Even though a pit toilet looks similar to a vault toilet, there are some significant differences between the two. A vault toilet consists of a cement tank to collect waste, but a pit toilet requires you to dig a small hole where the human waste will get disposed of.
If you have a minimal waste situation, a pit toilet may be better than having a vault toilet. Single or small families might dig a pit toilet for temporary use while building a more oversized bathroom.
Vault toilet bowls can hold large amounts of waste; however, it’s noxious to the surrounding. The human waste disposed of in a pit toilet will eventually sink back into the earth; it will decompose over time and will not need to be removed. This is a good reason why preventing flies from entering pit toilets is not easy.
It takes approximately five years for a pit toilet to become full of waste; after that, it can be moved to a different location. It is better to fill an old pit with sand than to help keep the environment healthy.
Pit toilet waste can smell bad as it starts to decay. However, you can counteract this smell by adding lye to the pit toilet waste. Properly ventilated toilets can help with odor problems as well.
Pit toilet systems are best used as a temporary solution, whereas vault toilets are designed to be permanent structures that need proper care and maintenance.
It’s getting interesting; want to know more about pit toilets vs. vault toilets? If yes, let’s dive straight to…
A Pit Toilet
Pit toilets are sanitary equipment that holds the on-site waste. They have a hollow hole that is sealed or strengthened to hold the human waste. You may be able to use a pit toilet for 10-30 years. However, other things can affect its lifespan—for instance, the way it was built and the frequency with which it was used.
Typically, a pit toilet is evacuated or buried after it’s used for at most five years. Sometimes, pit toilets are used only for social or family purposes. They are often designed to have optimal temperature and humidity. Some pit toilets have vents to improve the air quality.
Primarily, it collects human waste and prevents the environment and people from being exposed to harmful pathogens. It cannot be used to control the number of pathogens people are exposed to. However, a pit toilet can significantly affect the ability to kill pathogens. When you set up a pit toilet, it must be kept at an appropriate temperature and humidity.
Human waste from the toilet must get removed before it becomes a mess. If it is not cleaned regularly, the human waste from a pit toilet can cause problems related to Ascaris and helminths.
Things You Need to Check Before You Have a Pit Toilet.
The size of the hole should be smaller than 25 centimeters. Take special note that so as to avoid accidents like young children falling into the pit hole. One of the reasons a squatting pan is chosen is so flies won’t get into it and so that odors won’t be able to come out of it.
Putting a simple lid on the hole is convenient to prevent odor from escaping outside when the toilet isn’t in use. Pit toilets or squatting pans are usually placed in sheds, parks, or other covered areas. However, that isn’t always the case.
Toilets that contain poop are not effective in reducing pathogens because the waste is in a deep hole. There are fewer chances for people to become infected by pathogens since human waste is contained inside the pit hole. Single pits are best suited for areas where there are limited resources and where there are very low groundwater tables.
There’s difficult drainage in densely inhabited areas because there is not enough room for good penetration into the ground. It’s easy to dig one small pit in periurban and rural areas. It’s tough to dig big pits in populated areas and on rocky or packed soil! You will not believe how tough it is to dig those trenches!
Drawbacks of a Pit Toilet
There are disadvantages to using the pit toilet, even though it is a straightforward strategy for any home.
Before you build a pit toilet, find a good place where you can dig a huge hole. Then, build an excellent shelter on top of it. Unfortunately, pit toilets can be a disadvantage, even though they are simple to install and don’t require any maintenance.
First is the smell. But don’t worry; there are some things you can do to help yourself from getting the smelly stuff in your nose. You can put sawdust in the hole after you use the toilet to absorb the smell. Also, it could be convenient to put a ventilation pipe that leads to the roof of the bathroom and passes over the toilet to allow air to circulate.
When the hole in the ground starts to fill up, you’ll have to dig a new one. Also, if it gets full, you will have to fill the pit toilet hole with more soil.
When a well is drilled near a body of water, it is easy for trash to enter the well.
A Vault Toilet
Vault toilets are non-flush waterless toilets installed in an unreachable location that doesn’t have access to a standard sewage system. Vault toilets allow people to flush their toilet paper and other waste in a relatively safe and private way.
