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paul wheaton
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I think it is wise to make sure there are poplar, cottonwood and willow trees growing.

Next, all systems should be designed so that they run cleaner than a standard septic system or a sewage treatment plant.

I think pee should be encouraged for all of outdoors.

I think the first system should be the wheelie bin system. Later systems could be dry outhouses.

I would like to find somebody that is keen on this space and microscope savvy to conduct tests to verify the cleanliness of our systems.

 
kadence blevins
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i think it would be best utilized if each family/person took care of their own, like in their garden or in a container to put onto the garden/compost. and if you are on a project building, etc then make sure everyones not peeing in the same spot all the time and should be good to go.
 
paul wheaton
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From another thread somebody asks:

On the issue of dealing with human solid waste, I was wondering if anyone had brought up building outhouses in appropriate places out of green willow branches?


My reply:

I think the first time we do that, I would like to install a way to measure pathogens leaching down.


Their response:

As to pathogens, wouldn't you just locate your outhouses on a keylined contour line and take soil samples at regular time and space intervals?

And do you feel it necessary to have that geographical barrier of a separate staging area being on another piece of land? Are there reasons you wouldn't simply designate a space near the entry BC? In your shoes I could see doing that and saving resources for development.


For the second part: I do not understand the question.

for the first part: I'm not intending to do keyline. I am curious as to what is heading for the groundwater. I'm also curious as to how it might compare with a septic system or a sewage treatment plant.


 
kadence blevins
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perhaps they meant placing the outhouse on a steep hill/embankment and letting gravity do the work. and simply to test all you do is test away from the outhouse and then test from the downhill part of the embankement..? thats all i can think of from what the person said.

personally as far as waste, i would be very interested in doing humanure composting. from all i've read on waste management it seems the most ideal use and with seemingly minimal work input.

question as to the land and waste... is there a law stating that the land must have certian septic/etc per so many people living there?
i know that where i live if i were to setup a humanure system i would still have to have septic installed on the land even if i never used it because the laws say it has to be there.
 
paul wheaton
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As mentioned in my podcasts, I think the humanure system has blazed a trail that needed blazing. And I think we can do far better.

I think the humanure system is, in some ways, worse than a septic system. I would like this land to use systems that are universally better than a septic system - or even a sewage treatment plant. And I would like to have ways to measure "better".

 
kadence blevins
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i must have missed that podcast... hm... must see if i can find it...

i agree that humanure and other systems i've read about all have things that could be done better.

i recall a video of systems and one was an outhouse with a system of compartments beneath it... waste falls into compartment 1. when that starts filling up you pull up the divider and it falls into compartment 2 and go one using compartment 1. when it fills up again you pull out the divider so whats in compartment 2 goes into compartment 3, then shut it and lift the one so compartment 1 goes into compartment 3...
depending on how many people there are you could make something like this and then once it gets to the last compartment you scoop it out and its soil.

and of course for the life of me i cant remember the video it was or even if it was one of yours paul... i'll have to see if i can find it...
 
kadence blevins
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ah ha! it was one of pauls videos (: knew i'd find it.

one i was talkin bout starts about 5:00 in the video
 
Cesum Pec
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PW - care to expand upon why you think Hu-poo composting is worse in some ways than septic?

Labor - hu-poo worse in one sense, but for those of us who compost anyway and are always looking for more free nutrients, it is no more labor than we would expend on livestock manure composting
Cost to install - humanure is way mo'bettah
Cost to maintain - septic better especially if you attribute composting costs, gathering carbon, emptying buckets, to waste disposal vs fertilizer manufacturing.
Impact on groundwater - assuming both are properly done and not over loaded, I'm guessing they are about the same.
Pathogen separation from human recontact - I think you are probably right on that issue, even though a hot compost pile is a great pathogen killer, there are possible recontact possibilities in handling waste buckets
Nutrient recycling - humanure is way mo'bettah

I'm sure there are other issues I'm forgetting to consider


 
Chris Kott
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For the record, I am the source of those quotes. I just meant that it should be possible to isolate outhouses so that the effect on the soil and the presence of pathogens can be measured with soil tests and a microscope. And that appropriate site placement will make sure that any seepage goes in predictable places.

But I mentioned the green willow branch construction as a function stacking feature; what if your outhouse was a closely-planted grove of rooted willow branches that were the first line of defense in the war against too much poop in one place? They would grow and need pruning, and would need to adapt to the needs of construction, and perhaps would need a "nutrient chute" as it were for direct transportation sub-surface, but I have a hard time thinking of a better starting point for a mostly dry outhouse and poop beast approach.

