site. The soil for the septic system must be tested and approved by the appropriate health authorities and planning boards. The depth to which the drain field pipes and the septic tank should be installed will be determined by the local health departments and planning boards.
Consider a 55-gallon drum per person every day as an example.
Always err on the side of caution and provide an extra 100 gallons each day to cater for unexpected users and guests.
Mounting Your Homemade Septic Tank Drum (Instructions)
Keep these considerations in mind when deciding where to locate the septic tank and drain field. Soil testing may be required to evaluate the drainage capabilities of the soil as well as the seasonal water tables of the site; this will take time. Septic system soil must be tested and approved by local health authorities and planning commissions. Furthermore, the depth of the drain field pipes and the septic tank will be determined by the health departments and planning boards. As well as determining the size of your Homemade Septic Tank that will be required, The average person consumes a 55-gallon drum per day.
Always play it safe and add an extra 100 gallons every day to accommodate for the possibility of unexpected users or guests. In order to avoid the need to pump out the sludge as frequently as would be necessary in a smaller tank, utilize an 800-gallon tank if possible.
Immediately in front of the hole and away from the building, dig a trench approximately 2 feet depth and 10 feet long, exactly in front of the hole. This will be the leach line for your system.
Create an opening 4 inches below the top and in the side of the plastic barrel with a jigsaw so that the leach line, which is a 10-foot-long, 3-inch-diameter PVC black pipe, may be inserted. The hole should be large enough to accommodate the pipe.
Place the 55-gallon plastic barrel into the hole carefully and gently, and then insert the black PVC leach-line pipe into the barrel. It is necessary to cover the leach line with plastic and a thick layer of cinders in addition to this. Backfill the leach line with the earth that was taken previously during the digging process.
Incorporate the 10-foot segment of solid PVC pipe from the building into the bunghole at the top of the barrel or drum to complete the installation. Cover the barrel or drum lid with plastic wrap, then backfill the leach line with the soil you removed when excavating earlier in the process. (Optional) Whether you are permitted to install this septic system on your property is entirely dependent on where you live and the state building restrictions in effect. It is impossible to tell if you may construct this septic system on your property until all of these conditions are satisfied in each of Colorado’s 63 counties, because laws change on an annual basis and rules and regulations differ from one inspector to another.
General septic system guidelines and various types of waste treatment
Every septic system is comprised of two key components: the Leach Field, which is used to dispose of liquid waste, and the Septic Tank, which is used to collect solid waste. Cesspools are equipped with a septic system that allows for the direct discharge of sewage, both liquid and solid, into a pit. When effluent leaches and evaporates down to the earth, the solids are retained in a perforated or pond tank. To dispose of effluent from septic tanks, one of seven treatment area designs might be utilized:
Leach Pits are holes in the ground filled with gravel, with a perforated tank in the center for dumping wastewater into. Drywells are a passive solution that does not require the use of a pump for small or irregular lots when a long leach percolation field is not required or practicable. Leach pits have the benefit of having a large surface area surrounding their sides, which allows them to dispose of water in the appropriate soil types. Adding a dry well to your leach pit will increase the capacity of your leach pit, allowing it to handle a large amount of water at one time.
- Leach Fields are trenches dug in the yard that are filled with a foot of 3/4′′ — 1-1/2′′ gravel and a pipe with a diameter of around four inches.
- The effluent is delivered to the leach field with at least a 1/8 inch per foot drop and subsequently is dissolved into the soil with all of the leach field pipe being at the same level, according to the specifications.
- The sewage is discharged into this big open region underneath the yard; the whole bottom of the chamber is now accessible.
- Pressurized Mound Systems are often powered by an electric pump that forces effluent into raised mound systems and beds or chambers, as well as remote trenches and aeration systems.
- In the wastewater treatment industry, drip beds (also known as evapotranspiration) are pressured systems with small nozzles or holes for equitable dispersion of wastewater; nevertheless, they are susceptible to blockage due to calcification of the nozzles.
- Because of their development, plants transpire water, and part of the water inside them evaporates to the surface, with a lesser percentage of the effluent trickling down into the groundwater table.
