Septic discussion/input needed.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Dreams30, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    I do not want a septic tank for a variety of reasons. Help me hash this out cause I think I have come to a solution.

    1) Composting toilet (certain models are "legal" and they have a list.)

    2) According to the county guy I spoke with today, in that area they only consider kitchen sink and dishwasher water to be blackwater (toilet stuff too but that is covered by the composting toilet)(laundry water is considered grey water if it is used extensively for diapers, etc)(laundry will be done in the kitchen sink anyway)

    ---The house is on a hill in the woods. I won't have a dishwasher. The kitchen sink is on the side of the house that faces the downhill and we will be building a front deck off of that part of the house. I am thinking to run a drain from the kitchen sink to plastic 55 gallon drums placed under the deck. Since they will be on the ground and downhill from the kitchen they will be gravity drained. Since they are under the deck they will not "clutter" up the place. These plastic drums will be joined to each other by pvc pipe and will be a storage system for the kitchen sink drain water.

    However often is needed we will attach a pump to one of them and drain them all into 55 gallon plastic drums placed in the back of the truck. We will drive them to the local car wash and dump them down the same system that all the kitchen sinks in town are connected to. It costs the car wash operator nothing more for us to do this since they are never charged on volume for drainage. We might consider buying goodwill though. ;) That method will dispose of the kitchen sink water.


    3) laundry water, bathtub water and bath sink water are considered grey water.(see exceptions above on the laundry water thing and the fact that I will be doing laundry in the kitchen sink anyway)
    ---Greywater system to the garden by gravity flow with a lint trap on the end of it. (required by regulations)

    other info:
    The house is on a hill in the woods. I like the tress (I am the Lorax, etc) and do not want to have to make a clearing for a septic tank and worry about tree roots growing into it. This system seems simple, cost effective and non-harmful to the environment.

    Water to the house will be from pvc pipes run to the creek and pumped up to the house, also stored in 55 gal plastic drums along with rainwater from the roof, pumped into the kitchen and filtered. (until we get a well)

    Since I own more than 10 acres, I am exempted from regulations requiring: permits, inspections, planning documents, and an installer submitting info.

    I am going to call the county guy back tommorrow and run the "hypothetical" idea by him. What do ya'll think first?
     
  2. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    Your gonna wash your laundry in the kitchen sink ?
    IICCKK
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Are you completely exempt from needing any county approval for this plan? If you are, do NOT call him and say anything. Then do like you want. If you are not completely exempt, forget it, they will not allow it. In my experience very, very few beaurocrats will go for anything out of their rather limited guidelines.
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    What is wrong with doing laundry in the sink? I do it all the time. Don't even own a washing machine and can't use the laundromat.
     
  5. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    unless (this is a possiblity) the guy has caller ID on a govt phone, I am calling anomously(sp). I only told him what county I will be in.

    I do understand your concern and share that concern, too.

    I agree too, if it stands the test here, then, I won't call him, I'll just do it.

    Thanks
     
  6. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    LOL, maybe he doesn't clean his sink... :eek: :haha:
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If I were the car wash guy, you couldn't pay me enough to start this type of thing. I would not even want to have you in the place washing your car any more.... Not because I'm mean, but because that is a service I would not want to become 'known' for providing. It will attract other such things. And as many car washes recycle their water, it would chase people away from the car wash if this practice became known.... I'm not sure you have that part of the deal worked out. What happens when a carwash changes owners or changes it's mind to 'no', where do you go from here? That is way too skiny of a limb to be out on.... Also would not fit into a govt approval - you would need what, 10 year contracts on where black water is going to make this even close to approvable. I'm sure open dumping of black water also is not allowed - would need a pipe hookup.

    Is there any motor home/ travel trailer dumping stations, that is what you need to hook up with for this.

    Can't see storing black water in a home made system & transported in a homemade system with such a plan of disposal ever passing any inspector's code anywhere.

    If you have a good slope and no cumbersome over-regulations it's easy to put in a septic that will work & you won't have this messy job every week. Would be a dismal future for me if I had to look 'forward' to this job all the time. Be a lot cheaper to install a simple septic than the travel time to haul away the blackwater over the years.

    Just idle thinking & personal preference, guess I probably don't see much future to this - JIMHO. Would be a property I would _NOT_ want, no matter how nice the trees look.

    --->Paul
     
  8. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    I too think you would get mighty tired of hauling water to town. If you get a composting toilet, I think the septic system you would need would be much simpilier and a lot more convenient. I hauled water FROM town and got tired of it real quick.

