First of all I don't know anything so don't ask me any questions. However I do read a lot. I recall seeing the peg technique and one aspect that was stressed was that it's important which way the wood shrinks as it dries. Different types of wood shrink differently.
So the type of wood of each makes a difference.
I'm pretty sure they used a different type of wood for the peg. And couldn't pegs being small be pre-shrunk ie dried.
If you do it right the peg won't shrink as much as the piece with the hole or at least not in the same direction. Also I think I've seen in books a dowel holding two pieces together and then another peg through the dowel itself. Surely this is described fully in an old book somewhere, probably in the uk. Maybe amazon.uk has a book on it.
Apologies for my non-technical language and also that I can't refer you to a source.
For walls on a small building I had originally thought to use hempcrete, but having a lumberyard nearby, sawdust and wood shavings would be easy to obtain, so I'm wondering whether to put the effort into finding a hurd supplier.
Does anyone have opinion or experience or advice re wood vs hemp?
I've got books on hempcrete but haven't found as much on wood slip, so pointers to web or print resources would also be most welcome.
I'm attaching photos of the wood products available to me.
To clarify one clarification, I think that the number of ~250 lbs was referring to a hypothetical box of household goods. Looking at it now it seems that the point was to pay attention to *where* the weight is, ie "distribution of weight or where it is located and how effectively it is transferred to load bearing walls/foundations."
Seems like that could still use a bit of clarification. Does 20 lbs / sq ft not mean that you could put 20 lbs on every sq ft? Ah, that clarifies it for me. It was probably an awkward unclear attempt to explain the simple and obvious principle that you shouldn't think that 20 lbs / sq ft in a 100 sq ft space would allow you to put a single small-but-heavy 2000 lb weight at the point of weakest support.
Actually it was difficult for me at the time to focus on the technical info that particular poster was asserting because it took so much effort just to imagine a positive intention on his part, given the intense sneering tone his posts originally had, before the numerous edits he subsequently made (8 - 25 edits per post) that have resulted in the exchange now sounding fact-based, and even useful.
After calling me stupid clueless numerous times, stating confidently that my house was definitely going to fall down crushing small children *and* it was going to burn down while the firefighters stood aside and laughed, he went, I found out later, to a thread of which I was unaware, to complain that I hadn't thanked him enough!
https://permies.com/t/160/54594#455443 (also intensively edited to sound less hostile)
I'm glad that at the time I made the effort to not respond in kind, because I think people since then may have benefited from this thread. It's had over 20,000 views!
By the way, it's not unusual for hempcrete builders to embed a timber frame in the walls, ie the hempcrete completely surrounds the posts. I haven't heard of anyone doing this with slipclay, and wouldn't plan on it without further research, since lime and clay are very different, but if it can be done then it has a big advantage in eliminating thermal bridging thus raising the effective insulative value of the wall as a whole. Probably only for those without code or mortgage, and/or outside the US.
To return to the topic of the thread, apparently yes it is possible to insulate roofs/attics with light clay straw, IF the frame is strong enough for the weight, which probably rules it out as a retrofit on most existing homes. To use it on a building strong enough for it, one strategy might be to start with the advice in hempcrete books (there are only a few at this time) for hempcrete rafter insulation, then get advice from a *friendly* expert to adapt those methods to account for the differences between hempcrete and lechtleim.
Best of luck to all owner-builders.
In response to Eric's request for more print sources, I would suggest this book:
John Burke and Kaj Halberg
Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty
which explores the possibility that megalithic sites, of which there are hundreds in the northeastern US (at one time incorrectly identified as "colonial root cellars"), and thousands in the British isles and France, may have been constructed to enhance seed fertility, specifically increasing percentage of germination even of older seed, speeding growth, increasing size at maturity and disease resistance compared to untreated seed. The ancient technology, they contend, utilized natural magnetic properties of certain types of stone, and water, combined with discontinuities in the earth's electromagnetic field at ground level, enhanced by the sun at certain astronomical alignments. They discuss their own research putting these principles into practice.
