Author Topic: Potential Bathroom Locations  (Read 1720 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Potential Bathroom Locations
« on: September 16, 2010, 01:46:59 AM »
MODERATORS NOTE:
Potential Bathroom Locations has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Bill Reidy wrote:
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Where should the public restrooms be placed?  My understanding is the Boudin or Percival Purchase properties are the only places we can realistically place a leaching field.

I'd suggest the restrooms should be placed (behind) the public parking lot, away from Cross Road.

Bill

John McNamara replied:
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Placement of the rest rooms has been the subject of substantial discussion at the Museum. Some have reported that people arriving just at train time often  "have to go," and forcing them to trek up to the rear of the Boudin property would either make them miss their train or force the train to wait for a long time. Also, since most of the passengers and most of the volunteers spend most of their time relatively near the station building, a location near the station would be most convenient both for the public and for volunteers.

There is a possibility that the rest rooms and the septic tank could be close to the station and the effluent "liquor," which is basically germ-laden water, could be pumped to a distribution box and leach field located on the Boudin property. Pumping of the liqour is often done; in fact, Clarissa's house does that now.

One of the suggested locations for the restrooms in roughly where the "green house" is now, i.e. immediately south of Bay 4.

James Patten replied:
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I have split off the topic of bathroom location, as it is an entirely separate subject from car storage and has the potential of a similar sized thread.

According to Zack, the septic tank must be nearby to the bathrooms and will need to be pumped out on occasion.  There's also limitations, I believe, as to how close it can be to a well.  Clarissa's well is between her house and the road, so this tank cannot be less than the "X" distance, whatever that is.  Then there's the well for the water tank, which by-the-by is located in its sometimes inconvienent location because it is the minimum distance from "Septic Heights", which is Clarissa's septic field (behind the gasoline shed).

Zack believes that we'll smell the contents of the tank no matter what we do, so I don't think he wants it too close to the Museum.

Mike Fox replied:
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James,
I am not 100% on this, Zack would know for sure, but I think 100 fett is the distance between well and septic. I have seen setups that had a holding tank near the bathroom or house and the waste was pumped to the septic field when the tank got so full. This pump was controlled by a switch attached to a float in the tank.
As for the smell, all systems have to be vented. And the smell will come from the vent (or stink) pipe. So a possible location for the top of that might be the peak of the engine house.  Doubtful the smell would drift down from there. Just another thought.
Mike

Wayne Laepple replied:
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Here's a radical idea: how about a lean-to structure added to the south side of the present shop. In it, on the corner closest to the station, we place two side-by-side unisex lavatories, a shower room, and a utility room to house a furnace and hot water heater. The rest of the lean-to would be set up as a heated woodworking shop.

Part of Bay 1 would be partitioned off and outfitted as a kitchen and volunteer lunch/meeting room, also heated. Since Bay 1 is next to the restrooms (see above), real plumbing could be installed for cooking and washing.

The rest of Bay 1 would house the fire train during the operating season and the two internal combustion lcoomotives in the winter season. Once the carhouse is built, one steam loco would live in the machine shop and the other would be in Bay 3 or Bay 4. Since all rolling stock is now housed in the new carhouse, the remaining track space in Bay 3 and 4 would be available for restoration or replication projects, handy to the wood shop (see above) and the machine shop.  Am I a dreamer or what?

Dave Buczkowski replied:
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Has anyone noticed how the ad banners now reflect septic systems? I hadn't realized that this is how it was set up. Anyway, we had numerous discusssions about this subject during the long range planning meetings. If I remember correctly, we felt that the decision would be soils engineering-driven decision first and then where we would like it to go once the possible locations had been determined. The location near the station was what the consensus seemed to be but we didn't think it would be possible engineering-wise. Every place suggested has both positives and negatives. Another idea floated was at the corner of Route 218 and Cross Road where we hope to someday have a visitors center. Unfortunately that is too far in the future to meet our current needs.
Dave

Stewart Rhine replied:
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Wayne,  Your idea isn't all that bad - especially regarding the restrooms.  If they were right at the South end of bays 1 or 2 a holding tank could be located underground at the front of the building.  Zack would know better but I think the tank's vapors could be vented through a pipe up to the top of the engine house roof.  The tank could be pumped out by a truck or a pipeline would have to be built up to the top of our property.  The "honey dipper" truck idea would cost less.  If the town approves the plan that may be our best option.  Keeping the plumbing in one area saves money, so improving the kitchen where it is works well too.

I would not build a lean-to, I would extend the building South from bays 1,2 and 3 keeping the present roofline.  That provides additional space on the second floor and makes a more attractive structure.  I think we should stay with Harry's original intent for the building to resemble the Wiscasset car shop.  As you know, I'm all for a wood shop and another heated bay would be great.

Stewart

John McNamara replied:
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I'm not sure that a holding tank without leech field would work (or be approved). I think a septic tank is 1000 gallons, and even at 3 gallons per flush, it wouldn't take too many flushes to fill it up. If lavatories and showers also fed into it, the gray water from those would  make it fill even faster. "Honey dipper" trucks are usually used to dispose of the semi-solid matter that remains after bacterial action has reduced most of the semi-solid matter, and the liquid portions have run off into the leech field. Capturing everything in a holding tank would mean the "honey dipper" truck was there monthly or so rather than annually or semi-annually.

