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No place to poop in Ohio  RSS feed

 
Posts: 13
Location: Lancaster Ohio
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I LOVE this website!!

So my girl and I can get a nice little 16 acre piece of earth here in Ohio to practice all the stuff we've learned on here but now we're facing this:

Composting toilets used as part of a STS must be certified to ANSI/NSF Standard 41 and are authorized
for use. A manufacturer of a composting toilet that is not certified to ANSI/NSF Standard 41 who seeks
approval for use in the state must submit an application in accordance with the requirements of section
3718.04 of the Revised Code and obtain approval for use from the director of health.



Commercial compost toilets are ridiculously expensive, and so are septic systems. We really don't want something we can't repair ourselves, and we aren't wealthy by any means. We're both artists, and we're positive we can build our own system - it ain't rocket science.

If we were already established and had built something, we could fly under the radar but we haven't built our earthship-style-yurt-village-huts-connected-by-greenhouse-hallways yet, and I'm guessing when we apply for a permit they'll what to know where we plan to poop. I'm thinking of applying for a permit to build semi-underground-bermed-on-the-north greenhouses (that look oddly like earthship-style-yurt-village huts-connected-by-greenhouse-hallways) then just gradually move into them without telling anyone, maybe by saying I'm working there, but that could get sticky if someone comes snooping around. We can't try a different state cuz we have my girl's grandbabies and the courts say we can't leave the state with them.

The County Health Department dude says they go by the state minimum requirements, but Ohio is passing ridiculous laws governing septic systems - even telling the Amish they can't have outhouses. Meanwhile many of Ohio's roadside rest areas and parks boast the nastiest outhouses I'd ever smelled. I have been to intentional communities that use sawdust privvies and never smelled a thing.

Anyone have any suggestions as to how to deal with state officials, or fly under the radar safely? Just wondering.
 
garden master
Posts: 2779
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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For flying under the radar, I think the Humanure Handbook would be useful for building a toilet nobody knows about, and there is also a Humanure Headquarters website for more information. Here is a video by Joe Jenkins on YouTube showing how he builds his toilets:
 
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Court and cps involved, suck it up and buy the cheapest approved system. No pooper, kids go to foster care. An approved compost toilet will be pushing your luck.

 
Posts: 1947
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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The grandkids throw a monkey wrench into any plans of flying under the radar. Commercial composting toilets can be had for a thousand dollars or less, not too complicated to fix.

It's too important to keep those kids with safe loving caregivers.
 
Posts: 125
Location: Mansfield, Ohio Zone 5b percip 44"
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Hi Dale, I ran into the same thing. I was looking to build a passive solar home with a composting toilet. I was hoping to stay on grid because of the cost. I contacted the health department here in Richland County and they required a full septic to be put in. They did mention that there is some talk in the future of the codes changing and allowing a smaller septic system in the future with the use of a compost toilet in the summer months. They said in the winter I would need the smaller septic for the grey water. I tried to ask about a dry well and other system for the winter but they were not interested. And this was just a possibility for the "future".

I also thought of trying to pass the passive solar house as a greenhouse. Another idea I had was buying property with a bank barn and building living quarters in a portion of it. In the end there were just too many governmental departments that could give me a really bad day if they found out. Anything that was considered a building it seems they could regulate. They were not interested in anything nontraditional. If it was just my wife and I then we would have bought a 30' yurt. No increase in property taxes and no regulations. The savings alone in property taxes would pay for the yurt in 7-8 years. We would be fine with a small solar system so no need for occupancy permits to get the electric hooked up. But we have three kids with two of them as teenagers and they are not ready for something like this. So I need to wait.

