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Composting Toilets

MJ Solaro


Joined: Feb 21, 2008
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
Who has one? What brand do you recommend, or did you build it yourself?

Central unit or self-contained?

How has it worked for you? Does it produce good compost? Is the smell contained?

What kind of special care do you need to give it? Winterizing? Maintenance?


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MJ Solaro


Joined: Feb 21, 2008
Posts: 131
Location: Bellevue, WA
So nobody has these? In researching them on the web, the ones I found were enormously expensive. Sun-Mar's non-electric unit goes for $1500. The Biolet ones are north of $2100. The Blooloo are so expensive I can't find a price. There's got to be a better way to do this!
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Well, if you are out in the woods, a well designed outhouse can be just the ticket!


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rachael hamblin


Joined: Mar 10, 2008
Posts: 129
I don't have one now but I lived for a few months in a place that had them as outhouses, there are two main styles if you want to build your own outdoors.  Here's what I recall, there's a great article on it that I'll try to hunt down.

Option a)  Build an outhouse with a raised toilet and platform to stand on, underneath is a bucket which you can remove by opening a door in back.  Keep a bucket of wood shavings in the outhouse and throw in a scoop after you do your business.  When the bucket is full you can either take it to a compost heap or dump it in a 55 gallon drum, which you can roll around on its side to mix.

Option b)  Maintain a compost underneath a raised outhouse with a door you can open from the back.  I don't remember why but you're supposed to keep urine and feces separate, so have a bucket with sawdust set into a seat that you can pee in, to be composted elsewhere, then feces drop below to the compost pile which is covered with a scoop of sawdust w/ each deposit and occasional lawn clippings, weeds, or other green matter to balance it out. 

Neither of these arrangements smelled, and with the sawdust flies were fairly minimal.  I can't comment first hand about the compost but I've heard it works great. 
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I think that for most systems ...  both composting toilets and for outhouse systems, they like to be dry.  The dryer the better.  Usually, the request is to pee near your favorite trees, or to pee in a bucket of water (which dilutes the pee) and you can then pour the pee on your favorite plants.

I would advise that people not put the output of these systems into regular compost.  Further, I wouldn't want to ever deal with moving this stuff.  Hence, I really like a well designed outhouse.  Once that can be moved to a new hole quickly.  Once you have a full hole, plant some kind of tree there.  A bunch of nettle and buckwheat would probably do really well there the first year or two.
rachael hamblin


Joined: Mar 10, 2008
Posts: 129
Are there any potential problems with putting uncomposted urine on plants?  Or too much urine on plants?

Also, along those lines, has anyone experimented with the benefits of feeding menstrual blood to plants?  I've heard this is really beneficial.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
A hinged-lid wooden box with a hole cut in the lid and a standard plastic (tall feed) bucket under the hole. Another plastic bucket of sawdust and a souple of scoops of sawdust in the bottom of the user bucket. After every use cover the visible remains with sawdust. Empty about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Odor is contained quite well. Composting takes place outside. (Dig a large depression, line with sawdust, compost right into garden mving the depression around to equalize across garden space.) Odor outdoors also contained. Easiest way.

My complaints with composting toilets 1) often an illegal disposal of sewage in populated areas 2) sawdust comes from trees which must be cut down to and sawn up to produce the sawdust and the more people needing sawdust for composting toilets the more we feel the need to produce the necessary sawdust for marketing purposes 3) if you don't have your own trees to saw up you have to make regular rounds to collect scrap wood to saw up which takes a considerable amount of time both in collecting and sawing and uses gas (mostly) because doing it by foot or bike is almost impossible 4) the permits needed for legalizing group toilets for composting intentional communities are an annoying concept altogether (in some states) and help make intentional community unpopular because it is illegal and seemingly a dangerous health hazard (although we have no problem composting non-composting disposable poop-filled plastic diapers in land-fills and garbage dumps for some reason).

But these are all the same problems as using water, toilets, toilet paper and chemical sewage disposal plants so we are just trading one problem for another. Sewage and human waste are ongoing hassles in sustainability. About the only really reasonable solution is fewer people in sparser communities who use individual holes in the ground where a future garden might eventually be but that's all some centuries past.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
It is possible to burn sensitive plants with pee.  That's why some people dilute it first.

I think heavy N feeders will almost always be fine with it.

