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F*** composting toilets!

 
pollinator
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Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Todd Parr wrote:

stephen lowe wrote:... I think we can do better than pooping in drinking water.



I agree 100% IF you are on a city system and pumping waste to a giant chemical-laden processing plant, but what difference does it make if you are rural and have a well and a septic system?  Nothing involved, be it the waste or the water, leaves my land.  The only thing "wasted" is the amount of electricity it takes to pump the water, and unless you have all the carbon you need available, I doubt that is worse than the gas to get carbon material moved to my land.



I agree with this also. And granted if drinking water was rare, it might be different. But the truth is, my well fills up. If I use the water, it fills up again. I suspect that the "footprint" of the amount of electricity to pump enough water for a flush toilet in my system is probably quite a bit less than it takes for me to go buy bales of sawdust for $.80 a cubic foot (because my truck is broken and I can't get it delivered).

The water is going to come either way. If I don't use it, I don't use it, but using it doesn't create a shortage.
 
Bethany Dutch
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stephen lowe wrote:

Todd Parr wrote:

stephen lowe wrote:... I think we can do better than pooping in drinking water.



I agree 100% IF you are on a city system and pumping waste to a giant chemical-laden processing plant, but what difference does it make if you are rural and have a well and a septic system?  Nothing involved, be it the waste or the water, leaves my land.  The only thing "wasted" is the amount of electricity it takes to pump the water, and unless you have all the carbon you need available, I doubt that is worse than the gas to get carbon material moved to my land.



I can certainly see that perspective, to me it's more about restoring the respect for water as sacred. Instead of adding poop to it and making both substances less useful we can keep them separate and both can remain viable resources. Also, depending on where you live rurally water may be more or less scarce. But again, to me it is more about returning to a worldview where water is given it's rightful place as the source of life, not just the disposer of waste.



Believe me, as a mother of three kids I can confidently say it is possible to be both a source of life AND a disposer of waste
 
pollinator
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stephen lowe wrote:

Todd Parr wrote:

stephen lowe wrote:... I think we can do better than pooping in drinking water.



I agree 100% IF you are on a city system and pumping waste to a giant chemical-laden processing plant, but what difference does it make if you are rural and have a well and a septic system?  Nothing involved, be it the waste or the water, leaves my land.  The only thing "wasted" is the amount of electricity it takes to pump the water, and unless you have all the carbon you need available, I doubt that is worse than the gas to get carbon material moved to my land.



I can certainly see that perspective, to me it's more about restoring the respect for water as sacred. Instead of adding poop to it and making both substances less useful we can keep them separate and both can remain viable resources. Also, depending on where you live rurally water may be more or less scarce. But again, to me it is more about returning to a worldview where water is given it's rightful place as the source of life, not just the disposer of waste.



Hi Stephen,

Not to sound too flippant, but there's a lot of things defecating in natural water sources.  For the sake of brevity, I will only list the 300+ lifeforms that I've seen firsthand (just kidding).  But seriously,  I too feel that we should respect water for the life giver it is, but water takes many forms and is used by nature in many ways, and sometimes she uses it to clean things.  I'm not sure if you saw some of the early posts concerning normal toilets and septics, but much of that water is returned to nature and feeds plants.  You can almost always tell where a septic tank leach field is because of the lush plant growth.  

And yes, absolutely, in an arid environment where water is scarce, flushing half a gallon at a time would be foolish, but in areas where water is abundant, or has been collected on a large scale, I have to agree with Todd that there really isn't much of an ecological footprint.  I myself am so, so, so fortunate to have a spring in my back yard that runs year round.  I realize that, but I collect the water in a cistern and it stays at the same level regardless, this is what I pump out of.  I feel that the water that flows through my septic gets multiple uses and stays on my property longer than if it was used to water flowers in a planter.  It's almost like a key line system where the water works it way slowly through the soil.   I also collect roof runoff to supplement plant watering and I always have enough (and if the grid ever goes down permanently, I'll route the run off system to the toilet some of the time).  Until 15 years ago, my neighbors pull their water out of their man-made lake behind their house.  So there are many people that have a surplus of water thanks to luck, ingenuity, or a little of both.

