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I posted a question, earlier, which seems to have disappeared, so I will ask it again.

I have an additional dwelling unit on my 1.7 acre farm and forest property next to my  1800 sq ft house, which I would like to put on a composting toilet and grey water system.  I would like to put my main house on a grey water system as well, but the many problems here make that a later concern.

While the state of Oregon has supported the use of composting toilets since 1983, the regulations have been written to require that I connect up to the main sewage system, regardless of whether I am using a composting toilet or standard water flush toilet.  This will cost over $30,000 in permits and another $10,000 in plumbing connection costs. The costs for a complete composting toilet and grey water system are about $15,000.  The ADU only cost me $20,00 to create, including a standard “low flow”  toilet connection to my already good grand-fathered in, septic system.  I must admit that this was not a legal connection, as no added toilets can be added to the septic according to other related regulations.  I tried to negotiate an earlier composting toilet use, but was told by Happy Valley that I couldn’t do this and would not be permitted.

The only “engineering” and safety reasons I have been given for this is that potential future owners MAY not change the compost often enough.  Kind of like saying you can’t own a car if you don’t change the oil.  Both have environmental concerns, but the expensive required sewage connection essentially destroys any potential benefits of composting toilets, as the costs of connection are so much more than all the other costs put together.  If all it does is add compost to my farm, I can do that for $25 a yard!

I am considering appeals to Oregon DEQ, Clackamas county, which has the sewage system, and Happy Valley, which regulates plumbing issues.  If I can get a variance, or better a change to the regulations, it could help other future homeowners, with appropriate properties do the same, both producing major savings, and implementing composting toilet/grey water technologies, which I regard as superior to the massive, expensive public systems. If anyone can give me any suggestions, or help on working with the 3 public entities, it sure would help me and the future of both water saving and composting technologies. Thank you.

Don Hart

*As an added note: I was actually told by a Sewage department employee, when I first called about connection cost 3 years ago, that the reason the costs are so high, and why am being forced to make this connection is because the county put too large a system in place on my street and I’m being required to help pay for that cost overrun.  This doesn’t address the engineering and safety issues, but does show there are other issue besides public safety involved in the connection requirement.

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Hi Don,

I answered your previous question, not sure why you didn’t get the typical notification. Here is a link to the previous question/answer.

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