My water bill was 65 dollars each month before I went rural, with a septic system.
28 of those dollars was to treat the waste water. Which is basically treating it with massive chlorine then dumping into the river. If they screen out the solids, it is toxic waste, to be placed in a special toxic landfill.
Upon moving to our 7. 48 acre property with a tiny house and great garage on it, our septic system finished dying. We could pump 200 bucks every thirty days, or pay 3 to 4 grand for a shiny new system, complete with septic field.
The DIY system was a 8 x8 foot square, in the ground made of mortored cinder block,with a cement cap, draining to a series of perforated pipes in a gravel bed. Illegal and no one knew the previous owners did this in the late 70’s.
With spectacular difficulties, we dealt with digging lines, and expensive pumping, only to find the system needed to be replaced, 3 to 5 thousand dollars we could never get.
Looked at how some solved their situation, when the septic gives up the ghost.
In a single resident home, you get a cane chair, with the seat knocked out, the woods is your view during a hygiene event. Move the chair each day, and it’s no worse than having a pet you let out to do it’s business.
4 minors, and three adults, does not lend it’s self to this solution, ground water contamination is a real issue.
So… we pipe the grey water, to a handy ditch. anything not toilet water goes into the grey water discharge. The vegetation prevents run off and the greywater perks through the ground, ends up in a local culvert. This is linked to a series of ditches that drain rain water down the hillside.
What to do with the night soil, you know, the poop. After suggestions of pooping in a camping toilet, in a bag, then putting it out with the trash, and just pay to pump, I found a DIY composting toilet design.
My wife was not on board, and I was unable to solve the problem of thousands to replace the septic system.
So I had some water resistant 1/2 inch plywood, and made a box, to hold a five gallon bucket, for 20 bucks, add a toilet seat for 9 dollars, we had a composting toilet. I purchased pine shavings, you know, animal bedding, to cover between useses.
Gentlemen were expected to urinate outside, ladies peed in the bucket. all sollids went in the bucket, and covered with sufficient sawdust.
I was the mastermind behind the alternative hygiene management program, so it fell to me to empty, wash, and maintain the system.
For ten bucks each, I found three 55 gallon intact metal drums, they had clamping lids. I would empty the bucket, usually 1 time each day, sometimes more, as needed. Into the drum, layered with leaves from our property.
So for sixty dollars and 30 minutes, or less each day we had a composting toilet system.
Add three grey 5 gallon buckets, with lids, and you have around 80 bucks in it.
The bathroom was surprisingly low odor, earthy, like soil in a field.
It was not what we were used to, 200 dollars a month we did not have, for pumping a failed system.
It took a year to fill three 55 gallon drums, mostly because of evaporation, and a bacterial processing of the contents.
When I dumped the buckets in my field, no odor and it looked like peat moss. After two weeks there was no evidence of anything being dumped.
Now the answer to water issues, is increasingly composting toilets.
Toilets, water saving, use a little less than a gallon per flush, along with chemicals processing, we end up with serious ecological consequences.
Sure is convenient to pull a handle and away goes the waste. It is not convenient to learn how damaging all this is to the planet.
The composting toilet returns the elements to the Earth, without the damaging affects to ground water, we avoid the issues of contamination as well.
So.. not only do alternative toilets work, they close the loop in the cycle of returning organics to the Earth, and are very inexpensive.
We ended up with a small payment from an old retirement account, and put in a shining new septic system for 2800 dollars. works perfect, and we found the funds to do this after two years.
We do understand how useful the alternative toilet can be.
We do need local laws to change to allow them.
We do need the commercial offerings for composting toilets to be less expensive.
If you want to give it a try, it’s very doable. Maybe you can’t fix your septic system tight now, maybe you don’t want a septic system, maybe you need a composting toilet.
It’s different, and works very well.