Sanitation Storage Solutions: Pit Toilet Solutions

Ideal for use in areas with limited access to water and sewerage disposal.

Pit Toilet Solutions

The use of pit toilets is not uncommon in South Africa, as they are often the only solution in areas lacking water infrastructure.

Pit Toilet Benefits

  • Minimum maintenance
  • Most cost-effective sanitation solution
  • Does not require water (other than for cleaning the pedestal)
  • Treats effluent naturally
  • Can decrease the spread of disease If properly built/maintained

System Components

For a basic system you will require the following:

1. Pit pedestal

Preferably one with a seat/lid.

2. A hole in the ground

The location:
It is advised to build the pit toilet away from the main dwelling and community water sources in order to prevent contamination of the water supply.

The size:
The depth of the hole will depend on the amount of people that will be utilising the toilet, as well as the frequency thereof. It is advised to dig a hole that is at least 3m deep and 1m wide.

As the hole fills with sewerage, bacteria breaks it down into effluent. If the hole fills up too quickly, there is not enough time for this to take place properly.

3. A slab/floor with a small opening to cover the hole or “pit” where the sewerage will be stored.

Note: The slab/floor has to be solid and should span the width of the hole without collapsing. It is recommended that the hole in the slab/floor is no larger than 25cm to prevent toilet users from falling in

4. A hut

To cover the pit toilet and provide privacy and shelter from the elements.


This is a guideline for a basic installation. Each installation will vary based on the setup and personal preference and should be done according to local legislation to avoid water pollution and public health risks.


Pit toilets are fairly maintenance-free once constructed, but adhering to the requirements for safe pit emptying and management is very important. We advise the following:

1. Keeping the pedestal and hut clean

Regular cleaning with anti-bacterial agents are vital to effectively manage bacterial problems in and around the toilet.

2. What to do once the pit is full

Once the pit fills to within 0.5 meters of the top, it should be filled up with soil and a new pit should be constructed.