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Soakage pit for proper disposal of waste water


Do not use your soak pit for disposing of waste water from latrines.

Day-to-day household tasks, such as cleaning, bathing, and washing clothes, produce waste water. Stagnant pools of water around houses, in the streets, and in choked drains are a health hazard.

Besides producing bad odour and making areas muddy, stagnant pools become breeding places for mosquitoes.

Kitchen gardens are a good place to dispose of waste water. However, if you don't have space for a garden, building a soak pit is a practical, effective alternative.

Soak pits work like this: waste water gets dispersed in the specially designed pit and is absorbed in the subsoil, while pieces of solid waste naturally decompose. Since decomposition takes place in a sealed pit, no foul smell is produced.

Materials required Stones (large, medium, small): 1 cart load Plastic or metal perforated plate (15 cm diameter): 1 PVC pipe (30 mm diameter) 75 cm - 1 m Cement: 2 kg Bricks: 12 Polythene or gunny bags: 4 Sand: 2 cubic ft Masonry and labour charges (digging, fitting, and finishing construction of the pit): 1 day


Select a 1 sq m area close to the drain outlet, and 30 to 60 cm away from the nearest wall of the house.

- Dig a pit 1m x 1m x 1m x.

- Fill the pit with big stones (coconut size) up to 30 cm, followed by medium stones (guava size), from 30 to 60 cm, and small stones (wainut size) from 60 to 90 cm.


In case the distance between the drain outlet and the soak pit is greater than the recommended distance of 30 to 60 cm, the length of the drain pipe has to be increased accordingly.


During heavy rains, cover the trap with a plastic sheet to stop the rainwater from draining in.

Choose a drain pipe (PVC, bamboo or any used rubber tube or hose) 5 mm in diameter. Cut it to a length of about 75 cm

Make a hole 3 cm in diameter at one end of this pipe.

Construct a brick-lined trap below the drain outlet of the house, install a perforated plate and a drain pipe running down to the soak pit.

Construct a brick-lined trap

The principal/function of the trap is to keep solid deposits, rainwater, and mud out of the soak pit. You can also use a clay pot with holes in the bottom as a trap.

- Install the drain pipe so that the end with the 3 cm hole reaches the centre of the pit and the perforation faces downwards.

- Cover the pit with a polythene sheet (fertilizer bags or cement bags). Make sure that the cover stretches at least 15 cm beyond the sides of the pit. Spread earth on this cover and pack it until the surface of the pit is level with the ground. Make the finished surface look the same as the surrounding area.


Daily-Remove solid deposits held in the trap and flush a litre of water through the trap to clear any blockage.

Periodic-In time, your soak pit might become choked. Excess moisture on top of the soak pit is - an indication of choking. When choking occurs, dig out the soak pit and remove the stones and debris. Wash the stones and refill them in the pit.

For an average family, a well maintained soak pit will last for at least five years.

Contributor: Dr. N. Kamalammo