?? about septic system

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Hope someone can help me with this. I plan on having a well drilled ASAP when I move to Missouri. I've been told that it could cost $5000, maybe more. A septic system would run another $1500. If we end up with a composting toilet, do we really need a septic system? Any good books you'd reccommend on greywater, etc? I don't want to spend money on a septic tank if I don't have to. Any feedback/experience you all have with this is greatly appreciated.

-- Cathy in NY (hrnofplnty@yahoo.com), April 19, 2001


Cathy, you don't need a septic if you have a composting toilet. In MO you don't need a septic if you have a flush toilet. I believe because of how much limestone is there they often use things called lagoons for all the poo. You basically run a drain line to a low area make a small pond and then fence it and flush. Not everyone fences, but I would as I wouldn't want my dogs in it. I'm sure that you need to do a bit more than that, but that's what it looks like to me.

Now I don't know all that much about the lagoons, but I do know it's quite common there. I have been looking at land in the same area! For the -----future-----. I'm staying here for a few years at least.

As for the grey water, you can simply run a leach field. Perforated pipe in a dtich and a couple of cleanout buckets. I have this now for my grey, not black, water. It works just fine and really only cost some sweat. There are lots of books on grey water systems as per re using it, I prefer to just use dish pans and conserve than get into all the systems management. From what I understand if you fail to do all of the reclamation correctly you can end up with a stinky mess.

-- Doreen (animalwaitress@yahoo.com), April 19, 2001.

For that matter, if the law allows, and I bet it does there, you can use plastic barrels for a septic system so long as you are not putting too much into it. You use two, and connect them with a joint of sewer pipe that is caulked in (use silicon caulk). The second barrel then has a regular sewer pipe joined in to make the drain line just like you would with a septic tank. Be sure to use barrels that have screw on lids so you can clean them out later. You used to be able to rent the machine that cleans septic tanks from the rental store, but then you have to dump the waste on your own property somewhere. Or if and when it needs cleaning, you just move over and re-install the same system again.

-- Green (ratdogs10@yahoo.com), April 19, 2001.

About lagoons, we have one. You do have a septic tank with a lagoon. Everything goes to the septic tank first and the overflow goes to the lagoon which is several hundred feet from our house. As the guy in the health dept. explained it, the water in the lagoon is supposed to be safe, something about the sun and aerobic activity. I don't understand it all! We did have to fence in the lagoon but that was for keeping anyone from getting in it and drowning. It has worked great for us now for 8 years. We had to have it instead of a leach field because our soil, being clay, doesn't perk good. I would think whether you needed a septic tank or not with a composting toilet would depend on the laws in your area. Check with your health dept. (anonymously, just in case!)

-- Barb (barbaraj@mis.net), April 19, 2001.

Don't know about Missouri, but here you still have to have septic... We also want a composting toilet - and a gray water system. We were told how much we could cut off of a regular septic, but we still have to have one. There are things that can't (or at least shouldn't) go into either. There was an article, I THINK in a past issue of BHM about this. Check the article archives on their site.

-- Sue Diederich (willow666@rocketmail.com), April 19, 2001.

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