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tree bog vs. dry outhouse  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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suomi--Nicola Lloyd wrote: 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.



My thought is to plant a ring of the fastest-growing broadleaf trees that might be appropriate to your climate, leaving enough space for a year's supply of barrels plus six feet on all sides. When the leaves begin to turn color, but still contain some nitrogen, cut these trees back to produce a Jean Pain-style compost heap around all of the barrels. Mix the heap with enough browns to stay at a moderate temperature for the whole winter. Build an insulated hatch that covers over the active barrel, allowing easy access for filling without letting much heat out the rest of the time.

The center of all barrels can be set aside for a thermophilic heap that is built in the autumn with the contents of year-old barrels, if it makes sense to do so.
 
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   There is a lot of good information here and some misinformation, as well as many open questions.  The bottom line (so to speak!!!) is that human manure will over time and with bacterial action, turn into compost: fertile and un- infectious.  There are a variety of systems for controlling this inevitable process, to enhance it, to accelerate it, to guarantee it happens thoroughly and completely every time.
    Many water wells reveal high levels of fecal coliform bacteria when tested. Nearly always, this bacteria did not come from outhouses or barns --- it migrated underground from somebody's totally legal government inspected $10,000 septic system. So even though the Health Department and Building codes stringently enforce their regulations, it happens ( as they say, "sh*t happens.") Here in Western WA, the Hood Canal region of Puget Sound is full of putrefying nitrogen that came from somewhere, probably local septic tanks. I am told Cape Cod also has this problem. Septic tank systems are inadequate, and don't work, although required by law.
   Fecal coliform in itself is not very toxic. As David Holmgren pointed out, if you have a meal of produce contaminated with your own bacteria, you won't get an infection because you have literally already "had" it --- your immune system is living symbiotically with the particular strains that populate your own intestines. In small doses, as in a public bathroom, any bacteria is just an education for the immune system, a virtual inoculation.  Take a trip overseas or encounter new strains, you might get diarrhea. I have never heard of anyone seriously ill from it, although I am sure it can be dangerous  to the immune- compromised. Neither have I ever heard of anyone ill from eating food at a picnic where flies and yellow-jackets were landing on the food, after landing on dog poop and rotting roadkill. It does not worry me.
   The type of e.coli that is dangerous, (strain .0157 etc.)  is not what you find in human poop, but rather in certain livestock manures.  It is rare, not endemic, and does not arise spontaneously. Animals have to catch it. Also I am not convinced that tests for it in raw milk are meaningful.
   I think its great that some people are just quietly disobeying the law, proving another Way exists and is viable. Bacteriologically speaking, a compost toilet operating aerobically is probably safer for human health than a septic tank digesting anaerobically 6 feet underground. IMHO the human love for gadgets and the builder's love for bulldozers and the government's love for control have more to do with septic tanks than hygiene does. Hurray composters!
   The point of a compost toilet is to "capture and store energy." Then it isn't really "waste" is it?
   I use a 5 gallon bucket with pine duff, which I seal and leave to age. I believe forest duff works way better than straw or sawdust because it is much more biologically active.
 
                                
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It is important to add to this thread a couple of points, there are very real hazards of heavy metal in poop. I agree that is probably best to contain the system somehow (if possible naturally yet away from the water table), and to reuse the energy where possible (nutrient, water and heat energy). April Tutor at Permaculturevisions
 
