How to create a septic system for pet waste

Pets and Septic Systems – What You Need to Know

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Once installed, you hope never to meet your septic system again except for scheduled maintenance routines. But, remember that bone your dog lost last year. Well, he found it — and the septic system. And that cat litter you flushed is now becoming an issue in the septic tank.

Pets and septic systems bring their own sets of rules and potential problems. But, you can quickly get a handle on them ahead of time, stopping issues down the road.

Pets and Septic Systems Video

Pets and Septic Systems

What do pet hair, cat litter, dog shampoo and digging have in common? None of them mix with septic systems. But, that doesn’t mean pets and septic systems don’t mix — it just means you have to be aware.


Not just annoying because it destroys your lawn and well-thought out flower bed.

Digging can hurt your septic system and your dog.

If they dig too deep, they can easily access your drainfield. While harder to damage the pipes, they can mess with the soil and gravity-driven system of letting the waste back into the water table.

Not only does this disrupt your septic systems ability to process waste successfully, but it also exposes your dog to waste before fully treated. While dogs are renown for handling (and eating) waste, this is a bit too much.

So, how do you stop the digging?

If you are unable to train your dog to stop digging, considering putting up a fence around your septic system and drainfield to keep your dog away. Or placing mesh over the area to prevent them.

Pet Shampoo & Bathing

While good enough and sensitive enough for your pets, it may not be suitable for your septic system.

Chemicals and harsh cleaners have no place in your septic tank. Including some pet shampoos. So, what should you do? After all, no one likes a smelly pet.

Look for pet shampoos that are septic-safe and chemical-free. This may be especially difficult when using tick and flea shampoos as they contain specific chemicals to rid your pets of bugs. In that instance, an outside wash is your best bet — away from the drainfield.

Pet Hair

Like human hair, pet hair can quickly clog up a system, wreaking havoc and causing back-ups (which then leak into your yard, which further endangers your family pet).

This means using a hair stopper or drain strainer when giving your dog their monthly bath. Additionally, it means no flushing hair down the drain. Use your trash can instead.

Cat Litter

It’s easy to see why people started flushing cat waste down the drain, after all, your septic system processes waste.

But, cat waste is a different animal.

After sitting in cat litter, cat poop petrifies. Becoming solid, cement-like as it works it’s way through your septic system, the bacteria in your septic tank will be hard-pressed to break down.

Additionally, cat waste contains bacteria that your system has not met yet, further disrupting the delicate balance of the required bacteria in your septic tank.

And, never flush cat litter. Think about what would happen if you flushed sand down your pipes. It would sit there accumulating, eventually to the point of needing an early pump-out.

Like flushable wipes, beware of flushable cat litter. Remember, your septic system is designed to handle and process human waste — nothing else.

Home Blog How to Make a Pet Waste Digester

Home Blog How to Make a Pet Waste Digester

Ri Industries provides quality septic systems for human waste, but what about those who share their home with furry family members? An environmentally friendly method to dispose of pet waste is needed as well.

Search online and you will find doggie septic systems you can purchase; or you can follow these step-by step instructions we found on and build one yourself.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

DYI Pet Waste Digester

  1. Take an old plastic rubbish container and drill a dozen or so holes in the sides.
  2. Cut out the bottom. (A keyhole saw works great for this.)
  3. Dig a hole deep enough for the rubbish container.
  4. Toss some rocks or gravel in the hole for drainage and position the rubbish container so it’s a little above ground level.
  5. Place the lid on top. (You might want to paint something like “Dog Waste Composter” across the lid.)
  6. Start scooping

It is recommended you sprinkle some septic starter when you add poop. The septic starter should begin to work within 48 hours and you can then add poop daily.

What do you think? It seems simple enough and after a little bit of work you have a clean and environmentally way to dispose of pet waste. Let us know how it works if you decide to give it a try.

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Most private septic systems are made up of two parts: the holding and digesting tanks, and the dispersal field. [1] X Trustworthy Source United States Environmental Protection Agency Independent U.S. government agency responsible for promoting safe environmental practices Go to source As the first holding tank fills up, the liquid waste will transfer to the second tank. Once the second tank fills with liquid, it will disperse into the soil below it. The system shown here is a small system, designed for limited use by two people with no laundry. The tank is much smaller than required by building codes, and the design is missing some important items such as internal baffles and a qualified site assessment. This system uses two 55 US gal (210 L) drums, as opposed to the 1,000–2,000 US gal (3,800–7,600 L) tanks used for a standard home septic system. The system also has a dispersal field about one third that of a large home.

Property owners planning a system similar to this one should be aware that this system would not pass inspections from any public health department in the USA and could subject the owner to a fine if the system was discovered in use. [2] X Research source On the other hand it is better to safely dispose of waste than not to. Today’s water-saving toilets use less than two gallons per flush. This system will handle such a load. For people living in places without septic treatment, it could be a lifesaver.

Dog poop can be a real pain to deal with, especially if they don’t drop it where they always use to. This goes for any and all types of pet waste including cat manure and whatever you might think of(except fish waste of course). However, neat DIY ideas can solve this matter in a cost-efficient manner. Try making this DIY underground pet waste digester with some old materials and tools you have at home!

DIY Underground Pet Waste Digester | Backyard Ideas For Dog Lovers

Backyard DIY ideas simply make your life easier. If you have an old trashcan, a saw, and a shovel, you’ve got what it takes to make a DIY underground pet waste digester. Furthermore, you can accomplish all this at the comfort of your own backyard! Take a look at how All Dogs Are Smart does it and be free of any pet leavings around your house!

Things you’ll need in making this DIY underground pet waste digester:

  • Old trash can with lid
  • Knife or cutter
  • Shovel
  • Hammer and nails
  • Wooden lid – measuring at least 26.57 inches by 26.57 inches. This is the standard diameter of trash can lids.


Step 1 – Cut the trash can’s bottom off

When you’ve decided what container to use, cut the bottom part off. A knife or a cutter will do but a power jigsaw will do the task the quickest. In addition, you won’t need to exert as much effort especially if you’re cutting strong plastic.

Step 2 – Make a lid for your pit or can(optional)

If a trash can is not available, you can make do with other cans as long as you can cut the bottom part of it. In addition, clay won’t cave in so a can wouldn’t be necessary. In these cases, you’ll need to make yourself a lid. A wooden sheet will be perfect for the job. Nail on a handle and you’ve got yourself a waste digester cover.

Step 3 – Dig a hole on the ground

Finally, for the last step, you’ll need to dig a hole the size of your can. As much as possible, it needs to be larger than the actual diameter. To make up for the extra space outside the can, toss in the dirt you dug earlier. For the lid, you can use wooden scraps in case your trash can doesn’t come with a working lid. The standard diameter is around 26.57″ so a lid as big as the diameter, or perhaps bigger, would be ideal to cover the digester.

Watch the instructional video from All Dogs Are Smart for full details about this awesome project!

The pet waste digester can easily solve your pet waste problems. This way, you won’t have to worry about having your visitors stepping on dog crap every time they come to visit. Plus, you can minimize the nasty odor of pet waste! If you think this DIY idea is neat, tell us through the comments!

Septic systems are underground wastewater treatment structures, commonly used in rural areas without centralized sewer systems. They use a combination of nature and proven technology to treat wastewater from household plumbing produced by bathrooms, kitchen drains, and laundry.

A typical septic system consists of a septic tank and a drainfield, or soil absorption field.

The septic tank digests organic matter and separates floatable matter (e.g., oils and grease) and solids from the wastewater. Soil-based systems discharge the liquid (known as effluent) from the septic tank into a series of perforated pipes buried in a leach field, chambers, or other special units designed to slowly release the effluent into the soil.

Alternative systems use pumps or gravity to help septic tank effluent trickle through sand, organic matter (e.g., peat and sawdust), constructed wetlands, or other media to remove or neutralize pollutants like disease-causing pathogens, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other contaminants. Some alternative systems are designed to evaporate wastewater or disinfect it before it is discharged to the soil.

Specifically, this is how a typical conventional septic system works:

  1. All water runs out of your house from one main drainage pipe into a septic tank.
  2. The septic tank is a buried, water-tight container usually made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. Its job is to hold the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle down to the bottom forming sludge, while the oil and grease floats to the top as scum.
    Compartments and a T-shaped outlet prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drainfield area.
  3. The liquid wastewater (effluent) then exits the tank into the drainfield.
  4. The drainfield is a shallow, covered, excavation made in unsaturated soil. Pretreated wastewater is discharged through piping onto porous surfaces that allow wastewater to filter though the soil. The soil accepts, treats, and disperses wastewater as it percolates through the soil, ultimately discharging to groundwater.
    If the drainfield is overloaded with too much liquid, it can flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or create backups in toilets and sinks.
  5. Finally, the wastewater percolates into the soil, naturally removing harmful coliform bacteria, viruses and nutrients. Coliform bacteria is a group of bacteria predominantly inhabiting the intestines of humans or other warm-blooded animals. It is an indicator of human fecal contamination.

Do you have a septic system?

You may already know you have a septic system. If you do not know, here are tell-tale signs that you probably do:

  • You use well water.
  • The waterline coming into your home does not have a meter.
  • You show a “$0.00 Sewer Amount Charged” on your water bill or property tax bill.
  • Your neighbors have a septic system.

How to find your septic system

Once you have determined that you have a septic system, you can find it by:

  • Looking on your home’s “as built” drawing.
  • Checking your yard for lids and manhole covers.
  • Contacting a septic system service provider to help you locate it.

Failure symptoms: Mind the signs!

A foul odor is not always the first sign of a malfunctioning septic system. Call a septic professional if you notice any of the following:

  • Wastewater backing up into household drains.
  • Bright green, spongy grass on the drainfield, especially during dry weather.
  • Pooling water or muddy soil around your septic system or in your basement.
  • A strong odor around the septic tank and drainfield.

Some homeowners think it’s more responsible than the landfill, but most onsite systems are not designed for that

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Construction of a dog waste composting facility for sled dogs at Denali National Park

America’s 78 million-plus dogs collectively deposit 10 million tons of waste per year. That is enough to fill over 268,000 tractor trailers. Recently, a new device that can be easily installed on a building sewer clean-out hit the market. The device, shown in the photo, was developed by a plumber to provide easy access to place dog waste into your sewer or septic line. After placing dog waste into the line, water is added to “flush” the line. Undoubtedly septic professionals will get questions from property owners concerned about their lawns or the environmental impact of dog waste in landfills.

Here are the problems this could create:

  1. Most septic systems are not designed for animal waste, and many septic regulations prohibit anything other than human domestic waste from entering the system.
  2. Depending on the size of the dog and the number of dogs, this may increase the need for maintenance and potentially overload the system.
  3. With larger breed dogs, the waste could cause clogs, particularly in older building sewers with compromised pipe diameters (i.e., cast iron rusted from the inside) and/or tree root issues. Inlet baffles could also become plugged, which could result in backups in the home.

