How to Use an IBC Tote as a Septic Tank

How to Use an IBC Tote as a Septic Tank
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How to Use an IBC Tote as a Septic Tank

If you live in a rural, remote area, you may have struggled with finding a septic tank solution for your home. Even if you’re unable to install a traditional septic tank on your property, you still need a durable, safe septic tank solution. This is where an IBC tote can come into play as a helpful alternative. 

In this article, we will discuss utilizing an IBC tote as a septic tank solution and will provide information on what to consider before utilizing it. It will also provide a look into the environmental impact associated with using IBC tote septic tanks, including potential risks to groundwater and surface water sources. Finally, we will discuss the best practices to follow if you use an IBC tote as a septic tank. Read on to learn more!

What is a Septic Tank?

A septic tank is a self-contained sewage disposal system designed to last for many years that will store wastewater from baths, sinks and toilets. Septic tanks were invented in the early 19th century as an alternative to connecting a home to a main sewer line. 

Septic tanks are durable and efficient systems that use natural processes of decomposition and drainage to treat wastewater before it is released back into the environment. The process eliminates waste materials, kills harmful bacteria and breaks down solids so that the liquid seeps out into the surrounding soil. 

Septic tanks are an important part of preserving water quality in rural homes because they keep pollutants from entering the groundwater supply near the private well system.

Exploring the Possibilities of Utilizing an IBC Tote as a Septic Tank

The use of an IBC tote as a septic tank is a simple and practical solution for those who live in rural areas where traditional septic systems are not available. The IBC tote is made of a durable plastic material that is resistant to corrosion and can be easily cleaned and sanitized. The tote is also easily transported, which makes it a great option for temporary or mobile septic solutions.

If it is allowed by your local building codes, building a septic system using IBC tanks is not only the most cost-efficient way but also one of the simplest. The tote is cheaper than concrete, and there's no need for construction professionals when you use it! 

In addition, this option will save time compared to building with concrete or steel. This application assumes that you will build a drain field for the liquids to run off. If not, the tank will fill up rapidly.

Primary Uses for an IBC Tote Septic Tank


 A RV parked on the side of a cliff, overlooking the ocean, at sunset.


Alt Text: A RV parked on the side of a cliff, overlooking the ocean, at sunset. 

If you are a regular RV camper, you probably have a permanent pad at your home or RV lot where your camper stays parked. Relying on your onboard tanks to store your gray and blackwater limits the amount of time you can use the camper before needing to find a dump station. By installing an RV septic tote tank on your property, you potentially add 5-10 times the amount of storage capacity to your rig.

Because many RVers are couples, a 275-gallon or 330-gallon tote could last one to two years before needing to be pumped.


A brown wooden cabin in the woods with a german shepherd dog on the front porch. The cabin is surrounded by greenery and trees with sunlight illuminating the house.


Many vacation homes are being built as cabins or tiny homes on secluded lots, and they are only used a few times a year. An IBC tote septic tank would work well in this application and, depending on the number of people in the house, could provide years of service before needing to be pumped.

Installing and Maintaining an IBC Tote Septic Tank

Installing your septic system using an IBC tote only requires a few tools, but it will make the task easier if you can rent a backhoe to do the digging. However, with a few friends, it can be done without it. You will need some basic plumbing parts, silicone caulk and patience!

Materials Needed

Choose a Location

When it comes to septic tank installation, one of the most significant factors is its location. To prevent flooding and leakage from occurring, ensure that your tank is placed beneath the surface level. 

It is important to stay clear of any structures or utility lines for your system to function properly. The quality of soil also plays a major part when burying your tanks — it should be absorbent enough for leaching, but sturdy enough so that even with wet grounds there will still be no shifting involved.

To ensure the best results, sandy soil that has not been disturbed is preferred over clay and other heavier soils. The septic tank should be placed at least 10 feet away from any structures on site, and if possible, it should be located in an area downhill of the building to prevent a full tank from flooding sewage into your property.

Prepare the Tank

The tank will need an inlet hole and an outlet hole drilled in the sides of the tote. The outlet hole needs to be slightly lower than the inlet hole to prevent flooding and leaks. A hole will be drilled in the top to install the riser and lid. This provides a place for the tank to be conveniently pumped. Once the tank is prepped and the drain field trench dug, the system can be installed. 

Final Considerations

As you construct a septic system with an IBC tote, it's essential to take into account your local building codes and ordinances so that you don't break any laws. Plus, remember the environment when designing your tank because a faulty installation can lead to harm to both natural and personal property. 

Additionally, the tote may not be able to accommodate the amount of wastewater generated by larger households. In these cases, it may be necessary to consider alternative septic solutions.

Tank Depot Carries IBC Totes and Septic Tanks for Every Application

Tank Depot - 330 Gallon CageBuster IBC

Alt Text: A white plastic water tank that is about four feet long and wide.

We carry a line of small septic tanks that could be used instead of an IBC tote. A 300-gallon spherical tank is an excellent option that may be easier to install than the tote. In addition to tanks, Tank Depot carries the accessories needed to connect a septic tank to your home. 

Contact us today for more information!

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