ONTARIO - Humanure Legality

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: ONTARIO - Humanure Legality
Author: Ellery Horsman (Ellery)
Sunday, April 01, 2007 - 1:19 am
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Howdy Folks: I've done a little research for approved systems in the Thunder Bay District of Ontario and came up with a terrific site. It is: www.tbdhu.com/EH/SepticAndLand/ - 33k. I would suggest that you contact the appropriate Health Control Board in your area for authority though to ensure that nosy neighbours don't squawk on you and get you shut down.

Author: John
Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 1:12 pm
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As stated elsewhere on this forum, the definition of the terms in the rules is what the rules cover. If "waste" is described as human excrement, for the sake of law, that is what it is.

If you're looking to go to court and have a solid case, this isn't the leg I'd stand on.

Also, "Beyond Waste", drafted by the Washington Dept. of Ecology relates to policy goals, these are not laws. The Health Dept. still regulates sewage treatment/disposal methods in Washington state.

Also, earthmother, just because you don't need a permit to install your toilet system, doesn't mean the toilet system you install is legal.

Before proudly displaying your newfound composting system and regulatory understandings, be sure you know exactly what you're doing.

Not meaning to pee on everyone's parade here, but, it's better to hear it now on this list than from your regulatory offices with a steep fine.

Author: john l
Friday, July 07, 2006 - 3:34 pm
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does anyone have a copy of the plans and/or pictures that earthmother refers to on the greywater system.

Author: john lever
Friday, July 07, 2006 - 9:14 am
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does anyone know earthmothers current email address?

Author: earthmother
Friday, June 04, 2004 - 11:41 am
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Hello,

We are planning on totally researching the legality of Humanure composting In Ontario Canada. If anyone has already done research to meet Canadian bylaws we would appreciate any available info. We will post any pertinent info for other bucket users in the future;-)

Peace, J

Author: admin
Friday, June 04, 2004 - 1:38 pm
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When researching the laws, look into those that regulate back-yard composting (if any), because that's what you're doing (you're doing backyard composting). It's not sewage disposal, garbage disposal or plumbing or anything like that. If you look into *those* laws you may become overwhelmed and confused. A sawdust toilet system is a back-yard composting system that collects organic materials for composting that are typically overlooked in most households. The concept and practice is rather simple and should not be complicated by people's ideas that humanure is only a waste material and can only be discarded (which is what many bureaucrats seem to believe). Obviously, that's not true and we're proving it.

Joe Jenkins

Author: earthmother
Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 12:46 pm
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Thank you so much for your energy Joe. I beleive you stated something similar in your book. When researching for our permaculture design (that we are now implementing on our property) we learned that in Ontario an actual composting toilet (one with bins below where we would compost our humanure) is called a class 1 sewwage system & must be accompanied by a grey water system, which is referred to as a class 2 sewage system. We have a design, illustrations and a copy of the bylaws for class 2 sewage system (greywater system)if anyone wants them, let me know and I'll email them. We also designed (based on info from your book) a composting toilet with a double chamber bin and a urine separation system (once again let me know if someone wants to check out the plans & bylaws). We had originally designed to use the sawdust system as a temporary measure. We now realize the simplicity of our current sytem and plan to continue using it. I just want to make sure we know what the exact legalities regarding the sawdust toilet are incase the building inspector comes by.

There was an old sewage system set up from when this was a schoolhouse. There were antique composting toilets, vents running to the roof, large bins in the basement and pipes where the liquid drained off into weeping tiles (if anyone wants to see pictures of this set up from our 1932 one room schoolhouse let me know). We plan to use the drain pipes for our greywater. Considering we have no running water (we have a well with a cistern pump & plan to eventually have gravity fed rooftop rain catchment) we do not generate a lot of grey water for a family of 6.

My husband Mountain & I took the Elfin Permaculture Design course taught by Dan & Cynthia Hemenway. We received a copy of the Humanure Handbook as part of the reading package we purchased for thecourse. It is extremely informative. Without it we could not be turning our little schoolhouse into a home for our family because we never could have afforded (or desired) a conventional septic system (approx. $10,000 - $15,000 Canadian funds). Thanks:-)

Namaste, Jeni

Author: Larry
Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 9:48 pm
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Backyard composting of humanure is a good way to go, but unfortunately government regulations are usually not encouraging. So far I have not heard of any case in the US where a composting toilet system is allowed as a substitute for an Approved Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (i.e. a septic system). Of course, there are many bootlegged composting toilets, and if an Approved septic system or municipal sewer hook-up already exists then the local Health Authority may not care if an alternative system is used in a residence. But it seems necessary to me that the bureaucratic regulatory logjam needs to give way to a more flexible and affordable approach to composting humanure (and re-using gray water).

