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Old 08-09-2012, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Kansas
19,185 posts, read 15,414,042 times
Reputation: 18283

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We have an old order Amish group in our community. Because some farmers, cattle feed lot owners, would like to have some land at a good price, they have decided to complain about the Amish outhouses not to mention that they think the Amish should "diaper" their horses and that is funny if you ever drove by a cattle feed lot especially in this heat we have been having. KDHE (health dept.) got involved and I have been trying to promote the idea of composting toilets in some form or another, homebuilt and this may or may not fly but KDHE says they will work with the Amish (we'll see). Additionally, KDHE says the state doesn't allow greywater reuse unless it has been treated. Funny, if you have ever been to KS you would never think there was much regulation at all since the weeds are high and trash is just thrown out the windows onto the streets, sofa on the front lawn, etc. Of course, the county says the Amish should put in tanks at $1,000 per household and, they just happened to have a flyer from a local business that could supply the "needed" tanks even though they know the Amish want to look into the composting of the wastes. So, anyone have anything that is working well? I have a lot of info from the web on composting toilets but have yet to really understand what the state wants in "treatment" of the greywater. The Amish use very little water since they hand pump, maybe that would save the world a lot of water so sounds like a winner to me. Just any thoughts would be appreciated. I am SO tired of the government since it seems to just have been set up to put money in the pockets of contractors and somebody's uncle, etc. I gave the Amish my copy of the Humanure Handbook, my beloved copy but will order another. I come from a background of responsibility and thrift. Thank you for any thoughts.
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
2,707 posts, read 5,434,529 times
Reputation: 2415
I'm usually happy to throw out an opinion, but I'm not entirely sure what the point of your post is. I mean, yeah, frustration with bureaucrats who don't understand science well enough to be OK with greywater (much less composting toilets...), but where are you wanting to go here?
Recommendations of good composting toilets? (Sawdust seems to be the best, from what I've read) Or treatment options for greywater?

BTW, I too have a copy of the Humanure Handbook, and that's all I'll say about that since, as stated, sawdust toilets aren't exactly legal in Kansas.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Kansas
19,185 posts, read 15,414,042 times
Reputation: 18283
The biggest issue is that the people at KDHE want the Amish to come up with a plan and they will decide if it is acceptable. When KDHE came to Bourbon County, they went to a county commission meeting to discuss it but the Amish were not told that KDHE would be there discussing the issue at that time. Now, if I were in this position, I would have no clue of what would be acceptable. I think they will or at least could work out the details for composting but the greywater "treatment" baffles me as I have seen simple systems but still, KDHE will not spell out what might be acceptable. There is a lot of info on the web and I had concentrated on the composting issue and then the greywater issue came up so now I'll be reading on that. Basically, I am tired of codes applying to one group and not another and this is something to be careful of because when you move into an area where "outsiders" aren't necessarily appreciated, you might find that there are codes on the books that haven't been enforced forever but now, they are front and center. And, what can you do when everyone else is related to one another...............
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,148 posts, read 50,323,277 times
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Outhouses are legal so I see no problem.

Composting toilets are okay too. Ours is just a 5-gallon bucket that fits inside a cabinet with a seat. The bucket gets emptied into a compost bed.

I know Organic farms in this area that use greywater for watering their commercial gardens.

In our nearest city, they have had problems with storm run-off ponds getting pretty bad from seagull droppings. The city installed windmills that pump air to air-stones in the bottom of each pond. A fairly cheap way to 'treat' the water. This is called 'lagoon' treatment.

You mention tanks at $1,000 each, not sure what tanks can do. A tank holds things, it does not treat anything.

I am aware of a township that decided they wanted some homes to use a 'holding tank'. They likely assumed that homeowners would hire a honey-wagon to pump it out every quarter. The homeowners pump their tanks through lines out into nearby fields.

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Old 08-10-2012, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
2,707 posts, read 5,434,529 times
Reputation: 2415
Are you in Kansas, Submariner? If so, do you have a copy of the latest rules from the Department of Health?
If either a privy or a sawdust toilet are legal, they've completely changed the law!
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
31,148 posts, read 50,323,277 times
Reputation: 19856
I live in Maine.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
2,707 posts, read 5,434,529 times
Reputation: 2415
Ah. In that case, no, neither is legal in Kansas... We tend to be a little backward out here.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,737,353 times
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Might look into a mouldering privy, essentially an aboveground outhouse situated over a permanent compost bin where the waste composts aerobically rather than anaerobically like a pit latrine or septic tank. There has been much success using these in environmentally protected backwoods location. One drawback of modern composting toilet systems is the reliance on electric fans, so they wouldn't be appropriate for the Amish; but a stack vented Clivus Multrum style system would also work. Urine and any leachate from the system could be piped out into a subsurface irrigation system for biological soil treatment the same as a septic leach field.

There are several greywater treatment system options that don't include a septic tank. Subsurface irrigation in a greenhouse or garden is probably the most useful for the Amish. Greywater subsurface irrigation is nearly identical to septic tank leach fields, except greywater is much cleaner than septic effluent because it is never mixed with blackwater (waste) and isn't stored longterm in tanks that allow for pathogen build up.

It would probably be a good idea, if you're looking at getting County Health approvals, to separate the composting toilet subsurface irrigation system from the greywater subsurface irrigation system; and to contain the toilet's leach area to irrigation of non-edibles. Systems can be designed to be entirely gravity fed or rely on hand pump or surge, and thus not rely on electrical pumps.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:33 PM
 
29,988 posts, read 37,775,668 times
Reputation: 12782
Greywater Mulch Pits Permaculture Research Institute

http://sipermaculture.com/greywater.html
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