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posted by LaminatorX on Thursday February 27 2014, @12:29AM   Printer-friendly
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.

    Starting Score:    0  points
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    Total Score:   5  
  • (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.

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  • (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]

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      • (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) <reversethis-{gro ... {ta} {08423nmc}> 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?

    --
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    • (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.
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    • (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".

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  • (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].

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  • (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.