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septic questions

646 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  TRIBE
How much should we expect to pay for a standard septic system with 3 leach lines? I'm not looking at the price to hook it up into the house yet...just installing the system, ready for hookup later.

Also, would you all consider a house with city sewer to be off-the-grid? We are not choosing OTG for $$ reasons as much as for complete self-sufficiency & disaster prep. I know financially, it costs very little monthly to be hooked into the city sewer, but I would suppose that city sewer system could "go down" in a disaster situation. What would happen in the homes that were connected to it?

We currently have no option for city sewer, but since we don't plan to move to the land for 5 years, I am wondering if I want to wait & see if city sewer comes in that time or if I'd rather have my own septic setup anyway.

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It's not a standard question. Rates will vary on the location you choose, lay of the land and make up of the soil.

Find a area you like and start talking to the locals about soil composition and rates.

What is a going rate in Colorado might be half the price in Ohio and double the price in New Mexico.

Good luck
Gotcha. Thanks! I think I'll make a call to the Office of Planning tomorrow.
I've seen it range from as little as $2000 to as much as $10,000 - and that's in the same area! Like the previous poster said, there is no one size fits all.
If you are interested in complete self sufficency and disaster prep why not skip the major expense and put in a humanure system instead? It only cost $25 or less and its very easy to maintain and use. We have had one for years and are really happy with it.

Originally Posted by NettleSongMama View Post
If you are interested in complete self sufficency and disaster prep why not skip the major expense and put in a humanure system instead? It only cost $25 or less and its very easy to maintain and use. We have had one for years and are really happy with it.
Is that basically a whole house system of composting toilets? I wish we could do that. It would not be approved. The only system approved in the county (without city sewer) is a traditional septic system with leach lines. If you don't have it installed, you won't get a permit to build. In fact, if you don't have it installed, you're not allowed to spend more than 14 days a year on "your" property. We are planning to go ahead & have it installed & build with regular toilets. Later, we can switch out individual toilets with composting toilets & not use the septic system. But if we want to build at all, we have to put it in initially. Does that seem stupid? It does to me, too.

FWIW, I found out from the Office of Planning that we will be the first family to build with alternative energy setup. We will have to go before the county board to be approved for it, but as of now, there is nothing against it in their building restrictions. I wish they'd just write down & publish what is or isn't allowed. Right now, it seems it could be very discriminatory & based mostly on favoritism.
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FYI, in our area, if you have a septic and the town runs public sewers down your street, you are required to hook up to the town system.

P.S. *your* expense!
In New Hampshire you have to have septic or city sewer you cannot go "off grid". Gray water and composting toilets are not allowed but I guess there are ways to get around it. The Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests built a new building a few years ago and got the approval to be a test site for gray water recycling...I should check on its progress.

We have a new company here in NH that does compact septic systems...not sure if they have it where you are yet. Want more info PM me.

We looked into being off-grid as our house is more than half a mile from the nearest power poles but the banks will not finance an off-grid home. I should do a poll on that one to see how it is across the country.
what is a humanure system? We are the process of buying a newly built home which I am hoping to get "off the grid" as much as possible but of course will take time as the home is going to take most of our finances. We currently have a septic, which I know nothing about! And the system is right smack in the middle of the yard
: such an inconvenient annoying place to put all of that if you ask me. So really I'd love to be rid of it and more self sufficient in that aspect.
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Well, we do it based on The Humanure Handbook, which is a fabulous read and everyone should read it imo. Its really very very simple. You poop and pee in a five gallon bucket, cover it with a cover material (we use sawdust and used free grounds from the coffee shop, and chopped up grass from the yard.) When the bucket is full, you take it out to your compost pile, pull out a spot in the middle and upend the bucket, and cover the spot well with old hay, straw, or grass clippings. It does not smell (or it shouldn't!) we have people stand next to it when they are over and they are really surprised that that is where "all the poop goes" We compost it for two years and use it after that. I think the book recommends a one year hot compost, but we just do it two.
We started out by building the standard box around the bucket outlined in the book- basically a nice looking wooden box with a standard toilet seat and the bucket hidden. Last year I was at an antique store and saw the grooviest table/magazine holder with a retro look- it was a perfect toilet box! you can put magazines or books on each side and it opens from the front to pull the bucket out, and put a new one in. (our more standard box opens from the top)
We put the cover stuff in little buckets by the toilet.
One of the greatest things is just how quiet it is, and how simple. Things don't have to be complicated.
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I think that might make my dh divorice me
he is only as crunchy as I make him and I think that might push him too far. Sounds interesting though!
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