General Question

wildpotato's avatar

What should I do with my 30 gallons of sewage?

Asked by wildpotato (13495 points ) May 25th, 2012

My dog uses my backyard every day, and I also let my upstairs neighbors’ dog relieve herself there. My neighbors and I always throw the doggie bags into my backyard trashcan, which we normally empty every week. Unfortunately, a contractor was back there last week doing some work for my landlord and used the trashcan, but left the lid off. We were away for a few days, and it has been raining a LOT here in New Jersey recently…so now I have a big trash can swimming with dogshit water, yard trimmings, cigarette butts, ash from my grill, and various other grossness.

It’s not an option to get the contractors to take care of this – they are next to useless. My landlord’s great otherwise, but my boyfriend and I have had to do all home fixes ourselves.

So…what do I do? Getting it from the backyard through the hallway to the front is going to be hellish enough – I’m thinking siphoning into buckets is going to be the way. But then what? I’m guessing I can’t just leave it for the garbagemen, since it’s fluid…would I have to arrange for a special pickup? Or should I cover the inside of my minivan with tarps and drive really slowly to the dump? It is impossible to get ahold of a living person at Jersey City’s Department of Sanitation. I make through their phone tree; there’s no operator; I try each extension; no one answers…

Any Jellies with experience dumping hazardous waste as a civilian and as non-medical personnel?

I posted this in General because I really need help, but please feel free to joke a bit too. I must admit, my first thought was the MITM catapult.

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18 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Make a vegetable garden and use the sewage as fertiliser.

wilma's avatar

Can you drain off some of the water/liquid?
If you can tip the can a bit and get some of the liquid out and let it run onto the ground that would help to dispose of the rest of it. It might kill any grass or other plants it stays on, or could help them, but I’m thinking it might burn most foliage. Maybe poke a few holes around the bottom of the can, and let it drain for a while. Then the more solid stuff could be hauled? You might be able to get another trash can and put the old one inside the new to actually haul it away.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

How about adding a bag of green pellet cat litter to it that would soak the liquid into a peat kind of form and then take the whole container to dump out at a waste site. I’m assuming you’ve used a city/county provided trash can but if not then dump the entire thing.

CWOTUS's avatar

Y’all are way overthinking this.

Just drain the can through a coarse screen to filter out the solids and let the water run where it will. If you’re concerned about bacterial / fecal contamination, which is a small but reasonable concern, then flush the drain area with clean water from a garden hose for a few minutes.

Put the solids back in the can, put the lid on, and put the contractor on notice that he has caused you extra work. Mention the word “backcharge” as if you know what you’re talking about in terms of filing a claim against him, and you will surely have his attention, if not his compliance.

Note: If you call this “sewage”, then you run the risk of getting the town bureaucracy involved, which will not aid your sanitation or safety but will almost certainly result in hoops to jump through and dotted lines to be toed, not to mention likely costs to be assessed (probably to you in the end – and you may read that “in the end” in the scatological way, too). If it’s described as “dirty water”, which is an accurate description, then it raises no eyebrows or “special handling” concerns. It ain’ no thang, other than the real inconvenience to you in handling.

wildpotato's avatar

Thanks for your answers!

@ragingloli I’d agree with you if it was cow or horse or chicken manure, but dog is not good for plants, unfortunately. Would that it were!

@wilma That’s a great idea, but I’m kind of an enviro-nut. If it gives me the willies when my friends toss down cigarette butts in the middle of Manhattan, I think letting the sewage drain into the ground might give me an aneurysm on the spot.

@Neizvestnaya I love this as a way to de-liquify it! I will probably do exactly as you suggested, or use sawdust. Luckily it’s not a government trash can. I’d prefer not to take it in my minivan if possible – think it’d be ok to bag the contents and cut up the trash can and leave it all at the curb on trash day, rather than taking it to a disposal site? Disgusting job, but hey, we do what we must.

@CWOTUS I’m surprised clean water would be enough to flush contamination. I thought that sewage dumping (though human, not dog) was how polio epidemics happened, no? Thanks for the warning about the language I should use; I didn’t know that. Nice pun!

CWOTUS's avatar

In one sense you’re entirely correct, @wildpotato: “raw untreated sewage” is a real health hazard, especially when it is never washed away and occurs in concentrations due to large human and animal populations. But you have the excrement from one or two dogs already “mostly contained” in plastic bags (at least for the most part; let’s assume somewhat less than 100%, even). So you’ll have “some dog waste” and a lot of plastic bags and other garbage. Not a big deal.

Judi's avatar

You could add septic enzymes and let them eat it up, then dump it out. You might also siphon it with a hose to a sewer clean out if you can find it.
I have a Doogie Dooley in my back yard and use septic enzymes to keep it odor free.
If the

lillycoyote's avatar

I guess would do a combination of some of the things suggested by @Neizvestnaya and @Judi. You could siphon off as much of the liquid as possible, into buckets and flush the water down your toilet!! Don’t drain onto your lawn, hose it down or dump it into the storm drains. That water, from storm drains, isn’t treated. It piped into rivers, lakes and streams. And this is what is in dog poop. and what could end up in your lawn and in your local rivers and streams. You should flush it down the toilet. That water is treated and there really isn’t anything in dog poop, unless your dog is on some kind of medication, as far as I know, that wouldn’t be taken care of by your municipal sewage treatment plant’s normal processes.

Then, when you’ve gotten out as much of the liquid as possible, use on of the methods suggested for absorbing the rest and dump it. I suspect your trash service will pick up at your curb but it may be a few extra bags, if they charge for that, because I think the solid stuff you end up with, having absorbed all that water, is going to be pretty heavy.

That’s what I think you should do, at least.

josie's avatar

Scoop it up in small buckets and one by one flush them down the toilet.

rooeytoo's avatar

A septic system is basically filtering waste through the earth so I am on line with @CWOTUS, drain off the liquid and sprinkle well with your hose, that will put it into the earth and the earth will do the filtering. We did a lot of that at my kennel, I figured that was preferable to putting it in plastic bags which take a million light years to deteriorate and then it just breaks down into little specs of plastic. If the contractor won’t help, at least once you get rid of the liquid you can roll the can down the street to the nearest park in the dark of night and dump it into a flower bed. Chuck the solids plastic, butts etc into a handy dumpster and bob’s your uncle!

Farmers call that barnyard tea only they usually make it from cow or chicken manure.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Judi's avatar

Can you find something in your yard that looks like this?
If you can, that is the outside access to your sewer line. Dump it in there with a siphon hose.

rooeytoo's avatar

If you siphon, be careful when you suck in to get it started!

lillycoyote's avatar

@rooeytoo, LOL. A very good point! That’s why I generally use something like this for siphoning. The little orange bit up, at the top, acts as a suction, as a pump, so you don’t have to do any sucking.

If I had any sense of decency, I would have mentioned it above, since I know about such things. The idea that I even suggested syphoning up dog shit water, without mentioning the syphon pump devices makes me feel guilty. Thanks for the reminder!

rooeytoo's avatar

@lillycoyote – I figured @wildpotato was smart enough to figure that out, but I thought I would throw it out just in case! I would use the kind you get to fill your kerosene heater!

lillycoyote's avatar

@rooeytoo You just never know. I am basically smart enough to figure things out too, but sometimes I just don’t. :-)

CWOTUS's avatar

Most times when you’re siphoning water, the easiest way to start that process is to fill the hose with water from the hose bib, then remove the hose, close the ends and take the filled hose to wherever you want to do the siphoning.

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