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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 610. Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations

12VAC5-610-980. Types.

A. Privies are divided into two categories, those that function as disposal facilities and those that function merely as holding facilities with ultimate disposal of the contents at another facility via pump and haul.

B. Disposal privies.

1. Pit privy.

a. Description. A pit privy consists of a lined earthen pit with a suitable rodent and insect proof structure and pit vent stack. The structure shall be provided with self-closing lid or lids on the seat riser. The pit privy is located exterior to a dwelling.

b. Location. Required separation distances from various structures and topographic features are the same as for subsurface soil absorption systems and may be found in Table 4.2. The bottom of the pit privy shall be at least two feet above the seasonal water table and any rock. Location of pit privies shall also comply with 12VAC5-610-593 1 through 6 and 10.

c. Utilization. The Uniform Statewide Building Code of Virginia normally prohibits the installation of pit privies at new homes. In case of hardship, unsuitable soil conditions or temporary recreational use, a privy can sometimes be constructed after obtaining the approval of the building official with the approval of the department. A sewage disposal system meeting the requirements of 12VAC5-610-250 A and B shall be provided to treat other sewage (wastewater) generated from activities such as laundering, bathing, handwashing, and cooking. Pit privies utilized at existing dwellings should be abandoned within one year of the availability of sanitary sewers. Proper abandonment consists of removing the structure and covering the pit with at least two feet of soil. Pit privies are an acceptable means of sewage disposal at isolated areas such as primitive camping areas, public boat launching areas, recreation areas, state parks and wilderness areas where pressurized water systems are not provided.

2. Incinerator toilets.

a. Description. Incinerator toilets are devices that utilize electrical energy or burning gas to incinerate human excreta deposited directly into them. They function both as toilet and disposal facility and produce an inert ash. Incinerator toilets are located in the interior of a dwelling.

b. Utilization. In addition to the conditions stated in subdivision 1 c of this subsection for pit privies, incinerator toilets shall not be utilized where they are subjected to frequent use and/or peak loading conditions.

c. Certification. All incinerator toilets must be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation as meeting the current Standard 41.

3. Composting toilets.

a. Description. Composting toilets are devices which incorporate an incline plane, baffles or other suitable devices onto which human excreta is deposited for the purpose of allowing aerobic decomposition of the excreta. The decomposing material is allowed to accumulate to form a humus type material. These units serve as both toilet and disposal devices. Composting toilets are located interior to a dwelling.

b. Utilization. In addition to the conditions stated in subdivision 1 c of this subsection for pit privies, all materials removed from a composting privy shall be buried. Compost material shall not be placed in vegetable gardens or on the ground surface.

c. Certification. All composting toilets must be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation as meeting the current Standard 41.

C. Holding privies.

1. General. Due to the nature of these devices, i.e., they require routine pump and haul, special care shall be taken in selecting these devices for use. These devices are satisfactory for use at mass gatherings, transient worker populations, construction sites, recreation areas, etc.

2. Vault privy.

a. Description. A vault privy is similar to a pit privy except that, instead of an earthen pit, a water and corrosion proof containment vessel (vault) is provided. The vault shall be provided with access for periodic removal of the vault contents.

b. Location. Vault privies shall be located to prevent contamination of ground water or surface water. The elevation of the top of the vault or access port shall be placed two feet above the annual flood elevation. Separation distances from structures and topographic features will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

c. Utilization. Vault privies are an acceptable method of holding human excreta where ground water, surface water or other conditions prohibit the installation of other approved sewerage facilities. The conditions contained in subdivision B 1 c of this section shall be met.

3. Portable privies.

a. Description. A portable privy is a type of vault privy that is generally manufactured as a single unit and is easily transported.

b. Location. Location of portable privies should be determined on a case-by-case basis under the supervision of the district or local health department.

c. Utilization. Portable privies are normally used in association with mass gatherings, construction sites, etc., where temporary facilities are required.

d. Numbers required.

(1) When portable privies are used at mass gatherings, one privy per 100 persons shall be provided as a minimum.

(2) When portable privies are used at construction sites or transient worker locations, one privy per 25 persons shall be provided as a minimum.

e. Pumping. The containment vessel of the portable privies shall be pumped as often as necessary to prevent overflow. It is recommended that they be pumped when 2/3 full.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-164 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-02 § 4.33, eff. February 5, 1986; amended, eff. May 11, 1988; Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 16, eff. July 1, 2000.

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