How to make Sh#t Flow Up Hill!

Yes it can be done!
You can indeed make the ugly stuff of toilets, showers and sinks flow up hill.

The problem is that the basement of the Cottage is below the septic system. This is a problem because I intend to build a bathroom down in the basement, complete with a toilet, shower and sink. Furthermore, the laundry room will be in the basement. I think we all realize that our modern sanitation systems make heavy use of Newton's discover of gravity to take our waste away. (BTW - that is the hole in the concrete wall that will eventually lead tot he septic tank.)

The problem is solved by burying a sewage basin under the concrete floor of the basement, into which all the sources of water, both black and grey water, in the basement are piped to. A special macerating pump is installed in the sewage basin which pumps the evil mixture up into the sewage pipe leading to the septic tank.

6 Steps to making Sh#t flow up hill:

STEP 1: Plan
You need to know exactly where your bathroom fixtures are going to be right down to the center of the holes (where the pipes go) for the toilet (usually about 16 inches from the side and 12 inches from the back), and the shower (this one is trick because every manufacturer does it differently - so pick out your shower and get its dimensions ahead of time.

STEP 2: Dig
...and I mean lots of digging!
After planning out the rough locations of the toilet, the shower (or bathtub), and where the other fixtures go, like the laundry tub, the washing machine, you will need to dig a trench for all the waste (sewer) lines and in the case of the sewage basin what seems to be a gigantic HOLE. The picture to the right shows the sewage basin and that hole, as well as the trench to the toilet.

Step 3: layout and Dry fit
It is very important that you get all the angles and lengths of pipe right before you glue all the pipes together. I found it important to lay it all out, fitting all the pipes together, and making sure it is all level and plumb. There is one rule! the pipes must all flow down hill at a grade of at least one quarter inch per foot of length. Sh#t really does only flow down hill after all...

These two pictures illustrate a few stages in Step 3 and 4.

Step 4: Level and Support
OK! I am going to tell you to do something again... Now that it is all together in a dry fit configuration, you need to keep for level and that quarter inch flow rule. THEN move the soil under the pipes to support the structure in the exact position it needs to be.

I found that the dry fit isn't as easy as it seems. When the pipes are dry (that means NOT glued), they don't really go all the way into their sockets, so this part is a bit of an art. You have to estimate the lengths.

Step 5: Gluing, and Final Leveling
Gluing is kind of neat. You put the glue on both parts: the pipe and the connector it is going into. Then move REALLY fast, because the glue sets very quickly. I quick back and forth twisting action makes the pipes go to get together really well.

TIP 1: Be sure to mark the place of each joint with a big long line on both parts so you know where and how they are to join. Also make sure mark goes beyond the area where the glue is going or you will loose the mark as it disappears into the connector.

TIP 2: Every structure is different but I found that creating logical assemblies and them putting the assemblies together really helped

Step 6: Bury your work.
Painful as it may be to bury your work of art you need to cover the whole works to maintain the level, stabilize it and to protect it from the weight of the concrete. And yes! Be sure to make sure all that burying hasn't put the structure our of level - so check constantly!

The next two pictures illustrate the finished structure with the crushed stone supporting and covering most of the pipes.

The first picture shows, in order from the front to the back, the pipes sticking up for the following: a floor drain, the waste and vent stack for the laundry room, another floor drain, the sewage basin which will eventually also have coming out from its top a vent stack, and the pipe to pump the water up to the septic tank line, the shower pipe and finally the toilet.

The second picture gives a closer view, going left to right, of the top of the sewage basin, the shower pipe, and the toilet pipe.

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