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Low water flush directly to compost pile

 
Posts: 1
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Newbie here - please forgive me if this has already been covered in earlier posts. I'm humbly requesting links or tips or words of wisdom. Thks in advance.

My wife and I own a big chunk of land, lots of rainfall/unlimited water, lush vegetation, medium rolling hills, complete privacy. We're staying in our camper on the top of an interior knoll and have been using a commercial porta-let which is expensive and full of chemicals, not to mention the energy to get a stinky truck here each week to pump a tiny amount of poop. We're planning a tiny little building to complement the camper and what we're looking for is to eliminate the porta-let, to develop a self contained, ecologically responsible, temporary poopie solution. For only two people I know we could swing a traditional outhouse (plain hole in the ground) without hurting an iota in the ground or sky, but that would be a primitive and less desirable.

I've done a good bit of reading on composting toilets. I've read online for several days and I own and have read the Jenkin's Humanure work. We like the idea of poopie composting but have criteria that must be met.

1) Poopie NEVER, NEVER, NEVER JUST SITS AROUND IN OUR LIVING SPACE ROTTING IN A BUCKET. This is not up for discussion: poopie must be IMMEDIATELY REMOVED FROM THE LIVING SPACE.

2) We would want a toilet in a climate-controlled intentional space; a traditional outhouse won't do it. We don't want to go slopping around outside in the middle of the night or if it is raining or snowing to use the facilities.

3) A direct shot "dry" composting toilet would be ok, however that would require special conditions and be more complex to build and basically really only a "lined" outhouse.

4) Commercially available "remote" or "central" composting tanks are fine, I guess - that is if you have a climate-controlled basement for it. I've talked to multiple vendors and all agree their "remote" units aren't really weather tight to live completely outside and besides, below 55 deg F they simply become glorified holding tanks anyway (there's more to learn about commercial composting systems that they won't tell you about unless you ask...)

5) We don't want more than the most minimal human-made objects in or on the ground. We want a surface compost pile. We would construct it from small pine trees and natural bailing line and when we were done with it just leave it for Mother Nature to do with as she pleases over the years. We don't want officials to ever be able to come onto our property and be able to point at human made objects in/on the ground remaining from our poopie compost pile after we've removed the feed pipe other than maybe some rotting trees, brush, straw, orange peels...

6) Best of all worlds seems like: poop inside with a super-low water flush toilet with a gravity feed DIRECTLY to a ground based properly prepared, covered, and maintained compost heap. By properly maintained I mean I'd put multiple shovels of sawdust in it morning, noon, and night, straw, hay, twigs, clippings, peat moss, whatever it took as often as it took. I'd be willing to attend to it multiple times a day if it meant I didn't have to haul around buckets of poop.

So.....

What keeps crossing my mind seems like the best solution of all. Why could one not have a classic Sealand low-flush toilet inside connected through hose/pipe directly to a covered compost pile outside? I'm aware of the obvious potential problems, compost area too far away, poopie getting hung up in the pipe, potentially too much liquid for the compost pile, the need to service the compost heap soon after each use of the toilet. But isn't this worth considering? Thoughts? Have you already seen this done? Pointers to links of already constructed units? Words of wisdom? (Do you know of a more appropriate blog where I should repost this?)

Kind folks - I can't be the first person on planet Earth that its dawned on to want to 1) compost poopie but who 2) doesn't want to have the poopie live inside my dwelling with me until I slop it around in a bucket. Good grief! I mean, if the Jenkin's Humanure method is what we want, aren't we bright enough to get beyond the Dark Age practice of hauling poop in a bucket?! Isn't that why they make pipes? Also having a "no human-made artifacts left on the ground after use" solution would be a plus for us. Thks for reading - feedback highly appreciated!
 
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Location: Greenville, Augusta County, Virginia
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That’s a good post highlighting an age old problem. It also illustrates the central snag in the problem, which is how to distance ourselves from our poop without having to haul the stuff.

My take on the problem is that it’s never been solved on a global scale. Joe Jenkins has the best solution I’ve seen, and in fact I took a similar approach before having read The Humanure handbook.

I chose not to install a septic system on my property because of the many intermittent springs in the area. This decision led me to the obvious question, which is to poop or not to poop… into water, at all, ever, if there was a choice. Somewhere, someone decided that water was the perfect medium for carrying away our poop. Perhaps it turned out to be one of mankind’s greatest mistakes.

It is my belief that human poop should never hit water. In my estimation, once water is feces-fouled it remains as such until it is vaporized, drawn into clouds, and precipitated as rain.

In your post you have actually answered much of your own question, except for feedback from anyone who has run a flushing toilet directly into a compost pile. Your mention is the first I’ve heard of the idea. Go for it. It’s the handle on the toilet or the handle on the bucket.
 
Posts: 5
Location: Sudbury, Ontario
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It is a solved problem, but not one you're likely to find at home depot:
The Lineur system. A brief description is buried in this article, which is where I heard about it. In short, it's a vaccum toilet; differential air pressure carries waste away to be composted without diluting it with water. Some cities in Europe maintained these systems well into the 20th century, before eventually switching over to the water-wasting sewers we all know and love to hate.
But they still make pressure-operated fixtures for trains, planes, and ships. In fact, google tells me Sealand sells them under the name VacuFlush. Is that the type of SeaLand toilet you meant? In that case I'd say go for it. I've no experience with Humanure, but if it worked on the city-scale back at the turn of the last century, there's no reason it shouldn't work for you.
 
Robert Harsell
Posts: 19
Location: Greenville, Augusta County, Virginia
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Tyler August wrote:It is a solved problem, but not one you're likely to find at home depot:
The Lineur system. A brief description is buried in this article, which is where I heard about it. In short, it's a vaccum toilet; differential air pressure carries waste away to be composted without diluting it with water. Some cities in Europe maintained these systems well into the 20th century, before eventually switching over to the water-wasting sewers we all know and love to hate.
But they still make pressure-operated fixtures for trains, planes, and ships. In fact, google tells me Sealand sells them under the name VacuFlush. Is that the type of SeaLand toilet you meant? In that case I'd say go for it. I've no experience with Humanure, but if it worked on the city-scale back at the turn of the last century, there's no reason it shouldn't work for you.



I hadn't heard of the Lineur system. It sounds like the solution And Fall is searching for.

Having thought it over a little more, I realize it's probably illegal to run a pipe from a water toilet directly to an above ground compost pile.

On second thought, And Fall, don't go for it, you'll probably go to jail. Go for Tyler's recommendation.

Carrying that bucket is a big snag in the humanure idea. It's no problem for some people, but others are not going to do it and never will. I keep a bucket indoors. I cover it with sawdust after I take a dump and there are no odors at all. In the summer, however, I do find a small type of fly, similar to a fruit fly, that has an affinity for the bucket. It's another thing which wouldn't bother one group, but which another might consider totally unacceptable.
 
Robert Harsell
Posts: 19
Location: Greenville, Augusta County, Virginia
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