Monday, September 08, 2008

Musings on the CabinDwelling Lifestyle, Part XI: The Slop Bucket

This will come as no shock to my Alaskan readers, particularly those residing in the 99709, that I live in a cabin without running water. No sewer, no water lines, no flush toilet, no fire hydrants ... bupkus.

It's not a big deal, really, because a great number of us residing outside of the city limits of Squarebanks are in this situation. And out in the Bush, plenty of people don't have running water still - and it is not by choice.

The lack of big city water and affiliated technologies is solved in a couple of ways:
  • Outhouse
  • Wet wipes or Purel
  • The slop bucket
For those of you unfortunate-enough-to-live-elsewhere, the slop bucket sits under your kitchen sink. Plumbing from the sink, not being connnected to anything, drains into a handy five-gallon bucket. (Dumping a small amount of bleach in it when empty helps keep, uh, gunk from growing in it too badly.) When it gets near full, one awkwardly carries it outside trying not to spill any on oneself, to a location removed from the house and dumps it.

It's not a bad bit of exercise.

This is my chore in our household, because I promised to eventually move to a place with running water if we could just live cheap for a few years in a cabin. As further incentive, I agreed that dumping the slop bucket was my chore.

Emphasis on near full. One of the more unpleasant household disasters is to forget to check the bucket before dumping one's dish water. Suddenly you're mopping up some nasty stuff that's been in the bucket for days getting gunky. It's been over two year since I forgot to check the bucket first. I truly thought I'd get out of the CabinDwelling lifestyle without it ever happening again.

Until this weekend.

Above right: The 'gray water system'. A slop bucket disaster, after I'd freaked out and mopped up the 'gray water'.


KC said...

Ugh. Yeah, been there, done that. What's worse is the smell lingers for weeks... :(

Ishmael said...

Well, drawing from my past experience in that situation, I would recommend:

1, 45-degree PVC elbow;
1, length of PVC of sufficient dimension to reach through inner wall and outer wall;
1, jar of PVC adhesive (Gorilla is good);

Affix the two aforementioned pieces of PVC to your current drain pipe, making sure there is a hole in the wall to accommodate the straight piece, and voila', your gray water drains to the outside automatically.

A rubber stopper does wonders in keeping cold air from seeping in the drain when it's not full of water.

CabinDweller said...

KC, yeah, tell me about it. I can't tell you how frustrated I was - less than a month to go on this slop bucket thing - and I go and forget to check.


Excellent idea. But:

1) Need to get landlord permission for minor things like cutting holes in walls.

2) Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but we've bought a house with running water. (But OLDER house that we need to do some work on before occupying.) More on that later.