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Ok, I've read this very long post. Wow, a lot of interest on disposal of human waste. My thoughts:
Separation of urine: I agree, separate it for the most part (some is ok), urine turns into ammonia fairly fast, hence the scent. Mix fresh urine 10:1 with water for a great way to fertilize (nitrogen) for plants.
Feces: Some people do have parasites as well as being on medications and there are some heavy metals in human waste. A visitor that is on medications would need their urine and feces segregated and maybe placed into an area of the yard where a tree would be planted later and NO food crops grown. (A latrine shallow trench method could be used for this type of contaminated waste). Dealing with waste from anyone that is on specific (radiation or chemotherapy) medications would be difficult if they are living in the home where composting is used. I would segregate it and dispose of it off the farm at a larger facility for dilution is better.
Composting: Learning to compost using a “hot batch” system is beneficial; to kill pathogens, produce heat that can be captured and to produce an end product that has benefits to plants. Leaching can happen if composting is not properly accomplished. Personally, I’d compost the waste then use the finished composted soil for potting up trees, then plant the trees. I have used the composting bucket/sawdust method and it works very well if the waste is placed into a hot batch system of composting. Hot batch composting is easily accomplished and there isn’t a lot of end product.
Several kinds of trees are heavy feeders and take up heavy metals and have been studied extensively for use in things like “rain gardens” (stormwater diversion bioretention ponds retrofitted for heavy metal uptake from parking lots).  I worked on that in Charlotte NC while employed there. We tested many species and one that worked well was Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) Different species of willow worked very good but didn’t take up heavy metals as well.
Link: http://www.habitatassessment.com/rain_garden_plant.html

Outhouse or Privy: Having grown up on my grandmother’s tobacco farm in southern GA and using an outhouse regularly, I don’t recommend them. There were too many people using the outhouse and many got lazy and didn’t cover the waste correctly and that led to many issues. Maybe yes if someone had an outhouse and it was properly maintained (waste covered properly) then closed and moved to new location when the waste pit became full. I recommend planting trees in the location of the old privy. Well, to me it seems like to much work when composting is just easier, safer and quicker.

Soils: The type of soil a farm has should determine the type of system that would best serve as a biological waste disposal. Sandy soils (like I have now) could use hot fast batch composting method to prevent nitrogen leaching. Clay soils (like I had in Charlotte) could use an outhouse system if it was properly maintained or a hot batch composting system.

Sidenote: My Uncle was a tobacco chewer and he used his tobacco spit to deworm the farm animals (and on us kids to). It did work, but yuck and puke. I’m not sure which was worse his yearly treatment or Granny’s yearly tonic. We survived them both so its proof what don’t kill will fatten.
 
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Location: Davie, Fl
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Just searching around the web and stumbled upon this. I remembered this thread so I figured I would post this here.

It is about this permie farm in India and their choice to use Ecosan toilets, which seperate urine and feces.

http://goodnewsindia.com/pointreturn/online/home/2010/04/ecosan-toilets/
 
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If all contributors are of the nonpharma variety, may we preload hugelkulture beds with nitrogen? I am picturing clay field tiles every 4 feet, and when it has Mmmm enough you just pull it out. Maybe let it go fallow for a time. Don't beat me up. I'm a tender newbie here!
 
steward
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Steve Gagnon wrote:
If all contributors are of the nonpharma variety, may we preload hugelkulture beds with nitrogen? I am picturing clay field tiles every 4 feet, and when it has Mmmm enough you just pull it out. Maybe let it go fallow for a time. Don't beat me up. I'm a tender newbie here!



I think with this source of nitrogen, it's probably better to tie it up through composting in a contained manner before putting it out into the garden.  partly just to be safe, and partly because routing directly to a hugel bed would still allow a lot of nutrients to leach away and eventually pollute groundwater.  in addition to the nitrogen, there would also be a lot of phosphorus to deal with and I think it would be difficult to bind it all.  the volume of water required to transport it makes things more difficult.

you would probably be doing better than a septic drain field, but falling far short of a contained composting approach.  which isn't to say that your hugel beds wouldn't be very productive.  the problem is that you would still be losing a lot of nutrients downward.
 
Steve Gagnon
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Well Mr. Jetson, that was painless enough. Thanks for the input. Very helpful ! I was thinking of doing the bucket thing, so transport water would not be an issue, but I suspect that you are right. Short cuts are just that. The whole huglekulture concept just has me primed, and I love to get two birds with the same rock.
I know this isn't the proper spot, but you sound knowledgeable. So what say you, or anyone about the bracken black stuff in the bottom of a lake surrounded by deciduous tress. I'm back to the rock here. I live on a 10 acre lake that needs to be dredged (badly) of 40 years of leaves and fallen dead stuff, and I want to build garden beds that all would envy. This stuff reminds me of a septic, and I don't want to make things worse.
Before the harrange starts I would just like to say that my prior,was given as a maybe alternative to the other nitrogen solutions. Been doin much of this for nearly 30 years, and still learning like crazy.
Thanks to all! Got yourselfs a little treasure trove here I think
 
tel jetson
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Steve Gagnon wrote:
I was thinking of doing the bucket thing, so transport water would not be an issue, but I suspect that you are right.



ah.  I thought you were thinking to route the output of a flush toilet toward drain tiles.  without that, you're in a lot better shape, but I think you would still lose a fair amount of stuff downward, and especially if it rains.

Steve Gagnon wrote:
I live on a 10 acre lake that needs to be dredged (badly) of 40 years of leaves and fallen dead stuff, and I want to build garden beds that all would envy. This stuff reminds me of a septic, and I don't want to make things worse.



that could be a really good source of nitrogen.  nitrogen tends to stay put in organic material on the bottom of lakes.  are you familiar with chinampa?  that method of agriculture involves using sediment and decaying vegetation from a lake as a source of nutrients.  might be worth looking into that as something to combine with hugelkultur.  it can smell to high heaven, but once the stuff gets some oxygen, the smell doesn't last too long.
 
Steve Gagnon
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Too cool. Thanks again. Sounds like you maybe opened a new thread. CHINAMPA
 
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I've learned the importance of urine separating.

I'm building my own compost toilet with an RV type valve that will allow the solids to fall through the floor into an enclosed container and provide separation from the inside.  With the addition of a built-in fan that runs when in use, taking air from both the pot, and the container below. 
privykit.jpg
[Thumbnail for privykit.jpg]
Gate-Valve.jpg
[Thumbnail for Gate-Valve.jpg]
 
                                        
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"Jenkins had done the research and paid money to have tests done, which has indicated that handling human waste as he tells you confines the material to where you want it confined, and it doesn't escape.

The problem with many ideas like this is that they make sense and are low-cost.  Few people and fewer companies want to spend a lot of research money on something that isn't going to provide profit.  It's the same way with herbal medicine: no drug company does research on it when they can make chemical meds that they can charge $150 for a 30-day supply.  There may be a bush that cures every kind of cancer known, but without solid (and expensive) research, we won't know about it.

If the Bill Gates of the world would put some money toward things like this (instead of $30 million toward an inaccessible seed vault buried in ice), it would probably kick some of the common-sense, ecologically-sound ideas of the world right out into the center ring of common knowledge."

Just because something hasn't been scientifically proven does not mean that it doesn't work nor does it mean that  wedo not know that it works. Also, just because there are scientific studies "proving something works", it does not mean that the scientific studies were right or unbiased. To assume that things must be scientifically proven takes away the ability of the common man to decide for him or herself. Yes we are talking about pollution and public safety, but "science" and the powers that be support septic fields out here, which we know work poorly when it comes to keeping contaminants out of the ecosystem. Have you seen the septic lagoons for most prairie cities? Some canadian places have also been dumping raw sewage into the rivers and oceans. BUT somehow outhouses are suspect. Might that be because I have control of my outhouse but the government has control of the rest? The government and their scientists have told me that it was ok to live near areas they chose to defoliate with agent orange. They tell us it's ok to get sprayed with malathion. They say it's ok to put proven toxins into spray scents and body chemicals of all sorts. I do not trust them anymore.
I want to be clear here. I am not upset with the person who posted the above quote. we are told constantly that unless THEIR scientists "prove" something it isn't true. Think Human causes of climate change. 97% of scientists believe that we are exacerbating climate change, but the government listens to their 3%. We need to start thinking for ourselves, and not allowing them to price us out of the control of our own lives!