Another issue is how large the facility should be. Zack says that the town will tell us that, depending upon our visitor volume. Unfortunaely, our volume is highly variable. This time of year, there is no one there on Sunday; on Saturday night, October 21st, we had 850 people. Thus, I'm not sure what is appropriate. Perhaps we could have a mens and a womens two-stall facility, with rental porta-potties for big events.

Wayne Laepple replied:
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I asked Zack about using a holding tank for effluent from the restrooms, and he said they are legal in Maine. Now, at the tourist railroad where I volunteer here in Pennsylvania, their restrooms dump into a 2,500 gallon holding tank, which they have pumped twice a year at an annual cost of less than $500. Their facilities include two toilets and sinks in the women's and a toilet and two urinals and one sink in the men's. They carry 12,000-15,000 people per year -- many more than we currently handle. So I feel confident that two unisex restrooms, a shower and kitchen could be handled by a similar holding tank.  And you're right, John, for the big events, we bring in the green houses! At least until we build the visitors' center.

Wayne Laepple replied:
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Oh, yes, while we're talking about bathrooms. Most toilets these days use 1 or 1.5 gallons per flush. Fitting the shower with a flow restricter would reduce the amount of water used by dirty volunteers. I think the greatest contributor to waste water would be the sinks, especially in the kitchen.

John McNamara replied:
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Are we perhaps converging on the following idea:

The bathrooms should be located near the current shop building, be equipped with low flow devices, and empty into a 2,500 gallon holding tank located an appropriate distance (100 ft? 150 ft?) from Clarissa's well. The holding tank should be equipped with a level sensing mechanism to sound an alarm. If pump-out should prove too frequent, the sensing device would be used to trigger a subsequently installed pump (or pumps) that would pump the overflow to a leeching field located on the Boudin land. The location of the leeching field should be planned in advance in case it is found to be necessary.

Is this a proper summary of current thoughts?

James Patten replied:
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The magic number for the distance from a drinking water well to the septic holding tank is 300 feet, I found out from Zack this weekend.

That means 300 feet from Clarissa's well.  It doesn't necessarily mean 300 feet from the water tank well, if it is only used for the tank.

John McNamara replied:
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For those disturbed by the disconnect between the 100 foot distances mentioned previously and the 300 feet that James/Zack mentioned, Zack went on to explain that 300 feet was the limit for commercial enterprises, the category into which our operation would probably be placed. He did say something about "unless you can prove it won't leak," so there may be some way (more expense) to add plastic liners or something to get the distance reduced.

James Patten replied:
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Moody's Diner has similar sized lavatory facilities to what Wayne mentioned at his volunteer location - and they are full of people all the time.  I think that would be a good "starter" sized facility for us.

I think our ridership is in the 5 - 6000 range currently (maybe up near 7000).

I know that it is 90 feet from the railroad centerline to the property line with Clarissa.  It is probably another 50 feet or so to her well.  So hopefully we can get something that we can prove won't leak.  I suspect we'll also run up against a setback requirement from the stream to the east.

Joe Fox replied:
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A septic tank has to be a certain number of feet away from a steam or a river. One of my teachers built a septic bed right under a stream, and they called it a run off. I am sure that the location should be far enough away, not to worry. Talk to you later.

Joe

Keith Taylor replied:
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One thing to keep in mind the restrooms, particularly if available to the public, would need to meet the Americans With Disabilities Act, and be wheelchair access friendly. So locating the facilities at the extreme eds of the property would not be very considerate, even if the bathrooms were equipped with proper hand railings and wide stalls that allow wheelchairs.
A complying facility isn't much good if the handicapped person can't get to it.
Keith Taylor (someone who is familiar with this problem personally)

Mike Fox replied:
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Keith,
The nice thing about the potential bathroom location is that it seems it is going to be in the south side of an expansion to the current engine house. That is very near the parking area and also close to the station. I think the ramp to the station is already the proper slope so that should not have to be changed to comply with their standards. It might need to be made wider to fully comply. But all this is something to keep in mind. It would be easier to build it right the first time than to have to go back and remodel later.
Mike

Wayne Laepple replied:
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To get this part of the discussion going again, I was in a public building today which contained four unisex restrooms along a corridor. Each was  5 x 6 feet, fully ADA accessible with all the necessary hand rails, etc., with a commode and sink in each. So a space about 12 x 12 feet could handle two lavatories, a shower room and a furnace and storage space. If access to the furnace/storage room was through the shower room, that room could be adjusted to be larger if necessary, with lockers, a large, deep laundry sink for washing arms and hands, etc.

Bill Sample replied:
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Regarding the toilets, once all the ADA requirements are dealt with make sure you get some female input on the design.  We made sure we did this when we designed our "comfort coach" at the RMNE's Naugatuck RR.  As women make a large part of family vacation decisions, having a well-regarded toilet facility can pay dividends!  Also group tour leaders take toilet facilities into account when making plans.
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum