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posted by LaminatorX on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:29AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the This-sounds-like-a-job-for-Florida-Man dept.

Xerxes writes:

"A Florida woman who has been living off the grid has had her home declared 'Unsanitary' and has until March to connect her off-the-grid home to the city water system, or face eviction."

[ED Note: Ordinances such as this are not uncommon. My own father once had a property condemned on this basis while he was in the midst of a billing dispute with a utility.]

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:36AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:36AM (#7669)

    What was she doing with her poop?

    I don't care if my neighbors don't have running water, heat, or electricity, but I do give a shit where they put their shit.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:39AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:39AM (#7673) Journal

      Could be that the authorities already know about some contamination in the ground water.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:51AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:51AM (#7686)

      There are people that compost it already. This has nothing to do with that.

      http://humanurehandbook.com/ [humanurehandbook.com]

      Not having a clean source of water is unsanitary. Composting your own poop, however, is NOT unsanitary. It is rather quite safe. FTFA,

      A city official told Channel 4 that the municipal government is willing let her stay in the home if she can prove conditions are sanitary. The city was willing to compromise because of adverse publicity and a local attorney who was willing to take Speronis’s case on a pro bono or free basis.

      FWIW, if she wants to live off-grid, she shouldn't be living in a city. A city is a grid in itself and you are not quite self-reliant anyway.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:05AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:05AM (#7691)

        Please make <quote> work, or something similar. thanks!

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by demonlapin on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:11AM

          by demonlapin (925) on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:11AM (#7724) Journal
          <blockquote> works.
          • (Score: 2) by TheloniousToady on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:08AM

            by TheloniousToady (820) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:08AM (#7768)

            Though I've retrained myself to do that, I still miss just "quote" (sniffle). Typing the extra "block" is the kind of stuff that matters to us nerds.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:24AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:24AM (#7849)

              I'm sure this will be fixed in time, at least if it's reported on the bug tracker.

              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:17AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:17AM (#7854)

                <blockquote> is HTML. <quote> isn't.
                I wouldn't consider non-inclusion of <quote> a bug, or adding it a fix. If anything, add support for <q>. That's standard HTML, and it's even shorter!

                Anyway, if you're too lazy to type <blockquote> you can also simply copy/paste it from "Allowed HTML" below.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by RedBear on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:21AM

        by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:21AM (#7699)

        There are people that compost it already. This has nothing to do with that.

        http://humanurehandbook.com/ [humanurehandbook.com]

        Not having a clean source of water is unsanitary. Composting your own poop, however, is NOT unsanitary. It is rather quite safe. FTFA,

        A city official told Channel 4 that the municipal government is willing let her stay in the home if she can prove conditions are sanitary. The city was willing to compromise because of adverse publicity and a local attorney who was willing to take Speronis’s case on a pro bono or free basis.

        FWIW, if she wants to live off-grid, she shouldn't be living in a city. A city is a grid in itself and you are not quite self-reliant anyway.

        I would argue that your last assertion is bogus and silly. There is no good reason anyone should be forced to be dependent on public infrastructure for their home just because they live in a city. In fact the exact opposite is true. If even a fairly small percentage of dwellings in cities were partially or completely independent of the grid it would take a tremendous amount of pressure off of city utilities whenever something (like a big storm) temporarily brings down that public infrastructure. If every tenth house on the block is an Earthship-type home where the neighbors could go for shelter/heat/power/clean water during an adverse event, the city could focus on taking care of far fewer people in an emergency. So I'd say that people living off grid in cities is something that cities should actually be encouraging. Just because you're dependent on having gas stations and grocery stores nearby doesn't mean you need to be 100% dependent on having public water/power/sewer to your house.