After watching how Paul Wheaton bought a property with a regular house as a home base for his team and then has a large piece of undeveloped land to work on I thought I would try that. So I ended up buying a foreclosed house with a good size yard. The extra money I am saving from the inexpensive house is going into savings to purchase the land. I once read of a guy who wanted to start a orchard but while he was saving money for the down payment he turned his backyard into a tree nursery and started growing and grafting his own trees. This turned out to be a huge savings in money. A house in the city will not allow me to do everything I want with permaculture but I can still do alot. This will still allow me to slowly start developing a piece of land for the future. My teenage children like this better too because they did not want to move to the middle of nowhere with no internet, less friends around etc. So my plan is to slowly develop the land with permaculture then when the kids move out I will sell the house and buy the 30' yurt for the wife and me on the land. By that time I hope to have a maturing food forest and infrastructure. And finally no one will be able to tell me where to poop.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Dale Ziemianski wrote:...Ohio is passing ridiculous laws governing septic systems - even telling the Amish they can't have outhouses.



Consider renting till the grandbaby thing is straightened out. Sounds like a state with too many regulations - permaculture might be easier in other locations.
 
Dale Ziemianski
Posts: 13
Location: Lancaster Ohio
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Thanks for all the feedback.

The township has no problem with us building anything we want. But the pooping thing is a setback. First the guy said "no composting toilets - for now", then referred me to the state. But the state says approved composters are OK. So I'm assuming composting is out 'for now', but I may need to go back and re-address that. We were originally going to move to the inner city and get a foreclosed house, but found we didn't have to move right away so we have time. We're trying to weigh the cost of maintaining a house in the city, heating it, paying for water and sewer and city taxes, to paying for whatever septic system we can talk them into letting us have. If it's just a matter of an approved composting toilet, we can probably go with that, but if we can't dig our own septic system, and have to pay licensed installers to do it, that can cost us more than we're paying for a down payment. Standard septic systems aren't rocket science. Designs are all over the internet.

It'll be another 11 years before the youngest is an adult - I'll be 66. The Nearings built into their 90's. I can wait if I have to, but grrr. It seems they are passing whatever laws they can to keep people from living sustainably.

I'll weigh all your advice. Thanks so much
 
Posts: 407
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Dale Ziemianski wrote:

...It seems they are passing whatever laws they can to keep people from living sustainably.



They are. Here's Bill Mollison's take:

"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy, and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves"
 
Dale Ziemianski
Posts: 13
Location: Lancaster Ohio
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LOL, oh yeah - sustainability is bad for the economy
 
Posts: 48
Location: nw ohio
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Hi Dale,

If they will allow you to do it yourself, you can save a ton of money. My friend did this and it worked just fine. Once the system is installed, you could easily put in your composting toilet or outhouse and no one would likely know. Also, the amount of bedrooms is what determines the size of your tank and the supporting field so a two bedroom house unit would be smaller and less expensive and hopefully affordable. . I think having both is a benefit cause what is one to do in the winter with wash and sink water, my 2 cents on that. I might make my own outhouse using a 100 gallon Rubbermaid container and using sawdust and wood chips to control moisture and then transfer to flow thru worm bin, I have one of those already but would not be big enough for eighty gallons or so waste. Don't give up on your spot, see if you can afford a two bedroom system. good luck, jeff
 
Dale Ziemianski
Posts: 13
Location: Lancaster Ohio
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Thanks, jeff. We really wanted to use vermiculture for this - it's so much more ecologically sound than a septic system. With the 4 grandbabies, we'd have to have at least a 3 bedroom - gotta separate the boys and girls (and us, for our sanity). I'm seriously considering just getting the land and the permit to build and just waiting til we can afford and acceptable system before we move in. Maybe they'll just sort of forget about us by then

But if I do have to install septic, I'll definitely use a sawdust and barrel anyway. Maybe drop an occasional turd in the septic in case they come by and take a look at it.

Grey water can be filtered underground using Michael Reynolds' later design. He digs a deep trench, fills with various sizes of gravel and puts a strawbale every so many feet. The earth will keep it warm - or toss a hugelmound on top of it and grow food on it. The extra depth will raise that frostline.
 
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Perennial Vegetables: How to Use Them to Save Time and Energy
https://permies.com/t/96921/Planting-Perennial-Vegetables-Homestead
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