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Humanure on the road

 
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Many folks with converted school buses have either the fancy composting toilets or diy humanure ones. I have opted for a blackwater tank because I'm not to sure about the benefits of a composting toilet without a place to put the compost! A lot of people I've spoken with say they just bag the waste and put it in a dumpster, to other people saying they actually dump it in natural areas!?!?!? Only a few actually have a compost site to put their composting toilets materials in. What is everyone's opinion on composting toilets in RVs?
 
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It's really decent of you to be considering this.

It's illegal to dump sewage in dumpsters or garbage cans or out in the open.  I know people do it, but it's sewage, so it's not anything you want in public places.  As a property owner I will be outraged if I find a pile of raw sewage and toilet paper dumped on my property.   Outraged.  I am not going to take care of someone else's sewage.  My animals, my family, my friends are on that property.  Even if other people think it looks deserted, it's not.   Even if dumping it in a remote-looking park seems okay, that's where the public can safely go, and the government that takes care of that park, (city, county or national park service) is required legally to provide a safe place for the public.  Raw sewage is not safe.  Even if people don't get caught, the stuff they leave behind endangers people, small children, the elderly and their pets.

And why amass tons of plastic bags and toss them everywhere?  How is that not violating the environment?  

My worst nightmares have been cleaning out traditional blackwater tanks in RVs.  The solids tend to sink to the bottom and mass there with the paper, regardless of water, regardless of pee.  The RV forums have all kinds of tricks.  Some of them involve using the same bacterial additives that they use in septic tanks.   What always surprised me is that when you go to empty it, it drains at top speed, but then looking in there from the top with a flashlight showed that a lot of solids and paper were still and lining the bottom.   It took days of running water and stirring with a manual septic line auger to empty that tank.  So emptying it often is important, getting it to really break down is important.  It might be that the driving along, constant jiggling makes the contents sort of gel, settle into something more solid than it would if it were in a tank in the ground where it holds still.  

So then I removed the toilet that came with the RV, put an airtight seal in the opening (we don't want sewer gas coming into the RV)  and put a composting toilet with its own tank on the bottom of the composting toilet to collect the finished compost.  The liquid overflow tube that comes with the composting toilet can be put through a hole drilled in the airtight seal, and empty into the blackwater tank.  I drilled a hole the exact size of the tube and caulked it to seal it.  A composting toilet need to be monitored  to make sure it doesn't fill up, and make sure it's composting fast enough.  In cold weather it will really slow down unless it's insulated.  

Composting toilets are large, so they can be tricky to fit.   They also require a lot of sawdust, which also has to be stored.  
 
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Cristo Balete wrote:It's really decent of you to be considering this.

It's illegal to dump sewage in dumpsters or garbage cans or out in the open.  I know people do it, but it's sewage, so it's not anything you want in public places.  As a property owner I will be outraged if I find a pile of raw sewage and toilet paper dumped on my property.   Outraged.  I am not going to take care of someone else's sewage.  My animals, my family, my friends are on that property.  Even if other people think it looks deserted, it's not.   Even if dumping it in a remote-looking park seems okay, that's where the public can safely go, and the government that takes care of that park, (city, county or national park service) is required legally to provide a safe place for the public.  Raw sewage is not safe.  Even if people don't get caught, the stuff they leave behind endangers people, small children, the elderly and their pets.

And why amass tons of plastic bags and toss them everywhere?  How is that not violating the environment?  

My worst nightmares have been cleaning out traditional blackwater tanks in RVs.  The solids tend to sink to the bottom and mass there with the paper, regardless of water, regardless of pee.  The RV forums have all kinds of tricks.  Some of them involve using the same bacterial additives that they use in septic tanks.   What always surprised me is that when you go to empty it, it drains at top speed, but then looking in there from the top with a flashlight showed that a lot of solids and paper were still and lining the bottom.   It took days of running water and stirring with a manual septic line auger to empty that tank.  So emptying it often is important, getting it to really break down is important.  It might be that the driving along, constant jiggling makes the contents sort of gel, settle into something more solid than it would if it were in a tank in the ground where it holds still.  

So then I removed the toilet that came with the RV, put an airtight seal in the opening (we don't want sewer gas coming into the RV)  and put a composting toilet with its own tank on the bottom of the composting toilet to collect the finished compost.  The liquid overflow tube that comes with the composting toilet can be put through a hole drilled in the airtight seal, and empty into the blackwater tank.  I drilled a hole the exact size of the tube and caulked it to seal it.  A composting toilet need to be monitored  to make sure it doesn't fill up, and make sure it's composting fast enough.  In cold weather it will really slow down unless it's insulated.  

Composting toilets are large, so they can be tricky to fit.   They also require a lot of sawdust, which also has to be stored.  


So when you switched to a composting toilet, what did you do with it when you emptied it? That seems to be my issue, what to do with the doo?
 
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Does the compost finish in the toilet?
If so, dumping it is less of a moral issue.
Some models seem to desiccate waste more than compost it, which is still a very useful thing.
 
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I dump pee just about everywhere. When there is number 2, to dispose of, it is either buried at the point of production, or it's in the form of relatively dry chunks in a dry soil and sawdust toilet. I never pee in it.

These can be stored a long time without smell. Eventually I either get them to the farm, or to a spot where I have holes that can be filled. Usually it's somewhere near the property line on job sites, where big plants have been dug up. I put it in the bottom and cover it up. There's almost always a new house being started within a couple months of my departure. There's some chance that someone might dig in that area in a year or so, once the house is finished. I try to pick spots where bushes are mature enough to gobble up the nutrients, but not so far gone that they are likely to be replaced.
 
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Gail Jardin wrote:Many folks with converted school buses have either the fancy composting toilets or diy humanure ones. I have opted for a blackwater tank because I'm not to sure about the benefits of a composting toilet without a place to put the compost! A lot of people I've spoken with say they just bag the waste and put it in a dumpster, to other people saying they actually dump it in natural areas!?!?!? Only a few actually have a compost site to put their composting toilets materials in. What is everyone's opinion on composting toilets in RVs?



Gail,

You can't have a compost toilet without a compost pile. Compost toilets are waste free. Nothing is wasted or disposed of. Collecting human excrement in an RV and then dumping it somewhere does not constitute a compost toilet. You could call it a "dry toilet," however. The Humanure Handbook 4th Edition explains it all.

https://humanurehandbook.com/store/Humanure_Handbook.html

Joe Jenkins
 
Gail Jardin
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Joe Jenkins wrote:

Gail Jardin wrote:Many folks with converted school buses have either the fancy composting toilets or diy humanure ones. I have opted for a blackwater tank because I'm not to sure about the benefits of a composting toilet without a place to put the compost! A lot of people I've spoken with say they just bag the waste and put it in a dumpster, to other people saying they actually dump it in natural areas!?!?!? Only a few actually have a compost site to put their composting toilets materials in. What is everyone's opinion on composting toilets in RVs?



Gail,

You can't have a compost toilet without a compost pile. Compost toilets are waste free. Nothing is wasted or disposed of. Collecting human excrement in an RV and then dumping it somewhere does not constitute a compost toilet. You could call it a "dry toilet," however. The Humanure Handbook 4th Edition explains it all.

https://humanurehandbook.com/store/Humanure_Handbook.html

Joe Jenkins


Great sales promo. I think the last copy I read of your book was back in the early 2000s. I was a fan for a while and we used only a loveable loo for years.
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