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tree bog vs. dry outhouse

 
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Mt. Goat, I agree with what your idea is.  When I read that , it sounded so familiar to what I'm doing. 

One thing I've noticed when I look in the hole is some type large beetles down there.  I assume they are taking part in the natural decomposition process that they would not be able to do in a standard septic tank.  Right after a flush, they float. 
I don't notice any flies or other bugs, and no smell.  I thought for sure there would be a noticeable smell. 

I agree Mt. Goat, with your breakdown of the facts on how expensive septics are. 
Surely, we as a society can do better.
 
Erik Green
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LOL !

reread some of the earlier posts.  LOL.

When I was growing up, we actually had a Weeping Willow tree in our backyard.  They do like water.  I just never thought of dumping a 5 gallon pail of , umm, well,  at its base.
 
steward
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Are you talking about making an outhouse pit and routing toilet water to that? 

 
Erik Green
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No out house involved.

Imagine simply a typical single family home with a yard,
a standard toilet in the bathroom,
the pipe from the toilet is vented and then comes through the basement wall(or sill)  to the outside, above the surface of the ground,
where a flexible pipe is connected to it (slanted downhill of course)
and the pipe runs to a simple hole in the ground.  2' deep and 8" in diameter. 

The toilet is used an average of once a day and the hole fills in about a month (not all the way up). 
Then one simply digs another hole (about 18" away),
placing some of the dirt over the old hole,
and moving the flexible pipe to that hole. 

This is basically what I have.  And it seems to work.  I'm just wondering should I add anything, like nitrogen or some other chemical or material before topping the old hole. 
I'm thinking perhaps I should leave the old hole open (with a screen over the top) to allow air and sun at it for a while, to process.


 
Erik Green
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so this is like the equivalent of 2 large coffee cans worth of 'debri' per hole (toilet only remember).

One thing I'm finding about being Green is the simpler it is, the more likely we are to implement.  Also, simpler is usually less expensive.

Sometimes, the simple things are so easy, we just miss them. 
 
                        
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Based on what I've been reading, you may want to consider throwing some sawdust or other dried organic material (like last year's dried leaves crushed into dust) on top of the "debris" before covering.  I also hope your area isn't subjected to flash flooding, otherwise, your "debris" is going to just float on out of there and into your (or someone else's) water supply.
 
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erikgreen wrote:
Imagine simply a typical single family home with a yard,
a standard toilet in the bathroom,
the pipe from the toilet is vented and then comes through the basement wall(or sill)  to the outside, above the surface of the ground,
where a flexible pipe is connected to it (slanted downhill of course)
and the pipe runs to a simple hole in the ground.  2' deep and 8" in diameter. 



I would think that this would be a really bad idea.  It's like getting the worst of all worlds. 

I think this is going to push a lot of pathogens and NPK down to the ground water.  Even more so than a traditional septic system.



 
Erik Green
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why would this be any different than using an outhouse.

I tend to think that it would be better than that because:
instead of a 6' deep hole, its only 2' deep. 
Instead of a large accumulation all in one spot, one has the equivalence of 2 coffee cans worth in several spots.  Bugs and algae can work on a smaller quantity a lot quicker and effectively.
instead of having something covered by a structure that blocks out the sun and air, it is open.

Then of course there is the obvious benefit of having the inside convenience of a standard toilet and not having to handle any refuse (such as with a pail set up or composting toilet). More sanitary, agreeable with a larger portion of the population, and no misquito bites or dealing with snakes, flies, etc.




 
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woods and water wrote:
I saw a documentary on peasant living in China years and years and years ago...wish I could find it.  Simple two room hut...one side housed the family, the other side a couple of pigs.  The pig excrement was shoveled into a corner along with the pigs' bedding material...above the pile created was a large funnel which took the methane and shipped it along simple tubing to the area beneath their wok for cooking...no pressure system or storage that they showed.

Anyone ever see this?



I've heard of that setup before, but I've never seen one.  that did remind me that when my grandpa built his new barn 25 years ago on top of his grandfather-in-law's rhubarb and asparagus patch, he had a tank installed under the pig pen to collect manure.  there's just a grate in the floor to shove the material in question into, but I imagine it could be plumbed to collect biogas with some work.



but back to tree bogs and outhouses.  I really like the treebog idea and really want it to work.  I know for certain that it wouldn't work when trees are dormant, though, which is a fair portion of the year around here.  separate shitters for different seasons doesn't sound super unreasonable, but it does complicate things a bit.

for the time being, we're using separate toilets for fæces and urine.  the poo toilet is a barrel and we add sawdust.  we're on the first go round, but I'm guessing it will take about four months to fill up, so I'll need to build at least one more.  the pee toilet is flushed by the sink next to it and that all heads to the grey water treatment.

how about a photo?


it's obviously a work in progress (though the potential to pick blackberries while doing my dirty business seems sort of pleasant), but it seems to be functioning quite well.
 
paul wheaton
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erikgreen wrote:
why would this be any different than using an outhouse.



