• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

tree bog vs. dry outhouse  RSS feed

 
Stuart McDill
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a neighbor in the vicinity who made a neat portable outhouse out of scrap lumber with a 5 gal plastic bucket that has a plastic seat specially made for it. Fill bucket with straw or similar material and, when full, dump into the Jenkins Humanure holding pen.
Had another neighbor who built the 2 chamber system with dished concrete floor and cinder block but never used it. He either chickened out or maybe the County frowned.
I've been using a Carousel unit (County approved) for 30y with minor problems but overall it's been very successful. Smells only when the electric fails and the 11watt fan stops, produces fruit flies only if you throw canteloupe rinds in and occasionally needs black water draining. Cleanout occurs about every 2y for each section.
I've heard stories that the Clivus Multrum has more problems. The only one I know of in the area is in Jawbone Flats (near Opal Creek) and it seems to work.
 
Dylan Urbanovich
Posts: 12
Location: British Columbia, Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Susan Monroe wrote:

I read that tree roots feed as long as they aren't dormant, and they aren't dormant unless the ground they're in freezes.


I've read this as well, also I found out during a foray into geothermal heating, that 6 feet down in the ground stays around 15 degrees C all year every year in most of the US and Canada, so only the shallow roots really go dormant in winter.

I am currently one of those Permies pooping in a bucket, finding that dealing with the buckets isn't too bad but I agree with Paul, I would prefer to not have to deal with it at all. I have found that when I add mycelium and Charcoal (bio-char precursor) then let the bucket sit with a lid on for 2-4 weeks there is almost no smell and with a further 3 weeks of outdoor composting you end up with what could essentially be called terra-preta.


 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5911
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
366
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Steve and I have lived in the Ozarks since 1973 and have used dug outhouses most of that time , using leaves, sawdust and/or soil as cover and never worried about a little pee. We have always had a separate indoor pee bucket (you really can maintain one with no smell) that we use daily on the kitchen compost or plants. The last few years we have switched from the hole to poop in a bucket with sawdust cover (and again we don't worry over a little pee) and are finding the system much better than the hole that would eventually fill with water during one of the Ozarks week long rains and we wouldfind ourselves squatting over a hole of liquid.... we do switch back to the hole for a party or for a local studio tour when we have large groups of folks. We don't use the finished compost in the gardens or orchard (I just can't get my mind around completing that cycle, but spread it in the area where it was piled to compost. One advantage to the bucket is that it can be in the house for visiting family company comfort, except for "flushing« with sawdust there is no difference in location or function from their flush toilet at home.
 
John Kiely
Posts: 3
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Having spent five summers working as a "sanitary engineer" both installing and cleaning "standard" septic systems, the vilest of inventions, I must add my two pence.
I've used the humanure bucket system for the last fifteen years with great joy,even with groups of up to two hundred fifty. The ease of cleaning and maintaining them is a snap.
We have to start taking personal responsibility for our own sh*t, and stop passing the buck to others.
Remember where spiritual beings on a physical journey. :^) Cheers
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22367
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A tour of four outhouses. The last one is a piece of art and is a fully water tight system.



 
Cameron Cooley
Posts: 9
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ok. So you know we want specs on the last one (outhouse by Steve Heckeroth). Right? A schematic, a more detailed video, anything?
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 276
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks guys, another very nice video. Steve Heckeroth's setup is particularly elegant, both in its construction, its aesthetics, and its functionality. Water tight! Zero interaction with the soil or groundwater! Only two questions about his design:

1) He did not mention it, but I assume that his system works on the add-a-scoop-of-carbon method? If so, what does he use... sawdust? straw?

2) Why on earth did he complete his work of art of an outhouse with that lavender door?!!!
 
Valerie Dawnstar
Posts: 296
Location: North Central New York
12
bee chicken food preservation forest garden tiny house woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love the lavender door!
Isn't a 12 foot hole just a bit excessive?
I'd like to see more a'la Joseph Jenkins style. Anyone else using his model?
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 276
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
14
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hehe, well I guess to each his/her own : )

I was just thinking that something with a natural wood texture would have been more appropriate to the setting and the rest of the outhouse. Some examples of my thinking attached...



Joseph Jenkins style? Can you explain?