As I lent out the book I can't look at it now but I believe it has a bibliography.
The person to whom I lent it has a megalithic structure on his property in western Mass and he says that he finds the book's arguments persuasive and they seem to fit the facts on his ground. It's a subject relevant to ordinary permaculturists as most of us have rocks, water, varied terrain and a not-unlimited budget for seeds.
I've gotten some salvaged stove pipe to use in an rmh. The instructions I'm following specify 26 gauge and I'd like to follow a proven design as closely as possible.
I *think* it's 26 gauge but can't be 100% sure. This is just 2 5-foot lengths; the other pieces I have I know definitely are 26 gauge.
What would be the ramifications if those 2 pieces are actually 30 gauge?
Can I afford to take a chance on it? I haven't seen a discussion of this anywhere but if there is one, a pointer to it would be appreciated.
If the heat riser is one the vacuum formed ceramic fiber heat riser described on Brian Kopp's thread, is a ceramic blanket still necessary, or not necessary but still a good thing, or completely useless?
If I'm going to use one I should order it now as I have most everything else.
I have several piles of small trees and branches cut 6 momths ago or less.
Can I burn these this winter?
Also, I know it seems obvious what to do -- cut the leaves off, cut to stove length, stack it off ground under cover -- but I'm wondering what's the minimum I can do and still have it usable next winter. IE, will a brushpile have stove-worthy wood next winter if I do nothing to it at all? I need to prioritize other tasks right now as much as possible.
Collecting materials for my first rmh, I obtained ~80 bricks and 15 firebricks salvaged from a fireplace which had been built in the 70's. They've been outside uncovered on pallets for a few months. This means, I assume, that they're not completely dry.
How can I prepare them for use ie dry them, and how will I know they're ready to use? I don't currently have electricity or an oven, though if necessary I can impose on friends or relatives.
Short version of my question: Can I substitute a concrete block foundation instead of a poured concrete slab under an rmh?
Re-stated with context:
A small guesthouse building, not yet built, on skids so it can be moved in the spring.
I'd like to heat it with an rmh this winter. I'm trying to find the best way to properly support the rmh with its own foundation. I understand that a 4" concrete slab would be appropriate, but for ~5'x10' that's impractical for me to construct. So I'm hoping I could use concrete blocks instead.
I have the new rmh builder's guide and the 4 videos but haven't fully studied them yet. What I know so far is that it will be a 6" system because I already have a 6" ID heat riser and 20' of 6" metalbestos chimney. I wasn't going to start on the rmh build or even its plan yet, but it seems to make sense to do its foundation now and place the building around it.
Ideally I'd want to set those concrete blocks side by side into a 5'x10' rectangle below grade on a few inches of gravel but not not mortar them together; that way it would be more moveable next year but it sounds less strong. Or maybe just mortar the perimeter blocks?
As I said, I haven't got all the details yet. The "Annex Heater" seems the closest fit so I will probably follow those plans as closely as possible.
My question right now is the suitability of a support pad made of concrete blocks and whether they must be mortared together or filled with concrete.
Two basic models have been articulated so far: a few very often, trusted helpers, with deeper relationships, or more kids rotating through in more piecemeal fashion, perhaps for a fee. Both seem to fir the OPs ideas of sharing our abundance (and perhaps the two should be better thought of as on a continuum.)
That's one axis for us to think about. What more choices are there to consider, relating to the OP's idea?
It's possible to combine those two, as is often the case for adult activities, in a two-tier system. Like college classes where you can only attend advanced after passing introductory.
A Level One that's more income-producing, and a Level Two that's less structured, more relationship-building.
For example, "Basic" events, or "Experience the Farm" ie Level One, for first-timers. Short, sampler-type, with catchy names, paid events.
