Sawdust and waste

A wide strip of the yard is blanketed by flakes of cedar; the entire yard is under a miasma of fermenting human urine and ordure. The olfactory effect is of an active pencil sharpener inside a large, untended privy. The 75-year-old trees were mature eastern red cedars (not Ashe junipers), the height of a three-story house. We understand that there’s an intention to build where they were. The perfume of their remains is pleasant to the nose where discernible, but sad to contemplate. The predominant odor emanates from a portable toilet dropped off on July 27. The contents have since been pumped out just once, after two and a half weeks, and then not again. Although various inquiries have been made, there seems to be no requirement for portable toilets to be set a certain distance from residences. There seems to be no law, ordinance, or rule to keep them from being placed within the minimal five-foot construction setback. There seems to be no law, ordinance, or rule requiring them to be emptied at any specified interval. At least, those who have responded are not aware of any protections for those “enjoying” the proximity of these conveniences. And then there are those who have not responded. I’m trying to think of them as having not yet responded. In the meantime, the nauseating soup becomes ever more pleasant in the late-summer heat, and the clouds of houseflies, greenflies, and bluebottles proliferate. We dine as far away as possible, keep the window fans on exhaust so as not to take in more of the accumulating noxious stench, and sport generous smears of Vicks VapoRub about the nostrils when we go into the yard. As soon as possible, I intend to write one by one to members of the city council imploring passage of ordinances to regulate placement and care of portable toilets if there are none and, if relief from such nuisances exists, beseeching enforcement.

Update: The response at last received from the City confirms that there is little recourse for the hapless neighbor of a too-close and unattended-to portable chemical toilet. Since there was no response to the additional question posed, one must conclude that there is not one member of the city council willing to try to remedy the lack of proper ordinances addressing such noxious nuisances.

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