It would be worse than the worst outhouse - and there is a reason why outhouses are banned in a lot of places.  Mostly due to poor design.

If nothing else, you are adding a LOT of liquid to the pit that an outhouse doesn't have to deal with. 

As for the microbial action:  since a septic tank is buried, the septic critters are kept a little warmer.

 
Erik Green
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"there is a reason why outhouses are banned in a lot of places."

Well, it wouldn't be unheard of for a business interests to muscle its way in by trying to push legislation that is to their interest.  Cost to consumers being irrelevent to them.
I can think of several businesses that have done considerable damage to our landscape under the image of "improvements".  Most include cement and fossil fuel burning earth moving equipment.

Yes there are some areas that do not do well without careful management of sewage.  ... and not all consumers have the common sense to deal with certain details.


"...   you are adding a LOT of liquid to the pit "

Well, a gallon and half isn't really  A LOT.  Remember, this is ONLY the toilet, no other plumbing fixtures.   Really, the only difference between this and a outhouse is the 1 1/2 gallons of water per flush.  But this is only 2' deep, not 6'.   And the hole is only 8" wide.

I think the best place for this would be a garden area.  Think of how well things would grow with natural fertilizer.
1-028.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1-028.jpg]
 
tel jetson
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erikgreen: I admire your skepticism of the status quo.  that's an important part of critical thinking.

a properly built and sited pit toilet can effectively prevent groundwater contamination because material, particularly liquid, is digested by aerobic and anaerobic organisms before it leaves the pit.  there are many ways this approach can go wrong and cause groundwater pollution.

that extra water you're adding with each flush makes a big difference.  there is no way that that much liquid could be absorbed by the already composting contents of your small hole, and so nutrients and bacteria will be flushed deeper into the soil and on into groundwater.  the composting contents of a pit toilet in suitable soil can absorb the small amount of liquid involved long enough that it rendered less harmful by organisms.

a lot depends on the soil you're working with.  if it drains very slowly, soil biology may have time to deal with the material before it travels very far.  if it's very sandy and well drained, your sewage will travel relatively unimpeded directly into groundwater.

it seems you're fairly attached to your particular method of waste management.  I think there's a good chance you're doing real damage, though, even if your idea seems sound to you.  please give it some more thought and don't dismiss input from other folks without honestly considering it.  if you still come to the conclusion that you're doing no harm, go ahead with your strategy.
 
Erik Green
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I appreciate all legitimate comments and concerns.  This is why I am here.  I want to make sure that I am not causing any problems.  I know that there are those who know more about the biology than I.

I've already come up with new plan.  But I can't help think...
not long ago, humans were using outhouses,  and years ago (ok, centuries) we would squat just like any other animal (we are still animals, can you believe that).  What happens to the debri when a squirrel or a lion or your dog defecates outside?
Are we really that different?  Why so complicated?

I think, from what I've read in another forum here, if the debri is allowed to dry out and be exposed to oxygen, it will be rendered harmless, is that correct?
 
                        
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Not really.  Your method is why farmers and people who aren't connected to governmental water supplies need to have their wells inspected frequently for e-coli bacteria.  The water may be cold, and look clear and pure, but it will kill you (or at least your kids, or grandkids, or anyone immuno-compromised) none-the-less.  (And that's not considering any number of other intestinal flora and fauna that cause illness in humans.)

Human pee and poop need to be isolated from groundwater and heated to at least 140F for a week (160F is better), then allowed to compost for AT LEAST one year before being mixed back into the soil to ensure that none of the flora and fauna will contaminate groundwater supplies.
 
Erik Green
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here's another thing.
When large sewage districts, or even septic tank cleaners dispose of the waste, by sucking it up into a big truck, they frequently spray it onto a farmers field.  right?
Now,  I know that the SOLID waste from a septic tank has not been treated with any chemicals.  But it has sat in there for a while.  Is it considered "dangerous"?
 
