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Information & Regulations
New Zealand Pit Toilet Regulations
This information covers 'best practice' and local government regulation relating to the use of pit toilets on farms, orchards, rural and remote locations in New Zealand. Pit toilet regulations apply to 'unlined pit' toilets, and do not apply to toilets installed with waste tanks.
Pit toilets are generally a 'Permitted Activity' under NZ Regional Council regulations, but some different requirements apply in different regions. It is the responsibility of the property owner to determine what regulations apply in their area.
SOLPONT Recommendations
SOLPONT recommends the following best practice for pit toilet installation. These recommendations have been formulated from our experience and from international literature and studies on public health aspects of pit toilets produced by WHO (World Health Organisation), the UN, and other agencies concerned with public health. While they are typical of some Regional Council's regulations, they are presented solely as opinion, and it is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that any pit toilet installation complies with the local regulations in force in their location.
1) Pits or waste tanks shall not in any circumstances be installed on low ground or other location where storm water run-off occurs, flows or pools, or may otherwise enter the pit or waste tank general area.
2) Pits or waste tanks shall be constructed or installed so that there is a raised earth foundation at least 225mm (one step height) above the surrounding ground for the purpose of excluding any possible storm water run-off from entering the pit or waste tank.
3) Pit toilets shall not be located at a site where the soil type comprises gravels, coarse sands, scoria, fissured rock or other materials that allow the free migration of liquid waste matter away from the pit.
4) Pit toilets shall be located at least 20 meters away from any water bore-hole or free body of water.
5) Pit toilets shall be located at least 1000 mm above the water table.
6) Pit toilets shall be located at least 10 meters away from any property boundary.
7) Pits shall be filled in and covered with a depth of at least 500 mm of soil when the pit becomes full.
In the case that these conditions can not be met, then a waste tank can be used.
Your Regional Council
SOLPONT strongly advises to determine the regulations that apply in your area. This information can normally be found on your Regional Council website, although all councils are different and information may be presented differently by different Regional Councils. Information may also be provided in District Council plans, but we recommend starting with the Regional Council.
The information will be searchable under terms such as 'On Site Effluent Treatment - Pit Toilets', 'On Site Waste Water - Pit Toilets', 'Pit Toilets', 'Pit Latrines' or similar.
The below links will assist in finding the website and regulations for your local Regional Council:
Government; Regional Councils - map & links to all Regional Councils
Local Councils NZ - List/links to all Councils
Local Government NZ - List/links to all Councils
Greater Wellington Regional Council - Rule 5 : Pit Latrines
BOP Regional Council - BOP On Site Effluent Treatment Regional Plan

Please inform us if our links are out of date.

Other Resource Information
Tuff Toilet Installation Manual (pdf file, 937KB)
Tuff Toilet Pit Capacity Tables (pdf file, 14 KB)
WHO VIP Latrine Fact Sheet 3.5 (pdf file, 318 KB)
Practical Action - VIP Latrine (pdf file, 813 KB)
UN Development Program 1984 Technical Note 13 - VIP Latrines (pdf file, 3.3 MB)
WEDC On Plot Sanitation 1995 (pdf file, 345 KB)
World Bank Technical Note 6 - VIP Latrines (pdf file, 1.5 MB)
Waterlines Technical Breif - VIP Latrine Vent Pipes (pdf file, 492 KB)
EcoSanRes Fact Sheet 5 - Guidelines for safe use of fecal waste (pdf file, 67 KB)
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