Menstrual blood:  it is good for the soil.  I know of women that use alternative ways to collect the blood and have a small ceremony while burying it.  I would have some small concern about attracting varmints, but I've heard of no such reports.

As to point number 1 above:  I agree.  This is often illegal and for good reason.  If you really want to travel this path, please don't do a half assed job.  I've known of some people doing some completely illegal stuff down this road, but they did a really good job and I think everybody was/is perfectly safe. 

As to points numbered 2 and 3:  This one is riddled with mixed thoughts/emotions for me.  Everything in the statement is true.  And, at the same time, I seem to have frequently found myself in line for a lot of free sawdust in the past.  One time from a neighbor with a woodshop.  Another time, from just doing a lot of my own sawing/construction.  No gas involved in getting it!  I think this is one of those things where it is good to just know that having sawdust around has a lot of uses.  If you happen to score some free sawdust, it's good to take it home!  It will probably be of use eventually!

Point 4:  There are laws.  And there are people that are doing things right even though they might be slightly outside of the law.  I suspect that it will be one of those things where it will be better to ask forgiveness than permission, and I suspect there is a 90% chance that forgiveness will never be required.




rachael hamblin


Joined: Mar 10, 2008
Posts: 129
Thanks for the info Paul.

Alexisavoire, I think you have some really good points.  One thing I would add is that current systems of sewage disposal involve dumping it into oceans where the nutrients cause overenrichment (bad) whereas composting toilets ultimately involve the nutrients going into a garden (good).  So even though they both have their problems I would argue that composting toilets are ultimately better for the land base. 

Regarding point number 2, I believe you can get free sawdust from mills as it is a byproduct of manufacturing tree carcasses into lumber.  So I don't know that it would necessarily contribute to the drain on our forests.  However I can see that if everyone converted to composting toilets, as with so many other things, what was once a "waste product" would become sellable and we might start to have trees being "harvested" for this purpose.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I just wanna make some ammendments ....  just my own thoughts on some things brought up here ...

I know lots of folks are concerned about trees getting wasted.  But trees are a renewable resource.  The problem isn't that trees are being used, but that they are harvested in a less-than-sustainable fashion.  Most modern forestry practices are quite sustainable now.  Or, I should say, we now know how to do it right, and I think most folks in the forestry industry are either doing it right, or something much closer to right than in years past.

As for where the nutrients go:  the grass is always greener over the septic tank!  For most places where outhouses are being considered, they already use a septic tank.  Which is a much smarter way to do an outhouse.  (a whole new thread could be started about the inappropriate use of anti-bacterial soaps with septic systems)

As for putting the "nutrients" in the garden.  I suppose some do.  I wouldn't put these particular nutrients in a vegetable garden.  Although a flower garden would be great. 

Dave Boehnlein


Joined: Jun 10, 2007
Posts: 290
Location: Orcas Island, WA
    
    2
With regards to earlier comments about composting toilets vs. outhouses. I think they are applicable in different scenarios mostly dependent on water table. If you are in an area with a high water table outhouses are inappropriate as you will be polluting groundwater. That's where I think composting toilets are applicable. If water table is not an issue, there are definite benefits to outhouses 3-4 feet deep (not the least of which is that there is little room for error on the product management side since the product stays right where you deposit it.

The other caveat to the use of composting toilets is that I personally wouldn't recommend them for institutional level waste processing. To me they are best suited to small-scale (single family) use. The more people using the system (especially the more uninitiated people) the greater the chance that the process will be screwed up. The less tightly controlled the management of the product the more likely people are to pollute or get sick.

Essentially, for me the composting toilet issue comes down to two parameters: scale and water table.


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http://TerraPhoenixDesign.com
Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
One of the best designs I've seen for a composting toilet was in the Mother Earth archives.  See what you think:  http://www.motherearthnews.com/UnCategorized/1984-01-01/Mothers-Compost-Commode.aspx

Some people seem to think there is a really big difference between hole-in-the-ground privies and septic tanks, and there isn't.  Both will break down the solids and the liquids run out into the leach field.  Then the liquid heads for the nearest water source with its high load of nitrogen. Ever wondered what causes wetlands to have so much algae?  It's the nitrogen, from both septic and other ecologically unsound waste systems, and from agricultural runoff (chemicals and livestock feedlots).