                        
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It's sat there composting, biding its time until the moment it's set free ...

oh, wait, I was thinking of democrats...

Seriously, the contents of septic tanks do compost.  The stuff you're supposed to flush down your toilets to "keep your septic tanks running" is supposed to help with that composting, so that by the time the septic tank cleaners get to it the composting has kept the material at a hot-enough temperature that the dangerous flora and fauna have been cooked.

Do they go immediately from the septic tank to the farm fields?  Cooking the septic tank material at 160F for 3 days SHOULD kill most of the bad buggies.  If they can do that before spraying the farmers' fields, then I wouldn't have any problem with their doing that.
 
tel jetson
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erikgreen wrote:
here's another thing.
When large sewage districts, or even septic tank cleaners dispose of the waste, by sucking it up into a big truck, they frequently spray it onto a farmers field.  right?
Now,  I know that the SOLID waste from a septic tank has not been treated with any chemicals.  But it has sat in there for a while.  Is it considered "dangerous"?



I've seen "biosolids" sprayed on forests, but never on food crops.  seems like a pretty bad idea to me, though more because of pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, and sundry industrial chemicals that end up in a good number of septic tanks than because of microbiological contamination.
 
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erikgreen wrote:
I appreciate all legitimate comments and concerns.  This is why I am here.  I want to make sure that I am not causing any problems.  I know that there are those who know more about the biology than I.

I've already come up with new plan.  But I can't help think...
not long ago, humans were using outhouses,  and years ago (ok, centuries) we would squat just like any other animal (we are still animals, can you believe that).  What happens to the debri when a squirrel or a lion or your dog defecates outside?
Are we really that different?  Why so complicated?

I think, from what I've read in another forum here, if the debri is allowed to dry out and be exposed to oxygen, it will be rendered harmless, is that correct?



In a state of nature, 1) we were a lot less numerous and 2) we moved around a lot more

It's obvious from the many diseases and parasites that we spread to each other via feces that that controlling our output is a public health issue that has been around for a looooong time - it took a good while for our microbic associates to develop and perfect their modus operandi. People who keep animals know that they also are subject to diseases and parasites spread via feces. They, like we, have managed to develop defenses and outbreed sufficiently to keep our population levels up. But I don't imagine that it would be a great comfort to someone dying of cholera to know that it is all perfectly natural and the human race will go on regardless.

All water on the face of the earth (except for a relatively minuscule amount that is produced from deep down in volcanic eruptions) has been through countless bodies countless times. So your larger point is correct - it's no big deal, it's just how things work. But frankly, we don't need any more demonstrations of how this transmission works.

As others have pointed out, depending on your soil type and drainage, you might be able to get away with this for a good long time, or you might get sick, or cause others to get sick. And your first clue that serious harm was being done would be illness.

It is also simple to contain your output and then reuse it when it is sure to be safe. IMO, this is a no-brainer.
 
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tel jetson wrote:
I've seen "biosolids" sprayed on forests, but never on food crops.  seems like a pretty bad idea to me, though more because of pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, and sundry industrial chemicals that end up in a good number of septic tanks than because of microbiological contamination.



I've seen 'biosolids' sprayed on hay-fields, and on fields that were later used for crops.  Stinks pretty awful driving past for a long time afterward.

Kathleen
 
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I think it is possible to build an outhouse in such a way that it is cleaner than any septic tank.

And I think nearly all outhouses are not built that way.

Oxygen helps, but it isn't a complete solution.

Composting helps, but it isn't a complete solution.

Many, many things help.  This is an area that people have been struggling to master for thousands of years. 

IMOO the stuff in the humanure book has problems.  Things that concern me.  A lot.  Jenkins is definitely on to something, and I applaud a LOT of what he has accomplished. 



 
tel jetson
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think it is possible to build an outhouse in such a way that it is cleaner than any septic tank.



such as...?

paul wheaton wrote:
IMOO the stuff in the humanure book has problems.  Things that concern me.  A lot.



such as...?
 
paul wheaton
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tel jetson wrote:
such as...?

such as...?



Such as what we've been talking about in the long thread

I think a dry outhouse combined with graywater routed to a greenhouse is gonna be ten times better than a standard septic system.

