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Hi there,

I came across a handful of videos and news articles about Laura Allen’s at-home composting toilet in the Bay Area. In those sources as well as here on this site, it is maintained that, barring explicit restriction of backyard composting piles in one’s city, composting human waste on your property is allowed.

I was wondering if anyone knew of specific ordinances or code sections that could be sited to support this claim? Or is it a case of inclusion by omission? I know for example that in CA the Regional Water Resources Control Boards are invested in protecting ground/surface water and are therefore important authorities on waste treatment, but they provide no information on residential composting of humanure.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated,

Thank you.


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Hi Tucker,

You are correct, it is a case of inclusion by omission of regulations. It is not prohibited by any code or ordinance in most parts of California. But, it’s also not specifically allowed so there is no standard regulatory pathway for getting a permit/permission to install one. There are some counties in California that address composting toilets in local ordinances, but not in the Bay Area.

You may be interested in this composting toilet research project at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center happening now.

Compost Toilet Research Project Launches!!!

There are a few local examples of permitted toilets in SF and San Jose, but they are commercial scale.


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