Cautionary Tale

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Cautionary Tale
Author: Angelwfay (Angelwfay)
Monday, September 23, 2019 - 10:49 am
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I am going to Missouri with my family and friends. And before visiting their I am finding the destination where I am going to visit with my family and friends. So, I was searching for the places on www.resumewriterslist.com/scribendi-com-review website and over there I have found your post. After reading your post, now I am also thinking about visiting a show over there.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 6:36 pm
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Ron,

The Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is in Missouri. There was a show on national TV about the community and it included mention of their humanure toilet system. Maybe contact them. Here's the link: https://www.dancingrabbit.org/

Author: Ted Walther (Tedwalther)
Tuesday, December 12, 2006 - 6:32 pm
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Remember, the religious defense works very well. If you are Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, you can say that the Bible commands you to bury it; flushing is not acceptable.

Deuteronomy 23:13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Saturday, January 10, 2009 - 5:44 pm
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From Email:

I thought I would give an update on my situation. I'm the guy from MN that was questioned by Social Services because our mandatory reporter "friend" thought she would lose her job if she didn't turn us in...

Anyway, we just bought 20 acres in Missouri. It seems, given the karst region and bad publicity from the 1978 West Plains lagoon sinkhole, that humanure composting might be more accepted down there...

Still, with our experience in MN I'm still nervous. Can anyone let me know if they have had good or bad experiences in Missouri? Specifically Howell county?

Thanks!
R

Author: lorax73
Monday, February 27, 2006 - 12:22 pm
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I saw this (below) posted at Amazon.com, in the customer review area..of Humanure, 3rd edition. Just a cautionary tale. I've been doing humanure system for three years now, but haven't gone "public", but think I will have to at some point. The story below certainly lends credence to the fact that people are not rational and poop-phobic, and county health folks might not be friendly to the concept either..and no doubt haven't read the book.

===============================
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
excellent writing... but be wary of non-believers, January 23, 2006
Reviewer: Bummed Guy (MN) - See all my reviews
This book is excellent. After reading it, I did not feel like I could just continue living the way I was... I felt that I needed to take action. So I did. I built a very nice 3 stall compost bin in my backyard, a very nice sawdust toilet, and got to work right away. And life was good, for a while.

Until the Department of Human Services got a report that we were "dumping raw sewage in our backyard and had a non-functioning toilet". The funny thing is that the pile did not smell at all, and I was extremely discreet in my trips to the pile. Did angry neighbors turn us in? No, unfortunately, it was our "friends" who gossiped and led to the report. Suddenly, we were answering 100 questions for a child protection worker. My wife was visited at work by the county Public Health Sanitarian. So, I have reluctantly gone back to the status quo but am intent on researching more of the laws of other more progressive states/communities.

So, my advice is to read the book, use the system, and enjoy life. Just be extremely careful who you tell about this. Remember, many innocent people have been burned at the stake by people with irrational fears. I underestimated how threatened people would feel about this topic. :(

Author: Larry
Monday, February 27, 2006 - 8:43 pm
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Thanks to Lorax for this cautionary tale. Fear of feces certainly can interfere with efforts by conscientious individuals to eliminate waste and close the nutrient loop. Sorry to hear that Minnesota does not encourage recycling of manures. Here in Washington State a long-range comprehensive plan called Beyond Waste has been adopted, including an important chapter that promotes recycling of organic materials such as manures. Permitting of owner-built non-proprietary composting toilet systems such as the sawdust/bucket toilet are allowed. I have two.
But in this land of enlightened planning, the citizenry has been slow to respond. Overall recycling rates are static, and the rate of waste generation has increased, now at an average of 6 pounds per person per day. In our capitol city Olympia the sewer district offers a $350 rebate on the cost of an Approved (commercial proprietary) composting toilet. The goal is to reduce water consumption and wastewater production. After several years, there has not been a single applicant for the rebate! Flush, forget, and pay is still the dominant paradigm. But information is power, and The Humanure Handbook points the way to a more rational management of feces/urine.

Author: Herb
Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 12:01 pm
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I have been very discrete about my humanure system. Loose lips sink ships and all that! Even tho I am way back in the woods I don't shoot my mouth off because you never know what will happen when some bureaucrat gets "wind" of something like this perfectly wonderful but all-too-simple system and comes nosing around. Maybe because you don't need plumbing, tanks, pipes, septic systems, drainfields, leechbeds, etc. etc. it is too simple to be true.

And then they might scream: "Dumping raw sewage in the backyard."

That does sound scary, almost like bin Laden were hiding back there or something.

Author: Stephen
Wednesday, March 01, 2006 - 11:28 pm
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Well i myself have been discovered. My township requires pumping of the tank every two years or so. Mine was overdue in Jan. Now they are asking why my tank was not pumped.
See, I am building my own house "green architecture/natural building" and have not asked for permission/permits to do what I wanted to do in fear of ignorance on their part and a little anarchy on mine.
So everything will hit at once, I'm sure.
I will keep the board posted as to any results.

Author: Larry
Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 10:12 am
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Mandatory tank pumping? Are you sure the Township rule isn't for mandatory inspection? Usually a tank is considered in need of pumping when the sludge level reaches two-thirds. New rules in our County require all new installations to have risers on the tank openings and ports on the drainlines for easier regular inspections. But pumping is only required as necessary.
One of the advantages of a dry toilet is that 90% of the solids that usually enter a tank are diverted to the compost pile, greatly reducing the frequency of pumping. The volume and strength of effluent leaving the tank is also reduced, extending the life of the drainfield. Here in Washington State composting toilets are officially recognized as Water Conserving Devices. Sounds like your regulators need to learn about the advantages of biological toilets, and then revise their rules accordingly.