I always smile when people say they don't want "that" kind of compost near their food crops, but they're perfectly happy piling on the uncomposted animal manure.  So use it under your fruit trees; pathogens don't travel through plants.

As backwards as the state of Washington is, I'm surprised that they're pretty accommodating with composting toilets.

Sue

Susan Monroe


Joined: Sep 30, 2008
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
p.s.

Trees are not a renewable resource at the rate they're being  shipped out of the country.  Drive over the Alaskan Way Viaduct while some of those enormous ocean barges are being loaded, or watch the trainloads of lumber being sent to Tacoma or Aberdeen, with the millions of board-feet of lumber headed for the ships.

Right now, there is a shortage of sawdust, which started last winter. The price of stove pellets, pelleted animal litter and raw sawdust is going up, and not just because of the price of delivery fuel.

Sawdust has always been a cheap, easily-available option for bucket toilets in the PNW, but sawdust is not your only choice.

If you do any chipping/shredding of fallen branches or trees on your property, use that handy material.  Got neighbors who take everything to the transfer station? They can deliver it to you for free!  Got a wood shed? Got a bunch of woody dust and chips on the floor? Sweep up that stuff and use it.

Partly-finished compost is fine to use in a bucket (or other), and so are shredded newspapers and the proceeds from the office shredder at work.  Your cats don't like the five bags of paper-based pellets you bought? Well, they're good for that HUMAN litter box, too!

If it's compostable, it's probably fine to use in your bucket or composting toilet.  It doesn't stop at sawdust.

Sue
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Some composting toilet systems involve packing "night soil" out to a compost pile.  I think rain is gonna push that material down into the ground just as if you had pooped on the ground.

Another tidbit that I recently learned, has to do with salt in urine.  Apparently urine has a LOT of salt in it and that can be the biggest problem with urine.
Rusty Bowman


Joined: May 30, 2009
Posts: 117
Location: Idaho
    
    1
Sorry if this has been posted elsewhere but I thought these short vids might be of interest: http://jenkinspublishing.com/videos.html

Likewise is Jenkins book, The Humanure Handbook: http://humanurehandbook.com/

...and it can be read on-line here: http://jenkinspublishing.com/humanure_contents.html


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Kate McCoy


Joined: Jun 06, 2009
Posts: 2
Hi rusty, that was the book that got me interested in alternative loos 
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
It seems that art ludwig has a different opinion about this sort of thing than Jenkins.  But I could be mistaken.

But watching the Jenkins video looking at his outdoor compost bins, I have three concerns.

Concern 1)  jenkins puts pee and poop in the same bucket and then dumps the bucket in the compost.  So it's a pretty soupy mix.  Wet.  And outside there is rain.  With that level of damp, plus the rain, won't pathogens and excess N be washed into the subsoil which could then be well on its way to the aquifer?

Concern 2)  The level of salt from the urine will accumulate in the garden.  So then it becomes an issue of how much rain, how many people, how many acres, etc.  I wonder if Jenkins tests for salt levels in the soil.

Concern 3)  The Jenkins book is pretty dismissive of moving poop from the house to the pile.  I think that that system is acceptable in the short run, but I wouldn't want this for a long term system.

bbart Hatfield


Joined: May 15, 2009
Posts: 5
While searching for some more info on permaculture sites in this neck of the woods I came across a not-quite-composting toilet the "nonolet": http://www.de12ambachten.nl/enggreentech.html#anker72066 has the building instructions.

(A short clip from a BBC programme is available on the site as well: http://www.de12ambachten.nl/bbctvfragment.html )

It's a quite simple setup ("variation on a theme", separating urine from solids and covering solids with paper towels to block odours and eventually dropping the solids onto the compost pile (or in the green wheelie bin -- letting it be collected and composted into municipally run composting installations. The advantage in such installations is that temperatures are high enough for long enough to ensure pathogens are killed off...).
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Hmmmm ....  sounds like good potential! Are there any other links? 

I couldn't see the video - it wanted some sort of plug-in, but it wouldn't say which plug-in.

It would seem that the drain might pass more than just urine, but maybe I'm not yet getting my head wrapped around it.


bbart Hatfield


Joined: May 15, 2009
Posts: 5
The video is QuickTime, so needs the player from Apple (or VLC or some other third party player that can play .mov files).