Especially in urban environments where runoff of pet waste is more likely, it is critical that dog waste be picked up and properly disposed of. If a property owner wants to deposit pet waste into their septic system and the local regulations allow it, a septic professional should assess the system to ensure it can handle the additional load.

For property owners looking for an alternative to landfilling pet waste, you can refer them to the factsheet developed by Natural Resources Conservation Service on composting pet waste. Property owners can either purchase a unit or make their own. This document has great information including risks, tips and a tracking sheet to monitor the compost pile. This compost will not be able to be used for edible gardens, but it could be used in flower beds and around trees and shrubs.

Another option could be a wormery, which is similar to composting but contains worms that assist in the process and therefore is a lot faster. Many of the commercial systems can process well over half a pound of waste a day once up and running.

By Gemma Alexander

How to create a septic system for pet waste

For pet owners who are conscientious about the environment, the garbage pail may contain mostly doggy bags — of the pooper scooper variety. It’s galling to waste an organic material, and if your community has switched to every-other-week garbage collection, it can be noxious as well.

Does pet waste have to go to waste? Or can you compost it?

Reducing Waste

As always, reducing waste in the first place is the most ecological choice, but few animal lovers would consider sacrificing the joy of pet ownership to reduce waste. Nor is it a good idea to feed your animals less.

But what your animals eat does affect how much waste they produce. Some pet foods contain undigestable fillers that may be generating extra poop. Make sure you are giving your pet biologically appropriate, easily digestible food. Check with your vet before trying different foods to reduce your pet’s output.

Dramatic diet changes can have the opposite effect on your pet’s waste stream.

Why Not Let It Lie?

Why not leave poop where your pet drops it? After all, your lawn appreciates a layer of autumn leaves, and pet poo is organic matter, right? Yes, but no.

Animal waste is organic, but left alone, it is quite bad for the environment. Pet waste can transmit disease to other animals and even to humans. Pet waste smells bad, attracts flies and vermin, and makes a mess for any person or animal unlucky enough to step in it. When it breaks down, both surface and groundwater are polluted by its nutrients, and worse, parasites and high levels of E. coli and other bacteria.

Probably Don’t Flush It

It may seem like a good idea to flush pet waste for treatment at a wastewater facility. That might be the greenest option. Check with your local wastewater utility to find out if you can flush your dog’s waste. But the truth is, most municipal water systems are not equipped to handle it.

The EPA estimates that pet dogs in America produce more than 8 billion pounds of poop each year — three-quarters of a pound per dog every day. Flushable pet waste bags don’t always dissolve fully in the sewer system and can cause clogs. Further, dog waste can contain Cryptosporidium, a parasite that also infects humans.

Ideally, wastewater treatment eliminates the parasite, but suboptimal treatment facilities or conditions can allow the parasite to spread. Cat feces should never be flushed. Cat waste can contain Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that is infectious to humans and survives municipal water treatment.

How to create a septic system for pet wasteCat waste should never be flushed. It might contain an infectious parasite that can survive municipal water treatment. Image: zavtrak92, Pixabay

Official Recommendations

Many websites claim the EPA recommends flushing. Perhaps it once did, but a brochure on the current EPA website recommends disposal in the garbage.

Even Seattle, a city famous for its early and enthusiastic embrace of recycling and composting, recommends disposing of bagged pet waste in the garbage. San Francisco, ranked America’s Greenest City in 2017, also requires residents to put pet waste in the black bin for landfilling.


In the past, dog waste was among the more valuable manures farmers spread on fields, but the discovery of germ theory put an end to the use of uncomposted waste. A few places have experimented with large-scale pet waste composting, but municipal composting programs rarely accept pet waste with other organics. When residents don’t comply with rules for existing composting programs, cities can hardly be blamed for not trusting them to compost pet waste safely at home. But it is technically possible for those who are really serious about zero waste, and who are willing and able to make the commitment to safety.

To destroy pathogens, compost must reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain that temperature for several days. However, there is no guarantee that even a well-managed home compost pile will kill all bacteria and parasites.

Never use compost from pet waste on food crops or where small children play. The USDA’s Fairbanks study developed detailed guidelines for safely composting dog waste at home. They found that such a system required at least 10 dogs.

But what if you don’t have a team of sled dogs? Proceed with caution when it comes to commercially available home pet waste composting systems. Many of them are too small to generate sufficient heat to kill pathogens; some are more like small septic systems than composters. Most of the available information about these products is provided by the manufacturers, who often talk about the general benefits of composting without providing specific safety information about the product.

This article was originally published on November 6, 2018.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Yep, this post is about building a homemade DIY septic system from cheap plastic barrels and used tote tanks! It’s not exciting, it’s not sexy, but it is necessary…

If you are just camping/living somewhere for a few weeks, a basic latrine with suffice. However, if we are talking months or years at your self-built log cabin at an off-the-grid location, you’ll need something more effective to deal with the regular human waste. You can either buy an expensive off-the-shelf septic system or you can build something like a small low-cost 55 gallon drum septic system, or a larger tote tank system.

Below are three very cheap to build ‘Do It Yourself’ home septic systems — a small scale 55 gallon drum septic system to two larger tote tank septic systems. All of which are very cheap and relatively simple to build.

1 – DIY 55 Gallon Drum Septic System

This superb step-by-step tutorial shows how to quickly and cheaply build a small 55 gallon drum septic system. This homemade plastic barrel septic system is only suitable for human waste, it is not big enough for laundry etc. The tutorial states this system is suitable for two adults, but I would think that with careful usage, this could cover the needs of a small family with two adults and two young children. Check it out.

This is a very cheap and simple plastic barrel septic system for one to two people. It is only suitable for human waste though. It cannot deal with laundry etc.

2 — DIY Tote Tank Septic System

Below is an excellent video tutorial from UnitedStatesofBuild. The video documents how to build a low-cost, off-the-grid tote tank septic system. Totes are large plastic liquid containers that are housed in a protective steel/aluminium frame. They are often shipped on pallets for transport.

Totes can be acquired cheaply as they are usually considered a waste product once used. A quick Google or eBay search for ‘used totes for sale’ will give you an idea of cost and availability. Tote tanks are also great for large-scale rainwater collection systems!

No one likes to find dog poop on the ground. It smells, makes parks and sidewalks look bad, and if you’re not careful, can be tracked into your home on your shoes.

Take one wrong step and dog poop from the street can make its way into our homes, potentially bringing harmful parasites and bacteria with it.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

How is Pet Waste Harmful?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, dogs can serve as the hosts for up to 65 diseases that can be transmitted to humans, including hookworms, roundworms and threadworms. If left on the ground, these parasites, bacteria, and viruses can contaminate the water, soil, and infect both pets and humans.

Every time it rains, dog waste left on the ground makes its way to our waterways causing elevated levels of bacteria in our rivers and streams! Studies have found that 20% of the bacteria contaminating some waterways can be traced back to the digestive system of dogs.

Rock Creek, Cabin John, and Anacostia watersheds in Montgomery County currently have elevated levels of bacteria.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Did you know?
According to the U.S. EPA, a typical dog (

40 lbs.) excretes 274 pounds of waste per year!

Help Protect Our Local Waters! Scoop It, Bag It, Trash It!

Every pet owner plays a part in preventing water pollution in our rivers and streams. Responsible pet owners pick up after their pets, both at home and on public land.

In Your Yard

Many people train their dogs to take care of business in their backyards. Make sure your backyard is cleaned regularly so that the dogs are not stepping on their own waste while in the yard and then bringing bacteria inside your home.

Picking up waste from your backyards regularly will not only ensure your pets are healthy, but it will reduce the amount of bacteria and nutrients reaching our local waters.

Bagged dog waste can be placed in the household trash for pick up during your regular trash day. Remember to make sure it is bagged appropriately to prevent odors or any other issues.

Myth: Dog Waste Acts as a Fertilizer
Reality: There is No Benefit to Soil from Dog Waste

Dogs digest food very differently than animals whose manure is typically used as fertilizer, such as cows. Cows digest their plant-based diet four times more than dogs. While it does contain trace amounts of nutrients, leaving it on the ground simply does not outweigh the cons of all the concentrated bacteria it contains and the negative impact on our waterways and streams.

While on Walks

Carry disposable bags and pick up after your pet when out on walks. If you hire a dog walker to walk your dog, please make sure they too pick up after your pet when out on their daily walk.

Properly dispose of pet waste by bagging the waste and depositing it a trash can or pet waste receptacle.

If walking your dog in the woods, please also be responsible and pick up after your pet. If you do pick up after your dog while walking in the woods, please do not toss bagged poop into the woods.

Please do not throw bagged pet waste in storm drains, leave it on the ground, or toss it in the woods.

Tip: Reuse bags, that would have ended in the trash, to pick up after your pet. Ask your coworkers/neighbors/friends to collect bread, newspaper, bagel, or produce plastic bags. Not only will you be reusing bags, but you are saving money by not having to buy pet waste bags or paying the 5 cent fee for bags at grocery stores.

How to create a septic system for pet waste is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

An RV has all the features needed for a person to feel at home when traveling across the country. Owning an RV is also a matter of pride for campers around the country.

However, spending quality time in an RV or living in it could become challenging when it comes to waste management. One of the necessary conditions of RV living is the proper disposal of household waste materials. So, it will come in handy for every RVer to know how to build a RV septic system.

What Is a Septic Tank?

The term “septic” denotes the anaerobic microbial decay of wastes. These are mostly located underground. Concrete, fiberglass, or thick plastic tanks are widely available as septic tanks. The tank holds the solid and liquid waste and natural microbes help with decomposing wastes.

Periodical emptying of a septic tank is necessary. The natural decaying of waste is time-consuming, and eventually, the tank fills up with domestic discharges. Due to its importance in an RV, campers cannot deny the necessity of knowing how to build a RV septic system.

Structures of a Small RV Septic System

A small septic system for travel trailer varies from simple to complicated, but all models share some basic components. Most RV septic tank systems will at least have a:

Gray Water Tank

The water from the kitchen sink and shower goes to this tank. This water mainly contains soap as contaminants. It is devoid of solid and liquid waste in the trash disposal or toilet. It is not potable water but you can use it for cleaning the RV or the black water tank.

Black Water Tank

It is the primary waste dumping tank inside the camping vehicle. A blackwater tank houses all the domestic solid and liquid wastes flushed down the toilet.

Dumping System

A wastewater dumping system is an infrastructure of pipes and hoses built within the RV. It facilitates the discharge of gray and black tank contents into a dumping facility within the campground.

How to Build a RV Septic System: Fifteen Simple Steps

Building a small homemade septic system for RV is easy. It is just a scaled-down model of regular large septic systems found in brick and mortar homes. It is important to know more about local zoning laws before constructing the septic setup.

