Codes & Self-Built Composters

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Codes & Self-Built Composters
Author: Harmony Steward
Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 4:04 pm
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I am looking for undeveloped land in a natural area, in eastern Oregon, to build straw bale and would like to build my own composting toilet. I worry about building codes and getting my house plans approved without a septic tank. I would like to know what to do about this, while looking at parcels, so that I do not end up with a parcel that I have to install a septic system on in order to build the house. Any advice offered would be greatly appreciated.

Walk in Beauty,
Harmony

Author: beachgirl
Friday, September 16, 2005 - 2:02 pm
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I haven't done this, but I know people who have successfully built and lived in what they wanted for many years. Here's what one friend told me he did. 1) Check all requirements carefully against what is actually expected of you (those bylaws can seem very confusing but the expected outcomes are actually stuff we know as "the norm") 2) Draw up a set of plans for a house which will satisfy the official requirements and include an outbuilding. 3) Act compliant. Don't argue. Make sure you seem like a regular toilet-flushing citizen. Don't discuss your alternative ideas with anyone who might blab about them. (I am now very discreet, but I learned this the hard way) 4) Draw up another set of plans for the house you actually want . Officially, this will be an outbuilding for the "proper" house which will be approved by the authorities. You'll have to check to see what they would approve before you bring them anything to stamp. Once they get the idea you're different, they'll make your life miserable. So the outbuilding could be a garage, barn, shed, etc. 5) There is usually a time limit on the building permit for the "proper" house. Wait awhile, then tell them you can't afford to build it right now but you need to build the outbuilding to store your car/tools/building supplies, etc I understand that it's not usually a problem to do that. 6) Move into the outbuilding, continuing to plead poverty as the reason you don't build the "proper" house. My friend lived in a beautiful cottage without utilities for over ten years this way and he wasn't very far from city hall. He was discreet, polite, " compliant", in a word, he was WISE. Good luck!

Author: Glenda
Friday, September 16, 2005 - 2:40 pm
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Hello,
Please give advice on the requirements necessary to add a thermophilic stage of processing to our partially composted humanure. It was collected in a divided concrete tank and mixed with peat moss and kitchen scraps. It has been sitting for two years while we used the other side of the tank and now it is time to switch. I want to put the humanure through a heating process to make sure it is safe to use in the orchard and garden. What procedure do you recommend?
Thanks!

Author: admin
Friday, September 16, 2005 - 5:05 pm
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How do you know it didn't already go though a heating process? Did you monitor the temperature of the pile during collection?

Author: derek
Sunday, October 23, 2005 - 12:03 am
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I have property in eastern Oregon. Abandoned plans to do anything with it as the codes made it impossible to do anything other than a full septic system, permits, conventional stickframe building only, etc. Good luck. Best chance is to get a lot where no neighbors can see you, and just do it. Forget about making the inspectors happy, you won't without doing it the conventional way.

Author: TCLynx
Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 8:49 pm
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Harmony,
What are you planning to do with grey water? If you can put in a septic system, that will solve the code problems. Just because there is a septic system does not mean you need use it much. The simple fact of having it there usually satisfies the officials and will keep them from nosing around trying to catch you at something.

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