- Typically, it is designated for high clay soil regions where percolation is difficult; lagoons are walled to prevent percolation in a vulnerable zone where evaporation is the sole method of disposal; and it is reserved for high clay soil areas where percolation is difficult.
Because of the legal liabilities associated with safety hazards, six-foot fence and a closed gate are the normal procedure for any cesspool or lagoon installation.
Leach Pits are holes in the ground filled with gravel, with a perforated tank in the center for dumping wastewater. Small/odd lots where a lengthy leach percolation field is not desired or practical might benefit from drywells, which require no pumping. For soil types that are suitable for leaching, leach pits have the benefit of having a large surface area along their sides. Add a dry well to your leach pit to increase the ability of your leach pit to withstand a large amount of water at once.
- Trenches dug in the yard are filled with a foot of 3/4′′ to 1-1/2′′ gravel and pipe with a diameter of around four inches.
- The effluent is delivered to the leach field with at least a 1/8 inch per foot drop and subsequently is dissolved into the soil with all of the leach field pipe being at the same level, according to the manufacturer.
- In this wide open region underneath the yard, the effluent is discharged; the chamber’s whole bottom is now accessible.
- In most cases, pressurized mound systems make use of an electric pump to propel wastewater into elevated mound systems and beds or chambers, as well as far-flung trenches.
- In the wastewater treatment industry, drip beds (also known as evapotranspiration) are pressured systems with small nozzles or holes to ensure equitable dispersion of wastewater; nevertheless, they are susceptible to blockage due to calcium buildup in the nozzles and holes.
- As the plants develop, they transpire water, and part of the water inside them evaporates to the surface, with a lesser percentage of the effluent seeping down into the groundwater table.
A typical application is in high clay soil areas where percolation is difficult; lagoons are lined to prevent percolation in a fragile region where evaporation is the only method of disposal; and wetlands are lined to prevent percolation in a fragile region where evaporation is the only method of disposal.
Because of the legal liabilities associated with safety hazards, six-foot fence and a lockable gate are normal practice around any cesspool or lagoon.
DIY Septic System Tutorials – 55 Gallon Drum & Tank Systems
You read that correctly: this article is about making a handmade DIY septic system out of inexpensive plastic barrels and repurposed tote tanks! Not only is it not thrilling, but it is also not seductive, yet it is really vital. If you’re only going to be camping or staying somewhere for a few weeks, a simple latrine will suffice. However, if you plan on spending months or years in a log cabin that you constructed yourself in an off-grid region, you’ll need something more effective to deal with the normal human waste.
The three ‘Do It Yourself’ house septic systems shown here are all relatively inexpensive to construct — from a small size 55 gallon drum septic system to two bigger tote tank septic systems.
1 – DIY 55 Gallon Drum Septic System
This excellent step-by-step video demonstrates how to rapidly and affordably construct a modest 55-gallon drum septic tank. Only human waste should be used in this handmade plastic barrel septic system; it is not large enough to handle laundry or other household garbage. Although the lesson specifies that this system is designed for two adults, I believe that with cautious use, it may meet the demands of a small family consisting of two adults and two young children. Take a look at it. An inexpensive and straightforward plastic barrel septic system for one to two persons is demonstrated here.
It is unable to deal with washing and other household chores.
2 — DIY Tote Tank Septic System
UnitedStatesofBuild has created an outstanding video instruction, which you can see here. The video demonstrates how to create a low-cost, off-grid tote tank septic system from the ground up. Totes are big plastic liquid containers that are encased in a protective steel or aluminum frame for added strength and durability. For transportation purposes, they are frequently shipped on pallets. Totes may be purchased at a low cost since they are typically considered a waste product once they have been used.
Tote tanks are also excellent for large-scale rainwater gathering systems.
3 – A Larger DIY Tank Septic System
Make Science Fun created this video lesson for you. It includes instructions on how to construct a larger-scale above-ground aerated water waste treatment system using totes. However, while this system is a bigger and more expensive version of the DIY tank septic system, it is still less expensive than a properly constructed commercial system. Even though this is a larger and more intricate septic system, it is extremely efficient and has the ability to break down and handle far more waste. TUTORIAL – How to create your own sewage system from the ground up.