 
Harper Stone
Posts: 24
Location: Whatcom County, Washington
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just noticed this topic and haven't read through all six pages, so forgive me if I'm duplicating information.

The only Tree Bog I've ever been to was at Coed Hills, in Wales. It was built by a guy known as Tree Bog Dave. The structure was raised like a regular dry outhouse, and had a urine separator built into it. Surrounding the poo hole were strawbales, encased in a wire mesh to keep the rodents out. Many osier-type willows were planted all around this, and cut down every year so that they'd coppice, and provide branches for basketry or their biomass heater.

I was only passing through, so I can't say how it's fared year in and year-out, but I know that in that part of the country they don't really get ground freezing much, so the dormancy issue is less of a problem.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great video. Inspiring.
 
Kevin Sturgill
Posts: 12
Location: KY Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Valerie Dawnstar wrote:I love the lavender door!
Isn't a 12 foot hole just a bit excessive?
I'd like to see more a'la Joseph Jenkins style. Anyone else using his model?


These guys are in the process of building a Jenkins style model.

http://www.waldeneffect.org/blog/Composting_toilet_second_story/
 
Krista Miller
Posts: 17
Location: Missoula, Montana (Zone 4)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Matthew Nistico wrote:
1) He did not mention it, but I assume that his system works on the add-a-scoop-of-carbon method? If so, what does he use... sawdust? straw?



I assume he did use something, but also didn't see or hear what he was using.

Paul, does he combine pee in to the system too? If you mentioned it, I missed it, and am curious as to how he dealt with that. Thanks!
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22367
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All of the systems in the video minimize pee. There is no pee diverter, just the request that pee go elsewhere when convenient (easy for the guys, and relatively easy for the gals).

All of the systems in the video add saw dust.

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the important clarification, Paul.
 
andrew curr
Posts: 288
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
please forgive me leila or an y of my big brothers from over the ditch
There are several hakas( war cry's) in new zealand
one I was told related to a man who was hiding from his enemy in the spot least likley to be searched (the dunny)
Loosly translated it goes "you can shit on me "
"you can piss on me"
"but you will never take away my mana (heart/spirit)
see why New Zealand doesnt need to spend 20% of their gdp on the military
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dunno that one Andrew...
I think there'd ideally be not much piss in a tree bog, which doesn't improve the mental picture much!
 
Coog Kelly
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:A tour of four outhouses. The last one is a piece of art and is a fully water tight system.




Kudos to the Master woodworker and Rural Sanitary Engineer. I need to know what the sump trough was originally. I can finger out how to fashion the dividers from the video segment.
Wussy-pussy city girls..... Make them hold their water and dirt! But then they'll get home, walk the mutt(s), bend over and bag the dog pile.....
I lived in Calgary a couple years - '77 to '79. I was back to Cowtown another year following for a visit. People know about Cowtown They hold Stampedes and they hosted the Winter Olympics once... I was downtown Cowtown walking past the Bus depot. 2 hookers were watering the sidewalk outside the front glass doors. Maybe the sidewalk was looking wilted?
THAT's how they go, in Cowtown.
 
Erik Green
Posts: 50
Location: California
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, This post is still here. I think I started on this site in Aug. 2010 with inquiries about composting black water.

How I have changed.

And just a Thanks to those who advised me against draining a single toilet directly into a shallow hole. In retrospect, not a good safe idea.

Now, I have built my portable, 34' long, Tiny house, with a compost toilet and I'm working on getting off-grid with a solar system.

So here's my thing with the composting toilet. I've been using it for 10 months now. It has a urine diverter with flushing mechanism that adds fresh water.

When I started, I wasn't sure what I would do with the solids.

I've been freezing my vegetable waste for years now, because it kills small bugs, keeps bugs away, and doesn't smell. Once frozen, I add the pail to the worm bin. They just love it.

So I came up with doing the same with fecal solids. And it works great so far, though I haven't been composting it yet. And freezing works great because the freezing kills most of the parasites that make fecal matter offensive and dangerous. It also kills the smell. I use a large cookie tin lined with a plastic shopping bag. I add absorbants like used paper towels and tissue and shredded paper. I simply place the tin in the toilet before use, use, and cover debri (solids ONLY), with tissues and scrap paper pieces, close the bag, put the lid on and put the tin in the freezer.