        Earthships. Mike Reynolds and others have been demonstrating for decades that it's completely unnecessary to be connected to public utilities in order to live in perfectly sanitary conditions. A little solar power, some filtered rainwater, an indoor greenhouse and a septic tank for overflow, and you're fine. Pretty cool stuff. Of course, Reynolds got burned by the authorities in Arizona for building a subdivision that wasn't connected to public utilities and they forced him to run utilities for the entire subdivision to conform with regulations, even though nobody living there had any use for city power/water/sewer. But what he did in Arizona sparked a lot of debate that has been changing local regulations in a lot of areas all over the country in recent years. Many places now explicitly exempt self-sufficient housing from being forced to connect to public infrastructure.

        Look up "Garbage Warrior" on YouTube if you want to know more, or visit the site below.

        http://earthship.com/ [earthship.com]

        --
        ¯\_ʕ◔.◔ʔ_/¯ LOL. I dunno. I'm just a bear.
        ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ
        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Mesa Mike on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:52AM

          by Mesa Mike (2788) on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:52AM (#7732)

          Water is the big issue.
          In a city, it's not common to have water rights with your city lot.
          That includes rain water, and some municipalities have prosecuted rain water collectors.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @07:25AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @07:25AM (#7838)

            I used to live in Southern California, where fresh water is a BIG issue. There were regular droughts, and periodic campaigns to get people to water their lawns less, drain their pools, and wash their cars at least half as frequently.

            I found it absurd that what little rain we DID get was simply allowed to run off the rooftops, into the gutter, down the storm drain and to the bay. What a waste.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @12:37AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03 2014, @12:37AM (#9838)

          "where the neighbors could go for shelter/heat/power/clean water during an adverse event,"

          When an adverse even does occur those self sufficient people better have plenty of ammunition because they are going to be looted up and down by everyone.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by geb on Thursday February 27 2014, @11:08AM

        by geb (529) on Thursday February 27 2014, @11:08AM (#7891)

        Composting may be perfectly sensible and hygienic if your objective is only to dispose of shit, but if you intend to use the compost it is a different matter. If you are using it anywhere near food crops, there are additional risks that are much more difficult to manage.

        Parasites just love to sneak into edible plants if they can. It takes a long, long time held in isolation to guarantee that there's nothing infectious still living in your compost. Parasitic worms tend not to be as passive as bacteria too. They make an active effort to move around into new and interesting places.

        This would not be a problem for somebody living alone, but it could be a problem for neighbours, guests, or even customers if they sell homegrown food.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by cmn32480 on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:49AM

      by cmn32480 (443) <cmn32480NO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:49AM (#7731) Journal

      From TFA:

      "In court, city officials argued that Speronis used city-owned drains for waste disposal but didn't pay for the service. The city capped her sewer in response, which stopped Speronis from using the city's wastewater management system."

      She was using the city sewer (for free), and since it got capped, she has no way to get rid of the sewage. She SHOULD be required to either put in a real septic system, or put her house on the grid for water and sewer. Why should she be able to use for free what the rest of us pay to maintain?

      --
      "It's a dog eat dog world, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear" - Norm Peterson
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by SixGunMojo on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:56AM

        by SixGunMojo (509) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:56AM (#7791)

        She was using the city sewer (for free), and since it got capped, she has no way to get rid of the sewage. She SHOULD be required to either put in a real septic system, or put her house on the grid for water and sewer. Why should she be able to use for free what the rest of us pay to maintain?

        I don't how they bill water and sewage where she lives but my parents (who live just north of Orlando) have either separate bills or their water bill is broken down into two parts (don't remember which though). I don't see why it would be difficult to charge her a nominal fee for using just sewage. Except, you know, government. Thankfully for me, I have since learned the joys of living in a house with well and septic, which means no water or sewage bill period. If I could afford it I would put solar panels all over my roof and tell the electric company to go screw themselves.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by TheRaven on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:39PM

          by TheRaven (270) on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:39PM (#7939) Journal
          It's difficult to measure sewer usage, so the typical way of billing for it is some constant multiplied by the amount of water that you use. If you're getting your water from somewhere else, then this doesn't work. Having a different billing mechanism for a single customer is likely to be very expensive.
          --
          sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:12AM

        by edIII (791) on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:12AM (#7816)

        A legal argument by the city in court is not exactly what I would call a fact. They lie. Often.

