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Old 02-08-2010, 04:14 PM
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scottinaz scottinaz is offline
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Default How to Make a Septic Tank With a 55 Gallon Drum



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How to Make a Septic Tank With a 55 Gallon Drum

In days gone by, temporary septic tanks were made from anything handy at the time, including 55-gallon drums or barrels. Although these drums or barrels had a relatively small capacity, they worked well and solved the immediate problem of containing raw sewage. 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.

Instructions

1.
Step 1

Dig a hole in line with the bathroom 10 feet away from the structure that needs a temporary septic tank. Dig down at least 8 feet in order to achieve good gravity flow when you flush the toilet and to prevent sewage backup.
2.
Step 2

Dig a trench 2 feet down directly in front of the hole away from the structure. The trench should be 10 feet in length. This will be your leach line.
3.
Step 3

Take the jigsaw and cut a hole 4 inches below the top in the side of the plastic barrel to fit the 10-foot-long leach line, 3-inch-diameter PVC black pipe. Make sure the hole is big enough for the pipe.
4.
Step 4

Lower the 55-gallon plastic barrel into the hole and fit the black PVC leach-line pipe. Cover the leach line with black plastic and a thick layer of cinders. Backfill the leach line with the dirt you removed while digging the line.
5.
Step 5

Fit the other 10-foot section of solid PVC pipe from the structure and into the bung hole in the top of the drum or barrel. Cover the entire drum or barrel lid with black plastic, and backfill with dirt to ground level.

Tips & Warnings

*
Add a natural septic digester, available at any ranch supply store, to your temporary septic tank.
*
Do not drive or park over the temporary septic tank.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:19 PM
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Dude , have you ever dug a 8' hole? I had a good friend in KY, his 2 yr old child died...we dug his grave by hand.......6' deep.......it took 5 guys, all day to dig that hole......I'm just sayin', are you talking about equipment or by hand?
Old 02-08-2010, 04:30 PM
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I actually dug my whole septic field..BY HAND...including the hole for the tank.,1000 or 1200 gal.can't remember which now.My hands were so damn sore I couldn't unzip my own drawers.
I should think you would need two holes cut into your plastic drum,one slightly higher than the other.One to go in,one to go out to the leech field. I don't think the bung hole of the drum will work real hot,since its only 2",and most drainage lines are going to be 3" or bigger.When I put mine field in,code was peagravel over the lines,then a layer of straw.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottinaz View Post
How to Make a Septic Tank With a 55 Gallon Drum
Instructions

1.
Step 1

Dig a hole in line with the bathroom 10 feet away from the structure that needs a temporary septic tank. Dig down at least 8 feet in order to achieve good gravity flow when you flush the toilet and to prevent sewage backup.

Ok, in line with the bathroom........what line? The magnetic North line? a 90deg line? a 45deg line? a line from highest to lowest? from darkest to lightest? WTF? 8'? What if I hit rock at 4'? Should I bust thru it or move? What if I dig 4' over and hit rock again , at 4'?

Quote:
2.
Step 2. Dig a trench 2 feet down directly in front of the hole away from the structure. The trench should be 10 feet in length. This will be your leach line.

?????? ok, dig a 2' trench, 10' long, in FRONT of the hole( away from the the structure,.....so the front of the hole is away from the structure, the back of the hole is towards the structure)?????????????



Quote:
3.Step 3...Take the jigsaw
????????Why does this have to be a jigsaw? ........[/QUOTE]

Dude, no offense, but I bet you're just quoting something you found......you mean you can't digest this and put it simple terms?
Old 02-08-2010, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetreal View Post
Dude , have you ever dug a 8' hole? I had a good friend in KY, his 2 yr old child died...we dug his grave by hand.......6' deep.......it took 5 guys, all day to dig that hole......I'm just sayin', are you talking about equipment or by hand?
I helped a friend make one of these for his 5th wheel,, him and i had it done in about 3 or 4 hours,,, I dug a fire pit for a pig by myself in an hour,5x5x5, I guess it depends on what kind of ground you are working with,, Its easy digging here,, Many people here dig water wells by hand,, granted you can hit water at 6 ft,,,,,
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetreal View Post
Ok, in line with the bathroom........what line? The magnetic North line? a 90deg line? a 45deg line? a line from highest to lowest? from darkest to lightest? WTF? 8'? What if I hit rock at 4'? Should I bust thru it or move? What if I dig 4' over and hit rock again , at 4'?




?????? ok, dig a 2' trench, 10' long, in FRONT of the hole( away from the the structure,.....so the front of the hole is away from the structure, the back of the hole is towards the structure)?????????????





