Water School

What is an outhouse?

An outhouse, commonly referred to as a privy in the Texas Statutes, is a type of toilet without plumbing in a small building separated from a main structure. Instead of being connected to a sewer or septic system, an outhouse sits over a pit.

In an outhouse however, bacteria that thrive in oxygen break down the waste, with help from other natural processes. Eventually the pit fills, is covered with dirt and the outhouse is relocated.

Under Texas law, an outhouse may not be built within 75 feet of a drinking water well or a human habitation other than the residence to which the privy belongs, without approval from local health authorities. An outhouse also may not be built over an abandoned well or a stream. For more regulations on outhouses, consult the Texas Statutes. Pertinent information can be found here.




The information provided on this site is intended as background on water within the Brazos River basin. There should be no expectation that this information is all encompassing, complete or in any way examines every aspect of this very complex natural resource.

If you have questions about a post or would like additional information, please contact us or call 888-922-6272.

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