A. Requirements for the Construction of a Small Septic System

While knowing how to construct a small septic system, you must have knowledge about the requirements for the septic system.

  • PVC pipes (work as a conduit to transfer wastes from one place to another)
  • PVC elbows of different angles (for plumbing needs)
  • A shovel
  • Paper rosin (for flooring purposes)
  • Measuring tape (for measurement purposes during the construction of the septic system)
  • PVC cement or pipe glue (to fix PVC pipe elbow joints)
  • Perforated PVC pipes
  • A small septic tank for RV

B. Construction Steps for How to Build a RV Septic System

Step 1

In the beginning, locate the main pipe for sewerage purposes in the RV. It should be at the automobile’s backside and beneath the trailer, where black and gray water tanks are available. Refer to the RV manual to know the exact location.

Step 2

There will be a plumbing pipe in the RV. It generally extends horizontally sidewise of the RV and plugged into the vehicle using a clamp. The opening stays sealed with a lid. Open the cover and connect a 5 to 10 feet long PVC pipe. First, get to know the plumbing pipe’s diameter before purchasing PVC pipe for the above purpose.

Step 3

At this step, get a tape measure and calculate the distance between the tank inlet hole and the tank bottom. Use the same measuring tape to know the depth of the hole from the bottom of the pipe.

Step 4

Use a shovel to dig a dump hole. The diameter and depth of the hole should be according to the figures from the 3rd step. Now, set the tank in this hole. It is the septic tank that will separate liquid and solid waste.

Step 5

Now, connect the other end of the PVC pipe to the septic tank. The PVC pipe from the 2nd step will connect the RV waste discharge pipe with the septic tank. Inspect the connections to make sure that there are no leaks.

Step 6

Fill the septic tank sides and the hole with dirt.

Step 7

Use an elbow pipe and use PVC cement to fit the line on the drainpipe’s end. The elbow pipe should look face down in the way of the septic tank bottom.

Step 8

Now, excavate a ditch 10 feet deep alongside the opening hole near the septic tank’s end. Make a slope of about 1/8″ per foot. Connect a PVC pipe from the septic tank outlet to the trench’s depth.

Step 9

At this stage, dig a hole at the end of the trench.

Step 10

Block the holes with a few stones and then fill the hole alongside the pipe end.

Step 11

Now, find a 4″ punctured PVC pipe and fit it on the PVC pipe’s hard end. The perforated PVC pipe needs to end in the midpoint of the hole filled with stones. Make a slope of 1/8 of an inch per foot.

Step 12

Put gravel over the perforated PVC pipe. The stone chips around the line should be four inches over it.

Step 13

Place rosin paper over the gravels so that mixing up dirt with stones can be stopped. Put an extra layer of soil over the rosin paper to complete the covering process.

Step 14

Now, set the lid on the septic tank. The cover of the tank will prevent odor from spreading in the camping area.

Step 15

Fill the trench with dirt to complete septic tank construction.


The RV and surrounded camping area could become highly unhygienic without a proper septic system. Therefore, constructing an RV septic system has many advantages. By following how to build a RV septic system steps, you can quickly set up a wastewater septic tank. It helps in situations during remote camping when there are no dumping stations nearby.

See City Farmer’s Step-By-Step photo guide to making a dog waste composter in your back yard.

Sharon Slack’s Dog Waste Composter

Sharon’s ‘Improved’ Doggy Doo in-ground composter 2020

Sharon found that her last batch of dog poo, which she dug out after more than 9 years in the ground, was too wet and anaerobic, so she added a perforated pipe in the centre of the new model to increase air flow. You can also add Septo-bac to the mix. It is available in hardware stores.

IMG SRC=”” ALT=”newsketch2020″ ALIGN=Left WIDTH=”500″ HEIGHT=”660″ BORDER=”2″ HSPACE=”12″ VSPACE=”6″>

About 15 years ago, I dug a hole in the back of my ornamental garden, away from my food crops. The hole is about 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep, and is covered with a plastic lid from an old compost bin. I empty my dog’s waste in the pit every day so that it will break down as compost.

Occasionally I add Septo-Bac, an enzyme-active biological compound formulated to increase the digestion rate of sewage.

I haven’t had to empty the hole for over 6 years. When I did empty it, I dug a hole under some nearby shrubs, put the nearly composted waste in and covered it with soil.

Next time I empty it, I will line the sides of the pit with 1/2 inch hardware cloth because my soil is very sandy and tends to cave in a bit.

I am also starting to add some chopped yard waste (green and brown) to hasten the process. The finished dog waste compost can be used on ornamentals, but not on food crops. Dog waste is not allowed in garbage bins, so this alternative has served me well.

See City Farmer’s Step-By-Step photo guide to making a dog waste composter in your back yard.

Good Times Ahead For Dog-Doo Removers Who Spy Gold In Melting Snowbanks.

We spotted this article in Saturday Night magazine (Feb. 3/01) with the above headline. We reprint the article below (without permission):

With all the talk of a looming economic downturn, it’s com-forting to know that some sectors of the economy have been doing better than ever. The Calgary Herald reports that unseasonably warm January temperatures and melting snow turned lawns across the city into “poop soup”, leading to a sudden boom for the city’s professional dog-waste removal servicesЙ.How is such a service marketed? Here, readers are invited to match the company name to its slogan.

  1. A1 Pooper Scoopin’, Calgary, AB
  2. Scoopy-doo Canine Waste Removal Inc., Winnipeg, MB
  3. The Doo-Doo Crew, Winnipeg, MB
  4. Scooby’s Dog Waste Removal Service, Vancouver, BC
  5. Little Scoop of Odors, Vancouver Island, BC

  1. We’ll take the crap out of your life.
  2. #1 in the #2 business.
  3. Picking up where your dog left off.
  4. No official slogan.
  5. It’s a crappy jobЙbut somebody has to do it!

1B, 2C, 3E, 4A, 5D

The debate over what to do with doggy do rages on. We first took up this question back in May of 97, with an update in August of that same year. We’ve also covered goose manure, parrot poo, zoo doo and now we’re back to doggy doo.

The official word from all municipalities in the GVRD is, “excrement of all types is banned from going in the landfills.” Unofficially of course, we hear, “but if you do put it in, double wrap it before putting it in the garbage bag.” That way when the truck compacts the bag, it won’t burst and spray all over the drivers. If you don’t want to risk getting caught, what’s a pet owner to do? Here’s the latest.

Bury It
You can bury the pet poo in an ornamental area of your garden. Do not put it in a food garden, pet feces contain some harmful pathogens and should not be handled, especially by pregnant women.

Dig It
Dig a do-it-yourselfer using a spade, plastic basin, a plastic garbage lid or wood plank and a package of septic starter (available in most supermarkets for $2 to $3). Choose a well-drained, slightly out of the way place, not too near tree roots which might grow up into your “septic tank”. Dig a hole about half a metre deep and 30 centimetres in diameter. It should be big enough to contain the plastic basin at the bottom. (Our head gardener, Sharon Slack dug a hole about 18″ deep and put a garbage-can lid on top).

Collect the dog doo and drop it into the basin. Sprinkle two of the packets of septic tank starter on top of the dog doo and add a litre or so of water. Cover the hole with the lid. Within 48 hours, the septic tank starter, which is non-caustic, and promotes natural bacterial growth will have begun its work and you can add more dog doo. You can then begin to add it daily.

Give the system a bucket of water a week and a packet of starter once or twice a month. The dog doo turns to liquid, most of which washes into the soil. What remains is a humus which should only need to be collected once every two or three years. There is no smell even in the warmest weather. Even the Vancouver Health Department declares them safe.

Sharon adds: “Factors to be considered would be how well the surrounding soil drains, and the size and number of dogs contributing. Sinking a bottomless garbage can would eliminate the problem of the sides caving in, but I opted for the possibility of using wire mesh instead, to insure better drainage.”

Now if we could only train the dogs to lift the lid and make their deposits directly. Still the males would probably forget to put the lid back down when they were through. (Exerpted from an article which appeared in the Vancouver Sun in January of 1994).

Dog Dooleys And Other Thingamajiggys

If you don’t want to make your own septic system there are a couple of products on the market you can use.

Doggie Dooley
“The Doggie Dooley easily installs into the ground. It works just like a septic system using live organisms in the enzyme digester. Foot operated lid opener makes it easy to drop in pet waste. Occasionally add water and digester powder and unit automatically reduces stools to ground absorbing liquid. Lawn stays waste and odor-free. Environmentally friendly. Choose from the Original Dooley Prism or the Deluxe Dooley Prism which can be expanded to increase its capacity. Both come with 6 month supply of digester powder. The liquid enzymes in the Doggie Dooley are not effective in temperatures below freezing.”
At many pet stores. Try Pet Smart under the subject “Dog”, subtitle “Cleanup”.

Dog Waste Clean Up System by Staywell Neither Bosley’s nor Buckerfields carry this brand any more, but a few years ago it was $57.99 and may still be available in other pet stores.

Pet Poo Pickers

There are also companies that will pick up your pet’s poo for a fee. The ones we were able to find still in business are:

Delta Doggy Doo Services 813-4515 or 946-7306

Scooper Doo
Dog waste service to Penticton and surrounding area.
Phone 250 488 6015

Make pet waste disappear

Pet Waste Wizard makes pet waste disappear and controls odours. It’s a must-have for any responsible pet owner that would like to environmentally dispose of their pet waste. The paper sachets contain bacteria that is made specifically to deal with the types of matter that your pets eat.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Make Pet Waste Disappear

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Makes pet waste disappear and controls odours

Great for any responsible dog owner that would like to environmentally dispose of their pet waste.

The paper sachets contain bacteria that is made specifically to deal with the types of matter that dogs eat.

Best used in the BioBin.

– Works through the waste faster
– Stops your garbage bin from stinking
– Stops the poo going to landfill
– Attracts worms to your garden (When using the В В BioBin)
– Feeds the plants (keep away from veggie gardens)
– Creates fertiliser
Never let your Pet Waste Digester dry out, it should always be damp. If droppings are left to dry out in the sun and are very hard, add more water. If droppings are soft/wet use less water.

Do not add pet poo to the digester for 48 hours after worming.

One sachet will treat the waste of one large dog for 30 Days or 2 small dogs for 30 Days.

We suggest using our BioBin as a pet waste digester.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Environmentally dispose of your pet waste

The BioBin is suitable for both dog, cat (only use biodegradable kitty litter) and other pet waste (rabbits, guinea pigs, birds).

The paper sachets contain bacteria that is made specifically to deal with the types of matter that pets eat.

Biomaster’s BioBin will:
– Keep the poo from making the garden smell
– Keeps the garden clean and healthy
– Stop the poo going to landfill
– Creates fertiliser

Attract worms;
The worms come up from the soil and the bacteria breaks down the waste from the top.

Tested on 2 Adult Labrador’s for 3 years and the BioBin is still only half full.