At these events,
1. close observation/supervision
2. a clear and emphatic "Farm Safety" lecture/experience, eg "... and that's why we always close gates. Now let's see who can close a gate properly."
3. AND a non-announced challenge trial, ie an planned opportunity for them to display undesirable behaviors.
For example, after the safety lecture explaining why not to climb on hay bales, at some point the adult seems to be not paying attention when there are bales nearby.
Preferably a similar opportunity for each potential problem.
You don't ever explain to children or parents that there are tests, that kids are passing/flunking.
Though you can say at the start that safety rules are very important and those who master them will be able to become Level Two attendees, maybe "Farm Helpers".
At the end of the event, children who have passed every test receive a certificate of "farm safety awareness" and are qualified to attend Level Two events.
Parents of children who have flunked one or more tests are handed an info sheet which has an explanatory paragraph for each potential area of concern,
with a check-mark next to the area(s) this child hasn't yet mastered, and invited (or not) to attend future level one events.
Children with behavior issues could attend with an adult helper as a team, and the team as a whole gets a certificate or not,
and if invited to advanced events it's clearly stated the invitation applies to the team, not the child unaccompanied.
Might be a litttle late for the original poster, but could work for anyone.
R Scott, the farmers' perspective is always important, and it's helpful to have actual numbers. I was hoping I might be able to order bales as early as possible, but hadn't been able to find them. I'm not yet in the area so that makes it harder. I had wanted to do this even a year in advance but found nothing at the time I was looking. And I would have arranged to pick them up.
I just discovered that when I started looking for bale sources I must have been way too early or a little too late in the year, because now availability is starting to appear in the Straw List, http://www.hayexchange.com/straw.php ,
just not in the area codes that would benefit me, ideally 802 (VT), or 603 NH, even 413 western MA or 518 western NY state, possibly 483,450, 514, 579 in canada though I'd have to look into what's involved in buying there and bringing it across the border. There were actually 2 sources listed in 450 area code with 3x3 bales, ie somewhat larger than what I had wanted, maybe these are the square bales mentioned by David?, I'll have to look into that further.
Erica, I'm so glad to hear about Lasse Holmes!
I myself came up with that idea recently, to dry some claystraw and then put dry bricks of it inside fresh walls.
I always say, when I invent something that other people have already been using for years, it's sign that I'm on the right track :-)
Do you know if he has any more info about it available online or otherwise? All I found from him online was rmh related. It would be great to go up to alaska to learn directly but that's not possible for me at the moment.
My main questions to start with are how thick can the outer claystraw be, considering that it will only be exposed to air on one side?
What if anything to put between bricks --not fresh claystraw as it might be impossible for it to dry there?
And what has he learned about ideal thickness of bricks and drying time etc?
I've also thought about doing regular formwork claystraw walls, then spend that winter making and drying bricks, then in the following summer add a layer of dried bricks on the inside, to double the thickness of the walls.
This would involve refraining from plastering the interior that first winter, but that might happen anyway.
I've been hearing that straw bales for building are becoming more scarce and expensive, due to farmers switching to round bales.
Anyone know if this is true?
Anyone got specific leads on straw sources?
What is the likelihood I'd be able to get straw bales enough for a small house this summer in New England?
I'm actually considering light clay straw (or woodchip clay, which I haven't yet learned much about) as an alternative, since it seems to me that the timing is less stringent than for strawbales.
IE, I'd have to wait for the new harvest of straw in late summer, then work quickly to get the walls up and the exterior plaster on, before they can be rained on.
Whereas for claystraw I could start the walls right away as soon as the foundation and roof are done, using straw from round bales cut last year.
Also the actual labor of putting the claystraw into forms might be more suited to my physical strength than having to lift and carry all those bales, mostly by myself, in a short period of time.
But since I put a lot of time into learing about strawbale, I'd like to think it through one more time before making a final decision either way.
Thanks Terry for your input. I found the answer to my question elsewhere, apparently the numbers offered, $25-35 per sq ft includes no construction at all, just a design on paper. Well worth it I'm sure especially if required by mortgager.