They indicate that the bag that is meant to collect the solids is perforated at the bottom. The usage instructions say that when a new bag is placed in the (solids) collecting bucket a first layer of paper towels should be laid down, which will then become the bottom of a sealed stack: they recommend to regularly pour a glass of water over the paper-towel-stack, as that will seal the stack. Quoting them:

“Fresh” excrement smells because it contains bacteria’s of the colon system. These bacteria die when the come in contact with oxygen. The paper covering the excrement is rich in oxygen. This way an odorless, tight packet of….'papier maché', is created. All you see when you look into the toilet bowl is a grey paper mass. Pour a glass of water over this heap every now and again and you have a perfect seal, and it will be of no interest to flies or other insects. The urine slides right of this heap and is drained away, thereby separating faeces and urine.


(from http://www.de12ambachten.nl/engwatersaving.html )

I don't see how any separating mechanism would be able to handle overly liquid faeces (caused by illness etc), though when a nonolet is installed in a regular house the urine may drain to the sewer in which case flushing the pipes would seem to be all that's needed. The 'autonomous' nonolet has a collecting tank that would need to be cleaned. A draining nonolet that drains to a filtering system should probably have a filter designed to be able to handle the occasional (limited) contamination (or have a drain that can prevent contamination: one that can be diverted or closed?).

The last paragraph are just my assumptions; I couldn't find an immediate answer on their site. I see that they have guided tours of their "underland house" and its facilities. I may go on one of those to find out more. If so I'll post a trip report.
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1760
    
    3
Not mentioned here is the solar composting toilet.  One can add/build a solar composting toilet to their house with a south facing bathroom.  This option greatly reduces the material that must be 'hauled' away.  The urine is collected separately in this system.  The stink and Oooo is greatly reduced in this toilet system. 

Urine diluted 10 parts water to one part urine is said to be safe for plants.  As for the salts and PHP I've heard adding ash to this urine mix seems to balance it out.  I have not tried it, however Joe Jenkins (humanure handbook author) has been collecting and using his humanure compost on his garden for many many years with urine in it (since 1995).  He of course composts at high temp to achieve his end product, but something is taking care of his salts.  A balance of nature is taking place. 

I'm with Paul concerning all the labor involved in Joe's process.  And I would not want to go outside to potty.  However, I would like to compost our waste instead of making sewage on my own land.  So one day I may have to potty in a bucket 

A good book I found at my library with many different toilet designs and options is
Composting Toilet System Book: A Practical Guide to Choosing, Planning and Maintaining Composting Toilet Systems.  In this book, you will find

* Descriptions of more than 40 systems--both manufactured and site-built--and their sources
* Compatible toilet stools and micro-flush toilet installation tips
* Tips on choosing, planning, installing and maintaining your composting toilet system  (including what manufacturers won't tell you!)
* The experiences of owner-operators worldwide
* What you should know about graywater systems
* Regulations and advice about getting your system approved

~Jami


paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14198
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
the quicktime stuff messes up my computer.  As it turns out, I installed something yesterday that installed quicktime.  Now my computer is sick.  In fact, I tried to watch the video a moment ago and it locked everything up (quicktime said "new version of quicktime, do you want me to fetch it?" and clicking on anything caused the lockup).  So now I watched the video.  Excellent stuff!  Can't they put that on youtube?

I would very much like to learn more about nonolet.  The idea of one person's poop filling a small bucket after ....  two months ...  this is amazing!  You could sit such a filled bucket outside with some sort of interesting lid that says "do not open until september 2010" - so it has one year to wait out all of the pathogens.  Then it is fairly composted and you can dump it near a pine tree in the spring where the pine tree will consume all of the nutrients over the spring, summer and fall. 

I really, really like this!

I am, however, very curious about the paper.  It would seem that you need lots of the special paper to make this work.  Can you not do this with .... something else?



bbart Hatfield


Joined: May 15, 2009
Posts: 5
The paper doesn't seem to be anything special: they are the standard paper towels that, for example, the Dutch railways use (they seem to be somewhat fluffier than the rolls of brown paper often found in the US; a quick search indicates they may be known as "multifold paper towels" though I'm not sure if they're the same consistency).

Other layering mechanisms may work, but these towels have the benefit that they close off each layer (as it's being compacted), are compostable, provide balance (cf. saw dust in composting toilets) and sustainable (assuming a sustainable paper production). I can't immediately imagine another material that would combine those attributes.