Never let your BioBin dry out, it should always be damp. If droppings are left to dry out in the sun and are very hard, add more water. If droppings are soft/wet use less water.

One of our ‘Pet Waste Wizard’ sachets will treat the waste of one large dog for 30 Days or 2 small dogs for 30 Days.

Do not add pet poo to the digester for 48 hours after worming.

The bin can be moved to other parts of the garden so you can add nutrition to different garden beds. (Do not use in Vegetable gardens – but it is ok to place under fruit trees).

How to Make a Dog Toilet

According to a 2012 study, dogs produce more than 10 million tons of feces in the United States alone. Your own dog’s production will be significantly less than 10 million tons, but without proper disposal, even one dog’s waste left exposed can cause a significant health and environmental problem. Your choices for disposal have expanded beyond the trash can and the toilet. Today’s environmentally friendly dog owners are finding a use for doggie-doo-disposal septic systems buried in the backyard.

Dangers of Dog Dung

Dog feces left on the ground can cause a health hazard — it can contain harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, giardia, and E. coli. Contact with these bacteria can cause sickness in other pets and children, as well as other wildlife and adults. Accumulated feces can kill grass, create a strong odor and attract insects. Even owners who do pick up and throw away their dog’s mess may contribute to other potential environmental problems. Dog feces decaying in landfills releases methane gas, which is a dangerous greenhouse gas; and feces wrapped in plastic cannot begin decomposing until the plastic does. You can’t add pet waste to your compost heap since the pathogens it contains are difficult to kill.

Dog-Friendly Septic Systems

Septic systems for dogs are relatively easy to install. They usually consist of a cylindrical container, with a lidded top and seep holes in the base, buried in your yard. Specific directions vary depending on the brand of canine septic system you choose. However, most systems require you to drop your dog’s waste into the container and add a scoop of the digesting powder and water. Depending on the amount of waste your dog produces, you may not need to add powder. The powder contains enzymes that break down dog feces in a natural way and reduce it to a safe liquid that seeps into the ground without causing dangers to the environment or to human health.

Enzymes Explained

Enzyme packets contain bacteria that respond to the waste in the container and determine the types of enzymes needed to start breaking down the feces. Multiple types of enzymes serve together to break down the feces during this microbial process. The bacteria interact with the feces, sort out the leftover food from the waste and create a plethora of different enzymes specifically designed for each task. In fact, using a number of different bacteria helps break down the waste more effectively. Some septic systems use packets of concentrated enzymes, such as lipase, but these are usually not as efficient because they cannot reproduce themselves and may not be able to complete the job on their own.

Leaving Enzyme Types Up to Bacteria

The specific types of enzymes used in commercially available packets matter less than the presence of bacteria in those packets. When the packets contain bacteria and concentrated enzymes, the enzymes can begin doing their share of the work while the bacteria continue creating more enzymes to finish the job. Because bacteria can determine which enzymes are needed for the waste on their own, simply leaving the selection up to them is the most efficient way of breaking down doggie waste in these septic systems.

Prevent pet waste and harmful bacteria from washing into our waterways.

An estimated 145,000 pet dogs and 119,000 pet cats live in the Huron River watershed. Their waste can contain bacteria and microorganisms that are unsafe for humans. When it rains, pet waste left on the ground can wash directly into neighborhood storm drains and ultimately into waterways—untreated.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Scoop poop and dispose of it in the trash!

Pet waste contributes to water quality problems. When it ends up in a stream or river, it decomposes, using up oxygen and releasing pollutants into the water.

During summer months when water is warm, the combination of low oxygen levels and ammonia from pet waste can kill fish and other aquatic organisms. Nutrients from pet waste can also cause excessive growth of aquatic weeds and algae, making waterways murky green, smelly and unappealing.

Bacterial contamination from E. coli and other harmful microorganisms in pet waste, especially following rainstorms, remains a human health concern for some waterways in the watershed.

Pet waste is not suitable for use as fertilizer or compost.


Make your dog proud.

Scoop poop, bag it and pitch it in the trash every time!

Be prepared. Carry disposable bags.

Carry extra bags to share with your friends.

Buy bag “caddies” and attach them to every one of your leashes.

Keep bags in your coat pockets . . . the car . . . the garage . . . everywhere that makes it more convenient to use them.

Use a mini flashlight to help with nighttime pick-ups.

Work cooperatively. Work with neighbors to install signs, bag dispensers and trash cans in pet-frequented areas in your neighborhood, reminding visitors to clean up.

Spread the word. Educate others about how stormwater can wash untreated pet waste right into our waterways. Think of friendly ways to start a conversation to tell your friends and neighbors how they might change their behavior to help protect our rivers and streams. “Excuse me. Did you drop something?” “Oh, here, I have an extra baggie for you and your dog.” “Did you know…?”

It’s the law. Most communities have local ordinances about pet waste pick up. Avoid fines. Report violators.

What about kitty litter?

Cat waste and kitty litter used by cats that is dumped outside can also wash into storm drains. When cleaning out the litter box use a two-step approach.

1—Scoop the poop and flush it down the toilet.

2—The remaining used kitty litter should be bagged and pitched in the trash.


What to do with pet medications

Unused pet medications should never be flushed down the toilet or sink. Increasing amounts of prescription drugs and personal care products are being detected in rivers, waterways, and groundwater. Wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped to “filter out” these chemicals, so drugs like antidepressants, cholesterol reducers and antibiotics are being detected in drinking water supplies. The risk to humans and animals of long-term exposure to these medications in drinking water is unknown.

The safest option is to use a pharmaceutical take-back program like Washtenaw County’s Don’t Flush Drugs. See also Michigan’s Household Drug Takeback Map for more places to take back unused medications. These take-back programs are FREE.

The next safest option is home disposal

1—Mix drugs (do not crush) with dirt, cat litter or used coffee grounds. Add a small amount of water to dissolve any solid medications.

2—Seal in a plastic bag.

3—Place plastic bag in trash.

4—Scratch off personal information on container or bottle, then recycle or throw away.

Sharps pointers

“Sharps” are the syringes or needles used to administer pet medications. Improperly discarded sharps, needles and syringes, can injure family members, waste and recycling workers, or end up in places where they are a danger to the public, such as playgrounds and beaches. Sharps waste is classified as biohazardous waste and must be carefully handled.

Washtenaw County’s Department of Public Works encourages purchasing a sharps container whenever you purchase sharps. When filled, these puncture resistant containers can be sealed shut and taken to a participating pharmacy, clinic or a home toxics collection center. There are also mail-in sharps disposal programs.


Keep pet shampoo out of storm drains. Wash pets indoors in a bathtub or sink to prevent soapy water from getting into a nearby waterway. Use less toxic shampoos or consider having your pet professionally groomed. Even when biodegradable, pet shampoos can be toxic to humans.

Donate excess pet supplies. Give your excess pet supplies and unneeded items to a local animal shelter or pet care provider. Most have a list of needed items and guidelines on their websites.

This information is provided with support from the Middle Huron Partners and the Livingston Watershed Advisory Group, working together to reduce stormwater pollution in the Huron River watershed.

If you have a septic tank on your property, you will need a septic tank drain field, also known as a leach field or leach drain to complete the system and make it functional. While all septic tank drain fields require regular inspection, you can save a lot of money by digging one yourself.

Step 1 – Choose Your Site

You will want to choose a site that is away from the house, but close to the tank. The field should be at least 10 feet away from your edible garden and any water, such as a lake, river, or well.

Step 2 – Contact the Authorities

Verify if you need a permit to build the septic tank drain field or if you need to have the site inspected prior to starting work. Digging the field is a lot of hard work, but having to remove it and start over again is even worse. Verify all of the relevant laws and regulations prior to starting this project.

Step 3 – Make Sure the Soil is Appropriate

Even if it’s not required, have the soil tested in the area. If the absorption capacity is too low, you will have trouble with back-ups. It’s best to find this out before you dig.

Step 4 – Start Digging

How to create a septic system for pet waste

You will need to dig either four two-foot long trenches or two 50-foot trenches for a 1,000-gallon septic tank. Each trench should be three to four feet wide and equally deep.

Make your trenches so they tilt downward slightly, but no more than a 1/4-inch incline for every eight feet you have. You do not want the wastewater to pool at the bottom and rise up.

Step 5 – Place Gravel

Once the trenches are dug you will put at least 1-1 1/2 inches of gravel along the bottom of each trench. This allows for drainage under the pipe.

Step 6 – Add the Pipe

Place the pipe from the septic tank all along each trench. Use the clamps to hold the pipe in place at the septic tank drain so it does not shift and misalign.

Step 7 – Add More Gravel

Once the entire pipe is in place, fill the trench with another one to three inches of gravel and let the gravel work its way down around the pipe.

Step 8 – Add the Cloth

How to create a septic system for pet waste

When you have laid the pipe and gravel, drape your cloth over it. The cloth can be any type that breathes. Its function is to keep dirt and sand from blocking the drainage from the gravel.

Step 9 – More Dirt

When you are done with the pipe and gravel, your next step is to fill the rest of the trench in with dirt so your field is level with the ground around it. You will need to wait two weeks for the ground to settle. When the ground settles, you will probably need to add more dirt to level your field.

Step 10 – Plantings (Optional)

There are several plants that will do well in the septic tank drainage field to keep it from looking like a complete eyesore. Keep in mind you cannot aerate or till the soil. You also cannot add more than two to three inches of top soil. The plants you can use that require very little water and have shallow root systems include Japanese surge, carpet bugle, periwinkle, Irish moss, and some strains of wildflowers.


Many health departments require a percolation test to establish suitability of drainfield soil. Depending on your area, the law may call for a licensed professional or agency to perform this test for you. Research your local rules regarding septic tank usage.

In addition to the potential legality issues, if the septic tank drain field is installed incorrectly you will have a back-up problem in the tank.

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How to create a septic system for pet waste

The Pet Waste Problem on the South Shore

On the South Shore alone, we have more than 16,000 registered dogs from Weymouth to Kingston. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average dog produces approximately ¾ pound of waste per day. If you do the math, that’s more than 12,000 pounds of poop per day and 4.5 million pounds of poop per year – just on the South Shore… And that’s not even including cats!

How to create a septic system for pet wasteTo help educate the public and combat this problem, the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, in partnership with 12 towns on the South Shore, is currently distributing pet waste education cards to town clerk offices (where people get their dog licenses), pet stores and veterinary clinics. The Scoop the Poop! Card is a part of the WaterSmart program, and was created by the Greenscapes Coalition. The card educates residents on the importance of picking up after their pets.

