REGULATIONS REGARDING ECO-TOILETS
310 CMR 15
Disposal of Compost Residuals
The compost residuals from a composting toilet potentially contain human pathogens (disease organisms). Therefore, any one of the following methods are required to ensure the residuals are properly disposed:
- Disposed of by burial under 6 inches of soil (current MA law).
- The buried compost material may be used as fertilizer under trees, shrubs and ornamentals, but cannot be used in a vegetable garden.
- Removed by a licensed septage hauler (current MA law)
- Processed by additional controlled composting to become pathogen free and ready for all agricultural uses. Falmouth is considering a community scale composting facility (such as an Ecodrum) that could convert this compost to a fertilizer safe for all uses, including human food production.
- Contained and stored for two years to deactivate human pathogens, after which it is ready for all agricultural uses
For more information please go to:
310 CMR 15.002
Alternative Systems – Systems designed to provide or enhance on-site sewage disposal which either do not contain all of the components of an on-site disposal system constructed in accordance with 310 CMR 15.100 through 15.255 or which contain components in addition to those specified in 310 CMR 15.100 through 15.255 and which are proposed to the local Approving Authority and/or the Department for remedial, pilot, provisional, or general use approval pursuant to 310 CMR 15.280 through 15.289.
310 CMR 15.002
Humus/Composting Toilet – A self-contained system consisting of a composter with a separate toilet fixture from which no liquid or solid waste materials are discharged to the surface or subsurface environment and from which a humus/compost-like end product is produced. Such systems may be used in accordance with the provisions of 310 CMR 15.289.
Nitrogen Sensitive Area – An area of land and/or natural resource area so designated by the Department in accordance with 310 CMR 15.215.
On-site System or Disposal System or On-site Subsurface Sewage Disposal System or System – A system or series of systems for the treatment and disposal of sanitary sewage below the ground surface on a facility.
(a) The standard components of a system are: a building sewer; a septic tank to retain solids and scum; a distribution system; a soil absorption system containing effluent distribution lines to distribute and treat septic tank effluent prior to discharge to appropriate subsurface soils; and a reserve area.
(b) These terms also include tight tanks, shared systems and alternative systems. Unless the text of 310 CMR 15.000 indicates otherwise, these terms also include nonconforming systems.
Sanitary Sewage or Sewage – Either greywater or blackwater or a combination of greywater and blackwater from domestic, commercial and other non-industrial sources. Sanitary sewage does not include stabilized waste.
Sanitary Sewer – Any system of pipes, conduits, pumping stations, force mains and all other structures and devices used for collecting and conveying wastewater to a public or private treatment works.
310 CMR: DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
15.289: Humus/Composting Toilets
(1) Humus/CompostingToiletsarecertifiedforgeneralusesubjecttothefollowingconditions: (a) There shall be no liquid wastewater discharge from the humus/composting toilet. If the humus/composting toilet produces a liquid by-product that is not recycled through the toilet, the liquid by-product is either:
1. discharged through a greywater system on the facility that includes a septic tank and leaching system; or 2. removed by a licensed septage hauler and properly disposed.
Any other disposal of a liquid by-product requires specific approval by the Department. (b) If there is a greywater discharge designed in accordance with 310 CMR 15.262 or a discharge from a drain equipped with a garbage grinder from the facility, there shall be a septic tank and a soil absorption system designed in accordance with 310 CMR 15.262(1)(a). A filter system specifically approved by the Department for that purpose may be used in place of the septic tank, provided that there is no discharge of garbage grinder waste or of liquid by-product from the composting toilet to the greywater system. For publicly used state and federal facilities at which the only sources of greywater are handwashing sinks, janitorial basins and drinking water fountains, the Department may approve a design flow for the greywater system based on water meter readings from the same or similar facilities with a safety factor to assimilate maximum daily flows. An existing cesspool may serve as a leaching pit for these purposes where:
1. the cesspool is pumped and cleaned when the other components of the system are installed;
2. the bottom of the cesspool does not extend below the high groundwater elevation as determined by a Soil Evaluator in accordance with 310 CMR 15.103(3);
3. the cesspool meets the design criteria of 310 CMR 15.253 (pits, chambers, and galleries) with respect to effective depth, separation between units, and inspection access, or the cesspool is replaced by a precast concrete leaching pit meeting those requirements; and
4. the hydraulic loading requirements of 310 CMR 15.242 (effluent loading rates) are
satisfied; and (c) The system shall be designed to store compostable and composted solids for at least two years, unless otherwise is approved by the Department. Residuals from the system shall be disposed of either:
a. by burial on-site or in another manner and location approved by the local Approving Authority, covered with a minimum of six inches of clean compacted earth; or b. by a licensed septage hauler.
(2) Humus/Composting Toilets are certified for general use in new construction for residential facilities subject to the conditions set forth at 310 CMR 15.289(1)(a), where a system in full compliance with 310 CMR 15.000 could otherwise be installed on the site.
(3) For commercial and public facilities or private organizations, humus/composting toilets are certified for general use subject to the conditions at 310 CMR 15.289(1)(a) without the need to demonstrate that a system in full compliance with 310 CMR 15.000 could otherwise be installed on the site.
