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Humanure  RSS feed

 
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The human manure handbook nicely covers the subject of composting human manure, although I use a two chamber system. Being left uncomposted in the dirt is the ideal life cycle for roundworms. Flies are excellent vectors for amoebas and several others. Your own normally harmless parasites, if nurtured properly, can get you sick. We live in highland Guatemala, and somebody is going to have parasites. All that said, we have never had a problem and have used composting toilets for over seventeen years. Having all the manure from the restaurant for ten years was a huge benefit to our orchards.
 
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I got on here and started reading because I came up with an idea and wanted to know if it was a sound or feasible one. I was reading this book my husband found at the thrift store called Nature's Landscaping, which I think might be a permaculture before permaculture was a word kind of book. It takes you through all the steps a landscaping professional would take to survey and read your land, as well as landscaping techniques, except it is with a mind to work with your landscape instead of against it. When I came to the part about sewage tanks, I just started thinking how I'd like to avoid those altogether if I become lucky enough to live on a piece of land where I am not required to use one. So this is my novice idea: To have a little set up ( was thinking pooping directly into the ground), maybe even as primitive as stacking some stones to hold up another large sooth stone that has a decent size hole in it (guess I'd have to make the hole unless I just found an extremely unique rock-haha!) just to have something comfortable to sit on (truth is I can't help but wonder if standing and slightly squatting wouldn't be more natural and thus better for your body when looking back through human history for what was natural before modern convenience). Then, instead of having an outhouse type of situation built around it, have poop beast plants/trees/ tall grasses, etc. surround it for privacy and a nice natural escape. How does this sound? Tell me my flaws in this plan please. Also, since cana lilies can deal with toxins in the soil would they be good for growing in poop?
 
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Hey all!

My name is Shea I am currently studying for a masters degree in Design for Sustainable Development in Sweden. I have been searching for a year now for a specific Thesis topic, done seemingly endless mindmapping, brainstorming, interviewing and asking questions to anybody I meet that's doing interesting research or projects. But I can't ever seem to focus on a specific topic. Wasn't sure where to post this on the blog? But if anybody has any suggestions, ideas, input, projects that may help me focus my topic I would be eternally grateful! My issue is that I am interested in too many things. Attached is a very simple recent brain storm I did. And my background is in ecological design, building, construction management and now studying architecture. Sorry, if I am using this post in the wrong way, if anyone can help please email me to keep the discussion out of the blog post, shea.hagy@gmail.com. Tack!
Filename: Brain.pdf
File size: 53 Kbytes
 
Xep Arkonatitlan
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Human manure is a beautiful and valuable thing. It is not a toxic waste in need of bio remediation. Save that flower for the municipal grey water system. My large animal equation never works too well until I include the value of their manure. So you need two toilets. Use one for a year, then switch. After another year you haul away all that valuable done compost and switch back to the first toilet. I would recommend masonry around all those rocks. Our favorite recipe is; nine parts mud( 33%clay 67%sand), one part lime, 1/2 part cement. I have tried the 'a hole' thing. I had a wood platform with a nice lid and plastic between the platform and the soil, extending for several feet around the hole. Flys can pass through several inches of light soil and between that plastic and the soil. I recommend that the masonry covers the entire vertical part of the chamber. The seat lid should be fly proof. While poop has a good nitrogen carbon ratio, it is airflow resistant. I recommend adding a good composting mix, partially composted sawdust and dirt, to insure aerobic composting. A roof is convenient for pooping in the rain and to prevent flooding of the chamber. Squatting is healthy but those guys often miss and expect me to clean up. We have commercially used composting toilets for over ten years, and have built and designed toilets for other businesses and residences. Hope to soon publish a photo gallery showing fly traps, ventilation, poop decks and more.
 
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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A tour of four outhouses. The last one is a piece of art and is a fully water tight system.



 
Xep Arkonatitlan
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Composting toilets are safe, fun ,clean and easy. But the operative word there is composting. If you develop a system that increases vectors for parasites, you will eventually have those parasites, even if you dont live in Guatemala. Also, your own pathogens, not in high enough concentration to do you harm, can be concentrated to harmful levels. Eat poop and die they always, correctly, said. That said, I just emptied out a year old pit. Beautiful fluffy brown powder that smells like spring water. My local helper was offended that he had been so ripped off by the flush toilet, pollution, fertilizer industry.
 
Xep Arkonatitlan
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Sorry, my computer dousent do that. Why water tight? Is water tight airtight and wouldn't that inhibit composting? Do they have fly traps and chimneys in the sun, painted black for draw? Is the chimney in the highest part of the chamber, higher then the seat? Is the composting mix as important as the rest of the design?
 
