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Thread: Outhouse pit question

  1. #1
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    Default Outhouse pit question

    On Friday I dug a 6x8 hole and only got 3-4' down when the trencher could not go any deeper as the ground was too hard for it.
    Then it started raining.By Sunday afternoon there was almost 2' of water in the hole. I think this is all rain water.

    I am wondering if I should go back with a pump and some bars for breaking up the ground and try to get deeper, or if this is ok? This will just be a recreational cabin.

    Also, if it matters this is down Petersville road.

  2. #2
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I'd be a bit concerned if a few days of rain was able to fill the hole over 1/2 way up. If the soil drains that poorly then it would seem a wet summer would have your pit overflowing and spreading fecal matter all over your lot. Not an ideal situation.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  3. #3
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    I wonder if I fit frozen ground? I need to get back up there and investigate more. Maybe talk to some people in the area and see what their experiences were.

  4. #4

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    That's frozen ground. Drain the hole. Get a couple of old used tires and burn down about 4-8 feet and then you are good to go.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas

  5. #5

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    Coal would work much better than tires ,more of you heat would remain on the ground tire burn hot but most of your is going up.

  6. #6
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    Default Outhouse pit question

    I think you have a high water table, and the trencher hit a hard pan. I doubt the ground is frozen.


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  7. #7
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    If your water drains out naturally, maybe you'll find things looser to get down another foot or two. Either way, 6x8x4 is going to hold a lot of volume unless there is ground water comes in and stays. We went 4x4 by maybe 5' deep in our recreational cabin outhouse pit a ways north of the Pville Road. I was aiming for 6 feet until I hit rocks that were too big to handle with a bar and shovel. Our pit will last a long time, and we're set up with the throne structure built on RR ties which span the hole. That way at some point we can slide/rotate the outhouse and fill the unused side.

  8. #8

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    What does the soil look like? Is it sandy, like ashtray sand? when you try to roll a tootsie roll in your hand does it all stick together or does it just fall apart? It's possible you have hit some silt and it won't percolate. If you were on permeable sand/gravel the hole should have drained, even if you were on the water table.

  9. #9

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    Oh, yea. use a thermometer to see if you have frozen ground. Thawing that can be a real problem. If you thaw a lot of it you might create a real quagmire.

  10. #10
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    There was some sand as we went down. Mixed with clay.
    It might be a few more weeks until I get back up there. But I got a digging bar and want to go now.
    It is hard to focus on my job and all the other things I need to do when I am thinking about this!

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