With this information, you should be able to make an informed decision on whether to invest in an expensive professional prepared system or to create a more affordable DIY system for yourself.
(Photo from: WikiHow)
Off-grid life frequently entails residing in rural places where there are few or no amenities accessible. We are left to fend for ourselves, which is generally the intention and not a problem in and of itself. Waste management is one of the most important tasks that the rural off-gridder has to deal with on a daily basis. Some methods exist, such as the Joseph Jenkins Humanure technique of composting waste material, which is quite effective. However, not everyone is on board with the idea of managing their own feces and waste products, and having company can present its own set of issues.
- Installing a septic system may be the best option for you in this case.
- ), but if you are diligent and attentive, you can build a tiny septic system that will manage a small cabin or trailer for one or two people with relative ease.
- It is important not to put this in an area where it might contaminate groundwater or any other bodies of water without first consulting with someone who is knowledgeable about this.
- No one at or linked with this site will be held liable for any actions made by visitors to this site as a result of reading the information included within this article.
- The system displayed here is a tiny one, intended for limited usage by two individuals who do not have access to a laundry facility and who travel in a small travel trailer.
- A certified site evaluation is necessary since the tank is significantly smaller than required and because the design is lacking several critical elements such as internal baffles.
- In addition, the system we are developing here has a dispersion area that is approximately one-third the size of a big home.
- Construct a ditch that is 4 feet wide, 26 feet long, and 3 feet deep. Make a complete assembly using all of the materials and pieces. See the “Things You’ll Need” list at the bottom of this page. Drill a hole in the top of each drum the same size as the outer dimension of the toilet flange pipe. It should be at the edge of the table. A saber saw is the most appropriate tool for this job. Each hole should be capped with a 4′′ toilet flange. To make two holes in the top side of the bottom drum, as indicated in the photo, cut them 45 degrees apart along a perpendicular line drawn from one hole on top to another hole on the other side. To make a hole in the upper drum opposite the hole at the top, as shown in the photo, cut one hole in the upper drum. The drum with one hole in the side should be placed at the far end of the trench. Adjust the cymbals’ pitch. There should be at least 4 inches of clearance between the top of the drum and the ground. For the location of the second drum in front of the first, dig a hole about one foot deeper than the first. Drill a little further into the hole specified in step 8 and fill with gravel until the 90-degree angle fits exactly between the hole in the top drum’s side wall and the toilet flange of the bottom drum
- 3 1/2′′ piece of 4′′ ABS pipe (nipple) cut to 3 1/2′′ in length and glued into one end of the 90 ell. Cut a second nipple about 2 1/2′′ long and attach it to the opposite end of the first. Check the fit between the two drums to ensure that they are in alignment. The end with the short nipple should be inserted into the upper drum of the drum set. It should resemble the photo in Step 9
- However, Glue the end of the 3 1/2′′ nipple into the toilet flange after you are certain that it will fit properly. We’ll take care of sealing the connection to the higher drum later on
- For now, just relax. Glue a “Y” to three and a half nipples and bend the left side of the “Y” at a 45-degree angle. Align the “Y” so that it meets the incoming waste line, then glue it into the toilet flange to complete the installation. Cut and glue (2) 2 1/2′′ nipples to the remaining two 45-degree bends at one end only, and insert them into the holes in the side of the bottom drum, as indicated in the photo in step 7
- Otherwise, repeat the process. The face of the two 45-degree bends should be perpendicular to the trench
- Otherwise, the bends will not work. Take a look at the photo in Step 7
- In the ground, pound a stake such that the top of the stake is level with the bottom of the 45-degree curve that emerges from one side of the bottom drum
- In the photo to the right, you can see how you tape the end of a 4 foot level with a 1 inch broad block
- The second stake should be placed a little more than 4 feet down the ditch from the first. 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. When the block is on the second stake, continue to pound the stake down until the level indicates level. This means that the second stake is now 1 inch lower than the first, or 1/4 inch lower every foot. Continue this procedure until you have pegs throughout the whole length of the trench. Placing gravel in the trench until the tops of the stakes and the tops of the gravel are equal
- The gravel should now slope away from the drums at a 1/4-inch angle to the foot
- Place two sections of 10 foot 4 inch perforated drain pipe linked with a slip coupler in the center of the work area (holes down). Insert one end of the hose into the 45-degree curve of the bottom drum. Repeat the process on the opposite side. Using a level and block, inspect the drain pipes to ensure that the 1/4′′ slope is continuous along the length of the pipe. Make adjustments by adding or removing gravel from beneath the pipe. Lower and upper drums should be joined together by sealing the 45-degree bend and the 90-degree bend, respectively. Consider using a two-part epoxy. You may also use silicone caulk in this situation. For a completed look of the epoxy, go to the photo in step 6. You might want to consider utilizing flex pipe for this purpose, so that it will yield a bit as the earth changes
- Fill up the trench all the way up to the top of the bottom drum with the remainder of the gravel. Landscape cloth should be laid on top of the gravel. Thus, dirt will be prevented from soaking into the gravel. Using soil, fill up the remainder of the trench area, compacting it thoroughly to the original grade Fill the larger drum halfway with water.
- The digesting tanks are comprised of two 55-gallon polyethylene barrels that are connected together. The first tank is completely filled with waste, with the contents settling to the bottom. 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. After a couple of years, the solids may have accumulated to the point that the tank must be emptied
- However, this is unlikely. After some time has passed, you may notice a settlement where the trench used to be. Fill up the gaps with more soil and compact with the tire of your automobile. Don’t drive over the area where the drums are located
- It is assumed that you are familiar with working with ABS plastic pipe (plastic ABS pipe). In addition, you must have the necessary tools to dig the trench (or be ready to put in a lot of effort). The depth of the trench is proportional to the depth of the waste source line that it is encircling. 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. (Note: If you dig a trench that is too shallow, your septic system may be more susceptible to damage.)
- In order to pump solids out of the tank when it is entirely filled with solids, the vertical side of the “Y” will be utilized
- The horizontal side of the “Y” will connect to the waste source and should be fitted with a connection that is compatible with the source supply line
- When installing a septic system, it is important to adhere to the local septic regulations. In the absence of a permission, it is unlawful to install or repair any type of wastewater treatment system. The permit will include any local regulations for the construction or repair of any type of wastewater treatment system. It is important not to position your septic system too close to trees since tree roots will grow into your line and cause it to clog (with roots), which will eventually cause damage to your system. 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. Depending on how much you use the upper drum, you may only need to pump it once a year. In the last five years, the system depicted above has been pumped twice.
Things You’ll Need
- (9) cubic yards of 3/4 or 1 1/2 crushed rock or blue metal
- (80) square feet of landscape fabric
- (2) 55 gallon plastic drums
- (10) ft of 4′′ ABS plastic pipe
- (1) 4′′ ABS 90 degree bend (also known as a street Ell)
- (1) 4′′ ABS Y branch (also known as a Y bend)
- (3) 4′′ ABS 45 degree bend
- (4) 10 ft. length of 4′′ perforated drain pipe
- (2) 4′′ drain pipe couplers
- (2) 4 PVC glue, two-part epoxy or silicon sealant, a 1′′ thick wood block, duct tape, and a 4′′ ABS detachable cap for pumping out as necessary are all included.
55-gallon Barrel Septic System: 3-year update
If you go purely by the language of the Internet on the matter, it appears that you are not permitted to be a homesteader want tobe until you fantasize about building a septic system out of 55-gallon barrels. I’m not sure how often they’re really constructed compared to how frequently they’re spoken about. In the beginning, I was apprehensive to utilize one since there were so many plans, but so few long-term reviews on the Secret Lair’s website. In any case, when long-time commenter Phssthpok brought it to my attention this morning, it gave me the impetus to accomplish something I’d been intending to do for quite some time.
- That said, I’ll point you that the instructions, in my opinion, include one significant error.
- Before you bury the barrels, you should make sure that they are completely filled.
- Mine has been in operating since sometime in 2011, and has never given me a single problem.
- My situation is ideal because I’m a single individual with no guests, making me the ideal test subject.
- I walked outside and dipped my probe into the higher tank, and my probe clunked straight to the bottom with absolutely little resistance.