Author: Stephen
Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 11:54 pm
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Here it is

Dear Property Owner:

In December 2001, Lower Windsor Township adopted an OLDS, (On-lot sewage disposal system), Ordinance No. 2001-02, as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protections approval of the Act 537 plan. This ordinance, establishing the OLDS program, became effective January 1, 2002. The following is a summary of each property owner’s responsibilities under the Ordinance:

1. Property owners must pump their on-lot sewage disposal system once every four years based on the following
schedule:

A. Properties located in Lower Windsor Township District #1: Calendar year 2002 District #1 shall consist of all properties east of Cool Creek and Cabin Creek Roads and north of East Prospect and Calvary Church Roads.

B. Properties located in Lower Windsor Township District #2: Calendar year 2003 District #2 shall consist of all properties south of East Prospect and Calvary Church Roads and east of Prayer Mission and Snyder Corner Roads.

C. Properties located in Lower Windsor Township District #3: Calendar year 2004 District #3 shall consist of all properties west of Prayer Mission and Snyder Corner Roads and south of East Prospect Road.

D. Properties located in Lower Windsor Township District #4: Calendar year 2005 District #4 shall consist of all properties north of East Prospect Road and west of Cabin Creek and Cool Creek Roads.

2. After the above schedule is completed, the schedule rotation will start over again.

3. If you pumped your system within 1 year of your notification, and can submit a copy of your receipt to the
Township, you will be considered to be in compliance with the ordinance. The new date that your system
must be pumped will be in the next four-year cycle.

4. Enclosed is a list of septage pumpers licensed to operate within Lower Windsor Township. When you
arrange to have your system pumped, you should contact one of these companies. Licensed pumpers are
responsible for providing both property owners and the Township with a detailed report of each system they
pump. Pumpers licensed by the Township must provide the location where they dispose of septage, and
abide by all state and local regulations.

If you have questions regarding the OLDS program, we suggest that you review the enclosed materials first; especially the sheet entitled “Answers to your Questions”. If after reading all the materials you have any questions, please call the township office at 244-6813. Your cooperation in establishing the OLDS program is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Board of Supervisors
Lower Windsor Township

Author: Stephen
Thursday, March 02, 2006 - 11:56 pm
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And yes they are about to learn.

Author: Larry
Friday, March 03, 2006 - 10:02 am
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Thanks for digging up the Ordinance, Stephen. Four year intervals are more reasonable than two, but mandatory pumping without consideration of the sludge level doesn't make sense. I wonder if the septic pumpers had a hand in writing the regulation? Good luck educating the Board.

Author: John
Friday, March 03, 2006 - 1:01 pm
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Stephen, ask for a variance. To appease the town, have a septic tank inspection manditory every four years instead of a pumping. You just don't poop a lot at home.

Author: Joe Jenkins
Tuesday, March 07, 2006 - 10:39 pm
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Worst case scenario: have it pumped every 4 years whether it needs it or not. Might be the simplest solution.

Joe

Author: Rangdrol
Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 10:25 am
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We are also in Washington State. Our enlightened County passed an ordinance specificly banning composting toilets [ so we are told ], we just smiled and said "Oh really, Gee Whiz" and started building our composting toilet.
If what we are told is true the reason for the ban is to keep down the "Damn Hippies".
I had thought all these old farts were the Hippies but it seems there is a new crop here.
Bottom line is we will not alow a "modern" septic system on our land. We decided if they give us any "poop" we are going to put up a camp toilet in a little shed and tell them we pack it out.

Author: John
Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 2:07 pm
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Good luck with that. Make sure you have the facts straight to begin with though...

Author: Anonymous
Sunday, April 09, 2006 - 11:03 pm
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I was surprised to see my post on Amazon quoted here. I eventually took the post down because I had posted it during the initial shock of things, and after a bit of time has gone by I have realized that 1) I am doing the right thing 2) the real problem was gossip and a mandatory reporter, not observation or real issues and 3) everyone needs to come to their own conclusions after they read the book. Talking about what happened to me before people had read the book is not balanced; there is a risk/reward aspect.

What I did is to make sure that my existing flush toilet works good. And my wife and daughter use it. I will explain to my daughter some day, but for now I have to be careful of what gets said inadvertently at daycare or public school...

My humanure toilet is now down in the basement. Inconvenient, but worth the trip. My pile is cooking just great. No smell. Nothing offensive. Just a sharp looking compost bin next to my rather large urban garden (if 1/2 block off Broadway in a small town qualifies as "urban" :)).

During the same time, when the county came out to question us, I also had a lengthy conversation with the MN Pollution Control Agency. I wanted to know exactly what the legal implications were. Basically, the sawdust toilet did not fit the description or laws regarding septic systems... and it did not really fit elsewhere either. I was told to apply for a permit from my city council just-in-case. Which did not seem like a good idea to me. :)

It's just human nature. People react when other people do something different... for me, the answer is to lay low. I have too much to lose to "wave the red flag in front of the bull." Besides, eventually, the buearocrats will have to address the pollution their laws have created and explore alternative methods... although I doubt they will come up with such an elegant and simple method. :)

Thanks for writing the book Joe!

Author: TCLyn x
Tuesday, April 11, 2006 - 8:57 pm
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I notice that people are sometimes slow to accept new ideas but if you slowly introduce the new idea in a non-threatening way and let it simmer for a while, good ideas often catch on.

Just takes time for some people.

In the mean time, it could be a good idea for some people to lay low while making use of the new ideas.

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