I didn't find the answer to my question about what you meant about smoke spread, but that is not a priority for me to research right now. Sizing the rmh is not a problem so I don't require manual j calculations nor a simulation model like BEOPT to determine HVAC loads, but thanks for asking if I know how to do it, that was very helpful.
@Roberto, thanks for more anecdotal evidence, much appreciated!
@Terry, thanks for practical suggestions. There may be readers of this thread who could benefit from them.
I'm sure the local well-known experts would give great advice and develop excellent designs.
Yes, I am familiar with yestermorrow's catalog, and I learned a lot from studying books and articles by some of their builders when I thought I'd be doing strawbale walls (a plan I haven't completely given up, but I'm leaning more toward straw slip or woodchip slip at the moment).
Yes their skill set is high and their work is enviable, and if I were looking for a company to hire to design/build/accessorize a fabulous latest-technology natural house, I would not need to look far.
Perhaps I haven't made it clear that I don't have a mortgage, nor the equivalent in cash, which means I am not the customer those design/build companies are set up to serve. It's great that so many people can have a good livelihood through natural building in a mostly-rural area. I'm happy for them. My project, however, will have to proceed in a more modest fashion.
Thanks also for the numbers on your pricing as a designer/builder. I'm curious what that includes. Is that for a "move-in ready" house including interior walls, kitchen cabinets, light fixtures etc? My real question is, how enormous is the difference between what I'm trying to do, and what is considered "ordinary". My plan so far is only for the house shell --foundation, frame, roof, walls, windows, doors, and rmh-- the rest will have to come later. What do you consider a reasonable price range for such a "barebones" house shell (excluding the rmh of course)?
I had originally put a 12/12 roof in the plan because that's traditional in my area, and it made sense to me for shedding snow. However I've been re-thinking that, maybe it wasn't just for snow, maybe those old-time owner-builders might have been more influenced by the ease of calculation that 12/12 offers than I need to be. Your suggestion of 8/12 sounds good, or maybe 9/12. I've been told that the ideal pitch at this latitude for solar panels is 7/12, but I think that's not quite steep enough, and anyway I'm not sure I'd want them up where it would be so hard to clean the snow and ice off them.
Do you use hempcrete? What I read about it a while back sounded appealing, but I thought availability here was a few years down the road.
Were you saying that mineral wool is bad because it encourages smoke spread?
I will study that paragraph, "In your climate zone ... " Thanks for the details on how you would do it.
Your point about information from different climates is so important. When I was researching strawbale, I saw so many beautiful houses in the hot dry southwestern US, but I knew I had to focus on info and examples from New England and Canada. As you said, Vermont does have a concentration of natural builders who publish. There's a surprisingly large strawbale building industry in Ontario, but they seem to spend their time building rather than teaching and writing.
I don't know if anyone at yestermorrow is teaching full-time, but I'm sure you're worth $200,000 for a couple of courses. :-)
If that doesn't work out maybe you'd want to bring that concept to your own area, why not teach what you know and gather others with complementary expertise? Yestermorrow seems focused on consumers, you could do the same and/or teach people already in the construction business, you already know the mind-set and speak the language. Not everyone wants to travel to vermont to learn. Being more centrally located would be an advantage.
Thanks James! That rules out wet wattles against cob in a wetter, cooler, less windy climate, as I suspected.
I have considered drying some claystraw in advance. I was thinking of blocks, but maybe wattles could work.
Have you ever done this?
Can you give an estimated weight for a dry 10' wattle? And would that be 12" diameter round?
Would a 10' length actually hold together for carrying and placement?
I may be able make some in advance in a nearby location, before my foundation and frame are done,
and given the long drying time necessary and the short building season, it seems worth considering.
Every week counts.
I am planning straight walls.