I'm not sure that leaving the bucket outside for some time before it's composted would add much benefit: the immediate decay has been stopped with the paper layering. Just letting it stand outside (in the heat) might start an anaerobic or uncontrolled (too cold/too hot) composting cycle... so composting it once the bucket is taken outside and then letting the resulting compost cure for another year seems safer.
Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2236
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  38
One more concept (at least I think it's conceptual only so far) by an industrial designer. Maybe some of you have seen this since I think I followed a link from Mother Earth News at one point.

The components are:

  • [li]the commode is made of poop and eco-resin (!!)[/li]
    [li]waterless and composting[/li]
    [li]biodigester for converting to methane gas[/li]


  • The designer is doing a lot with poop to get attention - poop "gems" and deer heads made of poop. I'm not sure if her design addresses many of the issues discussed here, but I do think the attention she is drawing can be a good thing. The more exposure, the more likely good ideas can become more accessible and acceptable.


    Hands-on workshops in all shades of green - Cascadia & Seattle Eco Events Calendar | QuickBooks Consulting and Accounting Services - www.jocelyncampbell.com
    paul wheaton
    steward

    Joined: Apr 01, 2005
    Posts: 14198
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
        ∞
    Jocelyn, that link seems a bit light in info.  Is there more?

    I guess I would like to .... get some more data on the nonolet.  People that are doing it.  Pros and cons.  More about the paper.  "bbart" mentioned that the paper appears to be nothing special.  It would be good to get more on that.  Maybe sawdust would work almost as well?

    If a system that includes urine needs to be emptied every three days, does this mean that a dry system can go three weeks?  Maybe with just good ole sawdust? 

    And it seems to say that the paper combined with the tamping makes for no odor and that the bacteria are all eliminated.  And the fact that there is runoff seems to suggest something that still needs to deal with black water.  So you still need to have a sewage treatment system?

    tc20852 Hatfield


    Joined: Apr 04, 2009
    Posts: 24
    I think that keeping it simple is best. Use the humanure technique if possible.

    Dont bother to separate pee and poop. Why would you want to upset your N/P/K ballance? Use plenty of sawdust/newspaper/shredded woody plants to get enough carbon content and the mixture will compost no problems in a heap.

    As a family we did this over a 6 week period while we were fixing the bathroom. My daughters (4 and 5 at the time) had no problem with this. Infact they seemed to like the bucket since it was non-flushing (they reeely hate the automatic flushing things you can find at public rest rooms these days, or as they say "The Magic Potties".

    One might be a bit squeamish at first...but its not so bad. The sawdust has a nice aroma and poop smell soon turns earthy.

    THere is a very good reason humanure is ultimately the only way forward. We have to close the nutrient loop. Make garden. Pick veggies. Cook dinner. Poop. Compost. Back to garden...etc.

    Admittedly you cant do this on a suburban lot. The neighbors are gong to get the City onto you like a ton of bricks, but out on your Permie retreat.....you gonna throw away all that plant food??

    Happy composting.

    Thomas

    PS if you want some light hearted reading, check out the composting thread on GardenWeb "You Know You are a Composting Whacko when...."
    http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/midatl/2002101805019109.html
    Bird Hatfield


    Joined: Oct 31, 2009
    Posts: 250
    Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
    Hi All

    On my bush block in Northern Territory Australia, I have been experimenting with a worm farm toilet, have been using it for over 6 months and have had no problems, it works the same as a normal worm farm, on the odd occasion when smell starts (sometimes after heavy usage) i just cover deposits with dry leaf litter (seems to work better than fresh green leaves) urine just drains through to liquid container at bottom of worm farm which i drain of and dilute as with any worm juice and use in the garden. The worm castings i get from this system i only use under fruit trees or ornamental gardens. why work when you can just poo and let the worms do all the work? My toilet is outside as currently i live in a bus.

    Maybe worth a try, would be interested to know if it also works in your colder weather.

    Happy composting -- or should that be worm farming

    This idea originally came to me after googleing worm farm/dog droppings for a friend.

    Bird


    Anyone who has never made a mistake
    has never tried anything new
        -ALBERT EINSTEIN-
    paul wheaton
    steward

    Joined: Apr 01, 2005
    Posts: 14198
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
        ∞

    Dont bother to separate pee and poop. Why would you want to upset your N/P/K ballance?