I live on the west coast of canada and am told that one of the reasons we have such phenomenal tree growth here is that trees will actively grow anytime the temp is above 3C.
Most fastgrowing trees are voracious feeders. Cmfrey could also be planted beside the treebog. It can be fed straight urine and not burn.You could harvest the comfrey 4 times a year[ just as it comes into bloom,] and then use it to fertilise your garden, or kickstart your comopost pile.
The favorite method of dealing with this that I've seen or heard of is the shallow temporary outhouse system. dig a shallow hole, when it's half full cover with the removed soil and plant a tree into it.. I might plant comfrey on the north side of the hole to help soak up the excess.
 
                                
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paul wheaton wrote:

Plus ... supposing you have 80+ acres and you are way on "the other end" and mother nature calls.  An outhouse would be mighty convenient!


Ha! *lift skirt, squat, shake, scuff dirt around, stand, drop skirt and run*
 
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You may want to check out the Solviva solution to all outhouses. (If I was a little more tech savvy i would include a link)
 
tel jetson
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not a big fan of the Solviva option in this case.  seemed far more complicated than it needed to be, at least to my lazy self.  probably works fine for some folks, but there are much simpler options that are just as safe and effective.
 
Paw Pah
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you find the Solviva system complicated?
 
tel jetson
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PawPah wrote:
you find the Solviva system complicated?



I do.  unless I'm remembering it incorrectly.  how about you give us a brief primer?
 
master steward
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This topic is covered a bit in podcast 017

This podcast covers a LOT of different topics!

As mentioned at the beginning of the podcast: email signup.

We start off reviewing the movie "Food Matters".  The premise is that many diseases can be resolved by food choices.  And this has been discussed several times at the forums.  A good start is my thread on eliminating medication with polyculture; and the thread about beating  cancer

We talk about raw food; local food; the missoula urban demonstration project; composting toilets; outhouse; urine diversion; women peeing outdoors; hugelkultur; rain barrels; greywater; commercial compost; art ludwig; pee powered cars; jean pain technique; poop beasts.
 
                  
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One thing bears mentioning. Willows are somewhat heavy feeders and like wet areas so they seem perfectly designed for this. Early on it was mentioned why several little and not one big tree. I have the answer to that one. Smaller trees regardless of species grow faster and thus require more nutrients than older larger trees which grow slower. As to everything else discussed this is so not me I would not even consider it. Sorry but I like my septic system with drain field. There is something about dealing with human waste that if it does not make me vomit gets me close to it which is odd considering I do not mind any other animal poo other than cat.
 
tel jetson
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Peter K. wrote:Sorry but I like my septic system with drain field. There is something about dealing with human waste that if it does not make me vomit gets me close to it which is odd considering I do not mind any other animal poo other than cat.



if there was a setup that was as easy and hands-off as your septic system but captured all the nutrients, would you go for it?
 
                  
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I would consider it and that is one of the reasons I am here to learn alternatives and hopefully contribute what I know. That said it seems every thread I have read where the subject of poo comes up the buckets come out. I know not everything here was about that however I see a lot of talk back and forth and not much solution much less an agreement as to good way to deal with it. To me the best option I know of for my needs is a septic system with a digestion tank for solids and a drain field to leech out the liquids which is what eventually the solids become. I grew up on such a system and in all the years I and my parents used it I cannot recall any issues with it. Perhaps it was luck but also we did not have a garbage disposal or pour chemicals down it. In fact aside from water and soap (body and dishes we ran the washing machine on it's own drain into the woods back then) the only thing that went into the septic was human wastes and toilet paper. Moving here the septic was a concern because I did not start with a new installed system but moved into a house with a system already in place. I had mine pumped when we moved in so I could start fresh and know exactly what has been put into it from that point forward. Once again water, soap, human wastes, toilet paper, and sadly the washing machine must be run into it by law. If you look at it from my point of view with all the potential health risks involved in composting and using human wastes (read this thread it even mentions folks taking medicines not contribute to the poo/urine collection) I do not feel comfortable with it for myself much less asking guests to consider these things and act accordingly.  If there is a better way (and it has to be simple and hands off) I have not seen it but I am willing to entertain options.
 