If some wattles were made and dried in advance, what would be the best way for me to combine them with others made and dried in-place,
given that I won't have desert sun and wind to dry the ones made in place? IE, they'd need to be open to the air on both sides.
Maybe layer it vertically?, some dry then some fresh etc.
Hmmm, maybe a core of pre-dried, with 2-3" of fresh wet claystraw on either side?
That thin it would dry okay if only open to air on one side? What do you think?
Have you got any idea what would be the optimum thickness of an outer crust sandwiching pre-dried wattles?
Thin enough to dry well but thick enough to glue the wall into a single unit.
Oooh, then the wall could exceed the traditional 12" limit, even up to the width of strawbales.
Wow, this might be a way to approach the insulative value of strawbale walls without risking mold.
Lori, before you rule out Washington, I'd suggest you look into the area of Sequim.
It's in the "rain shadow", ie the rain bypasses it, and I've heard that it's sunny, though I haven't been there.
I've also heard that there are lots of retirees, so there'd be services and peers.
And it's a reasonable distance to Seattle, where there are lots of hospitals and clinics and doctors.
What I saw of Silverdale, which I think is also in the rainshadow, looked bicycle-friendly-ish.
And there is public transport in the area.
It would be easier to visit from where you are than the east coast is, not to mention a shorter move.
I'm about to move from western Wash to the east coast, and if all else were equal I'd choose a move of hundreds of miles over one of three thousand.
I'm currently not too far from there (though I'm in the clouds and rain),
and it seems to me that there are a lot of owner-builders, gardeners, diy'ers and preparedness-ers around,
surely some of them must be of the permaculture persuasion.
I have family in rural western Mass.
There are beautiful small towns, but I wouldn't call it inexpensive, unless maybe compared to california.
Even with the gigantic sales tax here, I've found living in WA easier than in MA.
Don't underestimate the expense and effort of winter in a snowy/icy climate.
I'm older than you and I'm about to move 3000 miles then build.
I can't say I'm extremely confident, but it will work out one way or another. :-)
Hi James, thanks for the report on these very interesting innovations.
I myself had been interested in hyperwattle walls but couldn't find much info or reports of practical experience.
Sure it is a simple technique, but even simple techniques have "gotchas" that I'd rather read about than experience myself, lol.
I have a question about your hyperwattle insulation.
Everything I've read so far says that a clay-straw wall should dry for several months during which time it needs to be open to the air on both sides.
In the video it looks like you applied fresh wet wattles directly against the earthmass walls.
Of course the drying guidelines were developed by tradition in germany where the strawclay technique originated; maybe in the hot dry climate in which you were building drying happens much faster?
Maybe there are drying guidelines specific to desert conditions that I haven't noticed, since I'll be building in cold damp New England.
Another question, had you also mechanized the filling of the wattle bags?
@David, yes, required thickness is the question.
If the optimum insulative value of 1.6 or so per inch could be achieved, or more accurately if *I* could achieve it, then it seems it might be feasible.
@Rebecca, thanks for the personal experience. It's one thing to hear that it might be possible, very different to know that it has been done.
As a novice builder, not expert at anything and also underfunded, I pay close attention to the experiments, successes and failures of others, in addition to the the advice of conventional experts.
@Terry, thanks for chiming in, I greatly appreciate your casting an expert eye over my amateur speculations.
I didn't understand " 13 –lbs/ft3 and a 6”x23”x24” block does not add up." Do you mean my math is wrong? That wouldn't surprise me.
I had been imagining a block 6 inches thick and approximately 2 or 3 feet square.
If 13 lbs per cubic foot is incorrect, what is the correct number for weight? I didn't completely follow your calculations, can you dumb it down a little?
This is an as-yet-unbuilt timber frame, with a "cold" roof, which I understand to mean vented roof with insulation on the attic floor. I understand that the attic would need to be ventilated to prevent humidity build up. No plans or pictures yet. I'm at the stage where I'm trying to get a rough idea of the price of each element, before I can even settle on a size, 24x32 would be ideal but it might have to be much smaller. It will definitely be a simple square or rectangle, probably a 12/12 metal roof. Location northern VT.