        I would say you are correct if that was true, but from what I understand she has a composting system. Their argument may be as ridiculous as rainwater coming off her property, into the street, and into the sewers. Therefore, she is using the sewer.

        There is an awful lot of precedence in which utilities fight to maintain revenue simply because they wish to provide a disincentive to the process by always maintaining that cost, especially if not used.

        They argued in my area that people had to be connected to the power grid and charged for access by saying that they were forced to spend money on infrastructure that needed to be compensated.

        I'm probably biased. I fought the utilities when they tried slapping me with the previous tenants bill on a lease. After awhile in court I got all my deposits and money back from all parties, but was forced to go through the hassle of moving all my stuff in just to find myself without water. They tried the route of getting me evicted by saying it wasn't sanitary conditions. Thankfully, I was not the property owner, so I could walk away while sticking it in the utilities ass. I cost them money instead and never broke.

        That's why I have such a hard time believing your quote knowing they have the same entitlement attitude organized crime does when shifting a marker onto a relative when somebody "has an accident".

        --
        Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 1) by Kromagv0 on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:35PM

      by Kromagv0 (1825) on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:35PM (#7938) Homepage

      The most likely solutions would be a septic system [wikipedia.org] or a composting toilet [wikipedia.org].

      --
      T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:43PM (#7965)

      This is exactly the same sort of stories that have made me dislike SD over the past few years. Do we really need to have a discussion on some loon job? What do I care if she lives 'off grid' or 'on grid'. If you really want to live 'off grid' there are *plenty* of places to do that. A city is not on of them.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by boinker on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:39AM

    by boinker (2434) on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:39AM (#7672)

    Personal anecdotes with a "here's the way the world is" don't add anything to a topic. Just the facts please.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:47AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:47AM (#7680) Journal

      He points out that the requirement to be on city utilities is not unusual,
      which calls into question why they bothered to post this story at all.

      There are lots of reasons for such ordinances, and ground water contamination is something that local government has an interest in avoiding, or protecting citizens from.

      This person used rain water collection.
      She had electricity from solar panels.

      Specifically NOT MENTIONED is what she is doing with her sewage. And that can be a problem for
      neighbors.

      Never the less, the story indicates the city will certify the home if she can prove
      it has enough water and power (and presumably sewer) to be sanitary.

      So again, NON ISSUE. Why is this story here?

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by pjbgravely on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:03AM

        by pjbgravely (1681) <reversethis-{moc ... ta} {ylevargbjp}> on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:03AM (#7690) Homepage
        From the first article "...in court, city officials argued that Speronis used city-owned drains for waste disposal but didn't pay for the service. The city capped her sewer in response, which stopped Speronis from using the city's wastewater management system."
        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:36AM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:36AM (#7703) Journal

          Ah, well in many places, including where I live, your sewer bill is tied to your water bill, the rationale being that most of the water you use ends up going down the drain.

          So that leaves me wondering where her sewage is going now.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 4, Funny) by Angry Jesus on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:52AM

            by Angry Jesus (182) on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:52AM (#7709)

            In fact, from the link it says, Speronis replied that she will "dispose of waste as dog owners dispose of their pet's waste."

            So, not looking too good there.

            • (Score: 5, Funny) by snick on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:59AM

              by snick (1408) on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:59AM (#7714)

              Ah ... rugged individualists!

              Nothing says self sufficiency like throwing your shit in the neighbor's trash can.

              • (Score: 1) by cwix on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:04AM

                by cwix (873) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:04AM (#7735)

                Awesome, that made me chuckle, and after a shitty day (pun intended) I needed it. Now off to find my neighbors trash can.