????????Why does this have to be a jigsaw? ........
Dude, no offense, but I bet you're just quoting something you found......you mean you can't digest this and put it simple terms?[/QUOTE]

Of course its something I found,, Here is a link with pictures,
http://www.wikihow.com/Construct-a-Small-Septic-System
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:38 PM
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These instructions are weird. Basically, dig a hole, put a barrel in it, run a pipe from your toilet to the barrel?

edit - the instructions you posted look nothing like the pictures you linked.
Old 02-08-2010, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pudding7 View Post
These instructions are weird. Basically, dig a hole, put a barrel in it, run a pipe from your toilet to the barrel?

edit - the instructions you posted look nothing like the pictures you linked.
http://www.ehow.com/how_4867856_make...llon-drum.html
Old 02-08-2010, 04:54 PM
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It took 5 guys all day to dig a 6ft hole? I have dug deeper holes then that by myself in less then a day. Did you hit tree roots or rock? Something must of went wrong for 5 guys to take that long.
Old 02-08-2010, 05:02 PM
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Hey, the guy tries to share something and he gets shredded?

Why not comment a little more politely or perhaps use some imagination and a little tact in adding some suggestions guys.

I understood what he's trying to say and it's not a bad idea, just add your geographic uniqueness to it and go from the base of the design to fit your specific needs...sheesh.

From the toilet in line away from the house, (a couple 22 degree or 45's PVC fittings would work better than using 90's for blockage) trench it to the top of the can after installing the can and digging the leechfield and piping to drain. All the while making sure you have a "fall" or slope in the line of around 1/8" to 1/4" per linear foot (use a level).

I've put a couple of septic systems in and for FreedLee, you have my sincere respect digging that bad boy by hand. I used a back hoe on the ones I've installed.
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Last edited by anchorbanger; 02-08-2010 at 05:10 PM..
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:04 PM
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ive done it it works. for one bath used sparingly
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anchorbanger View Post
Hey, the guy tries to share something and he gets shredded?

Why not comment a little more politely or perhaps use some imagination and a little tact in adding some suggestions guys.

I understood what he's trying to say and it's not a bad idea, just add your geographic uniqueness to it and go from the base of the design to fit your specific needs...sheesh.

From the toilet in line away from the house, (a couple 22 degree or 45's PVC fittings would work better than using 90's for blockage) trench it to the top of the can after installing the can and digging the leechfield and piping to drain. All the while making sure you have a "fall" or slope in the line of around 1/8" to 1/4" per linear foot (use a level).

I've put a couple of septic systems in and for FreedLee, you have my sincere respect digging that bad boy by hand. I used a back hoe on the ones I've installed.
point taken. Sorry OP, my post was harsher than I intended.

Good info, especially the link with the pics of the two-barrel solution.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:24 PM
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It would work better if you had a seperate grey water system.

Have sink and shower water go somewhere else, just a leech field without the barrel.

You don't need to dump tons of soapy water into the septic that has to handle blackwater (sewage). your septic will last much longer that way.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:25 PM
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I know folks who have used old chevys as septic tanks.

Our neighbors' tank is wooden.

It really does not matter how you make a septic tank. Sp long as it holds effluent and directs it toward a leechfield.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:34 PM
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Can you put the tank on top of the ground on sloping ground? Would smell be a problem?
I would put the leach lines level running with the hill not downhill.
Old 02-08-2010, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horatioo View Post
Can you put the tank on top of the ground on sloping ground? Would smell be a problem?
I would put the leach lines level running with the hill not downhill.
Good question.

Some problems I see with that idea.

Yeah smell for starters.

The barrel expanding in hot eather and bursting (anyone that has a potable marine or RV toilet that has been forgotten over a weekend in 90+ degree heat can attest to this).

Freezing. Thats why you want to trench your leechfield lines below the frost line in addition to ground absorption.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:58 PM
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You may have to have a breather in the tank to relive back pressure. But for just black water with at most two people and a low water use tolet I do not see why it would not work, provided that the local soil will handle the flow. That is where the cinders or pea gravel comes in to get a larger surface area to increase the soil's "leach" rate, However if you are on sandy soil you may not need any gravel.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letsgetreal View Post


????????Why does this have to be a jigsaw? ........

Because a lot of people call a sabre saw a jig saw. and you use it because you can cut a big round hole in the barrel without starting from an outside edge of the barrel.

A plastic barrel would probably work better or rather longer than a metal one. Maybe not because plastic munching bacteria might get started.
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:06 PM
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If the plastic munching bacteria can survive the "chili vengence" they can have the barrel. And besides, what's a new hole in the inprov septic system anyway? Good thread.
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:11 PM
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If the plastic munching bacteria can survive the "chili vengence" they can have the barrel. And besides, what's a new hole in the inprov septic system anyway? Good thread.
To fit pipes in the side of the barrel. You could use a hole saw if you've got a 6" hole saw.
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