I think you are saying that 20 lbs per sq foot is not unreasonable for some buildings. I'm just trying to get a "ballpark" idea whether an ordinary timber frame house could hold the amount of weight it would involve.
Thanks Tobias for the suggestion of adding plaster, I'll think about that.
Plaster could probably be added later.
I'll be lucky to get the house enclosed before winter, so I appreciate having a plan that includes steps that can be put off till after the outer walls are finished.
I don't know how reliable the weight figures I found are, and of course it would depend on the exact proportions of straw and clay. I would be aiming for the lightest possible for this purpose.
Perhaps more research can make the numbers more definite. I've only just started to read up on clay-straw.
I like the idea of blocks being movable / removable, and thus would prefer not to cement them together.
But that's just general principle, don't make something immovable unless it needs to be, I don't have any particular reason for thinking they'd need to be moved.
Maybe 2 or 3 layers of 6" thick blocks with staggered seams? Would the lack of mortaring make that much difference if they were tightly packed?
And thinner blocks would dry faster too, a big plus. Maybe even thinner than 6", but then they'd need to be smaller so as to not fall apart when moved from drying place to final installation. And smaller blocks means more seams.
I'm a little slow with metric measures, I'm glad you're doing the conversions.
Thanks Ionescu for correcting my assumption that light clay straw would weigh less than straw bales.
The numbers I found, in case anyone else needs them:
Dry straw bales (moisture content below 20%) weigh 7-9 pounds per cubic foot (pcf)
Slip straw weighs ~13 lbs / cu ft
If I remembered where exactly I found those figures I would include the references.
@Dillon, that bit of encouragement was very much appreciated!
This is the first good news I've had in my building plan in a while.
@Ionel, the links are so useful, thank you for sharing them, just what I needed.
@Tobias, I will keep you updated, if I follow through on this.
If I can through reporting problems I encounter help other people avoid those same problems, great.
If I can report happy successes, even better!
Now I just have to find out if an extra ~6000 lbs in the attic is reasonable.
For insulation that would sit on the floor of an unheated attic, I would like roxul, but it looks unaffordable, and I'm very much not interested in fiberglass or foam.
I know the usual recommendation is cellulose, but I'm wondering if it would be possible to use straw, ie slip straw, light clay straw.
I understand that straw bales would be too heavy, and loose straw would be a fire hazard. Wouldn't clay straw be light enough and fire-resistant enough?
Couldn't I make blocks of it, say 2'x3'x12", dry them thoroughly, then install them in the attic?
If I should give up this idea, thanks for telling me why.
Dale, that's the one aspect of this that I already had solid info on, that the state issues the permit.
Until I talked to the state guy, though, I didn't realize that well and septic are same permit, a single "design".
That is useful info about composting toilet reducing septic size by 25%, I thought that they ignored composting toilets entirely.
I'm pretty sure I want the smallest size septic already, but maybe this means I should increase the number of bedrooms in the permit,
thus being ready for future expansion when I win the lottery.
You said pm you so I will, about the cost of the permit/plan.
Thanks Brett, you've given me even more of the detailed info that may, I hope, help me keep this phase from consuming the whole of my building budget.
(I'll admit I've been having visions of living in an unplastered 25 sqft hut, um I mean "toolshed" beside an unused gloriously compliant septic mound.)
I will study all the suggestions I've received in this thread.
I've already mastered playing stupid, lol, but it is advice to remember in my hypothetical well-informed future.
"Acting as my own general contractor" is a phrase I needed, and fixed-price bids vs estimates vs hourly , wow!
Thanks all for your responses, especially Travis who adressed the question I actually asked. I am going to think about that info as I go forward, talk to designers & contractors and make a plan.
