bamboo is a very good poop beast in the right climates. It is said to grow faster than any tree, so it would guzzle down that poop like there was no tomorrow. You probably could poop in it the hole in the morning, and hear it belching soon after.
I live so far north, bamboo isn't as amazing around here. But its possible for rhizomes to run 10ft though even here!
Brenda Groth wrote:
i really like Leah's human tractor idea..why not have the outhouse on wheels..or build it on an old "wagon frame" so you can hitch it up to the tractor or the truck and move that sucker regularly..dump a little dirt over the mess and plant a tree! Ideal !
However, all this seems a little off to me. Humanure composting is really quite easy and ....
paul wheaton wrote:
I think there are parts of the Jenkins system that makes me nervous. As an example: Putting today's poop outside in the a compost pile in the rain. I would worry about the rain carrying today's poop into the ground water.
However, if I modify Jenkins system to separate the urine and then have less poop to deal with, I could save the poop, age it a bit, and put it on poop beasts in the spring.
Or, I could have a dry outhouse system with poop beasts nearby.
Well, poop alone doesn't compost well and aging it just a bit doesn't really cut it.
Putting poop directly in contact with soil provides vectors for certain parasites to propagate.
The hot composting compost pile does a better job keeping stuff from leaching into the ground water than a non composting out house.
The compost does need to be managed properly (like throwing a cover over to reduce water going through the compost pile during torrential rains, I find a sheet of cardboard works just fine for this.)
Now if you want to separate some of the urine out of humanure compost for use around some plants, I can support that but it so far seems to me that about 50% of a person's urine is needed in the humanure compost to get the compost good and hot. Just poops in a sawdust buckets tends to turn into sawdust coated turds that do little or nothing in the compost pile.
paul wheaton wrote:
Poop alone: I'm not suggesting it is alone. Poop and urine alone does not compost nearly as well as poop and sawdust. I'm going to assume you meant that poop+urine+sawdust at just the right moisture level composts better than poop+sawdust that is dry. And you are right. And if you have poop+sawdust+water in just right amounts, you get just as good of composting. Maybe better. It all boils down to the good ole C:N ratio plus the right level of moisture and air.
I think the point you are trying to make is that taking the urine out of the equation makes for a cooler compost. The point I wish to make is that I think you can have a compost just as hot without the urine.
Aging it a bit: that's right from jenkins' book. In time the pathogens die. I think he devoted a whole chapter to it.
Please tell me more. Especially any info about how the jenkin's poop+urine compost pile doesn't have these vectors but a dry outhouse does.
I would say that a dry outhouse leaches nothing into the ground water. That's a big part of the design. It is my impression that a jenkins style compost pile leaches plenty. Especially during the wet season. This is one of my concerns over this approach. I suppose one could attempt to construct a dry space for this level of composting. And there can be a variety of designs to control excess water taking icky things to the ground water.
As for "non composting out house" - I would have to say that I think it is going to compost. It could be debatable about how hot of a compost it is. If you wish to compare it to a jenkins pile, I think it is debatable as to which one will be hotter, on average. I think one interesting point here is that a dry outhouse might actually compost hotter in the winter than a jenkins pile due to being less exposed and taking advantage of the thermal inertia of the surrounding earth.
Again, I would very much like to learn more about this. I can imagine cardboard extending three feet beyond every edge of the pile, that does a 99% job of keeping the pile drier. And I can imagine a piece of cardboard that does not covers only the center, thus leading to no real change other than to keep the top, inner cubic foot a little drier than the rest of the soggy pile.
I suppose that "managed properly" is an important ingredient in any of the things we are talking about. I hope that we don't attempt to compare system A (managed well) to system B (managed poorly).
I suppose another thing to think about is: how much human discipline is required for each system for good results.
And yet another metric: what is "good results" made of? As we compare these things, what makes a system "good"?
I think that you can have a hot compost with zero urine.
I think that there may be times when dry poop is of more value.
I think that most systems that attempt to separate the urine will only manage to separate 90% of the urine. Oh well.
Yes you can have very hot compost without urine but in my experience, it is really easy to get with urine.
Yes aging will eventually take care of almost all possible pathogens. If there is no hot composting in the process, it should age for two years after the last addition to the "batch" However if there is no composting and only aging is done, then I personally don't feel that two years is really enough depending on the temperatures involved (at freezing temperatures, round worm eggs can survive 4 years.)
Well, here I probably don't have the proper information about good safe outhouse design. I was under the conception that the outhouse is bassically a hole in the ground with a house and a seat over it for one to do their business. To me that meant poop landing on dirt in a hole in the ground. Direct poop to dirt contact is one way certain types of unfavorable worms can propagate (round worm.)
So when I say non composting out house I'm referring to the old fashion booth over the pit in the ground with no extra special composting features in mind.
Here in central Florida we get some heavy rains and yet, I've not had any trouble with my compost piles getting over wet or becoming what I would call soggy or even anaerobic.
Just curious, what is being done with the urine that is being separated? As in why separate it? Is it being used as fertilizer? Or is it just so that the outhouse is dry? If so then the urine just needs to be disposed of some other way.
I know, I'm starting a whole new topic here. And don't get me wrong, I'm not against using urine for stuff but there are safety precautions that should be sorted out with that too even though urine is far safer that poo to handle, it can still carry pathogens with it. Certain pathogens will be killed by leaving the urine sealed in a bottle for a certain period of time (urea converts to ammonia and the pH goes up and will kill the e. coli that is often present even in healthy people) however there are other pathogens that are not so easily killed. Anyway, I did research on this while I was experimenting with "Pee Ponics" a couple years ago.
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
I think a good compost pile transpires as much moisture as it can wick from the ground unless the rain is very heavy. I took the comment about covering the pile during torrential rain to mean only covering the pile itself, and trusting that the pile would stay thirsty enough to pull in water from the surrounding wet ground fast enough that no leaching would occur.
I often check on a pile after some rain, and find it still a little thirsty.
paul wheaton wrote:
I think this would be a good one to dig a foot under the compost pile and count the NPK and the pathogens. I suspect that it would be higher than a septic drainfield.