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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Time for a Bathroom break

When we first bought our homestead, we were told that we could not put in a septic tank. I found this strange, why is a lagoon ok, and a septic not? No one could answer that. After a few years, our neighbor put in a septic system. He just happens to work for the county and informed us, that someone got it wrong, lagoons were not allowed. What? Well there's not much most of us can do about that. The lagoons had been there for awhile. I understand not allowing lagoons as we are close to two rivers {One is actually a flood control river} The county extension office has a program that will pay for most of the costs of re-digging an old lagoon or replacing it with a septic system. We are going the route of a septic tank.

We have already decided on a gray water system for the house, never thinking about the toilet, as it would go to the septic. But as I was looking at the ads in some of those DIY/homesteading/big brother is watching you magazines, I spied an ad for the Incinolet.

The thing reminds me of an airplane toilet {how comforting} but what does it do? It uses electricity to incinerate human waste, turning it into ash. It uses no water, {we have a private well so don't pay for water, but we do pay for the electricity for the pump} no water, means no septic {but I feel that the county will make us do that anyway}

Now to justify the expense, we are going solar, so don't have to pay for the electricity, won't have to pay someone to clean out the septic, and then there are several environmental reasons to get one {or two} Ok, so I can justify the expense of one. I also know that there are several plants that like wood ash, but would they like poop ash? More research needed.

11 comments:

Bellen said...

For more info on the Incinolet and other similar toilets, try the MotherEarthNews.com archives. These toilets were very popular in the late 70's early 80s for those in isolated areas.

Anonymous said...

Hi nice interesting blog...
Thats some toilet I tell you.
I would be kinda scared sitting there one day with a newspaper, and then hit the flush button out I go! * smiles* Looks Heavy Duty.

At any rate- kudos to you for getting out there and living a life that I myself dream of...

looking forward to reading more of your transition. And mistakes are not horrendous, they are lessons in expanding for greatness.

callie
www.calliesrealm.blogspot.com

The Fool said...

Lifestyles in Fairbanks offer a spectrum of toilet alternatives...from some very creative outhouses to a variety of eco-alternatives...but I don't think I've sat on one of those. Let us know what it's like after you take it for a spin.

To shake winter, Chatanika has outhouse races each spring. I'll leave it to your imagination for now...

Chelee said...

Wow, how very interesting.

BurdockBoy said...

In Idaho I worked as an inspector for new septic systems. If your soil has too much clay a septic system will not work because there is not enough perculation and the sewage will just run off. We allowed lagoons in total clay soils, but there were a lot of regulations-perhaps the original inspector though your soil had too much clay.

As for grey water- it's a great idea, but check with zoning because in some states they won't allow a graywater system with a composting toilet or incinerting toilet (don't ask me why.) Still, you could do it, it just wouldn't be legit.

As for my recomendation:
Look into composting toilets for human waste. The Humanure Handbook has great info on the process. And for grey water I like grey-water ponds. You can even get solar pumps for aeration. These are great ways of not treating our waste as waste, but simply part of the cycle.

Good luck.

abbagirl74 said...

I don't know what to say about this subject, other than I have now learned more than I ever would have wanted about toilets and septic systems.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

We would love to have a composting toilet Phelan! We have thought about it for years but never were able to incorporate it into our home. We wanted the one that goes down to a storage chamber so that you have a "regular" looking toilet in the bathroom (like a Clivus Multrum) Here's a link: http://www.compostingtoilet.com/RESIDENT/res_home.htm
and clivusmultrum.com. The humanure book is great as is Solviva(borrow both from a library easily) and any Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebooks--availble new and used in bookstores and on line. Last one gives lots of info about all kinds of green technologies. Good luck with your grey water system---and don't forget the fruit trees near them. Highly recommend the Create an Oasis with Greywater book. (sorry so long)

Bob said...

Don't know about the electric incinerator. What if you lose juice? We've looked into composting toilets but talked to others who were not happy with some expensive comercial ones. The best seemed to be the simplist using sawdust. Had little to no odor. We're just starting our place so will stick with the septic. Water is like gold here in the west Texas desert so gray water is a must. Our blog is walkedwithangels.blogspot.com if you want to visit

Jeff Roberts said...

What a coincidence, I was cutting weeds around our lagoon (in preparation for finally getting the required fence around it) just yesterday.

I don't know if I would feel comfortable sitting my "ash" on that incinerator...

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

Rock on...

teripittman said...

Take a look at this link http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/03/the_hot_poop_on.php
It talks about several alternative toilets.

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