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Art; costs of inaction?

 
Dillon Nichols
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Hi Art, and anyone else with an opinion!

I've been to a variety of permie-ish farms and homesteads over the last couple years and seen a wide range of greywater systems. Some of these so-called 'greywater systems' consisted of simply allowing the sink/shower water to run onto the ground somewhere it wasn't in the way, and from there it could just do as it pleased.


I also saw some 'interesting' implementations of composting toilets. In those cases, it's pretty easy to see the problems and hazards; odor, flies, and serious risk of illness.


However, the very crude greywater systems seemed, at a surface level, to be pretty OK. Volunteer plants would take advantage of the moisture, and it didn't seem to present any sort of erosion issue in the several-year sort of timeframe. No odor problems were apparent.

What sort of problems/risks would one expect from a system like this in the short term? Long term? How quantifiable are these issues?
 
Connie McBride
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"Odor, flies and serious risk of illness?"

Really? We've been using a commercial composting toilet (Air Head) for 5 years and it smells better than any conventional toilet or anything else I've ever seen installed in a bathroom. The only time we had flies was when you did not follow installation directions. We decided to leave out the screen. When not following directions, it's only natural to expect a product not to work correctly. Since then, we've had no problem with flies. Risk of illness? It's not like you're stirring this with your hands or something. You're more likely to get poo on your hands from changing a kid's diaper than you are from emptying a composting toilet. I'm not sure where the risk of illness comes from. But I have noticed that most people who are adamantly opposed to composting toilets don't have one. Very few people who have one have any complaints at all about them. But I guess that can be said about a lot off unconventional ideas.
 
Dillon Nichols
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Maybe my post was unclear; by 'interesting', I meant 'homemade and half-assed'. I'm in favor of composting toilets in general, and plan on using such a system myself in the future. However, if you use a bucket system, and then fail to adequately seal the toilet bucket against flies, and the same for the composting area, combined with not enough added sawdust or whatever... you will encounter the listed issues.

It's perfectly possible to avoid these problems, it just requires a modicum of care and attention to detail. Several sites I visited were using composting toilets without any apparent issues. None of these sites used a commercial system, presumably for cost reasons.
 
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