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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’d like to get feedback on my toilet dilemma. I bought a property in Apache County, AZ. The county has a bunch of rules and permitting for off grid toilet setups. I knew this before I bought the land. There are a number of options available. Under “Intent to Discharge,” the county has a type 4 general aquifer permit which covers the following: Septic tank/conventional, composting, pressure distribution, gravel-less trench, Wisconsin mound, engineered pad system, sewage vault, and cap system (Apache County Intent to Discharge) The septic tank option is a $300 permit fee. The others are a $550 permit fee. They all require a licensed person to come out and test the soil for an additional $300-600. If using one of these systems, you have to include this with the building permit for the home.

The state of Arizona allows automatically permitted toilets in its own code (Arizona Allowable Toilet Setups without Permit Request). It says: “A person may discharge under a Type 1 General Permit without submitting a Notice of Intent to Discharge….A 1.08 General Permit allows for any earth pit privy, fixed or transportable chemical toilet, incinerator toilet or privy, or pail or can-type privy if allowed by a county health or environmental department under A.R.S. Title 36 or a delegation agreement under A.R.S. § 49-107.”

This could be interpreted to mean that state law overrides county law. But the county law doesn’t include these toilets in its own permitting list. It would seem to me that the state is saying that it allows those toilets listed in the previous paragraph. I suppose the county could say that they are special and don’t like the state approved ones. I do like the incinerating type but this will be a solar powered tiny home. What do you think?
 

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Looks to me like paragraph 2 refers to types of waste systems where the final product will be carried off your property in the final disposition--even if it is in the form of ashes. Paragraph 1 would refer to disposal into the soil of your own property.

The way it is worded, it may mean you can do number 2 onto the ground of your own in some counties, if you carry it away; and into the ground--if an engineer and a soil scientist say the ground will be able to neutralize it without harm to anybody else.

The problem with human waste is sludge, extra water, and pathogens. Sludge, especially. Waste does not just go poof when you flush the toilet. The carbon that you eat (carbohydrates?, lignins, cellulose, and other plant material does not instantly break down into elemental carbon, and it can sometimes overflow a septic system and pollute your soil and/or your neighbor's soil or water--if it fails or if your soil can't contain it.

The sludge from a pit toilet, even a composting toilet--has to be carried away sometime....and I'm remembering the movie,..."I love the smell of napalm in the morning."

But I'm not an Arizona lawyer, nor a soil scientist, so you probably should ask those who are.

Best of luck in your building plans.

geo
 

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Go to (or call) St. Johns (county seat) and ask them to explain the code. There are a lot of non-code properties in Apache county.....just sayin'.

Do you have water?
 
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Reactions: Alice In TX/MO

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Go to (or call) St. Johns (county seat) and ask them to explain the code. There are a lot of non-code properties in Apache county.....just sayin'.

Do you have water?
Ultimately, I'll have to contact them and ask them about the difference with the state law. The county's website says that all unincorporated areas must apply for a building permit. There is no water on the property.
 

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Forgot to add - You will need a perc test if you are contemplating a septic install.

You say there's no water - are you contemplating drilling a well? No animals, eh?

BTW: My homestead was one county over for 13 years - Navajo.
 
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State regs can be more stringent than Federal regs.

County regs can be more stringent than State regs.

City/Township regs can be more stringent than County regs.

...and so on.
 
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I think your county's regulations would supersede that of the state. They can institute any regulations they feel are warranted for their county. Plus it also affects permit fees, which lets face it the county wants.

In regards to the solar for a tiny house. Make sure your system would have enough power for an incinerator type toilet. As an example, it might need 1800 watts and run for 20 minutes for urine and 45 minutes for waste. That will surely wipe out your batteries if you don't have a lot of them.
 
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