So I'm wondering, if anyone else is doing this?
What your experiences is?
Now that the debri is frozen and the parasites are mostly killed, couldn't this be added direct to composting?
Can one use standard bleached tp or does one need to use a special unbleached tissue?

You can see a video of the toilet on my youtube channel under the plumbing video.







[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/user/Livinghouse47[/youtube]
 
Erik Green
Posts: 50
Location: California
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
 
kathy browning
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
how about a hugelculture keyhole garden with the outhouse in the middle and willows growing in small swales like arms around it and dark conifers in an arc around the north/back from the solar exposure in winter..heh thanks for this thread, and many others here!
 
kathy browning
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
buckets are too high to relieve oneself healthily, imho. we'd have less uti's and constipation if we squatted, like so many cultures do. it doesn't take long to get strong enough...my family has an outhouse in the woods at the lake and handfuls of leaves, worms and humus works well if we don't have tons of use...then i throw in lime; what does that do to the worms?
 
kathy browning
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
wow, erik! that's cool!
 
Maya DeSalvo
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is a video from Australia, I believe, showing what to do with the buckets of waste. I have lots of faith that all toxins are gobbled up by microbes with time. (Biochemistry B.S. degreed, yet I don't want or need a scientific paper to KNOW nature rocks)

http://youtu.be/LBZwOqLJvBA
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 276
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Maya - Nice video! Just goes to show those people with a head for over-engineering any problem that composting toilets don't need to be complicated. Here is a convenient, low cost, and totally safe system. You have liquid drainage (I like that!), which I assume they are using as an alternative to urine diversion. You have passive-solar-powered negative pressure to keep the smell down. You have no need to empty buckets, at least not for 24 months, after which you are just handling finished compost. You have no need to turn compost piles. And the system consumes 0 electricity and 0 water. The only thing is that you do need to invest in a lot of those white plastic bins and dedicate a lot of space to aging them. Setting them outside like that, I bet they don't last more than a couple two-year rotations until the plastic begins to degrade under sunlight. But then again, you could always just paint them for protection!
 
roland ross
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hole in the ground/outhouse vs septic system. I see some people have an issue with solid human waste and a hole in the ground. Help me if I am missing something in the logic. We have a septic system that dumps thousands of gallons of waste into the yard that passes through the solids before finding its way out to the field. I can't help but think a hole in the ground that has limited water flushing the contaminates would be worse than my septic system. I see the logic in separating the fluid and the solids, in fact I know a lot of people who have a burn can just for toilet paper in both situations so as to not fill the bucket/hole/pit and the septic tank. As a young man in the late 70's I had my hand in digging several outhouses and even after the one was the tashmahal of outhouses. I believe most people did a fantastic job not contaminating the water table. Just food for thought.
thanks
 
Neal Foley
Posts: 49
Location: union Maine
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:

In this case, I imagine putting "the structure" (whether an outhouse, or something similar for a tree bog) on skids.  So if for any reason you wanted to move it to a different spot, you could. 



When I was building houses for a living, our crew got sick of paying for portable toilets to be delivered to the job sites. We built a collapsable outhouse which we would haul to a new site and set up right over the septic tank--usually installed before the foundation began. Direct deposit on the owner's dime.... The concept could work in an existing system. You could have a dry outhouse set up over a pumped out septic tank. Without all the extra flush water and pee the poo would be contained for a LONG time, safe from ground water contamination etc. The only draw back to this method is that you couldn't use the existing compost, but neither can you in most outhouse situations. For an average family it could take years for the shit to fill up enough to be a problem. Divert the grey water from the house and you have a long term solution. During the winter you could use the toilet but reduce the amount of flushing or use a measured bucket of water to pour down to clear out......Just thinking out loud here....and joining late in the discussion.....
 
Neal Foley
Posts: 49
Location: union Maine
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Finally finished reading the thread..... Great stuff here and lots to consider.

I have been re-reading A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure) as I review some design ideas for a house I want to build. It is interesting to note that pattern #178 "Compost" recommends that all structures have a composting toilet and that domestic grey water be used for the landscaping. The book was written in 1973 and has influenced a great many architects and builders....and yet..... why isn't this the norm in new construction?? So much in this book is permaculture savvy that it should be serious library for builders and designers who want to create structures, communities and villages.....