The two biggest problems I see with the humanure book are:

1)  mixing pee with poop, and

2)  putting the pee and poop outside in the winter in a compost pile where, during a heavy rain, that stuff can end up in the ground water.  And, if not covered properly and on a warm dry day - could end up with flies carrying poopy bits back into the house.

 
tel jetson
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paul wheaton wrote:
Such as what we've been talking about in the long thread! 



got it.

paul wheaton wrote:
The two biggest problems I see with the humanure book are:

1)  mixing pee with poop, and

2)  putting the pee and poop outside in the winter in a compost pile where, during a heavy rain, that stuff can end up in the ground water.  And, if not covered properly and on a warm dry day - could end up with flies carrying poopy bits back into the house.



I haven't read the book, but from speaking with folks who have, I think I've got a pretty good understanding of the method.  and yeah, those both seem like pretty significant problems.  I don't think there's an easy way to mitigate problem #2.

but problem #1: would having a constant draw of air through a composting chamber evaporate enough moisture to solve the issues associated with mixed pee poo?  sawdust or other absorptive material would be involved in this plan.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Actually, I think that problem number two is the easiest to deal with -- put the compost piles inside of a shed.  When we did the humanure toilet for a year, I don't think we had any significant fly problems with the (outdoor) compost pile because the deposits were well covered with peat.  We *did* have trouble with loose chickens getting into the bin and scratching around, but a shed would solve that, too.

Kathleen
 
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Both problems are easy to deal with - see this page -

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


And, to avert a frequent response - this is not an overwhelmingly yucky process. Diaper pails, for instance, are at least ten times worse.
 
tel jetson
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jacqueg wrote:
Both problems are easy to deal with - see this page -

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


And, to avert a frequent response - this is not an overwhelmingly yucky process. Diaper pails, for instance, are at least ten times worse.



that's actually very similar to what I've got now.  works fine.  in that design, though, urine is best left elsewhere.  I'm wondering if enough evaporation would solve the mixed poo pee problem while still allowing sufficiently fast composting.
 
jacque greenleaf
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I use a separate pee bucket, but I fill the bucket with a horse stall bedding product called DryDen. When this is saturated, I mix it into the compost barrel. So I am returning the nitrogen, but pre-absorbed.

If you don't want to use purchased materials, then I think experimenting with cover materials might work. Maybe a mix of very absorbent, fine stuff, like sawdust, and coarser materials like leaves or wood chips.

Also, I made some aeration holes in my compost barrel, and covered the holes with fiberglass screen, using LIquid Nails. Seems to work fine.

And Omick is spot on about the Compost Crank. Works a treat.
 
tel jetson
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jacqueg wrote:
And Omick is spot on about the Compost Crank. Works a treat.



I wasn't too excited about the compost crank.  so I added red wriggler worms instead.  haven't dealt with a full barrel yet, but it's looking (and smelling) pretty good so far.  despite continuous use, the level of material doesn't seem to be rising in the last two months, so it seems to be composting at a rapid clip.

maybe adding some more cover material would be enough to accommodate urine as well as shit, but I figured using a solar chimney to draw air through might be better at drying things out.  and that's the main issue with mixing, right?  the extra liquid sends things in the smelly anaerobic direction?
 
jacque greenleaf
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tel jetson wrote:
the extra liquid sends things in the smelly anaerobic direction?



That's what I've seen. It becomes just a nasty old cess pit. A solar chimney should definitely help prevent that. And/Or, if you notice things getting too wet and tending to smell, add more cover material.

One of the things I've learned about humanure systems over the years (from observing what happens with other folks - this is the only one I've personally done) is that they are noticeably contingent on local weather, exposure, cover material - and maybe even the phase of the moon and local devas for all I know.

It is amazing how long it can take to fill a compost barrel when active composting is happening. I've been filling a red worm kitchen garbage trash can all summer, and it doesn't stay more even half full for very long.

 
                            
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Everyone involved in this conversation should read the Humaneur Handbook, and all your questions will be answered.
 
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Cindy wrote:
Everyone involved in this conversation should read the Humaneur Handbook, and all your questions will be answered.



if you browse the thread, Cindy, I think you'll find that most of us are familiar with the book and the methods described therein.  some credible objections have been raised to those methods.  personally, I'm not willing to put my health and the health of my local ecosystem in the hands of this one author and his self-published book.  I do believe Joseph Jenkins comes close to a good solution, but I don't believe he gets all the way there.
 