-CK
 
kadence blevins
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with a system like the one i pointed out in the video there is no contact with anything. so absolutely no "contaminating" the land or water. until you take the finish composted nightsoil from the bottom level of the system all you have to do is remember to pull up the dividers to move it all down every couple months. or however long it takes for however large a system you build.

you could even setup a seperate part for peeing only which could go through a pipe into a container to be watered down and used on gardens. for those people who arent comfortable peeing outdoors commonly.
 
Kelly Kitchens
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...or for women, when there's two feet of frozen water crystals on the ground. Us guys have little chance of getting snow on our tush when peeing outdoors.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Kelly have you read the women peeing outdoors thread. Very enlightening.

http://www.permies.com/t/3965/homestead/women-peeing-outdoors
 
Chris Kott
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Or the podcast.

-CK
 
Ryan Barrett
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Dornob - Flat-Pack Urinal Straw bale composting

 
Kelly Kitchens
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Miles,
Yes, read the thread... heard the podcast, which prompted me to add a urine-diversion setup to my bucket system. (I had no idea women had to pee when they poo'd. Live and learn.)

I used this system - http://www.omick.net/composting_toilets/barrel_toilet_urine_diversion_option1.htm
- just adapted to a 5-gal bucket with a prefab camping seat on it. Works well so far using the wheat-based "flushable" kitty litter on the solids... which I think won't interfere with the composting once into the 2-year bin.
 
Adam Moore
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With humanure I have always wondered about those that take prescription drugs. Alot of people take all kinds of medication nowadays. Does any of that unabsorbed medicine stay in the feces and urine? Will letting it sit and compost for a year or so dissipate those medications? What about the urine because many times it is used right away on the plants after only dilluting with water? Can plants even absorb those medications? Maybe its a non issue. I doubt any permies would be careless enough to allow the humanure to effect the water supply so the medicated leftovers shouldn't be an issure being consumed through drinking water. I could not find this issue covered on any of the other poo forums. I was just thinking that if a large number of people are group humanure composting on Paul's land that this might be an issue. You know what you eat and maybe your poo is medicine free but with a large group of people... not sure if I would want to eat food grown from humanure with Paxil and Zoloft in it. Am I overreacting?
 
Chris Kott
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No, you aren't over reacting, Adam. One of the reasons these drugs are problems is because they persist in the water table, and in some cases withstand evaporation and precipitation. I think any measures Paul decides are necessary will contain the solids in such a way that they go to feed trees that are used for fibre or firewood, or perhaps structure. I would be concerned under normal circumstances about people using medicated pee to feed their food plants, but for a population living on the land, I would think that drugs being taken for stress conditions and other largely psychological problems caused by urban confinement would probably be unnecessary.

I am wondering about pharmaceutical birth control. Are there going to be any guidelines along these lines, or will there be separate urine diversion systems to ensure that the water doesn't become contaminated with agents that promote reproductive sterility?

-CK
 
paul wheaton
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I think there will be no restrictions on medications at BC or at the first section of TL. I think that the people that qualify for the second section at TL will probably already be pretty low on medications. I think for somebody to live on the third section would involve conversations about medications.
 
Adam Moore
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It's Friday and work is slow so I tried to look into pharmaceuticals in ground water and found the epa web site. http://www.epa.gov/ppcp/faq.html From what it sounds like the water treatment plants don't have the ability to seperate pharmaceuticals from our tap water. So compared to what I have been drinking, because I do use tap water even though I do put it through a filter first, trace medications in composted humanure are the least of my worries.
 
Willy Walker
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I remember reading about tests that were done and determined that pharmaceuticals were absorbed by plants and vegetables. In the particular article I read, they found the same drugs in the cows had been given in tomatoes. The pharmies didn't break down 100% passed from the cow and the poo was used as fertilizer. That is heavy stuff..

I had also talked to an engineer while working on a waste water facility. he mentioned the most scariest part of the whole system was the amount of pharmies that were being dumped into the rivers, etc as no filter media had been made to clean them out. He even went on to tell me about sterile fish, etc.

I had no choice but to plant my garden on my drain field. We have a grinder tank and it then gets pumped up hill to be let into the drain field. Due to this, I built raised beds to add a more layers in between. I put down old logs in the bottom of my beds first, thanks to permies.com Oh and of course we are very cautious as to what is dumped down our drains. Only natural cleaners, soaps, etc. and none of us take medicines on the norm.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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I've been using searches and scans to find any mention how to manage menstrual blood in poop and pee systems. I think one or two posters here on permies mentioned treating it similar to poop.

Last night, I asked my sister who is an RN and her husband, a medical lab tech about possible pathogens in blood as compared to pee and poop. They agreed that blood should be considered in the poop category in terms of potential pathogens.

Just making this clear because I find it amazing how menstrual blood is almost an "unmentionable." It's part of life.

