There are many eco-friendly solutions to treating sewage onsite that are superior to those mandated by law. This would include “dry” compost and “wet” flushing systems.
The EPA requires that septic tanks be built for health and to protect the ground water. Yet with septic tanks sewage is kept in a government approved container (many of which eventually disintegrate here in the tropics).
Every few years once the tank is “full”, the sewage is supposed to be drained, trucked to a facility where it is chemically treated and then disposed of, often with harmful effects on the environment, except in a different location.
What are the environmental and health benefits of that? What are the environmental costs of septic tanks in Hawaii? What happens to our sewage under current regulations?
When a project is eco based are we fighting for new standards or exemptions from existing standards? New standards mean that a whole new set of bureaucratic rules that would limit experimentation. However, Experimental eco-exemptions that prove themselves over time then be could be incorporated into existing standards.
In other words by working towards eco-experimental exemptions we give all communities room to find out what works for them as long as what they do is properly documented and justified. Then if at least 5 years pass and there are no health or safety incidents those practices can be incorporated into existing code and regulations.
Our eco-toilet is not legal according to the government due to health and environmental regulations but it has been in use since 2006 and there has not been one health problem. And we believe that we process the sewage in a way that is not harmful to the environment. However, we are always open to improvements for this is a “demonstration” eco-toilet.