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septic system or ???

Discussion in 'Resource Conservation - Water, Air, Earth, Etc.' started by goatilocks, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. Aug 6, 2013
    baymule

    baymule Sustainability Master

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    What about taking that $10,000 and buying a older used tractor? Use it to dig the hole for the septic tank, leach field lines and do it yourself. Then you have the septic done AND you have a tractor. Do NOT get the aerobic system. If the power goes off, you can't flush the toilet, plus it is subject to all sorts of inspections and rules and regulations and blah, blah, blah..........

    Passive tank and field lines are the way to go.
     
  2. Aug 6, 2013
    k15n1

    k15n1 Almost Self-Reliant

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    It's all about regulations. Start talking someone in that department early.

    The Great Stink in London was caused partially by the flushing toilet (and other factors, including drought). So don't think that you need 3-5 gal of water just to poop :) There are a variety of dry systems that separate urine and feces.

    The composting toilets I've seen are expensive (2,000 $) but a lot cheaper than the septic/drainfield option.

    Also check on gray-water systems. That's something you should figure out before you start building because there are plumbing differences. There's lots of good information out there on gray-water systems and you should read about it before you get too attached to any particular ideas.
     
  3. Aug 6, 2013
    Britesea

    Britesea Sustainability Master

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    Actually, you can make a dry toilet for almost nothing. Build a box, cut the hole and insert a seat. Underneath, install a urine diverter and have two buckets: one for urine (which can be used in the garden right away) and one for feces (which needs to be composted). Sprinkle sawdust (the wet, living kind- like from a mill) over the feces everytime you go, to keep the smell down. Empty buckets as needed into composting barrels and allow to moulder for a year or more until it becomes compost.

    I have read that there is little to no odor in the bathroom with this method.

    This is the type of toilet I have in mind, since we are short on cash.
     
  4. Aug 6, 2013
    k15n1

    k15n1 Almost Self-Reliant

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    The bit about the sawdust is interesting. My grandfather had a latrine on a little island in Canada and he had us using 1/4 C or so of lime on-the-spot, followed by enough pine straw so you couldn't see the toilet tissue. Hadn't thought of wood, though. Why fresh? Is that just what's available?

    What you described (above) is only part of the process. Actually, the seat and such are the least important. What matters is how you deal with the waste. Dealing with the waste so that you don't get hookworms, etc, or end up with fecal matter in runoff are critical. You probably already know this but composting poops safely is different from a pile of kitchen scraps.

    Honestly, I am still struggling to figure out the difference between a cesspool and a proper latrine. I think most of the difference is that the latrine allows an active bacterial/mold/worm/etc culture that breaks down the poos. Most of that is sensitive to moisture, so urine diversion is another common feature. I wish I knew all the features that make a sustainable composting toilet/latrine....
     
  5. Aug 7, 2013
    moolie

    moolie Almost Self-Reliant

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    Saw this piece about a composting toilet (in a pretty fancy off-grid bathroom for the middle of the desert!) a few years ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHECRDlbUPg and it has been on my mind ever since, especially when I'm backpacking and dealing with gross porcupine-chewed outhouses in the backcountry. I'm not aware of any composting toilets that require "wet" sawdust though?

    Yes, a proper latrine relies on soil bacteria etc. and should be covered over and moved/new hole dug at intervals (I forget how often, but it does depend on weather/rain and other conditions related to soil chemistry as well as "amount" of waste). A cesspool is more of a "settling" method of dealing with human waste, and relies on being cleaned out rather than decomposing in situ.
     
  6. Aug 7, 2013
    Britesea

    Britesea Sustainability Master

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    I think the wet sawdust is preferable because it does a better job of odor control? I'm not sure, and OF COURSE I can't find the original article that specified using wet sawdust. Anyway, there is a great video about some people that have a compost toilet similar to what I described in their Bay Area urban home... and no complaints from the neighbors. The woman explains how she deals with the composting feces in a safe manner. I don't know if I can post a link here, but it's on Peak Moments TV, #172 (the pee and poo show, lol)

    I don't think this system is for everyone, but it's worth checking out and making your own decision.
     

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