    I'm seriously considering the Naturum compostring toilet. It's made in Finland but there is a Canadian distributor. Has a built in composter, etc. and doesn't require electricity.


    http://www.naturum.fi/english/index_e.htm
     
  9. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Ditto on what Rambler said. If I owned the car wash, I would probably try to have you arrested. Because you never know what people will try to dump down your drains. You might be innocent, but it will look mighty suspicious. Don't expect the cops or anyone else to look the other way.
     
  10. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I think it would be highly illegal to dump black water, i.e. raw sewage at the car wash. Car washes use a pit system to catch mud etc. The pit fills to allow solids to settle out, then the overflow goes on into the drainline.

    What you are proposing would be no different than a camper pulling into a by and dumping their sewage onto the floor, then hosing it down, leaving sewage in the pit. I'm sure that dumping black water into the gray water drain of a car wash is a no no.

    I'd give your system a thumbs down, but will never know what you do, now will I?
     
  11. IBD

    IBD Member

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    I'd forget the "dump the water at the carwash" idea. I very familiar with getting permits (approvals) for the disposal of wastewater. You and the carwash guy could get into trouble by several different agencies depending on your state, county and city regulations. Even though it may not harm anything to dispose of a little gray water at the carwash the idea doesn't fit the regs and that will cause you problems.

    I suggest you have a trusted friend, preferably one with some knowledge of the regs and the county personnel (say a contractor, plumber, engineer, etc.) call the county for the info for you. That way you can remain anonymous. Have that person check into your options and ask about a wetlands septic system. It is an above ground system for disposing of water without an extensive drain field. This type of system is allowed in areas with poor draining soils. The wastewater is treated in a "mini swamp" and then disposed into the ground similar to a typical septic tank system but a smaller drain field. You may or may not want to use the composting toilet with a wetlands septic system. Neither are cheap but it may be cheaper than a fine. GOOD LUCK!
     
  12. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    I am sure am glad that I asked here first!!!

    Thanks ya'll.
     
  13. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The car wash people are already sensitive. The last time I washed my van, the car wash attendant came around asking me questions because I had the doors opened preparing to wash out the inside. He said someone else in a van had recently poured something in their drain so he was watching for the guy to try to do it again.

    I asked my local sanitation inspector similar questions as you and got the same answers. I asked about water collection from the roof. He said "I cant tell how to do it because it's illegal, but we don't inspect for it." He also told me that grey water systems are illegal in CO, but under consideration. He suggested I hook everything up to code and add connections to enable grey water use so I could connect it in the future. (I'm thinking immediately after the inspection)

    Bruce had a good thought regarding a lesser septic system with a composting toilet. A black water, no solids, septic may be a lot simpler than a regular, solid handling septic. I recall a web site that showed kitchen water run through a gravel filled pit to a line of trees. I couldn't find it, but I will look further. This could be worth investigating further. Your county may have alternatives.

    In your opening post you mentioned that you don't need permits due to the acreage. Yet you seemed worried that your ideas may not be accepted by the inspector. I sense part of your concern is to do the right thing (regardless of codes). I sure don't see hauling black water as a good solution.
     
  14. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    Yep, gobug, it's the curse of being ex-army/ex-cop. I just really prefer being legal. ;) But, I don't mind finding alternatives that might also be legal if done right.
     
  15. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Earthships use systems like that.
    www.earthship.com/index.php

    BooBoo
     
  16. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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  17. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Is this the first septic system on the property? In Texas, the over 10 acres rule only applies to the first system installed. If you install a replacement system or a second system, perhaps for a second house, etc., then you need permit, etc. If 10+ acres are split off a property with a system, the new property (the one without the system) is considered a first time installation.

    Check with the state (TNRCC). I think there was a recent rule change about grey water--perhaps the kitchen sink is covered--the county health department may not be up to date on the new regs. Ours knew a rule change was in the works, but didn't know the actual rule had been changed. I don't remember exactly what it was.
    Dale (DH of Mary, TX)
     
  18. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    If I were in the drier parts of Texas and had a small area within my property for the waste water to pool I'd just straigt line everything away from the house.
     
  19. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand why the kitchen sink water has to be treated as blackwater? That sounds screwy. Blackwater is what comes from a toilet, or maybe a laundry if you are washing dirty diapers. If it was me, I would run a line from the sink, or from the barrels if you really want to catch the stuff and hold it (and let it get nasty) before you use it -- anyway, I would use it to water some fruit trees or something. There's a good diagram of how to do that in one of the permaculture books, I think.

    Kathleen
     
  20. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Okay, we haul in drinking water twice a week in 55 gal barrels and it is a true pain in the butt during the winter. we drain sinks, shower and washer into drums as gray water and use them in the greenhouse to grow veggies. maybe it is the army/and retired cop in me but it seems to me what you do with your own gray water is no ones business as long as you are not polluting anything. black water should either be compost toileted or septic or sewer just cause it is so nasty!