After talking with a septic company today, I learned that, due to my clay soil, the leach field must be about 2500 to 4000 sq. ft! That takes up a huge piece of my gardening area where I won't be able to plant. I'm seriously considering some type of composting. My wife isn't a big permiculture enthusiast, and so many of the composting ideas I've mentioned to her didn't go over so well, so I have to keep her in consideration.
I saw a video awhile back with a guy who had built some type of bathroom into a huge tree and the composting system had different chambers where waste would move down over time and it seemed like a very clever and clean setup. Does anyone know anything about this? Or perhaps some other system which might serve our purposes without frightening my wife or guests?
Good luck Brandon. My wife is also not on board (except when we have week long power outages from N'oreasters, hurricanes, blizzards, and grinder pump septic failures)
Build a nice loveable loo from Joe Jenkins humaure website. It will move you into radical hot composting. Turn your leach field into a grey water irrigation if the authorities require you to build it. Again good luck. I am a believer in the Jenkins Humanure method as it is a plug and play that addresses public health, is low cost, and moves you into quality thermophilic composting. There are other methods out there, I feel this is a great low cost way to start. Again, as long as YOU are willing to do the work.
Well, I'm a big fan of Joe Jenkins and the Humanure Handbook too, but I think the original question would not be served well by a simple bucketcompost toilet system.
The OP wants a composting toilet that will be acceptable to his wife, who is skeptical about the idea, and guests. He probably also has an issue that he needs to get his construction approved for residence. I think you should look into the various commercial composting toilets available. They take either more space or electricity or both, but some of them are designed in ways that will not alarm your wife and guests, and some of them may have been approved for residences in your area. You should research that.
Works at a residential alternative high school in the Himalayas SECMOL.org . "Back home" is Cape Cod, E Coast USA.