I like that Paul wants to verify that the wheelie bin idea is the safest way to handle poop, and that he only wants to use the poop on fibre, wood, and non-food crops.

 
paul wheaton
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Willy,

1) Do NOT put raised beds on your drain field.

2) Please repost your questions/comments about your land in one of the many forums here at permies.com that fits your topics. This forum is for projects occurring on my farm.

 
kadence blevins
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I've been using searches and scans to find any mention how to manage menstrual blood in poop and pee systems. I think one or two posters here on permies mentioned treating it similar to poop.

Last night, I asked my sister who is an RN and her husband, a medical lab tech about possible pathogens in blood as compared to pee and poop. They agreed that blood should be considered in the poop category in terms of potential pathogens.

Just making this clear because I find it amazing how menstrual blood is almost an "unmentionable." It's part of life.

I like that Paul wants to verify that the wheelie bin idea is the safest way to handle poop, and that he only wants to use the poop on fibre, wood, and non-food crops.



i'd think it would be fine just buried or put on the compost. i mean for how many hundred years women just wiped the dried "blood" off their legs as way of dealing with their time of the month. then later moss lined bikini type deal and the moss was buried and replaced as needed. i wouldnt think that it would be carrying anything more then urine really as far as potential pathogens?
 
Chris Kott
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I think, kadence, that when doing this kind of planning, we do so with the absolute worst case scenario in mind. So while normal, healthy blood is probably not an issue from any normal, healthy person, pathogen transmission vectors are to be taken seriously. Is it perhaps a vote against the way things were done traditionally that when too many people gathered in one place, for commerce, war, or any number of things without proper sanitation and before understanding of modern germ theory, disease and death were the norm?

I'm for the wheelie bin idea, and the use of the proceeds on non-edibles, and separation of as much urine as possible for direct use as liquid human fertilizer.

-CK
 
Rufus Laggren
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> blood

The hospital procedures I watched while in last summer appeared to treat blood as a HazMat. Well, whatever.

> tests...

Technical detail:

- What test protocols exist for testing ground water? Soil?
- What will you be testing for exactly, HOW MANY different chemicals, etc? How many tests will be needed each time to fully test for each thing on your list?
- What sources provide tests? Can one provider test for all the items on your hit list? Cost? Availability? Turn-around? Amenable to DIY sample gathering?
- How critical is the sample collection? Will training be needed for DIY sampling to try to avoid contamination and false results?

When I talked with a tech running a spectromotry lab several years ago he said that for testing ground water the lab was completely scheduled for about 6 months in advance, test turn around was, IIRC about 8 weeks and cost was (again IIRC) about $400 for each use of a machine; the labs ran 6 or 7 days a week, which included down time for machine maintenance. Mutliple tests were needed to search for varying types of contaminants. I sure there are many other types of tests many of which may be cheaper and more easily available - but as I understand it most are limited to one chemical or compound.

I haven't researched environmental testing in depth, but: My impressions to date are that much of it is time consuming, finicky and can be very expensive. Many tests rely on very tightly controlled facilities (clean personel, clean room and sterile and carefully maintained equipment), highly trained techs and very expensive materials and technology. IOW, This Is highly leveraged Rocket Science totally dependent on the most modern corporate and government resources. Both for the actual physical testing and for the brains and innovation to make it more broadly available.

It would be really nice if I were wrong here, but... Broad based and regular environmental testing may not be a no brainer.

Rufus
 
Johan Thorbecke
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Have you considered doing something with biogas? This way you will catch the methane gas that is otherwise lost and it is a good pre-processor for composting.
Especially if you're off grid then it is a blessing to have access to on demand fuel for cooking/electricity generation and so on. A biogas digester can be build with simple materials and techniques similar to the ones they use in rural India.
 
K. Johnson
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Deleted. I changed my mind. My apologies. Too much rant.

Don't grow your food on top of your poop.
Lao Tzu
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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paul wheaton wrote:I think it is wise to make sure there are poplar, cottonwood and willow trees growing.

Next, all systems should be designed so that they run cleaner than a standard septic system or a sewage treatment plant.

I think pee should be encouraged for all of outdoors.

I think the first system should be the wheelie bin system. Later systems could be dry outhouses.

I would like to find somebody that is keen on this space and microscope savvy to conduct tests to verify the cleanliness of our systems.


I'm reviving this thread about Paul's goals for human waste management at wheaton labs because I'm struggling to find where this has been outlined clearly. If I missed a good summary elsewhere, please provide a link here!