Arizona is considering regulatory changes that may allow composting toilets and graywater reuse as substitutes. A decision is expected soon. In 2000 Washington State adopted new Onsite Guidelines that allow the local Health Authority to permit owner-built composting toilets, such as the sawdust/bucket/backyard pile system. I have two such permits, one for the system at our residence, and another for the Humanure Harvester that serves customers at our roadside oyster stand. But we also have an Approved septic system, a necessary pre-requisite.

As many participants in this Forum must know, composting organic residuals is gaining increased attention the past few years as an important means to the goal of reducing the solid wastestream. Human feces/urine is considered sewage, a form of liquid waste that by law must be treated in an Approved system. As Joe has pointed out, such treatment systems are designed and regulated with the goal of disposal, not recycling or re-use. Hopefully public perception and government regulations will evolve to recognize the important role biological toilets can play in conserving water, preventing pollution, and returning valuable nutrients to the soil.

A final note concerns a call for Abstracts that I received from the US Composting Council for presentations at their annual conference next Jan. There may be opportunities for composting toilet activists to contribute information. Details on the event are available at: www.compostingcouncil.org.

Author: earthmother
Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 11:30 am
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Ontario Greywater Regulations

Appendix 7 Ontario Greywater Regulations
“8.4.1.2. Application (Greywater)
(1) A Class 2 sewage system shall be designed only for the treatment and disposal of
greywater.
(2) The total daily design flow for a Class 2 sewage system shall be calculated
based on the fixtures discharging to the system as follows: (a) 200 L per fixture unit where there is a supply of pressurized water, and
(b) 125 L per fixture unit where there is no supply of pressurized water.
8.4.2.1. Construction Requirements (Greywater)
(1) The bottom of the pit shall be at least 900 mm (35.5”) above the high ground
water table.
(2) The pit shall be constructed in such a manner as to prevent the collapse of its
sidewalls.
(3) Any material used to support or form the sidewalls of the pit shall be an open
jointed material of a type that will permit leaching from the pit.
(4) The pit shall be provided with a tight, strong cover that shall remain over the
pit except when it is necessary to remove it for purposes of adding greywater to or
removing greywater from the pit or for purposes of maintenance of the pit.
(5) The earth around the perimeter of the pit shall be raised or mounded to a height
of at least 150 mm above ground level.
(6) The surface of the ground in the area of the pit shall be so graded that surface
drainage in the area will be diverted away from the pit.
(7) The pit shall be surrounded on all sides and on its bottom by at least 600 mm of
soil having a percolation time of less than 50 minutes.8.4.2.3. Sizing
(1) A Class 2 sewage system shall be designed and constructed so that the loading
rate to the side walls shall be not more than the value calculated using
LR = 400/T
where LR =Loading rate of the sidewalls in litres per day/m_
T =Percolation time
2.7.2.2. Systems
(1) Systems not specifically described in Parts 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, or for which no
recognized test procedure has been established, may be used if the person requesting
the use of such system can establish on the basis of past performance, tests described
in Article 2.7.2.4. or other evaluation that the use of the proposed system will
provide the level of performance that would be achieved by conformance with the
requirements of the building code.” “8.4.2.2. Maximum Sewage Flow
(Greywater) (1) A Class 2 sewage system shall not be constructed where the daily
design greywater flow to the system exceeds 1, 00 0 L/day.

I have a detailed illustration (my own based on an illustration that accompanied these regulations) but it would not paste to the message board.

Peace, Jeni

Author: earthmother
Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 12:13 pm
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Ontario "Pail Privy" & composting toilet Regulations

"A Homeowner’s Guide

Sanitary sewage is defined as liquid or water borne waste of industrial or commercial origin, or of domestic origin, including human body waste, toilet or other bathroom waste, and shower, tub, culinary, sink and laundry waste.

A correctly designed, located, constructed and maintained sewage system will function effectively and safely. An improperly designed, located, constructed or inadequately maintained system may lead to considerable nuisance and expense and seriously endanger health and the environment.

The Law and Sewage Disposal

The authority to regulate on-site sanitary sewage systems with a daily design flow of less than 10,000 Litres/day was transferred from The Environmental Protection Act to The Building Code Act on April 6, 1998. Although many requirements remain similar to those in The Environmental Protection Act, be sure to refer to Part 8 of The 1997 Ontario Building Code for specific requirements regarding on-site sanitary sewage systems.

