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  #1  
Old 12/15/08, 11:39 PM
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septic system for cabin

I would like to put an indoor toilet in my cabin. It would be used infrequently- approx 100 flushes per year. Winterized in the cold season- Michigan. My soil is clay so doesn't perc well. I know nothing about design and function of system so info on that would be helpful. Having it pumped out every year or two would be OK. Don't know cost. What about a large fiberglass holding tank.? Any help here would be appreciated. Have all winter to research and make plans. Thanks LJ

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  #2  
Old 12/16/08, 05:18 AM
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Do you have a basement or crawlspace? I think if you buried a fiberglass tank, the pressure from the surrounding soil would cause it to collapse. I think cement is the only way to go in this regard. Does your cabin have electricity? There are toilets that burn the waste electrically...they are a bit pricey, but by the time you get a small septic system in, you're going to have a bunch wrapped up in it. My best friend bought one on ebay for around $1000 and he keeps it in his pole barn. I have another friend who had traditional outhouses with the hole in the ground...He instructed friends to sprinkle lime after each "deposit" and to refrain from urinating in it...His had no offensive odor about it. My first place had an outhouse, and I caught the waste in a big ole washtub and then hauled it away whenever it got half full. I'd look into the electrical toilets if I sere you. Good luck.

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  #3  
Old 12/16/08, 05:43 AM
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Why not a sawdust bucket toilet with perhaps a separate urinal made from a funnel with a hose leading to a gravel filled hole outside? Properly used there shouldn't be a noticeable odor from the sawdust bucket.

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Old 12/16/08, 06:16 AM
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I vote for the five gallon bucket with the snap on toilet seat lid. Sawdust.

Read more at:
http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/sawdustoilet.html

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  #5  
Old 12/16/08, 07:18 AM
 
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I lived with a saw dust bucket toilet in a 450' sq cabin for a year and the key to a whole place not smelling like a toilet was to use LOTS of saw dust, empty often and urinate elsewhere if one can... Good ventilation strategy of the toilet/bathroom is important too.

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  #6  
Old 12/16/08, 09:48 AM
 
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I take it you don't want a nice authentic outhouse to go with that cabin? How sad!

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  #7  
Old 12/16/08, 09:56 AM
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Consider the Thetford Campa Potti XG chemical toilet. You can empty it into an RV sanitary dump, or even an ordinary toilet.

http://www.thetford.com/Home/Product...7/Default.aspx

You can find them at Walmart for $70.

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  #8  
Old 12/16/08, 10:27 AM
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Depends on the convince factor. If you just want to flush and not worry about it.
then build yourself a little leach field. doing it to "code" would be expensive but
50ft run with several 50ft legs would handle your needs. Drop some ridex into it when you leave for the season and let the bacteria take care of the rest.

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  #9  
Old 12/16/08, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldcountryboy View Post
I take it you don't want a nice authentic outhouse to go with that cabin? How sad!

Not to mention it would be much more convenient than a sawdust toilet, easier to install than a septic and completely winterized. (Though perhaps a might chilly...)
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  #10  
Old 12/16/08, 11:33 AM
 
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there are many buried fiberglass septic tanks and they are designed to be buried.

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  #11  
Old 12/16/08, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldcountryboy View Post
I take it you don't want a nice authentic outhouse to go with that cabin? How sad!
You can't get away with an outhouse in most jurisdictions today.
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  #12  
Old 12/16/08, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by scorpian5 View Post
there are many buried fiberglass septic tanks and they are designed to be buried.
Most of the septic system expense is in creating the drain field, not purchasing the septic tank.

It used to be that people could save a lot of time, money, & effort by creating a cesspool instead of a full-blown septic system. A cesspool is basically a hole in the ground, normally lined with rocks and covered with planking. The void space in the hole would provide some residence time for bacterial action, then the walls of the hole would act as the drain field. It was sort of a combination septic tank & drain field.

While most jurisdictions don't allow new cesspool installations because they were found to be less than satisfactory, if your county will allow an outhouse then they may also allow a cesspool. With the minimal use you anticipate a cesspool may work for you.
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  #13  
Old 12/16/08, 12:14 PM
 
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why not just bury a 55 gallon plastic drum. On the outflow side, just put about 50 feet of rockfilled trench with a piece of 4 inch perforated pipe and take the end to daylight. with only a hundred flushes a year, you would probably never see water come out the other end. people have done systems like this before with great results.

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  #14  
Old 12/16/08, 12:21 PM
 
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We have two working Out Houses and both work great! (We also have two more old ones that have to be repaired and then set back up) All you do is dig a deep hole (no where near your water supply), build the house part, put a 2" vent pipe from the hole to over the top of house......and there you have it.

We also have one Cabin that uses a buried 50 gallon metal drum as the septic. We bought the Cabin after it was set up and have never opened it up since it works better than our larger system at the Main House. The former owner tells us it is one 50 gallon metal drum, with four drain lines going out and they have gravel filled in the lines. We have never pumped it out in 7 years here and never had any troubles.