tel jetson
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Peter K. wrote:
(read this thread it even mentions folks taking medicines not contribute to the poo/urine collection)



the medication issue also exists for septic systems.  antibiotics can disrupt the organisms in a septic tank, for example.  hormonal medications (and many others) can escape into the wider environment and groundwater through septic systems.

it's easier to ignore things like this using a septic system, which is also designed to largely be ignored.  doesn't mean pharmaceuticals aren't causing problems, though.  some of the designs mentioned allow us to take responsibility for these issues instead of sending them down the pipes.

composting toilets will still work with folks who use pharmaceuticals.  it just might not be such a good idea to use the end product for growing food if those pharmaceuticals or their metabolites might persist through the composting process.  some antibiotics may have the potential to shut down the composting, but I'm not at all sure about that.

Peter K. wrote:
That said it seems every thread I have read where the subject of poo comes up the buckets come out.



yeah.  not a big fan of buckets, myself.  plenty of ways around that, though.  I can almost guarantee you that there is a system that could satisfy your requirements.  some are more complicated than others.  some involve maggots.  some involve worms.  some involve urine diverting toilets.  the use of most of these isn't substantially different from a standard flush toilet, with the exception of some sawdust to cover up the poop in most cases.  even that can be done away with if it doesn't suit you.

reading about these things can make them seem weird and unpleasant, but actually using them isn't a big deal.

Peter K. wrote:
I do not feel comfortable with it for myself much less asking guests to consider these things and act accordingly.



I've been surprised how unfazed folks are when they use my quickly designed and built composting toilet.  maybe they're just being polite, but I've had quite a few guests pass through and deposit what passed through them without a complaint.  and very few of them are the sort of folks who would build something like this themselves.

anyhow, your objections aren't entirely unreasonable, Peter K.  they aren't insurmountable, either.
 
                
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Catch the pee...  I have seen the design for an out house that has a gutter running along the front, this catches the pee and the funnels it in to a separate tank, which is full of straw ( a place for nitrogen eating bacteria to live) and a tap at the bottom of the tank to empty (some where?) and only occasionally.  This was in a book I was reading last summer and since been in storage, other wise I would upload a picture from the book and have more info.  Hope this helped some any how. 
I am in the early stages of designing an out house/composting toilet of some variety for my home in SW Wisconsin.  I wonder if the tree bog would work with a willow (or other) and that come spring the tree would just play catch up with the "goods" left over from winter. 
 
Paw Pah
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Mr Jetson, the basic Solviva system uses a low flush toilet(very low flush) into an insulated box attached to the house (or nearby) that is filled with large worms that process the waste into hi grade sterile humus that can be spread onto gardens as the boxes fill. Excess fluid mostly evaporates. Those are  the basics as I recall . The Solviva site and book explain the entire system fully.  Hope that helps.
 
                            
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The whole "no pee" thing is absurd to me. The entire purpose of "inventing" a toilet is for convenience and comfort. Sorry, boys - my pee and poo functions are quite intertwined at this point of my life. Besides, even if human pee and poo are more toxic together, just sounds like a more diverse tree bog to me.
 
tel jetson
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PawPah wrote:
Mr Jetson, the basic Solviva system uses a low flush toilet(very low flush) into an insulated box attached to the house (or nearby) that is filled with large worms that process the waste into hi grade sterile humus that can be spread onto gardens as the boxes fill. Excess fluid mostly evaporates. Those are  the basics as I recall . The Solviva site and book explain the entire system fully.   Hope that helps.



that's roughly how I remembered it.  and yeah, that's too complicated for my taste.  I'm really lazy.  plumbing waste lines doesn't appeal to me in the least.
 
paul wheaton
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I wonder if there could be a system where all of the poop could be composted to nothingness.  Kinda like an outhouse that never fills up.  Everything inside just keeps breaking down.