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Location: Mississippi
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Whilst sitting on our sawdust toilet, I had an idea for a fiction book about an alterbeing reporting about Earth. He would say, "There are two types. One shits in water, the other in the ground." Yesterday I was quickly skimming the whole of the Humanure Handbook to be sure we were "doing it correctly." WOW. This is no how-to. As soon as I have enough US currency tickets, I will be purchasing this life-changing piece of literature and sharing it with others. THANK YOU.

I also found a similar quote in the book about "two types of humans." Do not underestimate the EarthBrain! Although not everyone has directly read or communicated an idea, have faith that ideas do spread and change the system from underneath, like groundwater.

Glad to find this forum and web site.
 
Posts: 131
Location: Olyden, WA
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One of the staff at Earthship Biotecture grew a variety of food crops in a black water planter for testing in 2011. Here is a link to the results writeup.
 
Posts: 38
Location: In the Sierra de Bazas, Andalucia, Spain
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Hi Faecophiles everywhere! I wanted to share our experience with Humanure composting ala Joe Jenkins. We live in a VERY dry part of Spain. We have found that, although it is not recommended by J Jenkins, we have needed to add very dirty greywater (blackwater) and extra urine to our compost heap on the dry months as it will not compost without it. Our soil is pure clay. Wonderfully rich in minerals and great to grow things in as long as you have enough water to keep it moist as it doesn't.retain water well. The 100 degree F dry summer heat bakes it hard like concrete. Our humanure compost has been a wonderful free resource to add a bit of water retention to our soil. We do not baulk at using it for all our growing needs, including the veg patch, but it has been very well composted!!
 
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Hi all. I've read through the humanure handbook and watched a lot of videos. And I adore the idea of completing the cycle. Can anyone tell me if the resultant compost can be used in an organic setting? I'm going to be living on an organic farm and right now there are pretty strict codes with being certified organic and using any kind of humanure compost on vegetable gardens in our area (bc Canada). But even for using the compost on ornamentals, would there be any kind of cross contamination through the ground water etc that would affect the organic status? Not sure if this should go here or on the growie section...
 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Can anyone tell me if the resultant compost can be used in an organic setting? I'm going to be living on an organic farm and right now there are pretty strict codes with being certified organic and using any kind of humanure compost on vegetable gardens in our area (bc Canada). But even for using the compost on ornamentals, would there be any kind of cross contamination through the ground water etc that would affect the organic status?


I believe that this depends a lot on whether it was properly composted. The sources I have seen recommend a 2 year minimum. Many of the pathogens that could be in the 'product' cannot live for long without a host, although some could be more persistent.

For organic produce, I would NOT use this. (Even if it were 'legal', just the thought of it would scare away many customers.) However, I see nothing wrong with using it to produce green manures, which will eventually be incorporated into the soils.

As far as contaminating the ground water, this should be treated as any other manure. If used at a rate greater than the plants/soil life can use, yes, this could eventually work its way into the ground water. I think that this is a matter of scale: one person, living on several acres should not be a problem, but if you have a dozen people 'contributing' to a city lot, you could easily overwhelm the system.

The health of the people is also something to be considered. Healthy people will still have dangerous pathogens, but their immune systems keep them from becoming ill. Unhealthy people will have more pathogens, but more importantly, they may be taking antibiotics, or other medicines. These medicines can actually do more harm to your soil than the pathogens. Most of our pathogens require a human host (or other mammal) to survive. The medicines are indiscriminate: they will also kill, or compromise many of your soil 'critters'.

I don't know the legalities of using it in certified organic operations, but I doubt that any certifying organization would approve it for food crops. And, I feel that 99% of your customers would highly disapprove.
 
Nicole Dymond
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Thanks john. I wasn't even considering it for food production. A. It's illegal. B. I agree people would be disapproving. We have a large market garden approx 150 m away from The residences, I was thinking of personally using the humanure on my private ornamental garden only. I just worry about any crossing that could compromise the organic status. Overwhelming the system was informative, I didn't consider that too much of a good thing aspect..
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 27453
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Along these lines, we have had a lot of discussion over the idea of aging the product for two years and then feeding it to a "poop beast" - which would be a species that would readily/quickly take up such material.

http://www.permies.com/t/1281/composting-toilet/Poop-beast
http://www.permies.com/t/18791/podcast/Poop-Beast-Part

 
Posts: 153
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Look at Chinese cuisine and there's a glaring absense of fresh raw vegetables.

It's probably because Chinese farmers have always used raw human sewage to fertilise their plants. It's also why people there always have food poisoning, and dying from eating raw food there is not unheard of.

Composting it would solve most if not all of these problems it would seem. What do you do when you're on antibiotics and other medicines?
 
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