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Composting toilet regulations - Potomac?  RSS feed

 
Patrick Marsolek
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Hi Folks,

I've searched the forums, but didn't find a clear thread on this. If you know of one, please let me know.

My wife and I will be adding a yurt to our property in Potomac as a guest place, dance and workshop space this spring. We would like to add a composting toilet, so as to accommodate the extra 'visits'. Does anyone know if there are specific regulations for Missoula county - which we're in - regarding composting toilets? But we're not in the city at least!

And/or is there someone I could talk to that knows?

Thanks!

Patrick

 
Tim Skufca
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Missoula County allows composting toilets. If you are closer than 300 feet to city sewer you are required to connect. I imagine Potomac is on septic?
 
Patrick Marsolek
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Yes, We're on a septic here. And we're planning to put the composting toilet maybe seventy yards from the house.

Do you know if it matters if it's a home built toilet or not?

Thanks! Patrick
 
Tim Skufca
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I don't believe the County has a list of approved manufacturers.

Why is the toilet so far away from the house?
 
Patrick Marsolek
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It's that far from the house because that's where the Yurt will be! It will be right next to the Yurt, but that far from the existing septic.
 
Tim Skufca
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The problem with County regs is not so much with composting toilets, but more with graywater use. The fact that you didn't mention water leads me to believe you are not providing the yurt with a sink? There are lots of ways to treat / use graywater, but none of the simple methods meet approval from County regs.
 
Patrick Marsolek
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Actually, we would like to have a handwashing sink there too. So, we do have to consider grey-water.

In reading, I've seen the kinds of set-up where the grey-water goes directly into a flower-bed or garden, so I was considering that option. Are you more familiar with the regs to know what will be approved? Is there a place to read the regulations or someone to talk to?

At this point, we're in the planning stage and would like it to meet the regulations.

Thanks!
 
Tim Skufca
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There's a bit of history behind getting regs for graywater approved. The State of Montana allows graywater use, but left it up to the Counties to develop the regs. It will be frustrating and/or expensive to try to meet what Missoula County has in the regs. I encourage you to try. Get the Health Dept. regs from Health Dept. in Missoula, set up a meeting with someone there, and see what they tell you. There's a bunch of fear they put onto graywater, but with a few easy points it can be done, and done cheaply (just not to "code").

Good luck! I'm certainly curious about what you come up with, and hope you share it here.
 
Patrick Marsolek
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Tim, thanks for your comments.

I will check with the Health Dept. and see what they say.

Is this something they will want to keep track of? Such as me needing a permit?

Or do they just have guidelines that I should follow?

Thanks!
 
Tim Skufca
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I don't believe the Health Dept will check what you build. I don't think there is a permit required for graywater, but I could be wrong. The people there are quite helpful; it's the guidelines that can be complicated (for no reason other than a bureaucracy having strict regs in order to cover their butts). Graywater treatment can be simple and cheap, but these systems won't pass the code.

Are you planning to have power to your composting toilet? The speediest and most convenient composting toilets require power.

I ran into Yvonne at Home ReSource today. She gave me your card - I told her we've been communicating. She wanted to make sure the connection was made.
Good luck. Keep me informed on what you build.
 
Patrick Marsolek
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Yes, I've heard from another friend the people at the County Planning office can be helpful too. I'm planning to go there and enquire, hypothetically at first, what kind of guidelines are in place and what kind of limitations I have. I did download the Alternative Systems Manual, which is pretty clear for composting toilets.

It seems clear that having running water to the "bathroom" would make it more complicated as far as the regulations go. So I might also enquire about a rainwater collection system or something like that for handwashing. We would prefer to have a handwashing sink if possible.

Yes, we will have power to the site, and I plan on having the composting area well insulated, possibly with a light-bulb for heat, so that it won't freeze in the winter. I would like to build my own system, though it sounds like that may be harder to be approved. I'll see what they say about that.

I'm glad Yvonne passed along my card. SHe said she had contacts at Mudd.
 
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