Classifications of Private Sewage Systems

Class 1 – a chemical toilet, an incinerating toilet, a recirculating toilet, a self-contained portable toilet and all forms of privy including a portable privy, an earth pit privy, a pail privy, a privy vault and a composting toilet system.

Class 2 – a greywater system,

Class 3 – a cesspool,

Class 4 – a leaching bed system (Septic System),

Class 5 – a system that requires or uses a holding tank for the retention of hauled sewage at the site where it is produced prior to its collection by a hauled sewage system.

The Building Code Act requires that any person installing or repairing a Class 2,3,4 or 5 sewage system obtain a permit issued by the Chief Building Official prior to commencing construction".
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I finally found exactly what I was looking for!! Based on this info from the Ontario building Codes, a "Class 1 sewage system" (composting toilet or a pail privy) do not require a permit in Ontario!!

Privy definition - "a small building having a bench with holes through which the user may defecate or urinate." A "pail privy" is the first official reference to the bucket system I have found!

Peace, Jeni

Author: admin
Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 11:10 pm
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A pail privy, or any privy, presumably, would be considered toilets which are used to collect material for disposal. A sawdust toilet, on the other hand, is a toilet that collects material for composting. There are pail privys in use in other countries (Africa, for example), but the contents of the pail are simply dumped somewhere out of the way and these toilets are considered nuisances and health hazards.

Sanitary sewage is defined as "waste" (above). Waste is material intended to be discarded. When one intentionally collects organic material for the purpose of recycling in order to gain a benefit, one is not dealing with waste.

The semantics are important and not trivial. In any case, for the purposes of a building permit, it sounds like you're covered for now.

Joe Jenkins

Author: Herb
Monday, June 07, 2004 - 1:30 pm
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Interesting thread. I ran a search for my state (Wis) and this came up:

Note that "manure" is listed as an acceptable recyclable organic material.

In Wis. manure is manure is manure I guess.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Waste Management Program

Organic Materials
Organic materials described in this section include a variety of materials that are readily biodegradable and free of contaminants of concern. Some of these materials like brush, leaves, grass, and yard and garden trimmings may be considered yard wastes (a term defined by state law). Wood chips and saw dust are listed here as organic materials, although their generation and recovery methods may vary from the other organic materials described. Note that lumber and lumber scrap reuse and recycling information can be found under Material 4: Construction and Demolition Debris.Perhaps as much as 50% of all solid waste generated in Wisconsin, or nearly 5 million tons per year, could be recycled through composting and other biological decomposition processes, based on 1999 estimates by DNR.


What organic materials are recyclable?

* Bark
* Brush
* Dunnage (wood crating used for shipping)
* Food Waste - from food processing (e.g., from canning and freezing companies)
* Food Waste - from homes, restaurants, grocers, and institutions
* Leaves and Grass
* Manure
* Sawdust
* Wood Chips
* Wood Pallets
* Yard and Garden Trimmings

Author: earthmother
Friday, June 11, 2004 - 9:47 am
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Sewage Semantics

In response to Joe Jenkin's comment above
quote - ""The semantics are important and not trivial. In any case, for the purposes of a building permit, it sounds like you're covered for now"".

I just wanted to be sure that it is clear that the statement in my message above (Ontario "Pail Privy" & composting toilet Regulations) referring to sewage as "waste" was a direct quote of the Ontario Building Codes in Ontario and in no way reflects my own views on the subject:-)

I am entirely in agreement with Joe Jenkins on this matter. Our main goal in implementing a composting toilet and/or sawdust bucket system was to stack functions - reduce our creation of waste by collecting organic matter created onsite (humanure, kitchen scraps, etc.) and reuse it. A third function is to use our compost bin for vermicomposting.

Further to the above discussion, from what I have read (Ontario manure & backyard composting documentation) because we are a residential dwelling with a relatively small amount of manure, we should not have any issue with backyard composting of humanure.

Thanks for all your input:-) Much Appreciated! Namaste, Jeni

Author: Larry
Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 10:22 pm
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Great thread on legal issues. I was motivated by Jeni's search and submission to check Washington State's guidelines on what organic materials are considered compostable. Coincidentally, the Dept. of Ecology just drafted a new plan for reducing solid waste called "Beyond Waste." One section emphasizes the importance of composting organic "residuals," including manures! Previously, composting toilets have been regulated by the Health Dept. as one form of Approved sewage treatment/disposal methods. This shift from disposal to recycling of manures is long overdue, so it is exciting to finally see progress toward sustainable toiletry at a public policy level.

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