Dr. Rodney T. Hard

       HONEY BUCKET BRIGADE

By:  Rodney T. Hard

When we first moved to Korea, we had no indoor plumbing and no indoor toilet facilities.  We had an outhouse in the corner of the yard.

Every several months, what we called the "Honey Bucket Brigade" showed up to dip out the human waste out of our outhouse.  Several men would show up with a pony drawn cart that had a wooden tank attached on top. 

They got out buckets which they carried two at a time at either end of a pole they slung onto their shoulder.  They had a large can attached to a stick that they used to lower down and scoop out the night soil.

They loaded the "honey buckets" and carried them on their shoulders out to the tank on the cart.  The whole process smelled up the neighborhood for several hours.  

The interesting thing was that they did not charge us for the service.  They would actually pay us for the night soil.  They used it on the fields as fertilizer.

Several years later the city took over the process as a public service and upgraded to trucks with metal tanks on them.  They did not charge us for the service, but they did not pay us either.

After several more years, the city upgraded to tank trucks with hoses with which to suck up the waste.  That is when they started charging for the service. 

By then, we had running water from the city but it only came on sporadically.  My father installed a large tank on the roof to hold water and allow for steady water pressure in the house.  Whenever the city water did run, we filled the storage tank on the roof.

So, we installed an indoor toilet and and put in sewer lines to a septic tank in our back yard.  

Honey buckets filled with human waste from the neighborhood outhouses.

Horse-drawn honey bucket cart with wooden tank on the cart..