So a barrel (perhaps) for one person.  Poop and sawdust and maybe a little water and ...  after a year the barrel is still only half full.  A year after that, it is still only half full. 

It is theoretically possible.  Although even if it is breaking down completely, there would be, effectively, eventually, a kind of ash left over.



 
tel jetson
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paul wheaton wrote:
I wonder if there could be a system where all of the poop could be composted to nothingness.  Kinda like an outhouse that never fills up.  Everything inside just keeps breaking down.

So a barrel (perhaps) for one person.  Poop and sawdust and maybe a little water and ...  after a year the barrel is still only half full.  A year after that, it is still only half full. 

It is theoretically possible.  Although even if it is breaking down completely, there would be, effectively, eventually, a kind of ash left over.



even ash would fill it up eventually.  one way this might be done, though, would be to add a route for the material to leave.  assuming the barrel was mostly buried, maybe holes about halfway up the side to allow worms and other critters to get in and out and remove material would do the trick.  putting the holes up on the sides would prevent most leaching from fluid.  might be worth a try.  only drawback I can see is that it might potentially provide a direct route for any nasties in the barrel out into the wider environment.  and I'm not sure how much material would actually leave.

soldier fly larvae in the barrel would dramatically slow down the filling up because the grubs leave.  including composting worms would further reduce the volume, but they wouldn't leave.

a system like you describe would probably have much wider appeal than one that requires emptying, which would be great.  wouldn't be quite as useful since there wouldn't be much useable stuff left over.
 
                        
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I'm not sure if the tree would use up all of the manure, but baobab trees sometimes have toilets carved into them from what I observe through the internet.

Example:


I like the bog idea.  I am predisposed to use the nutrients in a fruit tree orchard, if I get lazy and/or co-residents did not agree with the idea, I will go with the willow plantings concept.
 
pollinator
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Three things:

1) Wow to this last posted picture! 

2) Has anyone used a dehydrating toilet? I have not but some friends of mine in Kenya use one and really like it.

3) Just read "Tree Bogs" in Permaculture Magazine, No 68. The structures featured were really nicely built, and the group, "Woodland Social Enterprise," was very thoughtful. They came up with a wheelchair accessible alternative, and thought about the tree bogs use in public places, where people with disabilities and children wouldn't understand signs that asked them not to pee in them. Also, the pee diversion only works if you can get all males to sit down to pee.

The article is worth a peek.
 
                              
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The point that it seems many are missing here is that "getting rid" of the poop and/or pee is wasting important plant nutrients. We (family of 4) use the Joe Jenkins bucket system. We have an indoor bathroom in our aprox 375sqft yurt/house, never have an issue with a smelly bucket. When the buckets are full they are emptied into a compost pile. What is more simple than this? In the name of sustainability, if you eat the animals and vegetables from your land and then you "get rid" of your poop/pee you will eventually have to bring more nutrients onto your land from somewhere else to grow your plants and animals. Wasting a big bunch of time and space on dry mounds and willow trees to not have to look at or get too close to poop and pee just seems silly and detached from the natural world to me. I actually have grown to enjoy the 15 minutes it takes me each week to empty and clean the buckets. I enjoy checking the progress of our humanure compost pile. When people come to visit, they use our bucket toilet and the don't seem to mind. It is funny to watch people deal with the idea the time they use it, but after that it is no big deal. They don't empty it, I do, and I think of it as an act of kindness to the land that supports us and to my family and friends.

