Jan 8th, 2009
For hundreds of years, the human race has been grappling with the question “What do we do with the stuff that comes out of the bottom of the toilet?” but I, personally, never really worried too much about it. Until now.
(While writing this, I looked up the synonyms for feces in the thesaurus: excrement, bodily waste, waste matter, ordure, dung, manure, excreta, stools, droppings, dirt, filth, muck, mess, night soil, poop, pooh, doo-doo, turds, poo, caca, crap, shit. I will use as many as I can.)
The public sanitary sewer will not arrive at the doorstep of the Big Nerd Ranch for five to ten years. So, we must figure out what to do with the excrement-bearing water in the meantime. There are options:
- A septic field: you run the doo-doo water into an underground, perforated pipe. If the bacteria and the soil do their job well, there is no smell and the pipe doesn’t back up.
- A package plant: this is essentially a water-treatment plant in a box: Fecal water goes in, clean water comes out. Occasionally, you haul away the solids.
- Composting toilets: No water — turds go in, soil comes out.
- Dig a connection all the way to the nearest public sewer.
I have decided that we will go with a septic field.
According to my amazing civil engineer Russ Davis, our septic line will be about 3000 feet long (depending on the soil properties). This is what Russ looks like: (How is he amazing? Russ is consistently creative and tasteful. I understand that this is quite rare in a civil engineer.)
So I need a large field with soil that percolates the caca water. The soil guy came to the site and did a “perc test” on my meadow — bad news: not all of my meadow percs. So, I have to make more meadow. Fortunately, we also own the adjacent lot. If that soil percs, we are going to knock down some trees and make a meadow there.
The new meadow is going to be lovely: lush with wildflowers. If you come to the ranch one day, I’d prefer you not refer to it as “The Poop Field”.