Why is Dog Poop Such a Problem?
Scooping the poop is not just about the mess – it’s about clean water and the health of our community:

  • Leaving behind pet waste is unhealthy for people, other animals and the environment. It is a breeding ground for infection. It is raw sewage with twice as much bacteria as human waste.
  • A 40-pound dog produces 7.8 billion fecal coliform bacteria per day.
  • Pet waste left on the side of the road or in the woods releases bacteria that can end up in our water supply where humans and other animals can be exposed.
  • Giardia, Salmonella, and Campylobacter are just some of the diseases that can be transferred to humans from pet waste.
  • The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also confirmed that pet waste can spread parasites including salmonella, tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms.

One of the largest pet waste issues is improper disposal. A common misconception is that it is a natural fertilizer and can simply be collected into the garden or flower bed. This is not true. In fact, leaving pet waste on the ground or concentrating it in one specific area of the yard can seriously harm soil quality and can be dangerous for both families and their pets. Cows and horses are herbivores, which makes their waste ideal for use as fertilizer, but dogs and cats are carnivores, making their waste unsuitable for soil enrichment. But that’s not all, in developed areas, waste deposits left on the ground can also serve as a steady, abundant food source for rats and mice.

South Shore Public Works departments often discover dumped dog-waste bags when they clean out our storm sewers. This is a huge problem because storm sewers are not connected to wastewater treatment plants or septic systems like the drains in your home. When pet waste is tossed into a storm drain or left on the sidewalk, street or yard, it is carried by rainwater through the storm sewer system directly into our local streams and rivers without any treatment. This means that the dog poop that washes into our storm sewers flows directly to nearby creeks, fish and wildlife habitats, downstream recreational areas, and into our drinking water supplies.

How Can You Help?
Join thousands of other responsible South Shore dog owners and Scoop the Poop –whenever and wherever–even in your own yard, in the woods and at the beach, even in the snow and even if you have a small dog.

  • Always bring dog-waste bags and put filled bags in a trash can.
  • Never put dog waste in a recycling bin.
  • Never use dog poop was a “natural” fertilizer in your yard or garden–it can be toxic to your soil and your family.
  • Never leave dog-waste bags on the roadside or dump them in storm drains–these are not connected to wastewater treatment facilities or septic systems.
  • Pick up a Scoop It! pet waste information card at your town clerk’s office (where you get your dog license) or download it online.

Scooping poop is not just about the mess – it’s about clean water and our health. So help us spread the word, the message is clear: Scoop the Poop! You can make a difference by being a responsible pet owner.

WaterSmart is a nonprofit partnership between the NSRWA and 12 towns on the South Shore: Cohasset, Duxbury, Hanover, Hingham, Hull, Kingston, Marshfield, Norwell, Pembroke, Rockland, Scituate and Weymouth. Our programs are based on the belief that education is key. Since its creation, WaterSmart has educated thousands of local school-age children, adults, and businesses on water conservation, stormwater pollution, where their water comes from, and how to care for it.

Septic System Design and Pumping – Simplicity

Do you wonder how septic systems work? I never gave it much thought in all the years I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. Every house I lived in was connected to a municipal sewer line. Just about every house I built I connected to a sewer line. There were a few houses I built that did have septic systems.

Air & Oxygen Break Down Sewage

One, in particular, was very unique. The lot wasn’t big enough to support a traditional leach field. I’ll share what a leach field does in a moment. In essence, the system was a miniature sewage treatment plant! There was a propeller on a shaft that extend down into the septic tank. It was attached to a motor that was protected from the weather. For ten minutes an hour, this motor would spin working much like the blender in your kitchen. The only difference is when the propeller spun around, fresh air from outdoors was also injected into the swirling mass of water and waste inside the septic tank.

Visit a medium or large-sized sewage treatment plant and that’s what you’ll discover. Before they send the sewage back into the closest river, they aerate the wastewater. Introducing oxygen to sewage is a fantastic way to get rid of all the harmful things that one might find in wastewater.

How Septic Systems Work

If you’re a city dweller as I was for five decades, here’s how septic systems work for the most part. When you flush your toilet or water drains from a tub, shower, vanity, or kitchen sink, the wastewater flows through a 4-inch pipe that connects to a large precast concrete tank. The capacity of the tank can range from 500 to 1,000-gallons or more. They’re sized by septic designers based on the amount of projected waste that might be created within the house each day. Typically the designer goes by the number of bedrooms in the house.

Some tanks have different partial suspended walls and baffles within the tank. These baffles isolate grease and other floating debris trying to ensure it doesn’t make it to the leach field.

Can a Septic Tank be Installed Backwards?

One of the biggest issues with septic tank installation is installing the tank BACKWARDS! It happens. A plumber might put the inlet pipe where the outlet pipe is supposed to be. You can get a diagram from the company that builds the precast concrete tanks. You can see clearly what’s the inlet and what’s the outlet opening.

Body Waste Contains Bacteria

The waste from your body, foodstuffs, and oils from your skin all contain bacteria. This bacteria starts to work in the tank to break down the waste. At the other end of the tank opposite the inlet pipe is an outlet pipe. For each gallon of water that enters the septic tank, a gallon of water flows out of it. This partially treated water that leaves the tank has lots of microscopic bacteria and pathogens in it.

Where Does the Liquid Go?

It flows from the tank, or is pumped up a hill, to the leach field. The wastewater enters a maze of pipes that have perforations in them. The pipes typically are set upon a thick layer of washed sand. The wastewater is distributed into multiple pipes where it then slowly enters the sand.

There’s lots of oxygen in the sand and other organisms. These work in tandem to purify the wastewater that drips out of the leach field pipes. It’s a simplistic system that’s time-tested and best of all it works very well if you watch what you put in your septic tank.

Watch What you Put Into Septic Tanks

Years ago when I lived in Cincinnati, I would put anything I could down my drainpipes. Heck, as long as it made it out to the sewer line, foolishly I felt it wasn’t my problem. That was a bad attitude and municipal sewer plant operators wish more people would care. For example, I’d clean my paintbrushes in a sink thinking nothing of it. I’d emulsify grease from kitchen pots and pans and it no doubt congealed farther down in the sewer.

Only Put Body Waste in a Septic Tank

You never ever want to put any of these things, chlorine bleach, or any chemicals into a septic tank. The only thing that should go into the tank is waste from your body and toilet paper. The cheaper the toilet paper the better. Never ever put flushable wipes in a septic tank or a city sewer system. Why? Watch my Flushable Wipes video!

Pipe Gray Water to the Ground

If you plan to build in a rural area where a septic tank is in your future, put in a utility sink in the laundry room or garage that drains directly outdoors. In other words, don’t connect the sink to the septic tank. Many inspectors allow this gray water to flow onto the ground away from your home because they don’t want you to put paint, grease, or who-knows-what into your septic tank. Wash all the bad things in this sink, not the other sinks in your home.

Here’s a riser isometric drawing showing the separation of gray water from black water in a home. CLICK or TAP HERE to have me draw your riser diagram.

Pump Septic Tanks Every Few Years

It’s vital that you pump your septic tank at least every three years. It’s affordable and it ensures that you won’t ruin your leach field. It’s very expensive to replace a leach field with costs running in the thousands of dollars. I only pay, in 2021 dollars, $285 to pump out my 1,000-gallon septic tank. You can see why it really pays to do this. The average cost per year is less than $100.00.

Written by WebAdmin on December 6, 2019 . Posted in Uncategorized

How to create a septic system for pet waste

If you have a septic tank in your yard, then you need to ensure you are taking every step that you can take to preserve the integrity of your septic system drain field. A typical septic system drain field can last 20 years or longer without needing replacement.

However, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) reports that over half of all septic systems fail before they reach this age, often due to problems with the drain field. Read on to learn three common septic tank drain field problems and how to prevent each one.

1. Compacted Drain Field Soil

The soil in your drain field serves an important purpose. After your septic system separates wastewater, called effluent, from solid waste called sludge, effluent is sent into your drain field. The soil in your drain field actually purifies this wastewater to EPA standards to make it suitable to release back into the environment without spreading disease.

How can soil purify water? The soil in a drain field is covered with a layer of bacteria called a bio-mat. These bacteria naturally remove contaminants from the wastewater pumped into the drain field by digesting them, breaking them down, or absorbing them.

Many of the bacteria in a drain field are aerobic, meaning they need oxygen to survive. If drain field soil becomes compacted, then the very small pockets of air that lie between soil particles are eliminated and the aerobic bacteria can die. When these bacteria die off, they cannot clarify wastewater properly.

Consequently, you must keep the soil in your drain field loose. Thankfully, you can easily prevent soil compaction by keeping heavy machines and structures off of the field. Do not park cars on the drain field, do not drive over the drain field, do not build sheds or other small storage buildings on drain field, and do not place pet kennels or other heavy objects on the drain field.

In addition, if you enjoy hosting backyard parties with large numbers of people, be sure to keep foot traffic on your drain field to minimum.

2. Over-Saturated Drain Field Soil

Another drain field problem that can occur is over-saturated drain field soil. When the soil is too saturated with water, it cannot process effluent properly and can even lead to wastewater backing up in your septic tank and then into your home’s plumbing fixtures.

There are many ways to help prevent drain field saturation. First, never place anything over your drain field, such as a tarp, that will keep water from evaporating from its surface.

In addition, you can help aid water evaporation from your drain field’s surface by planting flowers and shrubs with shallow root systems on top of it. These plants require water to thrive and will suck up water from the drain field to help avoid soil over-saturation.

Additional ways to help keep the soil in your drain field from becoming over-saturated include:

  • Avoid using too many water fixtures in the home at once. When too much water runs down your home drains into the septic system at once, it all flows into the drain field at the same time and can cause drain field flooding.
  • Ensure all home gutter downspouts are directed away from the drain field. While rain that falls directly on your drain field can over-saturate it on occasion, your drain field is more likely to become over-saturated after a rainfall if your home gutter downspouts are pointed in the direction of the field.
  • Don’t point lawn sprinklers toward drain field. Any plants and grass on top of your drain field should soak water and nutrients directly out of the soil and not need extra water.

In addition, be careful what you flush down your toilets to avoid septic tank back-ups that can cause your drain field to flood. Be sure to use toilet paper labeled septic-tank friendly.

3. Tree Root Infiltration

Along with plenty of soil, your septic system drain field is also filled with a series of pipes that distribute wastewater evenly throughout the drain field soil. It is important to protect the integrity of these pipes, just as you do the soil. One way to protect the integrity of drain field pipes is to avoid tree root infiltration.

Tree roots can enter drainage pipes through joints or any small cracks in the pipes and form blockages that lead to wastewater backups. To prevent drain field tree root infiltration when planting new trees, take note of the average height of a tree at maturity, and then plant the tree at least that number of feet away from the drain field.

Once tree roots penetrate your septic system drain field pipes, you must seek help from a septic tank professional who can repair the pipe system. Then, remove the offending tree and kill its stump to keep its roots from penetrating into the septic tank drain field again.

