We did it! The septic field is finished and paid for.
Graham Langille of Langille’s Excavation in Blockhouse (902-624-9844) did the work. (He was able to work around the pine tree, which lost only a couple of small roots.)
Tim Aulenbach was the engineer for the project.
Part of the funding came from a CJFIP grant from the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. We are very grateful to them for the support, and also to our MLA Pam Birdsall who identified that opportunity for us.
The other part of the funding came from our first major fundraiser, the Tiny Studio Raffle. A BIG thank you to everyone who bought tickets, sold tickets, and worked on the construction.
It must be noted that while the septic field is an improvement on a municipally-owned property, we qualified for the grant because we are a not-for-profit organization operating primarily for community benefit, and hold a long-term lease. The municipality could not have obtained the grant on its own.
It must also be noted that the septic field was not part of our permaculture design for the property, nor was it ever on the list of milestones we worked out with the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) for the lease of the property. It was a requirement imposed by the Department of the Environment after we moved in.
We hoped to create a more environmentally-friendly, long-term solution for dealing with greywater and human waste, but that would have required more time, money and effort than we had available. Besides, the Food Hub/Community Kitchen is a central theme of the entire project, and installing a fully certified commercial kitchen requires that we conform to existing regulations.
The septic bed affects our permaculture design. Unfortunately, it occupies our best-aspected land, the south-facing slope, and imposes restrictions on growing trees and bushes or anything whose roots may interfere with the drainage tiles. The layers of sand, tiles and landscape cloth have been covered with the old soil, then 3 truckloads of screened soil, and seeded with “Hiway Mix” grass seed, as there must be vegetative cover to prevent erosion.
So we can’t do much with it as far as permaculture is concerned, other than building raised beds on top of it for shallow-rooted plants. It’s destined for recreation and an outdoor classroom area. Picnic tables would be a definite asset there. (We happily accept donations of picnic tables!) The pine tree is a favourite with accomplished tree climbers of all ages.