We now have two poopers, at wheaton labs. They are called poopers because they are NOT outhouses. Most people think of an outhouse as a pit toilet. Paul does not want pit toilets until we are absolutely sure the waste in the dirt pit will not leach out and pollute ground water. Paul originally dubbed his designs "wheelie bin poopers," though the poopers we built here now use garbage cans without the wheels.

One pooper is at the lab (chateau de poo, see more in the first pooper Sketchup thread).

We have a second pooper at base camp (now called the willow bank--make your deposits here - heh, heh!, and this is its pretty pooper thread).

The basics of a wheaton labs pooper system, now called willow feeders, are the following:
  • poop is deposited into 32-gallon plastic garbage cans, with some wood chips or sawdust to mitigate smell
  • urine is diverted or otherwise not included in the bins
  • large bins are used to minimize touching, moving, messing with poo
  • full bins are topped with 2 inches of sawdust, capped, and moved to the "willow candy bank" for 2 years to compost
  • after 6 months of resting, 99.99% of any potential pathogens are likely eliminated - we're letting it sit two years to be extra cautious
  • this aged poop compost aka "willow candy" is used on fiber crops (trees, shrubs, etc. where fiber is used for woodworking, baskets, etc.) that appreciate heavy nitrogren
  • willow candy is NOT used on food crops.

  • Did I miss any points?

    (Edited to add Paul's corrections.)
     
    Tom Turner
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
    The basics of a wheaton labs pooper system, now called willow feeders, are the following:
  • poop is deposited into 32-gallon plastic garbage cans, with some wood chips or sawdust to mitigate smell
  • urine is diverted or otherwise not included in the bins
  • large bins are used to minimize touching, moving, messing with poo
  • full bins are topped with 2 inches of sawdust, capped, and moved to the "willow candy bank" for 1-2 years to compost
  • after 6 months of resting, 99% of any potential pathogens are likely eliminated - we're letting sit two years to be extra cautious
  • this aged poop compost aka "willow candy" is used on fiber crops (trees, shrubs, etc. where fiber is used for woodworking, baskets, etc.) that appreciate heavy nitrogren
  • willow candy is NOT used on food crops.



  • This is the right path. It embraces the idea that human waste is a valuable bio-mass resource just like cow manure (what my Dad called "the sweet essence of spring"). The only difference is those pesky pathogens and the need to isolate this valuable bio-mass resource from the food supply. This is the slightly different system I imagine:

    The toilet is in the house on an exterior wall, either East or West. The toilet has an air-tight sealed lid. Just below grade there is a concrete trough that looks like a small irrigation ditch. In it rides a chain conveyor, kind of like a chain fall with paddles or fingers welded to every 10th link or so. There would be a high ratio gear reduction drive and a small electric motor at the discharge end (or manual set-up in the toilet room). It would go out about 50-100 feet then up a small incline and dump into a curbed growing area, or willow garden. The whole length of it would be capped with what looks like a cold frame greenhouse (the reason for an East/West orientation). Several places the greenhouse would be skipped to allow walkways to cross. At the discharge end is a pretty powerful ventilation fan that only gets turned on when someone uses the toilet and lifts the sealed lid. Composting toilets in public spaces I have seen in Canada do this but keep the ventilation going constantly which is hard on heating costs. There is no interior smell if set-up correctly.

    One "flushes" with a handful of wood chip or sawdust. Then advances the chain a foot or two. In the conveyor there is much by-pass going on (which limits the load on the chain) and a foot of conveyor travel might equal a fraction of an inch of net bio-mass movement. At the discharge end a small amount of fully composted bio-mass would drop onto the garden. That compost that drops may have been in the greenhouse tunnel for weeks.

    A first knee-jerk reaction is to reject this idea because of the mechanical complexity. But it is not rocket science. With a little development work it would be well with-in the capability of a handy man or red-neck engineer. The biggest expense would be the chain itself at about $2+ per foot. The drive mechanisms are a very simple application because of the very low speeds involved and limited intermittent use (i.e. precision ground gears, lubrication and seals are not needed).

    Optimistically there may be the possibility that the bio-mass may have reached sufficient temperature to kill the pathogens. What is that temperature? It is low like what a fever of a 101 or so tries to accomplish on a cold virus? Perhaps a rocket stove could be set-up in the toilet room and the exhaust sent out the trough to hit that magic temperature to kill the pathogens (but not kill the good decomposition bacteria).

    Thinking systemically on the non-food product to be grown, I think of my grandmother who raised a few sheep and took the wool to a local woolen mill and exchanged it for yarn. I imagine everybody growing hemp and once or twice a year bringing their hemp harvest to local mills for a few dollars or exchanged for some woven material for the home seamstress. If it caught on it would create an entirely new market and the cotton industry might just go under altogether. Imagine we could have ended slavery with our poop instead of the Civil War

    .
     
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