Some campgrounds have vault toilets. Forest Service employees have trained personnel to put these toilets in place to ensure that only one person can use them at a time. Park Service employees use private vault toilets. Most of the vault toilet units have a self-filling hand sanitizer dispenser in them. Not to mention, you will be amazed to find some with sinks containing clean running water.
Facts about Vault Toilets
Vault toilets are not like a standard outhouse; they are not portable. Outhouses are mobile; once a hole is filled with waste, the outhouse can be moved to another location.
Vault toilet units are permanent, although portable units are becoming more common. They need to be emptied regularly by a qualified waste management organization.
Vault toilet systems are intended for unisex use, but you can have separate urinals that drain into the same tank.
Double-vault toilets feature two separate waste tanks that can hold a lot of waste, especially in busy areas. You’ll often see people using a vault toilet system in areas where there are densely populated.
Vault toilets are designed to contain human waste in a large concrete tank. When the tank is full, it releases waste gas into the atmosphere.
Vault toilets place waste into an underground tank protected by a concrete slab. The tank is a protected container made from a highly durable material, like concrete. It holds both human waste and tissue paper. Vault toilets have a tank that holds toilet paper and human waste but cannot hold trash.
So why are they referred to as vault toilets? Are you wondering?
Well, it is known as a vault toilet because it has a tank that holds a large amount of waste. Toilets are put in places where there are no pipes, and toilet seats are placed on top of toilets.
A vent pipe is placed at the top of a roof that traps the gases generated when people dispose of their waste. Toilets that are no longer being used are removed from the basements, and a concrete divider is put over a large septic tank to avoid accidents.
Essential Tips for Using Vault Toilets
Put your toiletries in a vault toilet, but don’t use it as your trash can. If you do not have access to a garbage pickup service, bring your trash to take home. By removing all plugs in our vault toilets and cleaning our public areas in the park, we can help keep the park clean.
Be very careful when using a vault toilet in places where doors do not lock. Do your laundry outside the park if the vault toilets are not used. Wet wipes are not safe to use unless they are labeled to flush.
Forest Service employees have been going to vault toilets for years now. They keep the vault toilets clean and restock them with good-quality toilet paper and sanitizer. In most pack vault toilets, use a 1-ply toilet paper and low-quality sanitizer, so bring yours if you like to use better toilet paper.
Pros and Cons of a Vault Toilet
Considering putting vault toilets on your property? First, think about these advantages and disadvantages.
Vault toilet systems are entirely self-contained. There is no need to stress where you’ll put your toilet because all the waste that comes out of the toilet is collected. Waste from vault toilets will not cause water pollution.
It is extremely convenient if you don’t have access to running water.
It’s eco-friendly. Because it does not contain any water, the amount of water that is consumed is very low. It will not cause any damage to the soil or water because the waste is contained inside a sealed container.
Disadvantages of vault toilets
Odors from using a vault toilet are likely to occur. Some people feel that you can control the odors by using effective cleaning products, but you cannot wholly eliminate bad smells. That’s very unfortunate.
Vault toilets are not movable. You can’t move the toilet from one place to another. If your vault toilet starts to leak water, you’ll need to seal the vault off and build a new one.
The vault toilet needs to be maintained. Chemicals that clean vault toilets are necessary, as is the removal of soiled towels.
It’s not always the best option to have a vault toilet because it doesn’t allow toilet paper to be poured out of it.
Where do I buy a vault toilet?
Most companies sell vault toilet risers, and you can purchase the toilet seat with the risers. You can find one at big box stores or order one from stores like Amazon. Cheap flushing toilets are available for about $150.
A pit toilet vs. water closet. Which one is safer?
Some research has shown that sitting in a pit latrine is better than sitting in a water closet.
Are the vault toilets safe?
Vault toilet facilities conform to ADA standards and are hygienic as long as they are regularly maintained and sanitized.
Pit Toilet Vs. Vault Toilet: Bottom Line
There are many advantages of using a vault toilet over a pit toilet. Since the sewage in vault toilets gets contained in a container and cannot be disposed of normally, it harms our health when it becomes a slurry. But you can empty to prevent health issues from happening. It will last many years, provided you take good care of it.
You can also choose to use a pit toilet if you want to have an eco-friendly toilet. The waste will eventually decompose in the pit and turn into compost over time.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.