    Well, you asked why!

    1)  because the nutrient needs of my crop are different.

    2)  because when separated they don't smell as much.

    3)  because then it doesn't need to be emptied as often.

    4)  because urine contains salt which might not be desired. 

    My impression is that Art Ludwig would have a very different approach to all of this.  I hope he comes out with a book about it. 

    My impression is that whether to separate the urine is the key difference between the Jenkins approach and the Ludwig approach.


    paul wheaton
    steward

    Joined: Apr 01, 2005
    Posts: 14198
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
        ∞
    I have been experimenting with a worm farm toilet, have been using it for over 6 months and have had no problems


    Pictures?

    Have you had to empty anything?

    Bird Hatfield


    Joined: Oct 31, 2009
    Posts: 250
    Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia

    Hi Paul

    Sorry cant do pic's at this stage, only computer access is work, Gov Health Dept, not allowed to attach external devices (paitient confidentiality reasons)

    As for emptying is same as normal worm farm, i just dont retrieve worms from finished trays, if remaining tray needs more worms for any reason i just get some from other worm farms.

    All it is, is a comode over chair as used for frail/disabled in hospitals nurse homes this is placed over a commercial worm farm instead of a flush toilet, just remove lid before use

    I will be building a conventual compost toilet in time details of which can be foundat
    www.sprep.org/att/publication/000560_IWP_PTR52.pdf

    Bird
    paul wheaton
    steward

    Joined: Apr 01, 2005
    Posts: 14198
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
        ∞
    I guess that with six months of use, I'm curious as to how often you have needed to empty it.  I wonder if maybe you empty it half as often, thanks to the worms.

    Jami McBride
    volunteer

    Joined: Aug 29, 2009
    Posts: 1760
        
        3
    I just can't wrap my brain around the nonolet -

    How can one piece of paper..... change that, how can one be sure to aim and hit.... scratch that.  Okay - how about roll-off, slide off - I mean how does a tower of poo/paper form perfectly while pee flows off through holes and out a tube 

    This sounds very interesting - Can someone explain the details to me?
    paul wheaton
    steward

    Joined: Apr 01, 2005
    Posts: 14198
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
        ∞
    I think your point is rather excellent.  If there is a hill in the middle, it seems things will roll to the edge. 

    It starts to make things rather suspect.

    And the drain must still require a septic system.

    Jami McBride
    volunteer

    Joined: Aug 29, 2009
    Posts: 1760
        
        3
    Pecunia non olet ("money does not smell" is a Latin saying. The phrase originally related to the urine tax levied by the Roman emperors Nero and Vespasian in the 1st century upon the collection of urine.

    LOL - A card game in the old Rome, in which the players act as rental toilette owners, who have to earn their money from the roman citizens, who feel an urgent need...
    The game includes 70 roman "customer cards", 40 action cards, roman coins and wooden round markers


    Okay, funny aside -----

    Soooo Non olet means = doesn't smell  - I get that, but....yea, how does this play out exactly?


    I need to add that I've done the search and viewed the video, but I'm still not sure about the practical details

    Joop Corbin - swomp


    Joined: Jan 01, 2010
    Posts: 172
    Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
        
        1
    ahhhh, my kind of topic,
    lets talk poop...

    We are using the nonolet for about a year now. we built this one:


    And first of all, the sliding to the side as the piramid grows isnt really a problem.
    The paper towels we use are the same surface as the square bucket we have standing in it. even if something kinda...ehm...squirts out from the side, you can just cover it with an additional paper towel. i usually keep a bucket with dirt or sawdust next to it for when the excrament have a less solid appearance. We dont have any problems with smell.

    but here is the thing, we have a problem with cold. as you can see in the drawing, the point that the urine goes out to the waterfiltration is really narrow. 8 or 12 mm i think. and in the winter it freezes shut. so the bucket just fills u if we urinate...

    now how does that work out with the humanure version? if i remember it right the liquid is drained grom those as well, isnt? or does the sawdust soaks that up?


    land and liberty at s.w.o.m.p.
    www. swompenglish.wordpress.com
    Jami McBride
    volunteer

    Joined: Aug 29, 2009
    Posts: 1760
        
        3
    Joop Corbin - swomp wrote:


    And first of all, the sliding to the side as the piramid grows isnt really a problem.
    The paper towels we use are the same surface as the square bucket we have standing in it.