Cheaper rock is something I wouldn't have thought to ask about, and I may be able to find someone other than a contractor who can dig an installation hole. It hadn't even occurred to me to have the work done by someone other than the company that made the design.
Brett, that was so kind of you to write up the do it yourself details, but don't worry, I think your info probably wouldn't help me, as I couldn't do much digging on my own, and the design and the soil analysis have to be done by a licensed person, and. Still it might help someone else if/when you get around to writing it again so I hope you do at some point.
(I feel for you, I just re-wrote an email for the 3rd time for a book discussion I've been having with a friend, and I can hardly describe how tired I am of my own ideas after re-phrasing them twice :-) )
I may have been freaking out a bit when I first realized how much this unnecessary-to-me septic was likely going to unavoidably cost, every bit of that coming out of the building budget which I had been hoping to spend on construction details that would actually benefit me, such as foundation, roof and walls. But I will settle for whatever I have to, so it will all be all right.
Anyone familiar with hyper wattle? I had settled on strawbale as the best solution for my house, for its insulation value (because it gets cold in northern VT, and I'm NOT interested in SIP's), but the hyper wattle sounds appealing. The wattles would be more suited to my strength, and sourcing straw might be less demanding ie I assume I could use straw from round bales. I'm wary of a building method that is so new that there is not a lot of documentation available, no reports of successes and failures, step-by-step for novices, problem-solving guides, do's & don'ts, nor a pool of experienced experts for problem consultation. Still, wattle and daub as a general method has been around for a long time, it's just the plastic mesh part that's new (and maybe putting clay inside the wattles?), so I'm inclined to go with it anyway. But I do have a few questions:
-- The info I've seen says that it's for regions without snow, but they're talking about load-bearing walls, and I'd be using it as infill -- I assume that's okay even in a high-snow area, but I want to be 100% sure (maybe there's a few things about construction that I don't know, so my assumptions could be way off :-).
--Insulation value cited was R-3. Is this total, or per inch?
--Any comments or suggestions are welcome.
I intend to start building this year on land that I own in Lamoille County VT, a small strawbale timberframe lime-plastered house on rubble trench foundation, with a rocket mass heater.
(This weekend's intensive reading of permies is causing me to question whether I should look into raised foundations and light clay straw, but that's a whole different question.)
Though I'm usually pretty good at online research, I can't seem to find the answer to this question: How to keep costs down for septic permit and septic install?
Or maybe the question is, *is* there any way?
I intend to use a humanure toilet, and won't have an enormous amount of greywater (I've lived without running water, not that I'm eager to do that again), so I'd likely skip the septic altogether if that were allowed, and instead focus on processing greywater, but it seems there's no way around it, so, okay, having septic means I can put off the greywater research till after house building is finished. The more simple the building process, the better.
I've been told that I need to hire a soil engineer to do a perc test and a soil test (town permit just mentions perc test, but state permit specifies both).
And apparently a backhoe and backhoe operator will need to be hired to dig holes for the testing.
I looked at the websites of some local companies that do this, and the going rate looks like ~$1000 altogether.
I'm reluctant to talk to these businesses because they seem to be geared to McMansion homebuyers, and my budget is more like just above shack level.
I looked in the state permit database hoping to get some clues about how easily permits were issued and what companies people in my neighborhood were using, but I did not find any permits for new construction septic for any of my neighbors, though it seemed to me there should have been, the houses aren't that old.
I can't just go and talk to the neighbors who built most recently because I'm currently on the West Coast, and the only ones I have email/phone contact with bought a pre-existing house.
(Though I will talk to them about their experience in re-locating their well.)
My next step will be cold calling the companies on the list given to me by the town clerk's office. I was hoping I could be prepared with the right words or phrases that would help them treat this as the routine simple local job it ought to be. I've heard some horror stories from other states about innocents being forced into expensive septic alternatives.
Anyone got experience or expertise that can guide me in finding my way through this process?
Thanks for any constructive advice or suggestions.