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Adapting unique property for septic/grey water

 
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Hello,

My husband and I are looking to possibly purchase a property in VT that is mostly steep and has some existing infrastructure - 2 cabins: 1 lower one near road with stove, on-grid electricity, composting toilet, and no running water; 1 upper one with a stove, potential for solar (not set up yet), no toilet, and no running water. The property has an existing septic permit/design, farther up the sloped part of the property (not as high as the second cabin). While we would prefer to stick with only a composting toilet, we are pretty certain the state requires constructions after 2007 (which both cabins we believe are are) that are being lived in full-time have a septic system installed. Our thought would be to live in the lower cabin while building farther up where septic permit has septic site, putting in the septic there presuming we have to. But we would like to hook water up to the lower cabin while we live there. There's no well on the property yet, but there is site for one included in septic design (also farther up the property). It doesn't make sense to put the septic and well in (esp the septic) farther up and then have it run down to the cabin (don't even think that's possible?) but what alternative ways could we have running water/a grey water system at the lower cabin (whether the well were farther up, lower down, or we were hauling water in)? That wouldn't solve the legality/septic issue, but would at least address water issue. Another thing to note is that we would rather not put septic in lower down because permit exists/soil tests were done with septic farther up and we would like to farm/garden on the lower portion (so don't want leach field there), and a portion of the lower part of the property is in flood plain, so we think that makes it no suitable for septic (and maybe also not suitable for well?).

Any help appreciated! (And let me know if this question should be posted in different forum.) TIA
 
pollinator
Posts: 591
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Offhand, I wonder if the permits assumed a flat property and didn't account for the steep terrain.

I'd say you had better know exactly what the authorities will require of you before you buy. Get it in writing, or it doesn't exist.

Luck!
 
master steward
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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I would suggest talking with the county department that issued the septic permit to see if it is still valid and or is it for a specific construction company or will it apply to any company.

I would also ask them about the composting toilet as more and more are being approved.

I lived in a county that was strict about septics.  They approved an incinerator toilet for a neighbor.
 
pollinator
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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You can pump any effluent from the lower cabin up to the septic system
Have you thought of collecting rainfall as a source of water.
Rain collected at the upper cabin could be stored and piped when not freezing to the lower cabin
giving you water pressure at the lower cabin.
My signature block takes you to a permies page which explains much.
How steep in the property, and how does the land slope?
What area are we looking at?
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 591
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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County departments sometimes don't talk to each other. But the tax assessor's office will know exactly when the cabins were built, and this is typically publicly disclosable information.

(Believe it or not, tax assessors are people too, and can be quite helpful when they receive calls that don't involve yelling, death threats, or questioning of their parentage. Go figure.)
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