A lot of people who live off the grid or on a homestead tend to use a composting toilet, mostly because a composting toilet is their only option for disposing of their own waste. Although composting toilets do work great, but there are some states which outright ban them and others that have extremely strict restrictions and regulations. People who live off the grid or in a homestead in states that ban composting toilets have to come up with some other alternative.
States that allow composting toilets are Massachusetts, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Washington, Texas, and Montana. These states do allow the use of composting toilets but they are regulated, meaning that you will have to ask permission from the local board of health and in some cases from the local plumbing board. The requirements for setting up a composting toilet in one of these states will be different from one county to another.
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The states that do not allow composting toilets do it to protect the people, especially in areas where the population density is fairly high. Although maintaining a composting toilet is not rocket science but if it is not done correctly it could pose a serious health risk. For the most part, the authorities do not want to spend extra money to verify how the composting toilets are maintained, as it will be an additional strain on the local budget.
A composting toilet that is not maintained correctly will sooner or later start to smell, in addition to the foul odors, it might be a breeding ground for diseases and attract pests like rats and mice. In areas where people have the possibility to connect to the local sewage system, they are forced to use it. If you are already connected to the local sewage system and you want to start using a composting toilet in a state where they do not allow it you can face a massive fine.
The states that allow composting toilets do have a couple of restrictions and regulations on how to install and how to maintain them. Depending on the state some of these restrictions and regulations can be a nightmare to comply with, but if you do not want to get into trouble then you definitely have to. If you live in a rented property then you have to ask the landowner if you can set up a composting toilet even if the local state allows them.
The problem with composting toilets in a rented property is that it drives down the value of the property, no matter how eco-friendly or trendy composting toilets might seem but most people simply do not want the hassle of maintaining one when they can simply flush and forget with a regular toilet. If you live off the grid and you want to know what your options are for toilets then check out my recent article Off grid toilet options ( Top 6 ).
What States Allow Composting Toilets?
Composting toilets have gained popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional flush toilets, offering a sustainable and efficient method of waste management. However, regulations surrounding the use of composting toilets vary across different states in the United States. Understanding which states allow composting toilets is essential for those considering this environmentally conscious option. While some states have embraced and even incentivized composting toilet systems, others have stricter regulations or require specific permits.
The state of Massachusetts is one of the few which allow composting toilets, however, there are some restrictions and regulations. Most notably that the composting toilet has to store solids for at least two years according to the Massachusetts composting toilet laws. The good news is that you can use a separate container for composting, and one that is large enough to hold solids for at least two years.
In Massachusetts, you are allowed to use self-sustained composting toilets, but the problem with these is that they are not large enough to hold solids for two years as the local regulations require. Your best option for a composting toilet in Massachusetts is to use centralized composting toilets which have a separate container from the toilet and this will be large enough to hold solids for up to two years. If you want to know how is living off the grid in this state then check out my recent article Off grid living in Massachusetts ( The Bay State ).
Composting toilets in Arkansas are legal, but as with any other state where composting toilets are legal there are some restrictions and regulations. For the most part, if you are in close proximity to the local sewage system then you will have to connect to it and you will not be able to use a composting toilet. Although you have to be less than 300 feet from the closes local sewage treatment system, if your property is further away then you can use a composting toilet.
The laws regarding composting toilets in Arkansas are fairly relaxed and for the most part, you will need two permits, from the ADH. The first permit you will need from the ADH is for construction approval and one for operating the septic tank which is connected to the composting toilet. Basically, your options in this state are to use a composting septic tank system or a centralized composting toilet. If you want to know how is living off the grid in this state then check out my recent article Off grid living in Arkansas ( The Natural State ).
Composting toilets in Colorado are legal, in addition to using a composting toilet you can also use an incinerating toilet. For the most part, you will need a permit from the local board of health in order to install and use a composting toilet. For incinerator toilets, you will need to get a permit from the Colorado Plumbing Board, and from the local Board of Health, which will probably take some time.
The Colorado On-Site Wastewater Treatment System Regulations is also referring to composting and to incinerating toilets as well, although you will need to ask the local authorities in your county for more details as there are differences between counties
You can use both composting toilets and incinerating toilets in Florida according to Rule: 64E-6.009, although people who usually use them live mostly off the grid and away from the local sewage system. If you live in an area where floods often occur or are categorized as flood plains then you will not be able to use a composting toilet system or even a traditional septic system. The local authorities do not allow composting toilets in these areas as these can be a serious health hazard in case of a flood.
For the most part, if you want to use a composting toilet in this state then you will have to get a permit from the local board of health, and they will also let you know what are the specifications for composting toilets, and how you have to maintain them according to the local regulations.
Composting toilets are legal in Idaho although you will need permission from the local board of health. In addition to this, the Idaho State Plumbing Bureau and the Idaho Division of Building Safety are the ones that regulate the installation of composting toilets, incinerating toilets, and septic systems. The composting toilet laws in Idaho say that if you have water under pressure coming into your household then you must be connected to the local sewage system and you can not use a composting toilet.
There are strict guidelines on how the composting toilet system is set up and what kind of material it should be made of, generally speaking, PVC, fiberglass, and styrene rubber are the recommended ones. Mostly because these materials are extremely easy to clean and they are fairly durable. For the size and the design of the composting toilet system, you will have to ask the local health board.
Composting toilets are legal in Washington, although they only allow composting toilet which does not need water to flush. Some people use hybrid systems with composting toilets, and for the most part, these are not allowed if they use water to transport waste from the toilet to a septic tank. In addition to using composting toilets in this state, you can also use incinerating toilets, vault toilets, and pit toilets according to the Water Conserving On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems for Washington.
For the most part, you will need permission from the local board of health, although they will not review “non-proprietary public domain composting toilet systems”, which basically means that DIY composting toilets will be only approved if they are up to the local composting toilet standards.
Composting toilets are legal in Texas, as long as you do not live in close proximity to the public sewage system. How far you have to be from the local sewage system in order to be able to set up a composting toilet depends on the county, generally speaking, it is somewhere between 100-300 feet. If you want to set up a composting toilet in this state then you will need permission from the local board of health.
For the most part, you will be able to use both composting and incinerating toilets. Each county has different regulations when it comes to the size and setup of composting toilets, which you can find at the On-Site Sewage Facilities (OSSF).
Composting toilets are legal in Montana although if you have running water then you will need to either be connected to a septic tank or to the local sewage system. You will need to get a permit from the local board of health and they will also let you know the specifications on what kind of composting toilet you can use, either self-sustained composting toilets or centralized composting toilets.
As long as you do not bother anybody by composting your waste you should not have any problems, although just to be on the safe side make sure to ask the local authorities. You can find more information about composting toilets in Montana at http://www.mtrules.org/gateway/RuleNo.asp?RN=17%2E36%2E319.
- Oregon is known for its progressive approach to sustainable living and has regulations that allow for the use of composting toilets. The state has specific guidelines and requirements for composting toilet systems, including sizing, maintenance, and compost management.
- Vermont has regulations that permit the use of composting toilets, recognizing their environmental benefits and suitability for off-grid living. The state has established standards for composting toilet systems, including design, installation, and maintenance requirements.
- Washington state allows the use of composting toilets under certain conditions. The state has guidelines and regulations in place to ensure safe and proper use of composting toilet systems. Compliance with these regulations, including size, ventilation, and composting management, is essential for legal use.