                            
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Okay. So, we have been using the composting bucket system for 10 years, and it is a beautiful thing. My potty doesn't smell, it doesn't get flies, and everyone who has ever used it loves it.
We were weary at first, but after 10 years of use, I have absolute confidence in the system. We poop and pee in the bucket, cover it in sawdust, then dump it in to the compost pile. I have heard others say that dumping a bucket full of poop is gross, but honestly, the bucket is 3/4 sawdust. Dumping the buckets once a week is no worse than one trip to a traditional outhouse. Once a week you have to deal with a little smell, but then you cover it well in the compost pile and the smell is gone. And if you are unlucky, you may have to scrub a little poop skid off the side of the bucket with your brush.
The compost pile heats to incredibly high levels, and you have compost. You can use it, you can scatter it, or you can leave it alone. Personally, I believe it's the most incredible compost in the world.
Thinking of our human excrements as waste seems to go against the permaculture ideas. We look at it as an incredibly valuable resource. One that we have handled in the most sanitary manner we can think of.
If you've read the Humaneur Handbook and still have doubts, I encourage you to read it again, cover to cover, and do the system exactly as he says. Give it a try. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised at the ease and the cleanliness and the outcome of the system. Plus, it's a great read, even if you never use the system.
Wishing you all the best.
Cindy
 
                            
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tel jetson wrote:
if you browse the thread, Cindy, I think you'll find that most of us are familiar with the book and the methods described therein.  some credible objections have been raised to those methods.  personally, I'm not willing to put my health and the health of my local ecosystem in the hands of this one author and his self-published book.  I do believe Joseph Jenkins comes close to a good solution, but I don't believe he gets all the way there.


Actually, if I read through the thread, you admit that you haven't read it. You've heard about it.
All problems you are stating are resolved within the book, and they are not just his ideas. Every thing he states has references. He made nothing up.
This is a huge book full of every bit of info you would ever want to know about poop and pee. Once again, I suggest you read it, especially before discrediting it.
 
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it's true that I haven't read the book.  looking for a used copy now.  others, who I believe have read the book, raised the objections, though.

really, I'm not attacking the integrity of Joe Jenkins or his book.  in all likelihood, it's really great.  that doesn't mean his method can't be improved on, though.  I also don't believe that any one method is going to be suitable for every situation.  designing a system for the particular site conditions and the goals and habits of the folks who will use it seems more appropriate than suggesting one solution for everyone.
 
                            
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tel jetson wrote:
it's true that I haven't read the book.  looking for a used copy now.  others, who I believe have read the book, raised the objections, though.

really, I'm not attacking the integrity of Joe Jenkins or his book.  in all likelihood, it's really great.  that doesn't mean his method can't be improved on, though.  I also don't believe that any one method is going to be suitable for every situation.  designing a system for the particular site conditions and the goals and habits of the folks who will use it seems more appropriate than suggesting one solution for everyone.


Well, I hope you enjoy the read. Full of wit and humor (of course it is, we're talking poo here!).
And once again, even after reading the book, we had doubts. But after 10 years, I can honestly say that his method rocks.
Best of luck to you.
 
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Cindy wrote:
Well, I hope you enjoy the read. Full of wit and humor (of course it is, we're talking poo here!).
And once again, even after reading the book, we had doubts. But after 10 years, I can honestly say that his method rocks.
Best of luck to you.



downloaded an lectronic copy and very quickly realized that I had read it.  it's been maybe ten years, though, so I read it again.  a lot of good information in there.  reading it straight through, though, I felt like the author repeated himself over and over again, which was pretty obnoxious.  his style didn't do much for me, either, but I didn't find much to object to in the substance of the book.  tests of dirt under and around his piles for pathogens and leaching nutrients would have been nice to see, just to cover bases.

I'm not convinced that a compost pile is the best option, though.  constructed as the author suggests, I think there's very little chance of pathogens escaping into the wider ecosystem.  the "biological sponge" should prevent nutrients from leaving the pile downward, which is an issue I've seen with roughly every compost pile I've ever seen.  building the pile near greedy plants with spreading roots could probably serve the same purpose during the growing season.

I do object to the amount of cover material involved.  toward the end, Jenkins mentions that an average family would fill up a 50-gallon barrel in two weeks.  I think he was figuring on some yard waste and kitchen scraps going in that barrel, but a large fraction of that volume is going to be cover material to absorb liquid.  the 50-gallon barrel composting toilet we use hasn't even made it to the halfway mark after four months of continuous use, and we've had quite a few visitors including three long weekends with more than fifteen folks using the toilet.  that's a pretty substantial difference.

we use enough sawdust or shredded paper to keep everything covered up, but use a different toilet if we're just urinating, so we don't have to add extra material to absorb all that liquid.  the urine only toilet drains to grey water treatment.  there's no "sponge" to build out of straw bales, which cost around $8/bale around here.  our need for cover material is modest: even here in timber country, sawdust isn't available for free, nevermind transporting it.

nothing but gas is able to leave our system, so if I get lazy (or visitors get confused) and don't pay close attention to the compost, there's no risk of anything escaping, either nutrients or pathogens.  there aren't any full buckets to lug around.

anyhow, I won't claim that our approach is perfect, but it's effective and I like it just fine.  I don't think the Jenkins method would work well for us, which isn't to say it hasn't worked wonderfully for other folks.
 