In fact, patterns #168 thru 178 all relate to how we function in a sustainable, integrated landscape of permanent agriculture, etc.... the titles of these patterns are #168--connection to the earth, #169--terraced slope, #170--fruit trees....#173--garden grown wild..... all culminating in the suggestion that it is extremely wasteful to throw out water and fertilizer and that compost from toilets and grey water from the house be used to prevent the sort of environmental problems septic & sewage systems create. The authors really push the Clevis Multrum design, but suggest that a huge apartment size unit could be fashioned and that any home owner, with help, could design and install a system for DRY composting.....
 
Neal Foley
Posts: 49
Location: union Maine
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Stuff keeps popping into my head.....

In the San Juan Islands of Washington now, every home owner can become their own septic systems inspector....you go to a class and learn how to tell if your system is functioning, when it needs pumped, etc.... It is majorly gross.

I used to live in the San Juans. There was barely enough soil depth for a system. The septic tank sat right outside the house. It was always a problem...I don't care to recall the number of times I had to work on the thing. I never should have gotten rid of the outhouse..... One classic issue is water runoff.... it rains so much in Washington that the groundwater enters the septic tank--until I built a massive diverter system and raised the soil level over the tank by 3 feet-- that the tank was filling up and the ejector pump was running so much we burnt one out in 6 months.

Then I moved to Maine....and what was the #1 issue.... ground water entering the drain field and leeching out nutrient rich liquids heading for the pond....only the stuff was so rich it killed a great swath of the pasture on the way down the hill. Again, a permaculture solution....dig a pond, create some swales, capture the water before it hits the septic system and divert it away. Problem largely solved. It could use a ton more work, but I don't live there any more.... but the pond is thriving at least!

And no, it never bothered me to eat the huge wild strawberries growing on top of the drain field.....
 
Patricia Sanders
Posts: 17
Location: St. Johns, AZ
1
bike greening the desert tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just to add a data point to this conversation ... I lived at Reevis Mountain School of Self-Reliance, in eastern Arizona, for six years. The place has been there for 34 years now. For that entire time, and to this day, they are using pit toilets. These are 8-ft deep holes with a privy placed over the top. They mostly poop but also pee in them (just the girls usually use them to pee - so more #2 than #1). They experimented over the years with using sawdust, soil, etc. but found that it worked fine not to use anything, just toss a layer of soil down there if it got smelly, which usually would happen only if it was being overused. When you look down into the hole at night you see gazillions of roaches and other bugs doing their work. We used regular toilet paper and tossed the cardboard tubes down there, too.

Usually it takes two to three years to fill up a hole, given the usual number of residents and number of outhouses (usually six residents using two main outhouses, with three or four others available but not oft used). When a hole is close to full they cover it with a couple of feet of soil, with a pipe down the center for ventilation. The holes are actually dug in pairs, so when one is full they dig out the old one next to it (easy digging) and move the privy over the top of it. The soil that is dug out is clean, sandy soil - not even compost-like. You would never know it used to be poop. As I said, they've been doing it this way for 34 years and I never heard of any problem.

At night, we would use a pee bucket with a couple of inches of water in it, rinse it out in the morning and occasionally use bleach if needed.
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 235
8
bee duck fish food preservation forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Really an interesting concept.

I've been building my next home, in my head, for the last few months. I'm playing with the idea of an greenhouse running along the south side of the house. Now I'm thinking about having a tree bog extending into the greenhouse. Instead of willow, maybe mint or some other rampant heavy feeder. That would convert it to 12 month system in a lot of areas.

The problem I forsee is that you are still basically defecating into a fairly shallow hole in the ground and I'm guessing my greenhouse, then my house would become rather more aromatic than my wife or 6 daughters would be willing to put up with.

I recall years ago talking to a man who had stayed in homes in Germany that basically had indoor outhouses. He commented that with they used a little lime at the end of each visit and he said there was no smell. Question is, how would using lime like that, maybe on top of sawdust to provide carbon effect the composting process?

An alternate thought would be to include the treebog in a greenhouse that isn't as connected to the house. That would increase the time the system would be up and running.

