Pooping in the Jungle
Having lived in the jungle for 10 years now, I have become used to the occasional odd and curious question from visitors to my home and off-grid community.
These questions can be as simple as "how did you get the fridge into the kitchen?" (this one makes me laugh as the when it comes to the kitchen, the fridge was the easiest part - getting the galvanized steel beams, cement, porcelain ceramics and fiber cement siding to the building site was way more challenging!) to "where does your power come from?" or "is it scary living there?" etc. The most common one however (as I'm sure you have guessed by now) is where does the poop go?
Usually my wife and I would explain to guests while touring our home (we rent our house on Airbnb and though our website) that the toilet paper goes into the bin rather than being flushed down the toilet, this can lead into a conversation about what, why, where and err, what?
Me exploring the jungle (post poop)
I figured it would be helpful to explain here and save some of you from feeling awkward when having to ask me how the poop situation works while locking eyes with me in the bathroom 😂
Eco-digester a.k.a septic tank
It may surprise some people but the setup is really simple and no different to many homes (even in the real world). I recently read that there are over 40,000,000 septic tanks in the U.S alone, given there are only 15 homes within our off-grid community, we really are not doing anything that different (other than putting the toilet paper in the bin).
We have flushing toilets just like normal bathrooms and the only reason we don't flush our toilet paper is to keep it all natural and do our best to avoid blocked pipes (it's not like I can call the local plumber, I am the local plumber and I'd prefer to avoid blocked pipes!). It honestly becomes 2nd nature putting the paper in the bin and its not as bad as it sounds (The only real issue is to break the habit and remember to flush it down the toilet when visiting the friends and family 😂)
I'll share below the benefits of having a septic tank . After some trial and error, we eventually found a solution where it takes care of itself...
Our septic tank is pretty closely situated to our home, it lives underground and undercover in our gardens. Most people would not want it that close but with proper maintenance, you would never even know it's there....
what about the smell you ask...keep reading (or skip to video)
Benefits of having a septic tank
Septic systems take sewage and treat it onsite often do so to such high standards that enable its reuse for applications like supplemental irrigation, so it conserves water and it’s good for the environment! This is in stark contrast to sewage systems which require power and significant amounts of resources like electricity and piping which tend to fail over time.
Septic systems can have basic designs that are often inexpensive to install and maintain. Septic systems also eliminate the cost of a water and sewer bill. If treated correctly, you will never have to empty it out and clean it.
With proper maintenance and care, your septic system will rarely need to be replaced! Septic systems can last anywhere from 20 up to 40 years!
Maintenance and the smell...
I've heard horror stories about septic tanks in the past but having lived in my off-grid community for over a decade and once being the guy the maintained my neighbors properties, I can tell you that it's really simple and easy to maintain. Not once have we ever had to pull up a tank, clean it or replace it.
We did have an issue with the smell when first installing our own septic tank (go figure) and I was concerned given we had already done all the plumping and the tank was so close to the house but after researching and trying some products, I finally found the best solution.
At first I tried some local products in Costa Rica and while they did help a little, they were rather costly and in most cases, not eco-friendly. Eventually I found this safe and non-toxic awesome product from the U.S: Septifix
What is exactly Septifix?
Septifix comes in the form of small solid tablets that are environmentally safe to treat the septic tanks at your home by destroying bad bacteria, eliminating bad odors, and preventing clogs.
Septifix is a small tablet weighing just 55 grams. But the small product packs a lot of power in it because it is a combination of 14 types of aerobic microorganisms. It contains more than ten billion strains of bacteria.
Together, this microbial combination can keep the sewage tank and connecting pipes and pumps all quite clean. Septifix works by oxygenating the contents of the tank and regulating its pH.
The product has also the ability to remove chemicals and other harmful elements from the surroundings and purify the environment.
Here comes the gross part.....(visual learning, right?)
Don't worry, thats not my poop and the best part is you don't have to actually drop these tablets into the septic, you just flush them down the toilet (in some cases, break them in half before flushing).
Elimenate odors / starts working in 3 - 5 days / 60 day full refund
How does it work?
Septifix does its cleaning process through four stages.
1. Dissolving in the medium
Once Septifix is dropped into the tank through the toilet bowl, it starts the dissolving process. As it liquefies, it discharges oxygen and sodium bicarbonate into the tank. By the time it completely dissolves, it releases about 10 liters of oxygen.
2. Balancing the pH
As the oxygen produced by the liquefaction of Septifix spreads in the tank, the sodium bicarbonate works to neutralize the pH to protect the bacteria.
3. Removing the smell
The action of oxygen on the waste materials in the septic tank has the ability to remove the foul odor in the tank. The process starts as soon as the released oxygen spreads in the tank but it is a slow process and will take at least three days or even up to five days to show the results.
4. Cleaning the tank
The spreading of oxygen in the tank destroys the anaerobic bacteria since they cannot survive in an oxygen-rich ambiance. Other harmful bacteria are also soon killed by the action of Septifix, thereby making the tank fully clean.
So there you have it, we poop just like everyone else (technically we have some incredible views most don't to enhance the experience). If you are interested in purchasing these tablets yourself, check them out here. The product comes with a no questions asked 60 day refund and free shipping.