15.305: Deadlines for Completion of Upgrades
(1) If a system is failing to protect public health, safety, welfare or the environment as set forth in 310 CMR 15.303(1) or 15.304(1), the owner or operator shall upgrade the system within two years of discovery unless:
(a) a shorter period of time is set by the local Approving Authority or the Department based upon the existence of an imminent health hazard; or (b) the continued use of the system is permitted by the local Approving Authority in accordance with the provisions of an enforceable schedule for upgrade. Bases for continued use include, but are not limited to, proposals to connect to a sanitary sewer or shared system. A fiscal commitment to the sewering plan or shared system plan, together with an approved facility plan where appropriate, proposing connection or replacement of the failing system within five years, and an enforceable commitment by the owner to perform interim measures (for example, regular pumping) shall accompany any such local approval. Such approval shall expire in five years or upon the failure of the applicant for such approval to meet interim deadlines set forth in the enforceable schedule for upgrade and the plan. The Department may by specific written approval authorize the local Approving Authority to allow a longer period of time, where the municipality has provided the Department a proposed implementation schedule for design and construction and has made a demonstrated financial commitment to the construction schedule. The Department may revoke any such approval if the approved schedule is not met.
15.403: Local Upgrade Approvals
(1) The owner or operator may upgrade a failed or nonconforming system with design flows below 10,000 gpd (systems which trigger failure criteria set forth at 310 CMR 15.303) or systems with design flows of 10,000 gpd or greater but less than 15,000 gpd which fail to protect public health, safety, welfare and the environment (large systems set forth at 310 CMR 15.304(1)) pursuant to a local upgrade approval in accordance with the standards and requirements of 310 CMR 15.404 and 15.405 without obtaining variances. Local upgrade approvals for any system serving a facility owned by an agency of the Commonwealth or the federal government or systems with de
sign flows of 10,000 gpd or greater but less than 15,000 shall be granted by the Department applying the same standards. The application for a local upgrade approval shall be made using a form approved by the Department. Notification to abutters shall be provided pursuant to the process in 310 CMR 15.411(1)(b), as required by 310 CMR 15.405(2), where the application is for reduction in the setback from a property line or from a private water supply well.
(2) Local Upgrade approvals shall not be granted for upgrade proposals which include the addition of new design flows to a cesspool or privy or for the addition of new design flows above the existing approved capacity of a system constructed in accordance with the provisions of 310 CMR 15.000 or the 1978 Code.
(3) System upgrades which cannot be performed in accordance with 310 CMR 15.404 and 15.405 require a variance from the provisions of 310 CMR 15.000, which shall be processed in accordance with 310 CMR 15.410 through 15.417
310 CMR 15.504
(5) Disposal of septage at treatment works where it is dewatered and beneficially reused shall be encouraged and practiced wherever feasible.
. Alternative toilets can be installed in Title V jurisdictional areas
. Alternative Toilets are FIXTURES and must follow the rules of 248
CMR 10, and alternative toilets are systems and must also follow NSF-41
For the plumbing code, the bottom line is that any product installed as
plumbing must have a “product acceptance number”. If it doesn’t,
manufacturers can apply for one. Some sort of third-party testing is
required. OR, a property owner can apply for a variance for a single site.
Or, an entity/property owner/mfg can apply for a “test site” for more than
248 CMR 10.00 Uniform State Plumbing Code
f. Alternative Technology Toilet Systems.
- Areas subject to 310 CMR 15.00 or where sewers are unavailable innovative alternative technology toilets may be installed in place of a liquid sealed toilet. These are considered plumbing fixtures under 248 CMR 10.00 and therefore the permit requirements must be satisfied.
- The alternative technology toilet system shall be manufactured to NSF-41 standards and shall be installed in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Urinal Fixtures.
- Only pedestal urinals and wall hung urinals with integral traps shall be used.
- Urinals shall be flushed only by means of an automatic flushing tank or flushometers equipped with a back flow preventer.
- Automatic Flushing Tank. A tank that flushes more than one urinal, shall be automatic in operation; and shall be of sufficient capacity to provide the necessary water to flush and cleanse properly all urinals simultaneously.
- Materials Surrounding Urinals for Public or Semi-public Use.
- The floor areas one foot in front of the urinal lip and one foot on each side of the urinal, and the wall areas to four feet above the floor, shall be finished so as to be non-absorbent.
- Wood and fiber boards are prohibited in the above noted areas.
Every urinal shall be side shielded for privacy.
USE OF COMPOST AS FERTILIZER – BIOSOLIDS
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approves two classes of biosolids.
Class A and Class B, based on the number of detectable pathogens that they’re allowed to contain.
Class A biosolids can be used in any application without without any restrictions.
Class A biosolids— can be created through methods like heat drying and composting—can be used on most land For biosolids to qualify as Class A, they have to be treated with a method that’s been shown to “persistently reduce pathogens in biosolids,” like composting or heat drying. The resulting material must contain non-detectable levels of fecal coliform or salmonella, enteric viruses and helminth ova (i.e. parasitic worms) according to EPA-specified testing methods.
To prove they qualify as Class A or Class B, biosolids can either be tested directly for pathogens, or the sewage plants can demonstrate that they’ve used a treatment process which has been proven to achieve the required level of reduction.
Class B biosolids are treated to reduce the level of pathogens by at least 99 percent.
Class B biosolids are treated to reduce pathogens, but the only pathogen reduction requirement is for fecal coliform. Class B biosolids have regulations about where and how they can be used, including waiting periods before crops can be harvested for human consumption.
EPA doesn’t have any testing requirements for other potential contaminants like synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, pharmaceuticals, pathogens or metals not listed in the 503 guidelines, or radioactive material (which can be excreted in the urine and feces of people going through radiation therapy).
When applied to fields and forests, residual pathogens are destroyed by environmental conditions — including heat, sunlight, drying and microorganisms in the soil.
Class B biosolids may be applied to fields with a state permit. For most crops, a 30-day waiting period is required to make sure the pathogens are killed. For root crops, which come into contact with the soil, the waiting period can be as long as 38 months.
Class A biosolids start out as Class B. The material is heated to a specified temperature for a specified period of time to kill all measurable pathogens. A compost operation generally uses a lower temperature for as much as two weeks. Pasteurization is quicker, with completion in 20 minutes at 165 degrees.