However, the building has the secondary effect of protecting the toilet hole from large influxes of water when it is raining, which would flood the hole and flush untreated wastes into the underlying soils before they can decompose.Outhouses are commonly humble and utilitarian, made of lumber or plywood.The term may also be used to denote the toilet itself, not just the superstructure.
Another system is the bucket toilet, consisting of a seat and a portable receptacle (bucket or pail).
These may be emptied by their owners into composting piles in the garden (a low-tech composting toilet), or collected by contractors for larger-scale disposal.
When properly built and maintained they can decrease the spread of disease by reducing the amount of human feces in the environment from open defecation.
The management of the fecal sludge removed from the pit is complicated.
The primary purpose of the building is for privacy and human comfort, so that the user is not exposed and does not get wet when it is raining or cold when it is windy.
Walls and a roof for privacy and to shield the user from the elements—rain, wind, sleet and snow (depending on locale)—and thus to a small degree, cold weather.
As pundit "Jackpine" Bob Cary wrote: "Anyone can build an outhouse, but not everyone can build a good outhouse." The arrangements inside the outhouse vary by culture.
In Western societies, many, though not all, have at least one seat with a hole in it, above a small pit.
High-tech systems are used in some national parks and popular wilderness areas, to cope with the increased volume of people engaged in activities such as mountaineering and kayaking.
The growing popularity of paddling, hiking, and climbing has created special waste disposal issues throughout the world.
There are both environment and health risks if not done properly.