While it is important to protect the integrity of your septic tank, remember that it is also important to protect your septic system drain field. Contact Rob’s Septic Tanks, Inc., if you suspect you need septic system drain field repair.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Picking up dog poop is not a fun chore, but it must be done. Did you know there are many options when it comes to how to dispose of dog poop? Each one has its benefits and downsides, with some being environmentally friendly too. Let’s take a look at the five best ways to dispose of dog poop at home.

The Top 5 Ways to Dispose of Dog Poop at Home

1. Trash

This is presumably what most people do with dog waste — they place it in a trash bag and throw it away. This may be standard, but it isn’t always the best choice for the environment. It will go to a landfill and take upward of 500 years to disintegrate.

Even if you send a biodegradable bag to the landfill, it can’t properly decompose because it is buried underneath the soil, and biodegradable bags need oxygen and light to break down effectively. To complicate matters further, certain landfills won’t accept pet waste because of the possibility of spreading diseases.

If you don’t have any other option, try to use the smallest bag available and pick a bag that you would throw into the trash anyway. This will help reduce generated waste.

2. Flush

Flushing dog waste down the toilet may seem strange, but it is not a new concept. There are certain rules that should be followed, however. You cannot flush dog poop into a septic system, so if you live in a house with its own septic tank, this is not an option for you. If you don’t have a septic tank, you will still want to check with your local treatment plant to make certain it is okay to flush dog poop.

Dog poop can have parasites and bacteria in it, and you don’t want to expose yourself or your family to contracting a nasty bug or worm, which is why you might prefer to place it in a flushable bag.

Flushable bags are supposed to break down in the sewer system, but there is some debate about this because they may not degrade as claimed and might actually obstruct pipes and systems, wreaking havoc and costing you and your community time and money. Before using a bag that claims to be flushable, you need to get the go-ahead from your local treatment plant and water board.

  • Transfer their business with a trusty Pooper Scooper

3. In-ground disposal system

This is a great option to dispose of dog poop if you have a yard, even if it’s on the smaller side. This is essentially like a miniature septic system for your dog’s waste. Don’t worry, you don’t have to teach your dog how to use it. Once your dog does its business, you scoop up the poop and toss it into the disposal system. The system will then break down the waste, turning it into a liquid form that will seep into the soil.

There are systems that you can purchase, or you can make your own. Keep in mind that this option requires planning, and there will be maintenance required to keep it functioning properly.

Why is your puppy pooing so much? Click here to read!

4. Compost

This type of compost cannot be applied to areas where you will harvest food to eat, such as in your vegetable garden, but you can apply it to ornamentals, shrubs, or trees. It’s a challenging task, however, to kill the parasites that are in dog waste with composting, which is why few people choose this option.

There are procedures to compost dog waste safely and effectively, but it requires time and effort on your part. Follow recommended composting methods to achieve the best and safest results if you decide to go this route.

5. Bury

If you live on acreage with plenty of extra ground, then burying your dog’s waste is a great option. All you need to do is dig a hole at least six inches deep, shovel in the dog waste, and cover it up with soil. It will naturally decompose this way.

  • Use these handybiodegradable bags

Do not bury it near water sources or areas where you grow food to be eaten. The waste will break down faster in warmer temperatures, but be aware it can take many months to fully break down and kill the parasites and bacteria.

  • Reasons why your dog eats poop –Click here to find out!


If you want to be eco-friendlier, either bury the waste, compost it, or set up a disposal waste system. Flushing can be an option in certain areas but may not work for everyone, and throwing it in the trash may be the easiest route but has a more negative impact on the environment.

We hope that these five options have given you ideas that you may not have previously thought of how to dispose of dog poop. It’s best to clean up after our dogs as soon as possible, so our family and other animals aren’t exposed to the parasites and pathogens in the waste. It takes planning, but once you have a system in place, it isn’t as intimidating as it seems.

Feature Image Credit: Pixabay

Nicole is the proud mom of Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway, and Baby, a Burmese cat. Originally from Canada, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. Nicole has a strong love for all animals and has experience caring for all types of dogs, from Yorkies to Great Danes. Nicole even worked as a dog sitter during her travels through South America and cared for stray pups — something she holds close to her heart.
With a degree in Education and a love for writing, Nicole aims to share her and others’ expert knowledge with pet lovers worldwide with Hepper.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning we may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post if you purchase a product through one of our links. An example would be Amazon.

Solid waste, if left to its own devices, can wreck your septic system. For this reason, you must clean your tank every three to five years. However, that doesn’t mean you should do no septic tank maintenance in between. In this post, we’ll show you how to take good care of your tank.

So, how to break down solids in a septic tank? Rotten tomatoes are an excellent choice for breaking down solids, so is active dry yeast. However, for stubborn solid waste, you may need to pump the tank, followed by a couple of rounds of backflushing.

Continue reading to learn the best DIY methods to remove solid waste in your septic tank, and what should you do when homemade septic tank treatments fail to produce the desired results.


How to Use Rotten Tomatoes to Break Down Solid Waste in the Septic Tank?

Just like your stomach needs its supply of bacteria and gastric enzymes to help break down the food you eat, your septic system depends on its ecosystem — colonies of bacteria and enzymes — to decompose solid waste that’s present in it.

While the microbes in your septic tank are a diligent lot, they can always do with a bit of help from you. One great way to up the rate of decomposition in the tank is to feed it a few rotten tomatoes.

How rotten tomatoes can help? You may ask.

Well, they are rich in proteins called Pectinase, which posses the ability to naturally breakdown plant cell walls and pectin. As a result, they help in decomposing and recycling waste plant materials.

Every four months, send a small mercenary unit of three to four tomatoes to your tank’s aid via the garbage disposal. The key here is to make sure you break the tomato well and pass only half a tomato at a time. Make sure the water is running, as that helps ensure these solid-waste killers get flushed through completely.

What if there’s no garbage disposal in the house?

No problem. Place three or four tomatoes in a bag and gently smoosh the bag to squash the tomatoes into small chunks. Next, flush them into a toilet. Mind you, the hole at the base of the toilet is small, so ensure the chunks are small enough to nicely pass through it.


How to Use Active Dry Yeast to Break Down Solid Waste in the Tank?

Don’t underestimate the power of good-old baking yeast. It can badger up the solid waste just as well as tomatoes!

Yeast helps by activating enzymes and promoting the production of bacteria that together lead the war against scum and sludge. To use it as a natural septic tank treatment, flush down the contents of ¼ oz pack of baking yeast down a toilet once every month.

What to do when Natural Septic Tank Treatments Don’t Work?

Let’s face it. DIY cleaning solutions, like tomatoes and yeast, can only do so much. If your tank is filled to the brim with sludge, you must fall back on the professionals.

Call in the big guys with their big guns (or in this case big pumps) to bring the battle against solid waste to a successful conclusion. Sucking liquid from the tank and then backflushing the liquid a couple of times can break the back of most of the solid waste.

That said, this method too has its limitations. Pumping out the tank and backflushing it, while the most common method of cleaning a septic system, may fail to remove all scum solids. But don’t lose heart if that happens, because there are other alternatives to get the job down.

One option is to inject air into the tank. This will help mix the contents, which, in turn, makes it easier to break down solids. Another equally effective method is to make use of a mechanical mixer. It acts in similar fashion to a baking mixer, blending the contents till they form a slurry mix, which then can be removed using a vacuum pump.

A third method is to install an aeration system to reduce the sludge volume. However, this is more of a long-term solution and a way to clean the tank without pumping than a short-term fix. All the same, it is worth considering since it can breakdown 95% of the solid waste.

The anaerobic environment in a septic tank makes it harder for microbes, which thrive in oxygen (or the aerobic environment in other words). Adding a source of air to your tank and more microbes as needed help lower the sludge level.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Set up a diffused aeration system in the septic tank
  • Add a microbe blend or a bio-activator
  • Keep your aeration system in good condition
  • Add extra microbes as needed

Well, that’s just about it on breaking down solids in a septic tank. Before we wind up the post, here are a couple of points you must keep in mind:

  • Natural cleaning treatments discussed above are should be used to keep the tank clean between scheduled pumping. They are not a substitute for scheduled pump-outs.
  • You should clean your septic tank once every three to five years. However, if your tank is smaller than usual or you generate more wastewater than normal, clean it out more frequently.

Related Questions to How to Break Down Solids in a Septic Tank

What is bad for septic systems?

You should never put gasoline, oil, paint thinners, photographic chemicals, solvents, and insect or weed killers down the drain. Nor should you dispose of pharmaceuticals and chemical-based cleaning products down your toilets. Too much bleach is also harmful for the tank.

What happens if you don’t pump your septic tank?

If you don’t clean the pump, eventually the solid waste inside it will seep into the pipe that feeds into the drainfield. As a result, you may experience wastewater backing up, bad odor, and swampy areas around the drainfield.

How much sludge is normal in a septic tank?

As long as the level of sludge and scum combined is less than 25% of the operating depth of the septic tank, that’s normal. But once this level goes above the 25% mark, you should get the tank pumped out.

Got more septic tank questions? Then browse through our Septic Wiki page. It provides answers to a host of questions on various aspects of septic systems.

If you think it’s time for a septic tank pumping, use our state directory to find a reputable, affordable local professional near you.

How to create a septic system for pet waste


  • Simple assembly required.
  • Foot operated lid for easy use.
  • Handles dog waste for one large dog or two small dogs.
  • Comes with Starter Enzyme.

In-Ground Septic Tank is an excellent dog waste disposal system. Like a miniature septic tank, the Septic Tank automatically converts dog waste into a liquid that can safely be absorbed into the ground. Fast, clean and sanitary, this dog septic system is also insect- and odor-free. Easy to install and suitable for any soil but hard clay. This large dog waste septic system will save you time and save your nose from those awful dog waste smells. This large capacity septic system is installed into the ground and works in concert with the included waste terminating enzymes to liquefy and disappear your dog waste. Just pop the lip open with a free foot, and drop the waste in, then just occasionally add some waste enzymes and water to fully dispose of your dog waste! No more of those bags and stinky trash cans around your house! Make short work of your dog’s business — the safe, clean natural way with this dog septic system.

How do I keep my dog kennel from smelling?

You have to keep your dog’s surroundings clean to keep him healthy. Sanitation is of the utmost importance to the dedicated dog owner. As such, you have to clean the dog run regularly of your dog’s leavings or waste.

Taking care of waste is a very important part in raising a dog. You have to always keep the place where your dog stays clean and waste-free to prevent diseases and foul odors, (and to also keep you from having a bad day due to stepping on a land mine!) The K9 Kennels’ Septic System is the answer to dog sanitation needs. This doggie septic system keeps dog waste away from your kennel and, while at the same time eliminating the bad odor. Just bury the dog waste disposal system on the ground a good distance away from your main kennel area, and scoop the leavings with the K9 Dog Waste Scooper, then simply drop it in the tank. It is safe and clean so you don’t need those stinky plastic bags or trashcans anymore. You can also get K9 Waste Enzymes from our store, which are a very important part of the disposal system. These K9 Waste Enzymes are bacteria that turn dog waste into liquid so that it can harmlessly return to the soil. It is safe for children, plants and animals.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Dogs are incredibly loyal and loving. You won’t regret your decision to become a parent to a canine of your own. Still, there are unpleasant aspects of being a dog owner and dealing with their poop stands out as a sore point.