I guess what I'm saying is that in certain situations, I see no karmic problems using water to recycle waste in the circle of life.  Just my thoughts.





 
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Hi,

first of all, are we talking about compost toilettes, or composting toilettes(as the title indicates)?

If it is the later one, i have nothing to add to the discussion,
but if we are talking about compost toilettes as described by Joseph Jenkins then i see the issue:

Sid Smith wrote:We have done it pretty much by the book and still have issues with flies, hamster cage smell



Sid Smith wrote: It doesn't make sense anymore to purchase wood shavings



It has been a while that i have read the book, but it clearly states that shaving will not work!

You need sawdust, and it has to be dampened, (like being outside in the rain for a while) to develop a biofilm which blocks smells.
Also the book emphazises if it smeels, you need MORE sawdust. That you had flies clearly indicates wrong/too little cover material.

Bethany Dutch wrote: It also sucks when the bucket is full and you HAVE to go empty them and do all the rigamarole but the weather is bad otherwise.



You don't have to empty it, if you have an airtight lid for the bucket and of course another bucket.
This is by the book, there it says nothing bad happens if you airtight it, because even with the urine in there
it has not enough moisture to become an anaerobic mess.

Bethany Dutch wrote: No matter what I do, my chickens seem to always find a way into the current bin and scratch around in the fresh stuff and that kinda grosses me out and then I don't want to eat their eggs because of possible fecal contamination.



You are supposed to put the fresh stuff INTO the pile, not ONTO the pile.
I doubt chicken go for it if the fresh stuff is burried below 30cm of straw.

Marcus Billings wrote: Personally, I'd rather get up, flush and get back to planting berry bushes that my septic will be feeding than practice the alchemy required for composting toilets, but hey, that's just me.



I agree if we talk about composting toilettes, but disagree in case of compost toilettes, as those really have no alchemy to them.
 
master gardener
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We have had a commercially built composting toilet since the early 80s.   It has never failed us.  No odor. No bugs.  That said, our house also has three conventional toilets that came with it.  We have our own septic.
 
gardener
Posts: 2221
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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My house has a big two-chamber toilet, so I can alternate them every year or two, and when I empty the compost it is a year or two old of just sitting there unused. As Joe Jenkins points out, this is a mouldering toilet not a composting toilet, but I think it's easier to plan a dingle work day in the winter than emptying and washing buckets regularly. Also there are feral dogs around so composting outdoors tends to be a mess, and that would be too.

Right, wood shavings don't cover well. I try to get sawdust from the wood dealers. Sometimes we have to use shavings or autumn leaves but I find those lead to fly outbreaks. Haven't had much any smell since installing a 40W exhaust fan.
 
R. Han
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Rebecca Norman wrote: As Joe Jenkins points out, this is a mouldering toilet not a composting toilet



So it does not have a thermophilic stage i suppose?
If so, what is your stragety to deal with potential pathogens?
 
Rebecca Norman
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Well, it'll sit there unused for a full year before I open the chamber, and actually the chambers are big enough to go for over two years but I'll want the compost sooner. Almost all the types of pathogens can't survive that long. Supposedly roundworms are one of the only ones that might survive sometimes that long, and they are not a very scary beast. And I use a mask when I do the emptying work, and wash up well and have shower immediately afterwards. Nothing like emptying a compost toilet to make you acutely aware and NOT want to touch your face at all.
 
R. Han
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Supposedly roundworms are one of the only ones that might survive sometimes that long, and they are not a very scary beast.



Those actually freak me out. Nothing more scary than an animal living inside of me, feeding on my tissue and making me excrete more eggs to infect my peers.
Even if you don't use the compost in your vegetables but on your perennials, there are still hookworms that will live in the earth until you walk by so that they can penetrate your skin and enter your booldstream.

How are they not a scary beast? For me personally only bears/boars and prions are scarier.
 
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