Having used outhouses extensively through all seasons I view indoor plumbing as one of the rare true blessings of civilization. (hint, if you leave the toilet seat hanging on the wall behind the woodstove and tuck it under your coat on the way out, a winter trip isn't quite so bad). Seems to me the idea is good, but not quite complete for everyday use.
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 235
8
bee duck fish food preservation forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Why only use plants?

How about using soldier flies or some type of bug to get rid of the waste. When I think of it, I know rats would go after it also (look up "King Rat"). I hesitate to suggest it because I have an illogical "thing" against rats. Bug, snakes, spiders are ok, but RATS, UGHHHHH!!! But speaking of converting waste and closing the system, could we also use insects/rodents? possibly setting up some way to trap them as they left the area and using them as duck/chicken/fish food?

I'm still a little disgusted with myself for bringing it up, but I'm trying to look at this objectively.
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 235
8
bee duck fish food preservation forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Comment on outhouses and water quality.

I had a Geology professor tell me years ago that when he was newly graduated he was hired to help with a water quality study in Appalachia. He said one of the disturbing things they found was that when the people told them "Our well has GOOD tasting water" they consistantly found it was sited too close to the outhouse and was contaminated.
 
Matthew Nistico
Posts: 276
Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mick Fisch wrote:Why only use plants?

How about using soldier flies or some type of bug to get rid of the waste. When I think of it, I know rats would go after it also (look up "King Rat"). I hesitate to suggest it because I have an illogical "thing" against rats. Bug, snakes, spiders are ok, but RATS, UGHHHHH!!! But speaking of converting waste and closing the system, could we also use insects/rodents? possibly setting up some way to trap them as they left the area and using them as duck/chicken/fish food?


Probably not the safest idea. I know, because I had exactly the same idea! My own homestead is still under construction, but when up and fully running will absolutely include a BSF digester. The soldier fly maggots will serve as duck food. I also plan to compost all of my humanure. So naturally it didn't take me long to arrive at the notion of "hey, why don't I just feed the humanure to the BSF maggots?!"

I ran the idea past my PDC instructors, and both said they didn't like the sound of it. To safely process humanure at the home scale, they said, requires one of two things: 1) adequate time; or 2) adequate number and variety of intervening organisms, preferably spanning multiple kingdoms. What I was proposing is this: my humanure -> BSF maggots -> ducks -> me again. This is probably inadequate to begin with. But on top of that, you have to assume that pathogens from the humanure through which the maggots (or rats, or roaches, for that matter) crawl will be coating their surface, not even having passed through their metabolisms, and therefore be ingested directly by the ducks. So what you really have is: my humanure -> ducks -> me again. This is NOT enough steps to ensure that I won't handle/consume live pathogens when I slaughter/eat my ducks.

So, I will go a more conventional route and rely on time to sterilize my own #2 waste, composting for a minimum of 12 months as per The Humanure Handbook. Or possibly 18 months just for good measure. What I plan is something very simple involving 5 gallon buckets with snap-tight lids in my regular bathroom. I have adequate confidence from past humanure composting experience that they won't stink given enough sawdust. But I also don't feel like regularly emptying/cleaning buckets full of poop, so I plan to keep a large enough number of buckets in rotation, let each one sit the full time period once full, and compost to completion in the buckets. Then all I have to do is regularly empty buckets full of clean soil straight into the garden - no scrubbing buckets, no shoveling compost. Having run my hands through real, 12-month-old, humanure compost, I know that it is just as clean and sweet-smelling as you could ask for. All I should need to do is drill some ventilation holes around the very bottom of the buckets so that oxygen, worms, and other soil organisms have access during the composting phase. If I start off each new bucket with an ample layer of sawdust lining the bottom, that should functionally seal off the holes while the bucket remains in use inside my house.

Oh, and being crippled I already pee in a cup, so that is a separate issue, and I already use a self-standing toilet seat (similar to the photo, below). To place this device in a corner of my bathroom with a bucket under it, instead of over the toilet, is simple. And snap: instant composting outhouse system indoors! So long as one is willing to invest $200 max in buckets once ever five years or so - an absolute pittance in order to buy freedom from hosing/scrubbing out raw poop every other week! - and to reserve a corner of one's property for a gaggle of 24-36 buckets to sit around quietly doing their thing, it seems like a pretty simple and foolproof system. But, anyone with experience please jump in if I've overlooked something. Constructive criticism is always welcome!