We use sawdust or cedar wood chips in the Outhouses to help with any odors but we have not have any trouble with smells. A sign in Out Houses says "If you do #2, take a scoop and sprinkle your poop!" and so people know to toss a scoop of cedar chips when they do "their business".

Good luck

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  #15  
Old 12/16/08, 01:16 PM
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I have used several alternative systems over the years. When I first moved to Ky, I kept a shovel strategically located just outside the tent flap, and would make my moring run, shovel in hand and take care of things on a one on one basis. As time went on I constructed a outhouse which was much better. About the third place I had I built an a frame cabin on stilts, about 4 feet off the ground and built my first "in house" system which constisted of a 55 gallon drum under the cabin, ventilated and flushed with sawdust/lime. That worked good except about every three months or so I had the job of capping the barrel, rolling it up on the wagon, hauling it off to "the pit" at the other end of the farm and burning with diesel. that was truely a **** job if ever there was one! I have used the five gallon bucket method too, If you put about a gallon of water, with a cap of bleach, and you are good to go for a couple days, then empty outside in an appropriate area. I also once lived in a place that had a 55 gallon barrel buried in rather gravelly soil, no bottom in it and used a regular flush toilet, it never gave any trouble at all. Our new home that we are building has an honest to goodness, health dept inspected, up to code, permits and inspection stickers, septic system complete with 1,000 gal concrete tank and 360 feet of leach line buried in 3 ft wide limestone filled trenches! The things a feller will do just to keep his woman happy! She just loves peein in blue water! There are also the good ol composters which work well for remote locations when one isnt going to be there full time. I have one of those stored currently and would be free for the asking to anyone who wants it and is willing to take care of the handling.

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  #16  
Old 12/16/08, 01:50 PM
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http://www.clivusmultrum.com/index.htm

I expect these systems may be more than you want in terms of both volume and money. I do believe that the waterless system could be built by a "handyperson." IIRC, there were plans floating around for these in the '70's using a ferrocement method (Whole Earth Catalog). Anyway, give them a look -- maybe you'll get some ideas.
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  #17  
Old 12/16/08, 02:05 PM
 
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A friend of mine had a composting toilet in her house. I couldn't smell it even with the lid up.

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  #18  
Old 12/16/08, 02:15 PM
Murphy was an optimist ;)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishhead View Post
A friend of mine had a composting toilet in her house. I couldn't smell it even with the lid up.
They do work well, and are legal in most states, the only catch to them is the occasional maintenance factor.
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  #19  
Old 12/16/08, 04:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdharris68 View Post
why not just bury a 55 gallon plastic drum. On the outflow side, just put about 50 feet of rockfilled trench with a piece of 4 inch perforated pipe and take the end to daylight. with only a hundred flushes a year, you would probably never see water come out the other end. people have done systems like this before with great results.
If you can get by the health inspector with that, or you are willing to risk not getting it inspected, go for it. 55 gallon drum will fill up fast when a toilet is connected to it. I have a 30-gallon all-underground system set up in my shop, and that's just for a sink and urinal.

If it were mine, I would stick with the fiberglass tank but make one run of perf pipe out the far end into a trench with large diameter gravel, so the pipe is surrounded by gravel. Use plastic or tarpaper over the top of the gravel, then back fill a foot of dirt on top. If you had maybe a 250- or 500-gallon tank with your 4" PVC inlet pip ending in a tee at one end, and your one-pipe field of maybe 50 feet coming off a tee in the other end, you would be set for a long time before you had to worry over cleanout, pumping, etc. You set the tees on each end so one end points up, for venting purposes.

It is a nice convenience not to have to spend daily time emptying out your wastes, but rather enjoying your place. It sounds easy to do the emptying chore in writing. It gets old in practice. I say put a decent, sanitary system in, and enjoy it.

Easy to winterize a toilet. Turn off the water, flush it and hold the handle down til the tank is drained, then throw some RV antifreeze in the water sitting in the trap.
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  #20  
Old 12/17/08, 07:56 AM
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For less than 100 flushes a year I would concider buying a used port-a-pot a hadicaped accessable one is pretty nice.

For what you have in mind about any soil will be able to per 300 gallons a year.
What I would do is first Dig a drainfield from the house. You might get by with a trench just big enough to fit a piece of 4 inch coragated drain pipe in. The longer and deeper it is the better if you can put a foot of constant sized round rock under it so much the better
Almost any juurisdiction will allow this to dispose of water from the roof or low spot in the yard.
After this is in place and working with no problem from the local authorities I would bury a 500 gallon septic tank and run my plumbing into it. Id set it up to drain from about 2/3s the way up but Id put a elbow in it so that the actual water would enter from a place about 1/2 way up the tank so that scum could float in the tank without going into your lines. You could also use multiple tanks if its easyer for you to find 100 gallon tanks.
The slope of the lines should be about 1 inch in 4 feet till you get to the leachfeild where it should be just a hair less than leval. In other words try to build the leachfield level but err towards running the pipe downhill.

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