                            
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tel jetson wrote:
downloaded an lectronic copy and very quickly realized that I had read it.  it's been maybe ten years, though, so I read it again.  a lot of good information in there.  reading it straight through, though, I felt like the author repeated himself over and over again, which was pretty obnoxious.  his style didn't do much for me, either, but I didn't find much to object to in the substance of the book.  tests of dirt under and around his piles for pathogens and leaching nutrients would have been nice to see, just to cover bases.

I'm not convinced that a compost pile is the best option, though.  constructed as the author suggests, I think there's very little chance of pathogens escaping into the wider ecosystem.  the "biological sponge" should prevent nutrients from leaving the pile downward, which is an issue I've seen with roughly every compost pile I've ever seen.  building the pile near greedy plants with spreading roots could probably serve the same purpose during the growing season.

I do object to the amount of cover material involved.  toward the end, Jenkins mentions that an average family would fill up a 50-gallon barrel in two weeks.  I think he was figuring on some yard waste and kitchen scraps going in that barrel, but a large fraction of that volume is going to be cover material to absorb liquid.  the 50-gallon barrel composting toilet we use hasn't even made it to the halfway mark after four months of continuous use, and we've had quite a few visitors including three long weekends with more than fifteen folks using the toilet.  that's a pretty substantial difference.

we use enough sawdust or shredded paper to keep everything covered up, but use a different toilet if we're just urinating, so we don't have to add extra material to absorb all that liquid.  the urine only toilet drains to grey water treatment.  there's no "sponge" to build out of straw bales, which cost around $8/bale around here.  our need for cover material is modest: even here in timber country, sawdust isn't available for free, nevermind transporting it.

nothing but gas is able to leave our system, so if I get lazy (or visitors get confused) and don't pay close attention to the compost, there's no risk of anything escaping, either nutrients or pathogens.  there aren't any full buckets to lug around.

anyhow, I won't claim that our approach is perfect, but it's effective and I like it just fine.  I don't think the Jenkins method would work well for us, which isn't to say it hasn't worked wonderfully for other folks.


We are a family of 3, and I'd say we fill about a 5 gallon bucket every 5 days or so. And the majority of that is sawdust.
We are lucky (and sometimes unlucky) to live about 5 miles from a sawmill, so we can take our little truck a few times a year to get a load. So, all in all, the system works well for us and our situation, and sounds like yours works well for you.
 
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I have read the whole thread, really interesting, but heres my question....
we are going to use our outside toilet all through the winter ( our well ran dry in the summer so we now dont want to waste water by flushing the toilet!)    we are using seperate buckets for our waste, so what to do with the solids?
our winter is long and cold ( we live in eastern Finland) so our thought was to "dump" the solids, we are using a mixture of:sawdust, peat (from our own land)dey leaves and wood ash  into a large plastic barrel and leave for a year to compost down, the barrel will be water tight but it will also be frozen for upto 6 months.

any comments are really welcome.  our plan is to then use the compost in an area of willow trees.
Thanks, Nicola
 
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mitä kuuluu?

the barrel should work.  it should have some ventilation, so the organisms involved can breath.  the wood ash could cause problems, so I would leave that out.

are there any places that aren't inside your living space but would keep the barrel from freezing solid?  the composting critters will create some of their own heat for a while if it's not in a really cold spot.
 
                              
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What a long thread!
A friend of mine in east germany close to dresden living is running a tree bog since may be 1 1/2 years. working perfect, the willows rework everything very well. he is getting a lot of people there for seminars and people for helping on the land. living with about 5 people there constantly and no problem, the willows take it.

I am living in south of spain, andalucia and i am looking for a similar solution, no bucket system! >> tree bog outhouse combination.
but what plants can i use? it is to arid here for the willow, they grow in the area but only close to rivers which i dont have close and would never make a bog close to it.
water is very little on my land.. as i live there only from octobre to end may it is not so big problem for me but for the plants..

what plants could i use instead of the willow?
 
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