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Closed loop "septic" design.

 
Posts: 22
Location: Western Washington Zone 8a
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Hello permies,

I have been going around in circles trying to figure out what to do. My goal is to build a closed loop (i.e. no pumping and sending offsite for treatment) "septic" system. My husband and I are definitely on board for a composting toilet, but want to consider all options. I've been reading about humanure (book is on order). I just can't figure out how to choose a septic designer, mostly because I want to be innovative AND legal.

The real challenge is that I want/need to be "above board" about it. Our next door neighbor is likely to investigate if he suspects we are doing things without proper permits. I also happen to work at a wastewater treatment facility and would love to use this as an opportunity to bring closed loop systems into the mainstream (hopefully without destroying my reputation).

I am located in the South Sound region of WA
I realize this will likely be a huge undertaking, and will require research and patience. I am willing to put in the work.

What I am asking from all of you:
-Case studies of successfully permitted closed-loop systems.
-Advice to help narrow down the Dept. of Health list of of commercial composting toilets (would prefer one that produces usable biosolids).
-Research papers from water and soil quality studies from humanure systems
-Any words of wisdom, anecdotes, etc that you deem relevant.

Thanks!!

 
Posts: 265
Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
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Check out Clivus and Envirolet. They are established firms with a variety of approaches to composting toilets and grey water systems.

I have seen the clivus toilets in a county sports park. with quite some use as you can imagine. They seem to hold out pretty good.

http://www.clivusmultrum.com/products-services.php

http://www.envirolet.com/models.html


 
Liz Hammond
Posts: 22
Location: Western Washington Zone 8a
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Thanks for those suggestions, I've taken some time looking at their options and they look good! I find that reassuring. I think we could save a lot of money by getting one of those composting toilets and creating our own greywater system.

I am now reading the Humanure Handbook and How to Create and Oasis with Greywater. On October 3rd I will be attending a stormwater symposium hosted by the northwest ecobuilding guild, so I'm hoping that will be an opportunity to learn a lot and meet local contractors, alternative septic and greywater installers/designers. They will be breaking into workgroups to discuss ways to streamline the permitting process for low impact development (LID) and to establish that as the default approach to development. Good news, since that's what we want to be doing.
 
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Posts: 241
Location: Ireland
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Hi Eliza, if you're still researching, these are some links that may be of help.

I've a list of treatment options drawn up on my own website here: http://www.wetlandsystems.ie/watertips.html

Here's a list of different systems drawn up and described by Sarah West, formerly of the EPA Victoria, in Australia: http://www.awa.asn.au/uploadedFiles/Sarah%20West's%20Overseas%20Tour%20Feb%20to%20Nov%202000.pdf

I'd send you to Joseph Jenkins's site and Oasis Designs, but you've already found them.

If by closed loop you just mean really clean; then a large constructed wetland for your grey water and a compost loo to replace the black water may be just what's needed. Alternatively you could use a wetland for both grey and black, and continue using a flush loo.

These are just some thoughts on the subject - fire off any questions if you have them.

gift
 
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