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Looking for a book RE: natural septic systems

 
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Written by a woman from Massachusetts.  It's been a few years since I saw a website linking it and now I can't find it nor the book/let. Good grief.  If you can help, I'd be tickled to bits.

I'm building a small home for a family member on our property and the town is saying that it is going to require a separate septic system that will both kill our budget and make the garden look terrible with a great big PVC 'candy cane' pipe sticking up.  It also messes up the topography because they typically build the whole darned thing way up with like 40 truckloads of sand.  Ugh.  This stupid state (also MA).  Alas, we're tied here and can't move.

Anyway... if you know the book/let I'm talking about, can you reference it below?

Many thanks!
 
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Nissa, are you thinking of one of Anna Eddy's books? Her second book has her designs: "Green Light at the End of the Tunnel."  Her first book "Solviva: How to Grow $500,000 on one acre & Peace on Earth" mentions them without providing the design details. Her website is www.solvivagreenlight.com
 
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Your description of the requirements for the septic seem over the top.
- 40 loads of sand
- candy cane pipe
Can composting toilets be used with a separate grey water system?

How close to a water course are you, thast important.
 
Nissa Gadbois
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Location: Barre, MA
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Bless you!  This is the one I was looking for!

Burton Sparks wrote:Nissa, are you thinking of one of Anna Eddy's books? Her second book has her designs: "Green Light at the End of the Tunnel."  Her first book "Solviva: How to Grow $500,000 on one acre & Peace on Earth" mentions them without providing the design details. Her website is www.solvivagreenlight.com



 
Nissa Gadbois
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It's really too ridiculous.  We watched a neighbour get hers redone.  We could not believe how many dumper loads of sand.  Then they had the PVC pip and it was sticking up about 2 feet in her case.  Others aren't quite so high.  But they are typically in the front yard/garden and what an eyesore.

The site is a little under 1/4 mile from one of the brooks that runs through our farm.  That shouldn't be a problem.  Composting toilets and grey water systems are allowed in our state, but I'm not yet clear about what our town allows.  They can choose stricter regulations.  Ugh.  Here's hoping we can get around this.


John C Daley wrote:Your description of the requirements for the septic seem over the top.
- 40 loads of sand
- candy cane pipe
Can composting toilets be used with a separate grey water system?

How close to a water course are you, thast important.

 
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It sounds like an above ground septic system is required, due to water table or proximity issues ... these things are "evapo-transpirative" systems, and are built along the lines of what you describe. Here's a link from the TAMU folks:

 https://ossf.tamu.edu/evapotranspiration-bed/

If this is the case, these are very engineered systems (and very costly) ... usually required because a regular OSSF can't be used.

I'd definitely run through all the traps, and see if composting toilets and such would help, with a goal of reducing load into the system and size you end up with. Unfortunately, it is the effluent load that is biting you ... not just blackwater, but greywater and otherwise ... you won't have a regular effluent drain field, as it is all contained within this E-T bed.

I'm surprised that a "town" is requiring this, because usually they make you hook up to their wastewater system, and disallow all forms of septic systems ... I'd also investigate where and when you can hook into their "city" system, hopefully before spending thousands on an E-T system.
 
Jt Lamb
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Re-reading the OP, I don't think I quite understand the scenario ... is there an existing home and a new (small) one going in as well? Or raw land with a small home going on it?

Any new construction triggers requirements to the latest code item an AHJ cares about. Old stuff might get grandfathered in, but new construction triggers incredible requirements.
 
Nissa Gadbois
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Jt Lamb wrote:It sounds like an above ground septic system is required, due to water table or proximity issues ... these things are "evapo-transpirative" systems, and are built along the lines of what you describe. Here's a link from the TAMU folks:

 https://ossf.tamu.edu/evapotranspiration-bed/

If this is the case, these are very engineered systems (and very costly) ... usually required because a regular OSSF can't be used.

I'd definitely run through all the traps, and see if composting toilets and such would help, with a goal of reducing load into the system and size you end up with. Unfortunately, it is the effluent load that is biting you ... not just blackwater, but greywater and otherwise ... you won't have a regular effluent drain field, as it is all contained within this E-T bed.

I'm surprised that a "town" is requiring this, because usually they make you hook up to their wastewater system, and disallow all forms of septic systems ... I'd also investigate where and when you can hook into their "city" system, hopefully before spending thousands on an E-T system.



The referenced example about 40 loads of sand and candy cane pipe was based on several newer systems that we've seen put in.  We have not perc'd  our site.  They suggested we might 'just rebuild' the main house's septic and tie the new one in.  Well that's some 300+ feet away from the site we are using for our son's place.  Tearing out beautiful old stone wall, cutting across where the well is.  It all seems like a nightmare scenario.  In rural parts of Massachusetts, it is VERY common to have private water and sewer.  That is the case in the town where we live.  One a small percentage of homes here are on 'town' water and sewer.  That's not a possibility for us.  We're miles from the nearest such connection.

As I mentioned in a previous reply, composting toilets are allowed in our state, as are grey water systems.  But the town can decide whether or not to allow their use.

 
Nissa Gadbois
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Jt Lamb wrote:Re-reading the OP, I don't think I quite understand the scenario ... is there an existing home and a new (small) one going in as well? Or raw land with a small home going on it?

Any new construction triggers requirements to the latest code item an AHJ cares about. Old stuff might get grandfathered in, but new construction triggers incredible requirements.



So there is a home already on the farm.  This would be an accessory dwelling.  The state's condition on his return home is that he have a separate dwelling from the main house.  In this case an attached in-law apartment will not satisfy.  So it's a separate little house.  Even if we *could* make an in-law apartment, we would still need to 'upgrade' our septic.  That is estimated to cost between $10k and $50k. That's gonna kill our budget.  So, yeah.
 
John C Daley
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JT LAMB what are these acronyms please?
- usually required because a regular OSSF can't be used.

- code item an AHJ cares about

- on an E-T system.

- the TAMU folks
I can see now the need for the elevated system if the groundwater is high, I dont think I have ever come across that issue before.

Nissa, maybe a tank and pump with a raising main [ pipe] to the main house will work for you, it does not need to be on grade [ gravity run ].
 
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