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Septic Required!!

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Old 02-16-2016, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default Septic Required!!

To be up to code with a residence/dwelling in our area, we are being told that a septic system is absolutely necessary. Has anyone else dealt with this? Is there any way around this besides not telling anyone? Sort of defeats the purpose of yurt living when you need a septic system, well, etc.

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Old 02-16-2016, 02:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Septic Required!!

Have you spoken directly to the codes enforcement officer and asked about a composting toilet?

Many codes officers (in places that are used to having seasonal camps) will have a list of acceptable brand names of composting toilets.

If you absolutely cannot get a permit because of HOA's or codes enforcement then a tiny house for the bathroom and a yurt for residence could be an option to consider.
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Old 02-16-2016, 08:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: Septic Required!!

Good advice Steve.
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Old 02-16-2016, 10:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Septic Required!!

I'd suggest reading the codes--they'll tell you a lot. Depending on where you are (the county/town sets the particular codes), there's different ways to deal with issues. Like Steve said, calling the code people and asking them for details is a pretty good way to understand how they'd take to your idea.

For instance, I know in Oregon having a composting toilet doesn't mean you can neglect a septic system (but you get to downsize it by 33%). If I recall correctly in Whitman County (Eastern Washington), the county health specialist (who happens to be a family doctor) would be the person to convince that you're dealing with fecal matter safely. You could also look into getting a variance.

In any case, it will help a great deal to have a definite plan to present. What kind (brand/model? NSF certified?) of composting toilet are you wanting to use? How often will it be emptied? How will it's contents (urine/mixed humanure/aged humanure) be 'disposed' of? Where is your property and who could you reasonably expect to have there (and how would you prevent them from accidentally coming in contact with pathogens)?

The other aspect of septic systems is general waste water treatment. How will you deal with all your gray water? From your washing machine? From your bathroom sink? From your kitchen sink? From your shower? Some of these (kitchen usually) are often considered 'black water' for code purposes (due to organic matter) and may require a septic system-type treatment.

My current method has been to use a traditional yurt (more easily moved and definitely temporary) and find someone (a small-scale/garden farmer; an unconventional-type person with a few acres; an old retired individual with land that could use a little money) that is adaptable/flexible. I don't know if this is similar to your situation though.
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Old 02-20-2016, 03:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Septic Required!!

Go to a primary source - which means straight to county. Even draftsman and architects can have it wrong. Ask if any composting toilets are accepted (a few usually are if they are used in conjuction with an engineered gray water system). Ask if gray water systems are allowed and ask for the name of someone local that can help you design what they need to see for that. Finally, ask about acceptable septic alternatives. Things like the Watson Wick, or certain cesspool set ups, etc. Primary sources are key. The only other type of professional that I'd trust as a primary source on this is a local, well reputed, licensed, wastewater engineer. Keep us posted! Good luck and Aloha.
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