- Everything is turning into soup fairly rapidly, and there are no solids accumulating in the pot.
- I recommend that anyone who is planning to build one of these take some time to learn how to lay out a leach field, because that is really the key to success.
I had to make some impromptu decisions that I now regret, but there isn’t even the slightest indication that anything is wrong. It appears to be draining properly. So, in my not so humble view, this is a good concept to pursue further.
It appears that you are not permitted to be a homesteader want tobe if you do not fantasize about building a septic system from 55-gallon barrels, at least according to the language found on the Internet. Not sure how often they are really erected, but I doubt it’s anywhere like as frequently as they are discussed. At first, I was apprehensive to utilize one because there were so many plans but so few long-term evaluations on the Secret Lair’s website. In any case, when long-time commenter Phssthpok brought it to my attention this morning, it prompted me to take action on something I’d been intending to do for a long time.
That said, I’ll point out that those instructions, in my opinion, include a significant error.
Before you bury the barrels, you should make sure that they are completely full.
This particular one has been up and running since sometime in 2011, with no issues.
My situation is ideal because I am a single individual with no visitors.
I walked outside and plunged my probe into the higher tank, and my probe clunked straight to the bottom with absolutely little resistance.
In there, nothing is forming solids since everything is turning to soup so rapidly.
To anyone considering constructing one of these, I strongly advise them to research how to lay out a leach field, since it is the most important factor in achieving success.
Apparently, it is draining quite well.
Trying to build a DIY redneck style septic tank.
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|02-09-2020, 04:09 PM||1|
|MemberJoin Date: Dec 2019Location: Stapleton, AlabamaPosts: 41||Trying to build a DIY redneck style septic tank.
Does any one have experience with building DYI septic tanks with plastic barrels for an Rv?So I have one empty plastic barrel and I’m considering drilling some holes in it.Just dug a 5 ft hole.I’m considering putting rocks on the bottom and around the sides of the barrel.Would this work? If not, what would you recommend?
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|02-09-2020, 04:13 PM||2|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Sep 2007Location: Grasonville, MD – Golden, COPosts: 6,205||Quote:Originally Posted byethan1Does any one have experience with building DYI septic tanks with plastic barrels for an Rv?So I have one empty plastic barrel and I’m considering drilling some holes in it.Just dug a 5 ft hole.I’m considering putting rocks on the bottom and around the sides of the barrel.Would this work? If not, what would you recommend?Attachment 274702 Attachment 274703Simple -Need a couple barrels to do it right.Best of Luck,_Busskipper Location – Grasonville, Maryland – and/or – Superior, Colorado 2005 Travel Supreme 42DS04 – GX470 Toad|
|02-09-2020, 04:42 PM||3|
|Registered UserJoin Date: Oct 2011Posts: 2,183||Do a percolation test first.You can add course stone for a french drain, drain’s if need be.Aeration Aerobic medium activity creats a working system more odor free.|
|02-09-2020, 04:49 PM||4|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Aug 2016Location: payson, azPosts: 924||how about checking with the local building authority (city / county) to determine how to proceed?|
|02-09-2020, 04:52 PM||5|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jun 2017Posts: 2,807||I have a 3 barrel system for the bathroom in my shop with a single 40 foot drain field.I also have a single barrel system for the RV with a single 20 foot drain field.Dig the barrel hole over a foot deeper than the height of the barrel the inlet pipe should go down to about 6″ from the bottom of the barrel. The effluent pipe comes out of the top of the barrel and turns 90 degrees to the drain field pipe. You can put some small holes around the sides of the top of the barrel as well. If you do this use rocks to back fill the barrel as well as in your drain field trench. Cover both with dirt and sod for the last 2″ to 3″ at least.|
|02-09-2020, 04:55 PM||6|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jun 2017Posts: 2,807||Quote:Originally Posted bybigchickhow about checking with the local building authority (city / county) to determine how to proceed?That’s an easy way to get immediately shut down. Most have a minimum septic tank size in the hundreds to over a thousand gallons, require a soil scientist to do a soil test, and have minimum drain field size requirements; all based on a multi-bedroom house size, not an RV holding tank.|
