Monday, October 25, 2010

Sewer, septic, outhouse, hole

I haven't lived in a house hooked up to sewer since 1988.  Every once in a while there is talk about upgrading those backwards folks and extending the sewer system towards my neck of the woods.  If it ever becomes more than talk I will fight it wholeheartedly.  Not because the county charges you directly for their costs of bringing us into the modern age but because I want nothing to do with being on a communal sewage disposal system.  At least I am uphill from their plant.


Our house has a septic system which as I wrote before only failed once but failed at the most inopportune time.  The kind person who added an additional 100 feet of leach line did this work on a Christmas morning.  Something about having a house full of grandkids and sewage coming up in the bathtub made him give up his morning at home.


Although I figure our septic system will work for an awful long time before we have any more problems, this will only be the case if it is treated properly.  I saw an add for toilet paper that said to use their brand because you wouldn't have to use 27 sheets to clean yourself like you have to with another brand.  27 sheets at one sitting?  If everyone around here did that only once a day the system would clog up.  The problem we have is when we have company.  Trying to get the ladies to put their personal hygiene items into the trash can rather than flushing them down the toilet is a problem.  We just had one person visiting who lives with a septic tank and still put three days worth of tampons down our toilet.  Almost makes me want to put cement down hers…


We have an outhouse in the front and I'm planning on putting another one out back.  The boys usually just find a tree when they are outside and don't want to stop playing, so it's more for the "entertainment" of guests and for saving water.


I remember as a kid I lived near the farmers fields.  They had portapotties on the dirt roads next to the fields.  These potties didn't have the plastic container underneath to catch everything.  They were open to the ground.  Prior to setting the potty somewhere they'd dig a hole, maybe a foot deep and two feet wide, setting the dirt aside for later.  This hole would catch everything that was done that day.  At the end of the day they'd move the potty about 25 feet, then they set fire to the pile of toilet paper and human waste where the potty had been stationed.  After burning the pile they would cover it up with the dirt.  I thought that was very efficient. 


I've scoured the internet to see if that was discussed anywhere.  It wasn't.  All I read was to dig a huge hole and bury it all or go into a bag and carry it out.  I also saw that it was ok to burn the toilet paper in your campfire at the end of the day.  No place was found stating that you should just burn it all then cover it up.  Sure it won't all burn completely, but it's a good start to getting it to decompose.


The front outhouse is over a deep hole.  The back outhouse may be built this other way, over a shallow hole that gets burned every week.

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