The problem with dog poop is its smell. Many homeowners keep the collected dog poop inside containers located in the garage. Before long, the smell coming from that container is going to wreak havoc inside that part of your home.

To eliminate the smell of dog poop inside your garage, consider flushing what you pick up down the toilet instead. If you cannot commit to that, you should at least take the time to clean the containers and use deodorizing products. You can also install a mini septic system in your yard that can be used for dog poop disposal.

Dog poop can stink up your garage in a hurry. Do something about that unpleasant problem by following the tips in this article.

Why Does Your Dog’s Poop Stink So Badly?

We know, it’s poop, obviously it won’t smell like a bouquet of roses. However, you should know that there’s a difference between normal smelly poop and really stinky excrement. Most of the time, your dog’s droppings will have an unpleasant smell, but the odor is not something unbearable. If your pet’s poop has become way too stinky all of a sudden, there may be a problem.

The issue could be related to what your dog is eating. Changes to the diet can also alter the characteristics of their droppings. Their poop may also turn out especially unpleasant if they ate something they shouldn’t have. An illness could also explain the sudden change in your dog’s poop. Infections and inflammatory diseases are particularly notorious for making dog feces smell worse than it normally does.

Getting your pet examined could help with the odor issue in your garage. Go ahead and pay that visit to the veterinarian if you suspect something is wrong with your dog.

Why Does Dog Poop Smell Worse in the Garage?

You may have tried placing the container with the dog waste in other parts of your home before. Back then, the smell may not have been too bad.

So, why does the container with the dog poop produce a more unpleasant odor inside your garage? It could have something to do with the design of your garage and the items you have in there. Using a space heater inside your garage will cause the smell to get worse. Poorly ventilated garages will also smell worse. As you’ve probably guessed, the heat is amplifying the intensity of the odor.

The heat inside your garage leads to more odor-causing molecules escaping into the air. Heat and humidity may also lead to odor-causing bacteria growing faster. Basically, higher temperatures cause odor-causing molecules and bacteria to become more active.

The garage is not the only warm part of your home, but the smell is more noticeable there because it’s enclosed. It also doesn’t help that you’re almost always in close proximity to the container because of the size of your garage.

The Different Ways to Minimize or Eliminate the Smell of Dog Poop in Your Garage

Now that we understand why dog poop stinks and why it smells awful in the garage, we can take action better. We’ve detailed different methods for managing the dog poop odors inside your garage below. Choose the methods you like the most and see how they work for your household.

Method 1: Flush the Dog Poop You Pick Up

Probably the most effective way to keep your garage free from poop odors is to dispose of the waste via flushing. Pick up the dog poop, slide it into the toilet, and then flush it down. You may even be able to save on containers if you get a reusable poop scooper.

Of course, the problem here is that a lot of people struggle with picking up dog poop. It’s worth giving a try at the very least though.

Method 2: Install a Mini Septic System in Your Yard

Installing a mini septic system is another way to free your garage from the odors produced by dog waste. You can now find miniature septic systems that are specifically designed to handle dog poop. They can also be installed underneath your yard.

Opting for this solution is going to cost you a bit of money. Even so, the price tag is worth it if you don’t want to consistently deal with poop smells in your garage.

Method 3: Use Deodorizing Products

There are other things you can try if your goal is to weaken the smell of dog pop inside your garage. Using deodorizing products is definitely something you should consider. You don’t even have to go to a pet store to purchase a special item because plain baking soda will do.

You can sprinkle the baking soda inside the container before you line it with a trash bag. The baking soda should trap the odors from the garbage and prevent the poop from stinking up your garage.

Method 4: Purchase Better Garbage Bags

The garbage bags you’re using may be prone to leaking or tearing. The odors will be able to move around your garage faster if the garbage bags you’re using are damaged. Invest in higher quality garbage bags if you want to control the odors lingering inside your garage better.

Method 5: Get Better Garbage Containers

Aside from purchasing more durable garbage bags, you should also consider investing in new garbage containers. The garbage container you’re looking for is one with a secure lid. The tighter lid will prevent the odors from escaping.

You should also think about using two different garbage containers. Reserve one for just dog poop while the other can be used to hold the waste produced by your household. Separating the garbage keeps the dog poop odors contained.

Method 6: Clean the Garbage Containers Regularly

Cleaning your garbage containers regularly is a must if you want to keep the air inside your garage odor-free. Failing to accomplish that maintenance task will lead to the odors clinging to the inside of the container. You’ll never be rid of the smell because the container itself is the culprit.

At a minimum, you should clean your garbage container once every two months. Clean it up using disinfectants to eliminate the unpleasant odors entirely. You may even warm up to the idea of cleaning the containers more often after you notice the difference that makes.

Method 7: Improve the Ventilation inside Your Garage

The awful smells coming from the dog poop may pester you constantly if you have poor ventilation inside your garage. With nowhere for the rancid gases to go, you’ll be left stewing in that awful mess.

Open up your garage to weaken the intensity of the dog poop smells. Crack open the windows and even the garage door to let some air circulate inside the garage.

Installing a ceiling fan is another idea worth considering. Ceiling fans excel at moving air and they will keep the odors from growing stagnant. You don’t even have to switch them to full power to enjoy their ventilating benefits.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Septic tank systems can be pretty finicky and quite expensive when they back-up. We’ve only had to pump our septic tank one time in over 20 years, here’s our DIY Septic Tank Treatment that we use for keeping our system working without issues!

Natural Enzyme Action

Much like your stomach, septic tanks need good bacteria and enzymes to break down the solids that pass through it. These beneficial bacteria and enzymes can come from several sources, but our favorite is actually rotten tomatoes.

These naturally occurring enzymes are proteins called Pectinase or Pectinolytic enzymes. Pectinase is a group of enzymes that consist of lipase, hydrolyzes, lyase and it is able to naturally breakdown pectin and plant cell walls, helping to cause decomposition and recycling of waste plant materials.

DIY Septic Tank Treatment

Using a homemade septic tank treatment is simple and affordable. Every 3 months or so we “feed” our septic tank 3-4 rotten tomatoes via our garbage disposal.

The key is to ensure that you break the tomato up and pass only 1/2 a tomato or so at a time with the water running to ensure it flushes through completely.

If you don’t happen to have a garbage disposal, you can place a couple of large rotten tomatoes in a bag (chances are they’re already in a bag in your fridge and starting to liquefy anyway!).

Gently smoosh the bag to break the tomatoes up, palpating the bag to create very small chunks. Dump them into a toilet (no bleach!) and flush.

Keep in mind the hole in the base of the toilet isn’t very big, so make sure the chunks are small enough so they won’t get stuck!

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Normally having rotten tomatoes every few months isn’t a problem, between the garden overproducing in the spring, summer and fall, there are always inevitably a few extras available, but then again, during the winter months, tomatoes have gotten pushed in the back of the fridge and started to liquefy before I discovered them. So at least they aren’t totally going to waste.

Toilet Paper No-No’s

The one time in 20+ years that we DID have our septic system pumped we were told that it absolutely didn’t need it, the system was running very well and looked great. The fellow told us several absolute horror stories of systems he’s seen in his work where the families used “fluffy” toilet paper.

You know the one.. they have cute little bears in their commercials who are proud of themselves for not having lint left behind.. or the ones that could double as a bedspread made by grandma because the quilted pattern is the same!

How to create a septic system for pet waste“Fosse septique inspection trap” by Ian Haycox is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

He asked me specifically what brand we use, it’s Scott Tissue. It breaks down quickly and doesn’t “glop” into a line plugging mess.

Alternatively, if you don’t happen to have rotten tomatoes around, you can also use bakers or brewers yeast to add beneficial bacteria to your tank.

How to Clean Septic Tank Naturally

Yeast and sugar work very well to clean a septic tank naturally, here’s a simple way to use them.

Septic Tank Cleaner

2 cups brown sugar
5 cups warm water
3 T’s baker’s yeast
Dissolve sugar and yeast in water.

Pour mix into a toilet (not containing bleach!) and flush. This is best done at night, so the yeast can work overnight, do not flush for at least 3 hours.

Additional Tips:

1 Always avoid adding raw or cooked meat to your septic via the toilet, the garbage disposal or any other method, meat is NEVER a beneficial bacteria.

2 Always avoid adding oils, grease or fat in any form, (solid or liquid) to your tank, this includes, but is not limited to: cooking oils, bacon grease, meat grease from draining ground beef/turkey, etc.
3 Avoid flushing anything besides waste and toilet paper in your tank, meaning, leave the feminine products in the rubbish, the baby diapers, and wipes, paper towels in the trashcan only, etc.

Just because those personal wipes claim to be safe for the septic, they take a very long time to break down.

Tried this rotten tomato trick? Mention @Budget101com or tag #Budget101

Kira Simpson

Meet Charlie, our 45kg Lab x Great Dane who leaves large ‘presents’ all over the yard.

Anyone who has ever lived with a dog will know they poo A LOT and they leave said poo all over the yard. You will also know that as a responsible dog parent, it’s your job to clean it up.

For years I have picked dog poo up using plastic gloves, then placed it in a plastic bag and thrown the full bag into the garbage bin where it would eventually make its way to landfill.

I realised that while I was making a conscious effort to eliminate single-use plastic from my life, the one place I was using a lot of plastic was in cleaning after Charlie.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

This is not a new concept and there are ready-made dog waste composts out there but the largest I could find was only 2 liters. Charlie is a big dog and a 2-liter bucket just wasn’t going to cut it. That thing would be overflowing by the end of the week!

So, we decided to make our own dog waste compost.

Note before

This compost is NOT intended to be used in the garden. The waste is left in the bucket to break down over time. Once it’s close to full, you remove the bucket, fill in the hole with dirt and start a new hole in your yard.

2019 update: Charlie is now a 51kg dog, we’re 20 months into using this bucket and it’s only half full.

What you will need:

  • 1 large plastic drum with a lid that seals. I found a second hand one on Gumtree for about $20 that had previously been used to transport grains.
  • Some medium-size pebbles. This is to put in the bottom of the drum to assist with water drainage.
  • A shovel.
  • An electric drill to drill holes in the drum.
  • A saw to remove the base of the drum.
  • Ensopet Starter. This is a mixture of wheat, sawdust, and minerals combined with a group of micro-organisms which will accelerate the breakdown of the dog waste, eliminate the smell and help kill any pathogens (worms, bugs) in the compost. You can buy this online here:

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Lastly, someone to dig the hole and use the drill aka my hubby. I was the photographer and Charlie supervised!

