Yep. You read it right. Dog poop.
I wish I had the capacity to write a blog on 30 Days of Clean Eating; or a 15 Day Smoothie Challenge; or heck, even a good fashion blog.
I can only write what I know. And what I know is DIY and decreasing carbon footprints. So here it goes...
I've recently gained custody of my parents 65 lb Golden Retriever/Spaniel Mix. This old gentleman is actually my dog. I adopted him when I was about 20 or so. My parents wouldn't let him move in with me citing my work habits or apartments "no pets" policy 😝. Anyway, he's back with me now, and that brings the dog count to 3.
Three dogs is a lot of poop. A. LOT. OF. POOP. Husband thought we could compost the poop, which you can technically, but not if you ever plan to use that soil for gardening food stuffs. I'm keeping my compost pile 100% "clean", so no dog poop allowed. You could throw it in the trash, but then that's I-don't-know-how-many more pounds of trash going to a landfill per year.
I did some research and found I could buy a dog waste septic system for upwards of $40-$50. These seem like a fine choice if you don't have time to do any digging. But that price.... whew. I did some more looking and found some good "How To's". I used this one in particular.
So here it goes!
I picked up a few things from the hardware store:
1 Large (11 gallon) trash bin*
1 Toilet Flange thing (optional)
2 Bags Pea Gravel
1 Shower stopper (optional)
1 Bag Septic Starter
*There was no math I could find to figure out how large a "tank" you would need. I read one thing where a woman with 4 large dogs used a 55 gallon drum. This seemed excessive. Use your best judgement. I chose a big can to be on the safe side.
The rough idea is you are creating an environment (or tank) to encourage the breakdown of waste using bacteria and yeast, so the waste can be safely absorbed into the ground water.
The "tank" should be open at the bottom, and have a small hole at the top as a "chute". Drainage holes should be drilled around the base of the can.
First dig your hole. It took me 2 days about 2 weeks apart to dig the hole. I hit a part where the soil was super hard. Luckily we had some rain, and it softened up this hard patch. I decided to bury the trashcan upside down since the bottom needs to be open, so I had to "bell" the hole a little.
Second after hole is dug, prep the can. Cut a hole in the top large enough to use as a poop chute. I got extra fancy and bought a toilet flange to put in this hole. Drill holes in the base of the can for drainage. You don't want it to collect so much water it becomes a swamp down there. I drilled to about the midway point in the can.
Third pour in a little pea gravel at the bottom of the hole, then place your upside down can in the hole
Fourth Now that the can is in the hole, pour in the pea gravel around the sides of the can. This does double duty... keeping the can from floating up should you get crazy rain, and aiding drainage.
Fifth fill in the dirt (you'll have a lot extra) around the top of the hole, partially burying the top of the can.
Sixth Add water and 1 packet of septic starter to the hole.... and poop!
You can either be resigned to having a weird looking mound with random hole in your yard, or get fancy. I used a pot we had laying around, knocked out the bottom of it, and placed the toilet flange through the pot to the hole in the trash can. I also covered the hole with a shower drain cover. No where I read said this was necessary, but I felt with as much rain as we got this spring, I didn't want mosquitos to find it a nice breeding ground. Plus, I didn't want leaves and perhaps squirrels from falling in.
Using some bricks I had laying around and a few unused pots, I turned this space into a nicer mini-garden. I might even turn it into a mini-fairy garden later, complete with plants, and mushroom houses. You could make this dog waste septic system as plain or as fancy as you want. I might add a fake plant to the bigger pot to disguise it even more! Who knows!
So there it is folks, my dog waste septic system. I'm one more step towards making my home waste-free! Total cost? $25 and a few hours out of my day.