              • (Score: 3, Funny) by davester666 on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:44AM

                by davester666 (155) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:44AM (#7750)

                That's what trebuchets are for!

                Just getting it into the neighbors yard isn't good enough, because, hey, your next door with a dog, but 10 houses down the street...

            • (Score: 2, Funny) by EvilJim on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:06AM

              by EvilJim (2501) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:06AM (#7736) Journal

              how is that? by leaving it on someone else's front lawn?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by weilawei on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:53AM

      by weilawei (109) on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:53AM (#7710)

      Agreed, this sort of stuff belongs IN A COMMENT.

      Talk WITH us, not AT us. It's atrocious to see an editor use their position to elevate the exposure of what amounts to a personal comment, in a manner not available to the rest of the community.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tirefire on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:49AM

        by tirefire (3414) on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:49AM (#7730)
        Easy, big fella. This is a new site, and while it's modeled after Slashdot, we're all still in the phase where we're mingling around and deciding how things work. I just signed up for an account five minutes ago, myself (whee! I have a four-digit userid).

        That said, I agree that a comment would have been more appropriate. Hopefully that will become the norm in a little while.
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:01AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:01AM (#7761)
          Registered just to say that, eh? GCHQ disinformation operative spotted!
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by regift_of_the_gods on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:24AM

        by regift_of_the_gods (138) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:24AM (#7777)

        Come on, these guys do all the work and we shouldn't begrudge them a small perk like that. Besides, I usually don't mind reading them, even the ones on the other site. Then we have a byte-sized confluence of three perspectives: TFA, the submitter, and the editor.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:44AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:44AM (#7786)

          these guys do all the work

          That's what Dice thought, too. Look how that turned out. The community does the work. The editors are there to facilitate that. Moreover, there's a well-known problem with bias related to speaking order and authority. The first person to speak, or the person speaking from a higher up position in a hierarchy, acts with undue influence on the remainder of any discussion. The Mission Management Team for Columbia thought that was a great strategy.

          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:22AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:22AM (#7823)

            Mod parent up. I already moderated, but ran out of points (hence AC), then saw this one.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TheRaven on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:41PM

          by TheRaven (270) on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:41PM (#7940) Journal
          The editor can already get first post quite easily. Why not put the comment in the comments. Soylent is currently suffering from a lot of articles with few comments. Having the editors drop some comments in initially would help a lot to promote discussion.
          --
          sudo mod me up
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by SuperCharlie on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:47AM

    by SuperCharlie (2939) on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:47AM (#7679)

    I homesteaded for 4 years, it was incredibly difficult. For a large percentage of the time, we had no piped water and used various ways to provide our own. On the crapper side, we had a camp toilet for a while and a septic system where we simply dumped it. Its not pretty, but it is surely doable in a sanitary manner. The real issue isnt the crapper, strangely enough, it is the kitchen sink water. You think you could just dump that.. you would be very wrong. Overall, it is almost as bad as the crapper. So all the sanitary issues really revolve around septic and not water supply.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:24AM (#7776)

      [quote] it is almost as bad as the crapper [/quote]

      Yeah tell me about that. Last time I had to use a screwdriver to chop my shit up in small enough pieces, so I could flush it with a can of stale beer from the floor. Usually I'm able to piss it away though.

    • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:17AM

      by evilviper (1760) on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:17AM (#7855) Homepage Journal

      On the crapper side, we had a camp toilet for a while and a septic system where we simply dumped it. Its not pretty, but it is surely doable

      Composting toilets do a vastly better job. The fluids evaporate (with the help of a fan) out the vent, and then the solids are quickly broken down by the starter culture, into something you can throw into your garden.

      The shiny "composting toilets" being sold seem ridiculously expensive for some reason, but really do little more than a bucket with a 12v exhaust fan.

      --
      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:35AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:35AM (#7866)

        Of course if you're taking any sort of medication (or any of your visitors does), that will also generally end up in the compost. What this means for your garden is left as exercise for the reader.