A reader writes in inquiring about waste-system options for a tricky lakefront lot.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Q: Please provide any information you have on alternative septic systems. Do most states allow alternative systems? I have lake property that has an old septic on it and when we build a new house it will no longer be suitable. However, the property is on a point with no room for a drainfield, and therefore, I’m looking for options. – Benita Edds, via e-mail

A: Fortunately, there are many options available for small-sized sites. The primary factor that dictates use of one option over the other is the soil’s ability to absorb water. This is known as the soil percolation rate.

Based on your property description, an aerobic treatment unit (ATU) might be a good alternative. Daniel Friedman, who writes for the Home Inspection and Construction website, notes that these units are commonly used on lake lots where there isn’t enough room for a drainfield.

Essentially, an ATU is a “mini-wastewater treatment plant for home use,” says Friedman. Bacteria decompose waste much more quickly in an ATU because of extra air that’s pumped into the tank. These systems do a great job of treating wastewater, but only if they’re maintained properly.

Including the actual unit expense, an ATU installation will likely cost anywhere from $9,600 to $15,000. Since these systems require electricity, there will also be some minor operation costs. The main operating expense comes from getting the tank pumped out – these units require more emptying than conventional systems.

If you find you have some space for a drain field, you could also check into recirculating sand filter (RSF) or peat systems.

Of course, you could consider eliminating your need for a large septic system altogether. Alternative toilet systems, from composting to incinerating units, make this possible.

Other toilet options include:

Incinolet – Rather than decomposing waste, an Incinolet incinerates it with electric heat, reducing the waste to ash.
BioLet – Relying on a controlled supply of heat, air and natural microorganisms, the BioLet needs no water, no chemicals and promises no odors.
Sun-Mar – Offers a central composting system that connects to either low-water flush toilets or dry-air flow toilets.

As you weigh your options, consider your local and state health regulations. For instance, state law requires that you have your soil tested before installing a septic system. Special permits may be required for alternative systems. Check with your local planning or zoning committee on this.

A septic tank is an underwater sedimentation tank used for wastewater treatment through the process of biological decomposition and drainage.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Septic tanks allow a safe disposal of wastewater and hence are widely popular in areas that have a poor drainage system or are off the mains sewage network. They work by collecting the excreta and wastewater in one big underground tank, they are predominantly used in rural areas.

Septic tanks are not used much in urban areas as waste in cities and towns is dealt with and transported through the sewage system, these are maintained by the water company in your local area.

Basics of septic system for homes:

A septic system has a simple design. It is an underground watertight container (mostly rectangular or round) made of fiberglass, plastic or concrete.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

The tank is connected with two pipes (for inlet and outlet). The inlet pipe collects the water waste in the septic tank, long enough that the solid and liquid waste is separated from each other. The outlet pipe also called the drain field, moves out the preprocessed wastewater from the septic tank and spreads it evenly in the soil and watercourses.

After a while, the wastewater separates in 3 layers.
The top layer is oils and grease and floats above all the waste. This is called scum.

The middle layer is the wastewater along with waste particles.

The bottom layer consists of heavier particles that are heavier than water and form a layer of sludge.

Inside the tank bacteria from the wastewater breaks down the solid waste.
These bacteria decompose the solid waste rapidly allowing the liquids to separate and drain away more easily.

Cleaning of the Septic tank : A requirement every few years

If a septic tank is not cleaned regularly (within 1 year for smaller tanks), toxins and antibacterial substances build up killing the vital bacteria that break down the waste.

Many household cleaners build up sludge and solid waste in the septic tank and drainfield lines. This leads to the septic system failure, by failure we mean that the solid waste blocks the system and overflows into the watercourse or out of the access grating.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

Failure in the septic system is not only an expensive affair but also an invitation to waterborne diseases, it also smells fowl!

Depending on the severity and the damage to the entire septic system, it is important for people to understand how important septic tank cleaning is.

Contribute your share to make your home a better place

Follow a strict septic tank cleaning routine to protect the system against clogging and break down. You can contact the best waste treatment companies to take care of the septic system and ensure its proper functioning.

Cannot remember when you last cleaned the tank: Here’s what happens –

The decomposition process in the tank slows down, leading to blockage and overflow. Over time, soil, sludge, excrement and solid waste build up, as a result, the solid waste starts to build up. This process gets worse and finally the septic system gives up and backs up completely.

How to create a septic system for pet waste

It might be hard to tell when a septic system is in trouble. It can vary from as little as 2 years to as long as 100 years! Rather than waiting for the septic system to reach its breaking point, it is advisable to act upon it beforehand, cleaning the tank out every 1–3 years is advisable.

One of the best ways to do it is by cleaning the water before it leaves the tank. Applying a strong monthly septic tank cleaner upstream of the drainage zone as it abolishes the ill effects of soaps and cleaners that kill the bacteria in the tank. For decomposition of solid waste, it is very important that bacteria stays in the tank.

Finding an easy alternative way — Hire Professionals

Hiring a professional waste disposal company is the ultimate way to take care of the cleaning process.
With years of expertise in disposing off all kinds of waste, they help you out with the best solutions to maintain safe and disease free surroundings.

When you hire experts from a well-reputed firm, they make sure that not only the waste is treated but also help in eliminating the unpleasant odor from the area.

This is what experts suggest you to do:

Your septic tank cleaning majorly depends on the people living in the household and its usage. Therefore, the cleaning process can vary for every household. Experts suggest cleaning the septic tank within 12 months of usage.

Waste disposal companies start by emptying the tank and removing all the solid waste that has been collected.

The waste is collected in a gully sucker (commonly called gully emptier) which is a tank truck with suction gear. This pump sucks wastewater and sludge from the septic tank into the tank on the lorry.

However, if the septic tank has not been cleared for years, there are greater chances that the drain field is clogged.
Waste disposal company makes sure that the heavy sludge is removed making space for proper drainage. They use gully suckers to do the heavy cleaning.

Keeping surrounding clean is the job of every individual. Moreover, when you own a septic tank, it also becomes your legal duty to maintain it for its proper functioning. The major reason that we stress on cleaning the system in a year is — you start to notice the smell if you leave the septic tank unattended for years.

In addition to it, you cannot escape from septic tank cleaning as the sludge becomes a problem for your property.
Also, if you get late in hiring the professionals, your septic tank will stop functioning, this can cost a lot more to rectify if inlet and outlets have to be cleaned as well.

Recycling: Good for the Economy, Good for the Environment.

Since all of the waste collected from a septic tank is organic, sending it away in a landfill is completely prohibited.
However, the heavy sludge can be sent to a landfill by removing the liquid waste (this can be done only when the company has the permit to do so).

This sludge can also be converted into fertilizers for agricultural use by the process of anaerobic digestion. The most common treatment of this sludge is to create biogas and energy such as electricity.

Waste disposal companies remain the best in handling the waste in the right manner. They send it to the recycling centers, find new ways and use the latest technology to be the best at their work. Today, a large agricultural sector is benefitted from this water waste.

Choosing the right company will wipe out your worries

  • One that is licensed to carry all kinds of waste
  • One that is equipped with the right facilities
  • One that is registered to treat sewage waste

Introduction: Big Dog Poop Composter (made From Salvaged Materials)

With garbage dumps becoming full it has become very important to find an alternative to simply tossing your pet’s waste into the trash. I have always liked the idea of composting my pet’s waste, but didn’t want to add it to my garden compost. That is why I decided to build a separate composter specifically for doggy doo. I had originally planned to purchase a dog waste composter, but quickly realized that I need a much bigger one than is on the market in order to handle all of the waste from my 70 lb. Labrador Retriever. Big dog, Big poop, Big composter. I decided to create this Instructable to help others deal with their pets waste in an environmentally sound manner.

Tools & Materials: All that you will need to build a waste composter is a shovel, a saw, a drill, 4″ pvc pipe, and a vessel of some sort.

First find your vessel. I decided to use a salvaged plastic 55-gallon barrel and give it a third life. A 5-gallon bucket or a trash can would work if you have a small dog. Rather than recycling the barrel I simply reused it. I got it from our local coffee roaster and used it as a leaf composter for a couple years. Be careful that you don’t use a barrel that may have had toxic chemicals in it. Mine used to be full of French vanilla flavoring. That stuff is fairly harmless.

I have also entered this Instructable in the Epilog Challenge, so please remember to vote.

Step 1: Preparing the Vessel

Take your vessel and drill holes everywhere except the top and bottom. Any bit size ranging between 1/4-inch and 3/4-inch will suffice. The holes need to be large enough to allow air to reach your composter, but not large enough to allow soil to fall through.

If you are using a barrel you will need to cut the top off. The open end will become the bottom of the compster. This will increase the surface area that is exposed to the soil and allow rain water to drain easily.

Next cut a circular hole into what will be the top of your composter. I cut a 4-inch hole into mine because I decided to use a 4-inch inside diameter (ID) pvc pipe as the access port for my composter. It’s good to have a hole large enough to allow the dog waste to fall into the vessel without the need of a push-stick. The 4-inch ID pvc fits perfectly over the 4-inch hole without the danger of falling in. I was able to find a waste cut piece of pipe that was headed for the dumpster.

Step 2: Dig It

Next you need to choose the location for your composter and get to digging. An ideal place would be easy to dig, accessible, yet tucked away, and at least a couple hundred feet from any wells.

This is the most difficult step. Dig a hole large enough to fit the composter into it and deep enough to bury it a foot or so underground. Keeping the composter below the ground level will help keep it from freezing as easily during winter. Be sure to keep the topsoil separate from the rest of the soil.

When the hole is dug try the vessel for fit. Put a straight edge over the hole in order to get an accurate depth measurement. This measurement is needed to calculate the required pipe length.

Step 3: Access Port

Cut the pipe a few inches longer than the measurement made in the previous step. Place the pipe over the hole and carefully back fill the hole with topsoil. You could also use an old plastic planter or something of that sort rather than a pipe.

After back filling the hole the only part of the composter showing will be the stickup portion of the pipe. I plan to put a rubber cap on the pipe to help control any odors. You now have a pet waste composter that is large enough to handle the waste from a big dog and yet safe. Unlike other designs that I have seen, nobody will be able to fall into this one. Job well done.

Step 4: Drop the Poop

Now the fun begins! The composter is complete and ready to be put to use. If you are using corn starch based bags you can simply drop the bag into the composter, if not you will need to put the poop in without the bag. Adding small amounts of grass clippings will aid decomposition. Some folks recommend adding products such as Cesspool Treatment and Rid-X. I do not, the same bacteria that are in those products are naturally occurring in grass clippings. I design wastewater systems for a living and would not recommend such products even for your home system.

It should be quite some time before this composter besomes full. When the composter is full I can simply take the topsoil off the top and pull the barrel out of the hole. At this point I can either use the compost as lawn fertilizer or simply bury it. Either way we have already helped preserve a little bit of our precious environment.