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PLUMBING SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
AGE of PLUMBING MATERIALS & FIXTURES
AIR DISCHARGE at FAUCETS, FIXTURES
ANTI SCALD VALVES
ANODES & DIP TUBES on WATER HEATERS
BACKUP PREVENTION, SEPTIC
BACKUP PREVENTION, SEWER LINE
BACKWATER VALVES, SEWER LINE
BATH & KITCHEN DESIGN GUIDE
CHEMICAL CONTAMINANTS in WATER
CHEMICAL ODOR SOURCES
CHLORINE IN DRINKING WATER
DEBRIS in WATER SUPPLY, Water Heater
DEPTH of SEPTIC TANK
DRAIN & SEWER PIPING
FAUCETS & CONTROLS, KITCHEN & BATH
FAUCETS, OUTDOOR HOSE BIBBS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOOR DRAIN / TRAP ODORS
FLUSHOMETER VALVES for TOILETS URINALS
GAS PIPING, VALVES, CONTROLS
GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION
HARD WATER - SOFTENERS
HEAT TAPES, Heat, Insulation prevent Freeze-Up
LEAD POISONING HAZARDS GUIDE
LEAD IN DRINKING WATER, HOW to REDUCE
METHANE GAS SOURCES
MIXING / ANTI-SCALD VALVES
MUNICIPAL WATER PRESSURE IMPROVEMENTS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS IN WATER
ODORS, SEPTIC or SEWER
ODORS SEWER GAS in COLD WEATHER
ODORS, SULPHUR SMELL SOURCES
ANIMAL or URINE ODOR SOURCE DETECTION
PIPING IN BUILDINGS, Clogs Leaks Types
PLUMBING FIXTURES, KITCHEN, BATH
PLUMBING NOISE CONTROL
PLUMBING VENT DEFINITIONS & CODES
PLUMBING VENT DEFECTS & NOISES
PUMPS, WATER REPAIR
RELIEF VALVE LEAKS
RELIEF VALVES - TP Valves on Boilers
RELIEF VALVES - STEAM TP VALVES
RELIEF VALVES - Water Heaters
RELIEF VALVES - Water Tanks
REPAIR BURST LEAKY PIPES
METHANE GAS HAZARDS
SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SHUTOFF VALVE LOCATION, USE
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
SWEATING (CONDENSATION) on PIPES, TANKS
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMPS & TANKS
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SOURCE ALTERNATIVES
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER SHUTOFF VALVE LOCATION, USE
WATER SHUTOFF VALVE, WELL PUMP
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
This article provides information about waterless & low water septic systems, waterless toilets, chemical toilets, incinerating toilets, holding tanks, disinfection septic systems, & greywater systems.
This document also has links to septic design engineers, advanced septic system products and books. Guide to choices among chemical toilets, composting toilets, low water toilets, no-water toilets, electric toilets, & incinerating toilets as components of alternative septic systems - Toilet product sources & product comparisons
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Buyers' Guide to Waterless Toilets, No-water toilets, Low Water Toilets & Greywater Toilet Flush Systems
Waterless toilets, low-water toilets, holding tanks, and graywater systems are alternative designs for sites where a septic system can't be installed or where water is in limited supply or not available at all.
Photo at left: this water-reusing toilet shown above combines a sink for hand-washing with the toilet flush tank. Water used to wash one's hands is directly recycled into the toilet flush tank for the next toilet use. This Stilfor  toilet uses 1.6 gallons of recycled water per flush.
A similar toilet lid conversion accessory from SinkPositive can be used to convert any tank type toilet lid into a hand-washing sink.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Examples of advanced septic designs which may need to employ waterless or low-water usage toilets include aerobic septic systems, chemical, composting, incinerating & waterless toilets, evaporation-transpiration (ET) septic systems, septic media filters, greywater systems, holding tank septic systems, mound septics, raised bed septics, pressure dosing septic systems, sand bed filters, peat beds, constructed wetlands, and septic disinfection systems.
Alternative onsite wastewater disposal systems can reduce the soil absorption area or leach field size requirement substantially and can in fact in some cases reduce the needed area to zero. For problem sites where space or soil conditions make it difficult to install a conventional leach field these designs are very important alternatives.
Alternative Septic System Designs for wet sites, steep sites, rocky sites, limited space, and other difficult site conditions. Consultants in this field can be listed at our alternative septic designers page at no charge by contacting me. Also see The Septic System Information Website. Massachusetts Title 5 Licensed Septic System Inspector, & New York State H.I. License # 16000005303 (inception to 2008). Technical reviewers welcomed and are listed at Reviewers.
Each of the links below presents an InspectAPedia article providing more in-depth information about each of these alternative toilet designs and wastewater disposal methods.
Product submissions are welcome Contact Us. to list your product or service here - if you are a manufacturer of waterless toilets, no-water toilets, low-water consuming toilets or other alternative wastewater treatment system equipment your product may be listed at no fee. Website content critique, additions, and suggestions are also invited. No conflicts of interest: We have no financial business relationship nor any other economic relationship with any product or service discussed at this website.
General Categories of Onsite Residential Wastewater Treatment Systems
Because various texts provide so many different views of categorizing wastewater systems, we have made this simple list which groups wastewater treatment systems into a few major categories:
Adding to the complexity of what to call various septic systems, there are also categories of methods of septic effluent dispersal such as gravity-fed, trickle-down, pressure dispersal, sprinkler dispersal, and intermittent effluent dosing systems which use gravity or pressure.
In case this is not enough, there are also various levels of degree of treatment of septic effluent achieved by different versions of these systems. So you may read about more than one type of pressure-dosing filter bed system which look a lot alike but which achieve different degrees of effluent treatment.
Keeping these general categories in mind when reviewing various off-the-shelf packaged systems or wastewater treatment systems with interesting but non-descriptive names (like the "magic bullet treatment box") will help you to understand the general approach which has been taken. Further reading will be needed to understand the installation cost, maintenance cost, and level of management required of each type of septic system.
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.
Composting Toilets - Books & References
Design Manuals for Septic Systems
Greywater System Books