    So .... if a roll-off should occur it would not matter?  I picture a roll off landing at the bottom of the bucket when the urine goes before it runs out, but that must not be the way it goes.  So some how the solids stay put or are blocked by paper towels/sawdust - okay I get that.

    Exactly what kind/type of paper towel are you using?  What size?  Are they tandard kitchen paper towel and size?



    even if something kinda...ehm...squirts out from the side, you can just cover it with an additional paper towel. i usually keep a bucket with dirt or sawdust next to it for when the excrament have a less solid appearance. We dont have any problems with smell.



    And this is because everything is covered completely in one maner or another, and the urine is mostly drained away - yes?



    but here is the thing, we have a problem with cold. as you can see in the drawing, the point that the urine goes out to the water filtration is really narrow. 8 or 12 mm i think. and in the winter it freezes shut. so the bucket just fills u if we urinate...



    Can you explain your water filtration st up?  It sounds like your urine tube is going directly outside into the elements and temperatures.  Is this correct?



    now how does that work out with the humanure version? if i remember it right the liquid is drained from those as well, isn't it? or does the sawdust soaks that up?



    'drained' nope,  this is an area of contention among the humanure followers.  Some swearing you shouldn't pee in your bucket while others, including Joe Jenkins himself say it's okay.  I believe the addition of urine does add an extra level of work/effort on one's part, and some don't want this work when eliminating the urine factor is easy for them to do.  But following the humanure concept proper means you collect your urine in the same bucket as poo.

    Since you've been using your system for some time - do you have to clean the urine drain(s) to help with smell issues?  How often do you empty/clean your buckets?

    Thanks for posting


    Joop Corbin - swomp


    Joined: Jan 01, 2010
    Posts: 172
    Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
        
        1
    And this is because everything is covered completely in one maner or another, and the urine is mostly drained away - yes?
    Yes.

    you can see the "stomper" in my image with which we compress the whole lot a bit after doing your thing. this also ensures that most liquid is drained.

    also in the image you can see sort of a dish upside down in the bottom of the bucket. this dish hase a ribbed side to allow liquid to flow along, without the solids getting in your draincanal.

    the type of paper we use are the ones that you find standerd in public toilets, you rip the out of these metal containers hanging from the wall. about 20cm by 40cm. but you can use more if u want or delivered a lot.

    Can you explain your water filtration st up?  It sounds like your urine tube is going directly outside into the elements and temperatures.  Is this correct?
    yep, that is why it freezes up. we are still busy building our living machine, but in the end the pipe should flow directly into the living machine. wrapping something around this pipe could stop the cold a bit, but in the end it just freezes about -15 degrees celcius...

    Since you've been using your system for some time - do you have to clean the urine drain(s) to help with smell issues?  How often do you empty/clean your buckets?

    this is where the nonolet comes in handy, because it is such a compressed structure, it doesnt take that many cleaning sessions. with the five of us (all adults) using it we have to empty it once a week. if we were to use a humanure thing with sawdust and stuf it would be more that twice a week.
    Also sawdust is not an available surplus here. paper is, and thus the availability of those crappy recycled paper towels is big.

    apart from those advantages i think i like the jenkins system better. and for our place on the country side (up to now just a dream) i would probably choose the jenkins version...
    Leah Sattler


    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2603
    for anyone with an interest in composting toilets

    http://oasisdesign.net/compostingtoilets/book/index.htm


    [img]http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n52/havlik1/permie%20pics2/permiepotrait3pdd.jpg[/img]

    "One cannot help an involuntary process. The point is not to disturb it. - Dr. Michel Odent
    paul wheaton
    steward

    Joined: Apr 01, 2005
    Posts: 14198
    Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
        ∞
    Leah Sattler wrote:
    for anyone with an interest in composting toilets

    http://oasisdesign.net/compostingtoilets/book/index.htm


    That site has a "vote for this book" sort of thing.  That's the book I voted for.

    Kay Bee


    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 471
    Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
    this site has a system that seems very well thought out and workable.  Still involves hauling buckets, but I'm ok with that.  I'd like to figure out a way to manually shred dry leaves as the cover material...

    http://www.omick.net/composting_toilets/current_toilet.htm

    the rest of their site is fascinating as well


    "Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari

    Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
     
     
    subject: Composting Toilets
     
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