BTW, since I designed my own house, in a perfect world - i.e. one without building codes! - I would simply have designed a tree bog into my house. We always discuss these things in terms of outhouses, but why couldn't one be integrated into any permanent residence? Simply elevate at least one end of the house over a screened-in crawlspace, grade the surrounding soil steeply away from that crawlspace in all directions, plant your Poop Beast of choice (I like willows) densely along those walls, and arrange the floor plan so that the bathrooms are located above. Each bathroom would include an attractive toilet bench, preferably with built-in sawdust storage, that opens up to the crawlspace below. Easy. But you would want to have a flap actuated from inside the bathroom that seals off the crawlspace when the bathroom is not in use, so that flies couldn't enter the house through the toilet, and so that cooler indoor air doesn't leak out of the toilet into the crawlspace during summer.




 
Rick Valley
Posts: 101
6
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
An "osier willow" is a willow used for basketry. In practice, many species of willow are used for basketry. The common characteristic is that when you bend a shoot less than a year old (ie no branches) it bends and kinks rather than snaps. And any named variety will "strike well from cuttings"
Tree Bogs, as I read it in Permaculture Magazine, were invented for FESTIVALS! so for short-term use. Fill it, come back next year and re-fill it. Each year you coppice the willows (at least after they've grown a few years)
If a composting toilet stinks, it's not composting. You can probably do something about that. I had to do the Jenkins thing once, when we were really poor and the drainfield failed, and I had to do something fast. (not tomorrow, eh?) The family survived. And the quality of my agricultural-scale compost improved. And there were no complaints from the family. (me doing all the work helped in that I suppose, but hell, I love composting. It's so Bhuddist. I did come up with some (patent pending) tricks that I'm saving for my book.
I'll leave off with- in The Composting Toilet System Book by David Del Porto and Carol ----- (I have the darn book packed in a box dangit, can't look up her name) there is mention of an off-the -record talk with a heath officer in tropical N. Queensland who works with the locals who are many of them ferals who live simply and travel in south Asia every chance they get and bring back all sorts of narsty creatures internally (living like damn hippies and going native!) So she says that the composting toilets she sees don't have any narsties. (off record)
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 753
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
78
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Could you add a DIY septic bacteria activator to your compost toilet to speed up decomposition?

Recipe from survivopedia:
2 packs active dry yeast
4 cups brown sugar
4 cups hot water ( not overly hot)
Mix. Let sit 15-20 min. Flush in a couple of batches. ( Or in this case don't flush, just pour in.)
 
Rick Valley
Posts: 101
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't see why you can't inoculate with lots of things. Depends on the size of the pile/composter how much you *can* add. I don't see why you couldn't use bokashi. I enjoy adding all sorts of bio-active materials as well as interesting cultures, different cellulose sources, micronutrient additives and limiting nutrients. Kelp from the coast, in season (fall) autumn leaves and rotting wood, specific mycorhizal material (rotting wood soil rom from a forest w/huckleberries for instance) Depends on your situation and goals.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22367
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you want to postpone moving the can then I think it could be wise to add water and, as Rick suggests, a buffet of things that will help to break things down.

Of course that makes your plant available carbon and nitrogen up into the atmosphere. If your desire is to fertilize something with a very safe fertilizer, then I suggest that you try to slow down the composting process by not adding water and not adding extra things to help break stuff down. Instead, wait 2 years and then put it at the base of a willow tree. The willow will thoroughly enjoy all of that carbon and nitrogen that did not go up into the atmosphere.
 
Rick Valley
Posts: 101
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If there's co2 going up, at least if there's attendant methane, you'll smell it. If you smell it, just add more stuff- cellulose, veg, loose stuff of all sorts. It works, same as any compost pile: bigger = better. Did y'all ever hear of a "Morton" ? that's an open-bottom compost toilet, built with dry-stack concrete blocks and a wood deck (removable) on top. In W. Oregon that means you'll even have rodents in it (lots of aeration!) and since there's rodents there'll be Rubber Boas. (that's a genuine constrictor native to these parts. not rare, but due to subterranean habits, rarely seen) Is that too much of an ecology for the squeamish ? OK- I should write this stuff up, with illustrations. It's a tested design.
 
WHAT is your favorite color? Blue, no yellow, ahhhhhhh! Tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!