        • (Score: 1) by evilviper on Thursday February 27 2014, @11:38AM

          by evilviper (1760) on Thursday February 27 2014, @11:38AM (#7895) Homepage Journal

          It would be a completely useless medication that goes straight through your system... It can't DO anything for you that way.

          Instead, it's usually just trace quantities of the drug, and sometimes some interesting byproducts after your body metabolizes it.

          I know someone who is taking some severely toxic medication... It has vastly more than just a few stickers on it, warning that you've become a biological weapon to others you come in contact with... It comes with detailed paperwork you have to acknowledge before you can get the stuff. I don't expect they'll forget to mention it, when you show them to your (obviously) composting toilet.

          --
          Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @11:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @11:57PM (#8165)

        Composting toilets do a vastly better job.
        Yup. Fewer resources.

        The fluids evaporate
        The bowels do a good job of removing the water. The word you are looking for is "sublime".
        Ever notice how pet poop just disappears over time? 95 percent of poop is aromatics.
        These folks [alternet.org], on an island, found out that you don't need water for toilets.

        ...and, yup, there could be nasty pathogens in poop. (Gardeners are specifically warned against using cat poop.) That could make the 5 percent that is the remaining compost unsuitable for use on food plants, so just use it on potted decorative plants and you're always golden.

        -- gewg_

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:22PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday February 27 2014, @03:22PM (#7997)

      What's wrong with just dumping the wastewater into the septic system? That's how most rural dwellers do it, and it seems to work fine.

      The only problem with septic systems, AFAICT, is you need a fair amount of land to support them, which is why they don't work too well in the city: house lots even in the suburbs aren't generally large enough there. They also need to be cleaned out occasionally, something you never have to bother with in a sewer system.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:15AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @01:15AM (#7696)

    Pun intended, but still. Don't care.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by Appalbarry on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:35AM

      by Appalbarry (66) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:35AM (#7783) Journal

      Not to be picky or anything, but that wasn't a pun.

    • (Score: 1) by iWantToKeepAnon on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:13PM

      by iWantToKeepAnon (686) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 27 2014, @02:13PM (#7954) Homepage Journal
      Then you're going to spend a lot of time wandering around the beach wondering why you're getting larger.
      --
      "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by TheloniousToady on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:05AM

    by TheloniousToady (820) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:05AM (#7765)

    You can connect a Florida woman to city water but you can't make her drink.

    (or something like that)

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by sudo on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:17AM

    by sudo (647) on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:17AM (#7771)

    This story is worse than what is posted on /.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by martyb on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:33AM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:33AM (#7782) Journal

    So, what happens if she connects to city watern but doesn't use it? Can they force her to actually buy city water/sewer?

    --
    Wit is intellect, dancing.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by germanbird on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:07AM

      by germanbird (2619) on Thursday February 27 2014, @06:07AM (#7814)

      Most of the city utilities that I've used have a base fee that is due no matter how much water/electricity/other resource is used. I'm guessing they would require her to have an active account with the water company which would mean money out of her pocket every month no matter what.

      • (Score: 2) by martyb on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:37PM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:37PM (#7913) Journal

        germanbird wrote:

        Most of the city utilities that I've used have a base fee that is due no matter how much water/electricity/other resource is used. I'm guessing they would require her to have an active account with the water company which would mean money out of her pocket every month no matter what.

        That's an excellent point; thanks for the reply!

        Of course, my very next thought was that people with home solar can run their meter backwards on a sunny day... maybe she could pump water back into their system and the water company have to send her money every month! ;^)

        (Yes, I immediately realized there are one-way valves. And then tried to not think of the resulting quality of the water supply if that were allowed!)

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27 2014, @04:44AM (#7785)

    will save the day!

