Toilet Alternatives

Subject: Toilet Alternatives
Date: Sun, 07 May 2000
From: Art Ludwig <Oasis Design>

K.L. writes:
> Hi there,
> I'm doing a little Internet research into various septic alternatives.
> Here's our scenario:
> We and many others who have cottages (some dating back to late-1800s) around
> a lake in northern Indiana are looking into ways other than the old leach
> fields and septic tanks to take care of waste and waste water. Several
> residents are putting together a plan to have a sewer "corporation", and want
> to buy about 14 acres of nearby land, and have biofields/ponds installed. A
> main line will run along the road along our side of the lake, and people will
> be responsible for getting their own grinder pumps, alarm systems,
> disconnecting septic tanks, and running a line out to the main one. It's
> extremely expensive, and there are loads of unanswered questions on how the
> whole organization will work. So we and several of our friends (whose septic
> tanks are fine at this point) want to educate ourselves on reasonable and
> federally/state accepted alternatives to this group system, to which hookup
> eventually could be mandated if these folks have their way (via the Dept. of
> Natural Resources). Our primary concern is the health of the lake, but we
> just don't believe we should be forced to buy into an overpriced, shabbily
> run sewer system which a handful of desperate (their septic systems are
> woefully in disrepair) lake residents have put together and turned into a
> costly enterprise in which they want the rest of us to share. Perhaps it will
> work just fine, but we don't particularly want to be involved. Thus our
> dilemma.
> That would be the type of information we are seeking through such a book.
> K.L.

Dear K.L.,
If your neighbors got 100% of their greywater out of their septic systems, got
low flow toilets and only flushed when they pooped, that would take 90% of the
load off their septic tanks, possibly solving 100% of the problem for not much
You could use constructed wetlands or solar greywater greenhouses for this
purpose. Consider getting our greywater books for more information.
There are many other alternative scenarios which would sound better to me and you
than what you described. The small flows clearing house is a good place for
My consulting calendar is pretty full but I might be able to offer general guidance
to help you sift through the options and find someone to help implement it.
Good luck!