|02-10-2020, 06:19 AM||8|
|Junior MemberJoin Date: Aug 2018Location: IndianaPosts: 11||Search on You tube several very good options that work very well and are I expensive to make!|
|02-10-2020, 08:23 AM||9|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Sep 2012Location: Palm Coast FloridaPosts: 10,776||My initial though is that is not going to work and is illegal.How far are you from a state park with a dump station. Also can you have a sewage truck come and pump you out?Here is what I do camping on my unimproved wooded property. I alternate between using the state park and a pump out truck. I bought a 35 gallon sewage tote. I use that the for the 1st black tank dump. Then for the second dump I call a company to come pump out the tote and pump out the trailer.or depending on my mood I will pull my trailer 9 miles to the state park dump station and pay $9 to dump. While there I fill my fresh water tank and my fresh water containers.If you do the research you will find the land needs to perk. If it perks then you need a large sewage system. Probably 15k to do it right.Looks like you have improved property. If so, get a small tote that you can carry into the house to dump in the toilet. I would worry my neighbors would report a illegal sewage dumping situation if I did not do it the way I do. Plus I do not want to stink up my camp area.|
|02-10-2020, 09:05 AM||10|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Feb 2020Posts: 325||Ask your county first. There may be issues you’ve not considered. Maybe neighbors with wells? If you feel compelled to do something illegal, you probably shouldn’t post about it on the internet.|
|02-10-2020, 09:23 AM||11|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jan 2020Posts: 431||I have been to a campground that had/has the plastic barrel thing, he is grandfathered, campground has a well, no one is dead yet. They last for a long time, and when goes bad, he rents a small excavator and digs up and puts in a new barrel, leaves old one where it is. Another option is the composting toylet, or outhouse, make it look like a shed. Good luck.|
|02-10-2020, 10:20 AM||12|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Jul 2014Posts: 29,462||Don’t tell anybody in charge, but my summer house has a 55 gallon drum septic system. It has a pump in it that leads to the river but its not wired anymore. Built in the 40s when no one worried.It started flooding over so I dug a 10″ deep trench and layed 30 ft of 3″ leaching pipe in it. I dropped a solid section of the pipe into the top of the barrel and haven’t had a problem since.While wrenching, by hand, I discovered the old leaching pipe that had been chopped off by the trench for city water installation. Hey, it passed some kind of septic test when I bought it.I plan in burying another barrel or two, on the other side of the yard, so I can dump my RV in, and maybe add a second bathroom to the house some day.Until the Town tells me to upgrade to a modern system, I’ll use what I got.|
|02-10-2020, 10:29 AM||13|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Sep 2007Location: Grasonville, MD – Golden, COPosts: 6,205||Quote:Originally Posted bytwinboatDon’t tell anybody in charge, but my summer house has a 55 gallon drum septic system. It has a pump in it that leads to the river but its not wired anymore. Built in the 40s when no one worried.It started flooding over so I dug a 10″ deep trench and layed 30 ft of 3″ leaching pipe in it. I dropped a solid section of the pipe into the top of the barrel and haven’t had a problem since.While wrenching, by hand, I discovered the old leaching pipe that had been chopped off by the trench for city water installation. Hey, it passed some kind of septic test when I bought it.I plan in burying another barrel or two, on the other side of the yard, so I can dump my RV in, and maybe add a second bathroom to the house some day.Until the Town tells me to upgrade to a modern system, I’ll use what I got.Just try to stay at least 75′ from the well – oh you have public water- I did a knock down/demo of an old house a few years back and they had half a dozen 55 gallon double tanks in the yard that we dug up – was just one person in the house so as long as the water usage is low they will work. Just be sure you add the drain field to the tank and give it time to work before running a great volume of water._Busskipper Location – Grasonville, Maryland – and/or – Superior, Colorado 2005 Travel Supreme 42DS04 – GX470 Toad|
|02-10-2020, 11:18 AM||14|
|Senior MemberJoin Date: Oct 2016Posts: 1,035||you don’t say, but are you going to live in the R/V or is it just to dump your holding tanks when you’ve come back form a camping trip. what ever you do DON’T tell anybody what your doing. it could cost you thousands. Jay D.|
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