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by big_e on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:52AM

    by big_e (2513) on Thursday February 27 2014, @08:52AM (#7851)

    First she was collecting rainwater, but using it to flush her toilet down the city sewer system. That's not quite off the grid, she was dependent on the city's sewer. Then she starting shitting in a bag and throwing it in the trash. That's not quite being independent either, some paid hauler, sometimes the city itself has to collect it and safely dispose of it.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by CowboyTeal on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:49AM

    by CowboyTeal (15) on Thursday February 27 2014, @09:49AM (#7872)

    The Amish might be getting paranoid by now and if they're not they should be. Every day rights are being taken away from the citizens of the US and people allow it to happen. One day it's an obviously needed regulation like don't dump random chemicals in your sink but then you have the little ones that eventually tally up to the end of freedom. I'd love to live off the grid one day, surely not in Florida but someplace a little more tame, but each state is getting worse as the years go by. But living off the grid doesn't mean you have to fertilize your own yard with your poop, and pee in a bucket without water. Actually you can still live the same way while being off the grid, except you won't have internet if you choose to not have it (I certainly would). But some people certainly take "living off the grid" to a whole different level by not even having any form of electricity and that to me is ridiculous but I would gladly defend their right to do it.

    You don't just win votes on totalitarianism or communism or whateverelseism in office. You win them by gradually changing the system and right now things like "living off the grid" being illegal in Florida is a step. Another step is that you can't do what you want to your house/yard whenever you please, meaning your neighbors own your property, so you can't raise crops. Another step is that you get taxed for collecting rain water. Notice how these steps progressively gets the whole system worse? You don't have to be a gun-touting redneck to know the difference between the freedom of America and Imperialistic ideologies forced down our throats which millions fought against.

    --
    Getting siggy with it.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by evilviper on Thursday February 27 2014, @10:01AM

    by evilviper (1760) on Thursday February 27 2014, @10:01AM (#7876) Homepage Journal

    Are there any FAIR and detailed news story about this situation, anywhere? This sounds like an interesting story, but the Al Jazeera BLOG link is worthless, and the OffTheGrid link is obviously heavily biased, and severely lacking in detail about the situation.

    We're certainly missing the part about her using the sewer without paying:

    "This resident provided testimony at the code compliance hearing that she has been living in the home for the past year and using the city’s wastewater system without paying for the service,†said Connie Barron, spokeswoman for the city of Cape Coral. “She also gave clear indications she does not intend to pay for this service but intends to continue to use the system."
    * http://www.examiner.com/article/florida-woman-livi ng-off-the-grid-has-sewer-capped-gets-pressure-to- plug-in [examiner.com]

    And the city at least claims not to be the brainless ogres they're portrayed as:

    "...municipalities don’t have the power to evict,†...the city clarified that these officials only posted the notice because they wanted access to her home in order to provide Speronis with suggestions on how she could live off the grid safely.
    * http://guardianlv.com/2014/02/florida-woman-ordere d-to-live-on-the-grid/ [guardianlv.com]

    What else are we missing? Probably a lot.

    "Off the grid" living in a dense, urban area is a tricky subject, at least for reasonable people. It should always be legal to go without grid electricity, gas, phone, cable, etc., so long as you've got viable alternatives. But as a society, we don't really want people having camp fires in the middle of their living rooms for heat and light, both for human safety and air pollution concerns.

    However, things like water, sewage, and similar, aren't ever really "off-grid". If you're pumping water from a well, you are depleting aquifers. Around here, the water district is buying imported water, and using it to *recharge* those aquifers, to prevent water levels falling. At that point, are you really living off-grid, or are you just adding an extra and very expensive step (on both sides) to municipal water delivery?

    Septic systems, as well, need a LOT of land, beyond the leech field, to disperse all the fluid pumped in. If you don't have a large empty lot, you're using your neighbor's (or the city's) sub-soil to dump your waste. And in areas where there's a high water table, your untreated sewage may be directly polluting nearby wells, perhaps of your neighbors, but more likely one of the muni's major water sources.

