I purchased and moved onto 10 forested acres in Vermont (Zone 5a) in May. I've cleared a field to set up solar (done) and as wild and foresty a garden as possible (planning).
I'm hoping for feedback about septic concerns that should inform how I locate and perhaps construct my composting system and Hugelkultur beds. What kind of perimeter should I keep from the septic system leach pipe? I will be moving to a bucket-toilet system, but would like to keep the flusher for some guests. So the septic won't be pure grey (although I'm open to that, if that's what makes possible what I hope to do).
Composting. I'd like to set up a composting bin system about 20’ south of the leach pipe. The grade in question is slight (maybe up to a foot drop in that distance). But is it still too close? I’d like to put it directly on the ground so as not to hinder worm, fungal, and microbial mobility. Or, this close to the leach pipe, should I elevate my bins?
Hugelkultur beds. I’d like to set food beds up down-grade and west of the leach field. The slope in question is fairly steep. From the middle of the leach pipe to the solar panels (about 100'), the drop is 10' - 15'.
Below are some images from SketchUp.
This is an aerial representation of the Zone of Development, north to the top. Although the contour lines aren't 100% accurate in their specific placement, each one represents a 5' altitudinal change. Below the house, just to the west, sits the garage/shop and septic tank. The solar panels are in the northwest corner. These are already in place. The beds and "permanent" composting system are not yet. I have ~30 hardwood trees and brush from the felling, some of which I will use in the beds.
This is a more 3D-ish look from west to east at the Zone of Development.
This is an aerial depiction of the 10 acres, bounded on the north and west by the dirt roads; the east and south boundaries are drawn in.
Man I wish Google would make a Sketchup for Linux, that is so cool looking.
I'm new here so I can't say with any Permaculture knowledge, but I do have a close friend that was a surface water inspector for the EPA. Plus when you apply for a permit the EPA has great material available for home owners EPA septic systems I hope that helps I know it helped me install a certified system on our house.
Thanks for the link and response, Brian Rodgers! I looked at "How to Care for Your Septic System," and it looks like I'll have to consult "a septic service professional" for advice. I'll reach in that direction, too.
But I'm also hoping for a permacultural point of view here. ;-)
Solar Station Construction Plans by Ben Peterson -- ebook