This Week:
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You may think that the title \"Flush Times\" refers to the current state of Canyon Creek which almost reached flood stage last week and is only a little below that now. In fact, this Gazette is concerned with some of the sanitation aspects of the upcoming eclipse. After fire, sanitation is the biggest worry for the people responsible for public health and safety. The crowds are going to exceed the capacity of our existing public restrooms. Porta-potties are a potential solution but the state of Oregon is now expecting one million people for the state as a whole so demand probably exceeds supply throughout Oregon. To make matters worse many vendors are under contract to serve fire crews so all those units are unavailable. If you are planning to offer campsites and you do not have sufficient porta-potties lined up, you may be too late. One possible solution would be to construct privies for your guests. Sanitation in Oregon is governed by the state in OAR 340-071 and OAR 340-073. Briefly the pit needs to be 50 cubic feet per seat, must be at least 5' deep, must be more than 4' above the highest level attained by groundwater and must not allow surface water to flow into the pit. The privy itself needs to be varmint and fly proof, ventilated, made of easily cleaned materials and lockable from the inside. If you want to get into all the details,go here and look for chapter 340. If you plan to offer RV parking it might seem like you do not have a sanitation problem since they come with their own facilities, but in mid August most people are going to want to empty their blackwater tanks before heading home if not sooner. The difficulty is that Grant County has a very limited number of legal dump sites and even if we could empty them continuously, the long lines may discourage people from using the authorized sites. I have heard that Long Creek will have a blackwater dump site and I know that John Day is discussing the possibility of creating a temporary one there. It might be worthwhile for other communities to consider similar efforts. The most eco-friendly solution would be composting toilets. These come in a number of variations but basically they rely on dehydration and aerobic digestion to produce good fertilizer for non-food crops. Going in more detail would involve much too lengthy a discussion for the Gazette and too ambitious a project for a temporary campsite. But if you are thinking about a permanent guest operation it might be worth investigating. Here is a through discussion of what is involved. The big thing is (1) provide sufficient facilities for the number of visitors and (2) avoid people dumping their blackwater tanks at random all over the landscape. It will take some effort and planning on our part but if we all pull together I am sure we can accommodate everyone and give them an experience that will make them want to come back later when it won't be so hectic and they can get to really know us.
Flush Times in Grant County
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