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I live in Happy Valley OR, next to Portland, and have an additional dwelling unit on my 1.7 acre former farm, property.  I would like to convert the ADU toilet to a NSF 41 certified composting toilet and will need to get a good greywater system as well.   Currently, the ADU and the main house are in a grandfathered in septic system, though the ADU was not legally permitted to be added to the septic system, and the county sewage system will NOT approve adding the ADU to the septic system.  With a cost of over $30,000 for a sewage permit and another $10,000 for plumbing connection costs, I can save about $20,000 in costs, if I can get a tandem composting toilet greywater system instead of the county sewage.   The state of Oregon appears to say that I can legally do this, if done up to standards. However, the city and county don’t want me to do this composting toilet, though give little info on why they will dispute this construction, beyond stated fears I “will not remove waste in a timely fashion”.  The location of the composting toilet, and greywater system will be about 75 ft from a creek which runs along 3 borders of my property, which will effect the permitting.  The other side of the creek is a 10 acre nature park.  I have been unable to locate contractors in the metro Portland area who can help create this.  The listed contractors I found here on Greywater action, for the Portland area don’t seem to exist any longer, or have not responded to 2 emails in 2 weeks.  If anyone has useful info on my problem, I would welcome it.  I have also contacted Recode.  Info on certified contractors of grey water systems, in the Portland area, preferably also able to perform composting toilet installations, or able to work well with any contractors composting toilet companies would in itself be very helpful.

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Hi Don,

I hope Recode has been able to assist you. Your composting toilet should be permitable according to the state code. Have you reached out to the DEQ? They may also be able to help.

Have you tried Bratton Construction, LLC or Citylife Ecodesign Inc or Portland Earth Care

for help with the greywater system?

Generally speaking, the county/city will want you to have a legal sewer/septic option for all greywater, so they will most likely not allow you to do a greywater system and composting toilet instead of a sewer/septic- but you should be able to do both. This won’t help you with the cost issues.

Best wishes for your project!

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Thank you for the response. Somehow it did get lost, or I’m unfamiliar with how to correctly access the forum pages.

Sorry to hear that the county will not let me put in a composting toilet and grey water system instead of connecting to the counties sewage system.  I do have a legal septic system, but they have simply defined my ADU as a new house with only 1 toilet, so they can deny my use of the septic, which the state and federal laws permit.  With a $40,000 price, the sewage system is dramatically more expensive than the best composting and grey water systems on Earth.  And they don’t offer any real science based answer as to why I will not be permitted.  The only concern I have been given, is that owners MIGHT not change the compost out often enough.   Kind of like not permitting auto ownership in case the owners don’t change the oil.  I have read all of your composting toilet section and the intro in your book, and it appears as if the basic requirement for connection to a sewage or septic system is a federal, rather than a state law, and that the regulation which states that my ADU is a new stand alone dwelling, requiring a new sewage connection, despite my having a legal septic system is a county regulation, which rewrites the states regulations, to favor their expensive, inefficient system.  The wording of the states regulations appears to permit me to potentially connect to the septic system, but the county doesn’t allow that.

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