Also, separating the pee seems like a waste of energy. How does poop and pee together become more dangerous?! Pee present in the compost allows the carbon rich components (sawdust, etc) to break down quickly.
 
gardener
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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    The basic idea of the tree bog has been practiced for years around pig pens, chicken coops and manure piles. Anywhere that manure is deposited will naturally favor plants which are heavy feeders.    But that's not why I'm commenting here, with all this talk of poop buckets I thought I would mention what I have used for years at my job sites. I use 5 gallon pails with sawdust or very dry soil. A new bucket is started with about 1/8 of its depth covered in this material and every time a solid waste deposit is made I scoop more dry material on top. This has the effect of quickly drying out the feces and because it is covered with fresh material there is virtually no smell. These buckets can be held indefinitely and composted only when the weather is suitable.
 
                    
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I came across this thread while searching for information of tree bogs.  From what little I have read, there seems to be no need to a "no pee" policy as the trees which should surround the bog will absorb as much as is given to them.  If there is going to be  a period of extra high use then you can use a a bale of straw for the men to pee on.  Women can just go ahead inside.

The idea was developed in Great Britain which seldom goes through prolonged freezes and therefore the trees are likely to be active year round.  In places like upstate New York where I live, it probably wouldn't work year round.  Having said that, there is a woman in Canada who installed one in her house http://shewhomeasures.wordpress.com/tree-bog/

I think that the dangers of pathogens getting into the ground water are small (obviously you don't place the bog right next to a water source) because remember that soil itself acts as a filter.

Also remember that if this is a family bog and the family is healthy, you don't really have a problem.  However, i would not plant asparagus around the bog as that is all far too close.

The trees are supposed to be any fast growing type that can be pollarded (coppiced) which provides wood for fuel or fences, or whatever, and you can also plant things like comfrey between the trees to increase absorption.

OVerall I think that  combination tree-bog and compost toilet a la Joe Jenkins seems to be the best solution.  USe the bog when convenient and the toilet when not.  I have seen his toilets and compost system and there is nothing gross about them.  He is scrupulous about washing out the buckets.  I wouldn't bother.
 
                                  
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Based on Data about nutrient in human excrement and the absorbtion-ability of willows I've found in the web, I've calculated the capacity of a treebog under very optimistic conditions. It is just polluting the groundwaters. Other centralized systems like composting will have similar effects I suppose.

Hope the translation link works: http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fchaosgarten.blogspot.com%2F2011%2F06%2Ftreebog-tree-bog-grundwasserverseuchung.html

I wrote the article in German, here is the original: http://chaosgarten.blogspot.com/2011/06/treebog-tree-bog-grundwasserverseuchung.html
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I'm looking for video footage of outhouses.  I suspect that anybody that submits something about an outhouse would rather that I didn't include their name or location.

I have some video footage already, but this something where I would like to have several samples in one video.

I would especially like to see outhouses that have urine separation - although the kind that mix are okay too.  I only want footage of outhouses that use sawdust or woodchips - nothing with ash or lime. 

I like outhouses that have privacy, but also have an amazing view!

If there is any narration, it would be nice to have tips about making a good outhouse:

- what kind of tree to plant next to an outhouse
- how deep to make the hole
- the value of separating urine
- locate on a dry hill rather than a soggy valley
- odor control / or in-video odor evaluation ("I don't smell anything")
- maybe some testament along the lines of "crapping indoors just seems wrong"

If you wanna send me something, please take a look at this thread


 
Suzy Bean
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Location: Stevensville, MT
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Paul and Kelly Ware do a podcast review Creating an Oasis with Grey Water. Here is chapter 1: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/432-podcast-076-creating-an-oasis-with-grey-water-1/ In it, they discuss a couple approaches to composting outhouses.
 
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Location: Ireland
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I am planning on setting up some sort of composting toilet in the near future. I have read the Humanure book by Joe jenkins. It´s a great read and i would recommend it. My only issue is I don´t think a lot of people will be won over to a system that involves them carrying a lot of buckets of poop out of their house. It´s one of those things where the vast majority of people (2 points lower then you on the wheaton eco scale) will just go "thats crazy".

There needs to be another type of composting toilet that allows them to keep an open mind long enough for them to get to the point where they see all the benefits about nutrient cycling. rather then just seeing carrying buckets of poop through there house and switching off at that point.

