As a homeowner, when your sewage backs up, you cannot simply call your landlord and have the problem magically fixed for you. Instead, you foot the bill for routine maintenance on your sewer line all the way to the main, are responsible for digging and planting far enough away to avoid damaging the line, and hope that you will not have a mysterious backup in your system. Unfortunately, even if you have your lines professionally cleaned twice a year, there will be times when your system is strained through overuse or age. To help reduce that strain, lengthening the lifespan of your system, try these three creative sewer solutions.
Install a Composting Toilet
Composting toilets are simple, low-cost systems that can be installed indoors or in your yard. They can be as simple as a bucket with a specially fitted toilet seat or as complex as mechanical systems that churn your 'humanure' every time you use it. The best part about these systems is that they completely bypass your sewer system, greatly reducing the overall strain on your system. The best composting toilets involve separate containers for urine and feces, which can be achieved by installing a two bucket side-by-side toilet.
This allows you to use the sterile urine, diluted with water, in your garden almost immediately. The feces should be composted for at least a year before it is used, and then it is recommended that you use it only on non-edible plants. You may be concerned about smells associated with a composting toilet. However, if you consistently cover your excrement with a thin layer of sawdust, and use a two bucket system, the smell is no more noticeable than in a bathroom with a flushing toilet. You may still want to keep one flush toilet in the house for guests who are uncomfortable with the idea of a composting toilet.
Throw Away Paper Products Instead of Flushing If you are not ready to install a composting toilet, but want a quick, easy solution for reducing strain on your sewer system, you should take a tip from European sanitary habits. Instead of flushing your toilet paper, throw it in a trashcan next to your toilet. This will help you remember to use less toilet paper overall, and can help to prevent clogs. You just need to make sure that your trash can has a well-fitting lid, and that you empty it regularly.
Integrate an Outdoor Shower Into Your Permaculture Garden
Another way to bypass your sewer system is to shower outdoors, and let the grey-water from your shower water the plants in your garden. Technically, you can install the same on-site draining system in an indoor shower, but it will be easier on an outdoor shower. Plus, if you keep your indoor shower connected to your sewage line, you will still be able to get clean when your property is saturated with water and unable to absorb the grey-water from your shower.
Keep in mind that when you shower in a locally draining system, the water is going directly to your plants with minimum filtering. To avoid any issues, you may want to keep your drainage away from edible plants and use non-toxic, natural soaps when you are showing. Soaps made for camping are a good option, as they are meant to go directly into the ecosystem. Although these are great options for reducing your reliance on your sewer system, you should also realize that under-usage can also cause maintenance issues. Your goal, as a responsible homeowner, should be to find the proper balance to make your sewer system last as long as possible.