    In those situations, which are exacerbated by population density, being "off the grid" may simply mean being the single sociopath in the prisioner's dilemma [wikipedia.org]... getting excessive benefits from your neighbors NOT doing the same thing as you.

    --
    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
    • (Score: 1) by CowboyTeal on Friday February 28 2014, @04:42AM

      by CowboyTeal (15) on Friday February 28 2014, @04:42AM (#8275)

      I get what you're saying, and I agree with most of what you said but I disagree with the part that you said people shouldn't live with a stove in their living room. Why not? You say for safety and air pollution but safety is not something that should always be regulated by the government. If people die from their stupidity, then let them. There exists Darwin awards for a reason, but for the first 5 or 6 years of my life I grew up in a house that was centrally heated by a wood stove. The house didn't catch on fire and no one burned to death, although I did touch it once while it was hot without knowing and it hurt like hell (but healed a few weeks later). But this is slightly getting off topic...

      You mention septic systems and those work great. You don't need to get those pumped out for 15, maybe 20 years and most people that do live "off the grid" tend to live away from city limits since no matter what they will not be sharing city plumbing.

      You also mentioned that living without electricity (oh this is funny, my electricity just went out, hurray for laptops!) is something of a necessity. I beg to differ, it's a necessity for those that want to watch TV, have a modern refrigerator, and use computers but you can easily get by just fine without it. In fact, go without electricity for a weekend and see how much better it is to not hear the humming of the refrigerator, the high pitch of electronics, and cuddle-worthy lighting. Of course, my way of life depends on electricity so I can't cut it out permanently but whenever the electricity cuts off, I feel at peace unless I'm 5 minutes before a deadline.

      I suppose that living the fast life for a decade made me realize how much love-hate I have for electricity/technology so I'd be content living off the grid until I run out of things to do, which I'm sure is easy to do after a few weeks. Come to think of it, it's no wonder that people just kept getting kids back in the day prior electricity. They were bored to death and needed to raise kids to kill the boredom. lol Historians be damned!

      --
      Getting siggy with it.
      • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Friday February 28 2014, @05:54AM

        by evilviper (1760) on Friday February 28 2014, @05:54AM (#8310) Homepage Journal

        The complaints in your reply seem to entirely consist of misunderstanding what I wrote.

        I disagree with the part that you said people shouldn't live with a stove in their living room.

        No, I said "camp fires in the middle of their living rooms for heat and light". A (modern) wood stove is great for heating. A fireplace is lousy for heating. And both are lousy for lighting. But neither is as lousy, nor nearly as dangerous, as "camp fires".

        If people die from their stupidity, then let them.

        Building codes exist specifically to prevent this, so you can't complain when they correctly do so. Personally, I'm a fan of not dying. You assume only the incredibly stupid will kill themselves, but without regulations, product and construction fraud will take off and keep getting more sophisticated. The level of intelligence and pure effort necessary to prevent getting ripped-off and/or killed will continue to grow ever higher, as there's always more money to be made in hurting people.

        most people that do live "off the grid" tend to live away from city limits

        And I was very specifically talking about off-grid living in very dense cities, since that's the topic at hand. Yes, a good septic system on plenty of land, in an area with a low water table, works great.

        You also mentioned that living without electricity (oh this is funny, my electricity just went out, hurray for laptops!) is something of a necessity.

        Electricity is so much VASTLY more efficient at providing artificial lighting than any other way to do so (not to mention vastly safer), that I don't consider any other methods a viable option. A pretty small solar panel and battery is all you need for a LOT of light. Once you've got that... well, a radio consumes minuscule amounts of power, so I'd opt for one.

        go without electricity for a weekend and see how much better it is to not hear the humming of the refrigerator

        Not long enough... You'd just run down a few batteries, and not realize the expense and difficulty of doing that, long-term.

        --
        Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.