I am thinking of a system of two chambers where the composting happens in the chambers below the toilet. One maturing while the other is filling. Access to the composting chamber to remove mature compost will be external to the house. In terms of urine I had expected to use a urine diverting seat but Joe is pretty adamant about the benefits of mixing them (admittedly in a different system) Even so it maybe worth while to have a urinal in the bathroom as well so the guys anyway could use that some of the time if the compost was getting too wet. The urinal could just be plumbed outside and into a watering can for easy and discrete distribution on the land.

The compost in the first chamber can be taken out and left to mature more if the second chamber has filled up. But in a two person household that we will have i don´t think that should be a problem.

What do people think?
 
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I will be building my first off grid permie house this year. Hay bale and what not. We will be using a composting system. One of the things i will be building into my toilet system is a urine diverter. What this will be essentially is a devise that moves into place with a lever, catches the pee as needed and moves out the way when other things have to happen. The point of this is obviously to keep the 2 separate and i understand it wont be 100 percent effective however it will be the most convenient way for the ladies to handle their business.
 
Posts: 6
Location: Alaska
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Why not composting toilets? Not all that complicated, lots of research and examples...
Poop is poop, gang- human, cow, goat or whatever. All of it must be properly composted
to keep things healthy. Why waste all that lovely fertilizer?
 
Posts: 283
Location: SW Michigan
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I see the point. But really? Ok. The farmers, mom and dad have weighed in.

They reminded me that the outhouse at the old farm, the one I inhabit at the moment, has a outhouse. It had a removable slider that was pulled out and the waste deposited out in a trench out next to the outhouse behind the old barn. This kept the smell down in the summer. Also a easy trip in the winter as it could be closer to the house. This potty was attached to a building that may have once been a small school house and was moved there long ago. Well before my family lived there.

The trees around the outhouse is what we have always done. The idea of a Willow is a nice one. Especially one where the water table is high or soppy. Mulberry too. Mom always planted maple and walnut trees around the outhouse. I remember Grandma doing this in the 70's at the outhouse at the fruit stand by the highway. The point is to use up the nutrients. Poop and Pee has great value. Why waste? However, never use human poop on human veg and grain. The trees are perfect. Mom says they would not even plant fruit trees next to an outhouse. Just a note. Flowering bushes also were very common. We did that also.

We think people get lost in the green-whatever movement. To not pee in a outhouse is just stupid. The moisture is needed to help the bacteria. Well vented and placed there should not be any major smell or problems.

Now I want to add this. People in arid areas have a fragile water table. Here we have an amazing bio layer protecting our water. many, many feet thick. In the west and arid areas if not properly contained in the bottom, I feel you can possibly leek down into a water table or wash out down during flash rains. Once again placement is everything here. Dad points out as my mom is laughing that us boys pee everywhere and no problems for crops or water table. Good for the crops. But pooping in the crops was and still is forbidden. Thats what the woods and tree lines were for. An other reason for the bushes and trees around the outhouse. Place to pee. As us boys pee anywhere. In many areas the outhouse was on a small mound in areas of the nation. High water table the problem. Or little top soil.

We had a cesspool behind the house also from the indoor plumbing when we had electric. The cesspool was in the side of a hill. The soiled water ran into a dry well made of cement blocks laid on the sides. Then as it filled it flowed out into a pool. We never had a smell. The area was covered in the biggest pig weeds and surrounded by trees and lilac bushes. Amazingly big ones. Once a year the police would come by to see our pig weeds. From the air it looked like pot plants growing. They wasted a lot of man hours looking at our poor mans sewer. The best frogs and worms could be had down there. It was a very near perfect Eco system as far as we were concerned. It is now long covered up and a proper septic has been installed. The year I graduated.

Mom and Dad also mention about the willow and some bushes. The roots can actually fill up your outhouse. Just a note. Mom is going on a long story about this happening way back when. I will leave you at that. Good Luck.



 
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