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willow feeder (wheelie bin pooper) at wheaton labs basecamp - the Willow Bank  RSS feed

 
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Someone let me know if I'm just blind, but I couldn't find a thread just for the pooper at base camp, I could only find this one but that's clearly for the one up at the labs. anyway, here are some really nice pictures art took of the pooper at base camp.





 
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I always wondered why 2 seaters.
However, a long time ago I was in Minnesota on a small lake that had a 4 seater, it was situated up a hill from the lake. I wondered until I saw a rope hanging down, which I pulled. The entire half of the wall was hjinged and lifted up, offering a superb view of the lake, I watched a deer scampering across the beach on the opposite side of the lake.
Back in the late 60's we bought a property that had an outhouse, but was not built on a hole, it had a drawer that you could pull out and I suppose dump over the fence into the next property.
Don't mean to sidetrack these photos of this nice pooper, but I'm getting older, reminiscing is beginning to be a favorite past-time.
 
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Very pretty but in my opinion two seats is one too many, unless it is a matter of selection? Four would be crazy. That thing looks big enough to be classed as a tiny home and the blackboard is for?
I do have what I would call an observation / constructive criticism. In my opinion an outhouse seat should be mounted at the very front of the bench if not slightly overhanging it. I came to this conclusion after having to redo a bench top after realizing that having the seat set back can be uncomfortable depending on leg build.
 
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This has to be the most BEA-U-TIFUL pooper I have every seen. Love it. You understand two holes if you have small children. Waiting for a slow pooper when you've really got to go would teach you that 2 holes are better than one. My hubby bought two old phone booths we are converting into poopers on our farm. We left the TELEPHONE signs on them. Very handy behind the greenhouse and near the kids' sand box. You people inspire me.
d
 
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Pangas Ponkai wrote:I always wondered why 2 seaters.



Wyatt Barnes wrote:Very pretty but in my opinion two seats is one too many, unless it is a matter of selection?



One of the holes had a urine diverter. Paul would like to keep the pee and the poop separate (he explains in detail in several podcasts). A lot of ladies pointed out to Paul that it was hard for many of them to go #2 without going #1 as well. Thus one hole was fitted with a diverter for the ladies and the other was left for any guys or gals who could control when/how they relieved themselves.

Last I heard they were trying to come up with a different style of diverter. Not sure if it was completed or not because last time I was there it was the middle of winter and the outdoor poopers were not in use.
 
Wyatt Barnes
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Thanks for the info Weston, I hadn't thought of different function, I was thinking of different view.
 
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So glad you posted these pics, Cassie! Thanks for filling folks in on the urine diverter, Weston. I know the diverter has gone through a couple iterations so far, though I'm not sure if it's on the final, best version yet.

This was definitely a group effort.

Tim built the main structure. I can't recall who might have helped him since it was over a year and a half ago now: Tony and Emily perhaps, and/or other volunteers/gappers.
Rick and Jason found the colorful re-purposed porcelain and did a lot of initial improvements last year.
Justin helped with some of the early privacy screening last year, too.
Rebecca and Bella decorated with the origami flowers, the colorful orb, macrame bead work, chalkboard sayings, etc., last summer.
Brian built the sink cabinet, improved the door, as well as other fine tuning this spring.
Brian and/or Evan installed marbles in the wood for even more fun just a week or two ago.

The sun was already a little too high and bright in the sky when I took this pic earlier this morning to try to show how cool the marble effect is.




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base camp pooper marbles in the wood wall
 
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In 2013 this pooper was a big step up from a porta-potty, but I think anyone would far prefer to use a proper bathroom.

In 2014, it was upgraded several times. Better seats were installed. I think the urine diverter was reconstructed about seven times. At one point the urine diverter failed and was repaired. I purchased several chalk boards to go inside.

Some people used too much sawdust. Some people kept opening the back wheelie bin access - thus making it so the system could not pull.

The solar system, battery fan and light were put in. This is the only thing where this pooper is inferior to pooper 1. The trombe wall system in pooper 1 is superior to the solar/fan system in pooper 2.

Then there were several rounds of what do women do during shark week. A document was created discussing the twelve ways that I could find that women deal with shark week and how each of those ways are dealt with in pooper 2. One of the things that I felt was important is that a sink needed to be in the pooper so a woman would not have to go outside with blood on her hand. Everything could be tidied up inside the pooper.

I wanted to not use pressurized water and I wanted to start exploring how to work with water in the cold. So in 2014 I bought a foot pump for use on boats. It was installed last week by Brian. There is a five gallon bucket under the sink and one pump on the foot pump provides a lot of water. There is a bottle of grapefruit seed extract under there too - so a few drops can be added with each new bucket of water.

On the backside of the sharkweek document is a document that describes how all of this works. We needed that because people were guessing and their guesses were often wrong.

Jesse Grimes invented the platforms for your feet. People can pick which level works best for them.

Last year and this year has been a LOT of focus on aesthetics. The goal is to make it so that people would prefer to poop in the pooper rather than in the house bathroom.

There are still a few things left to do, but I think they will be ready in time for the PDC.

 
Wyatt Barnes
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I am three weeks shy of a year without a flush toilet and I am starting to forget that it is different and can be scary/daunting to some people. On a funny note my 21 yr old really likes the sawdust toilet for her anxiety level.....she doesn't have to worry if the toilet will flush properly. I should ask her if she checks the sawdust availability before use.
 
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I love the marbles letting sun in!

So, is the pink tanked side the girl side?
 
paul wheaton
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the side with the pink tank is the side with the urine diverter. So I suppose it is for mostly women and a few men.
 
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Shark week?
...

oh. ok then. That did take me a few seconds.
I like the design of the walls and use of lightweight cedar fence boards, very cheap by the square foot, even better if they're reclaimed from somebody's old fence. An outswing door is the way to go. Were galvanized hinges used? I expect there's enough airflow going through the pooper that condensation build up on the bottom of the metal roof hasn't been a problem.

Wyatt Barnes wrote:Very pretty but in my opinion two seats is one too many.



My question for anybody who knows: Does this pooper use a removable bin system? Or is it over a hole? If the former, I can see two seats as being advantageous for servicing. One bucket could be removed for 'processing' while the other is still available for use. If you're not sure which one is good to go, just remember to look before you lean.
By the way, if you're looking for a nickname for the pooper that's a little more, um, nonchalant, may I suggest calling it the Roman House. That way if two people are so bold as to use it as the same time, they could say it's a throwback to Roman times and communal toilets.

Perhaps leave a deck of cards in the Roman House as well. A game of gin with a friend can help pass the time. Not unlike the boys in All Quiet on the Western Front.
 
Chris Waldon
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Paul Wheaton wrote:Some people kept opening the back wheelie bin access - thus making it so the system could not pull.

This answered my question
 
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Pooper document. Sorry for a bit of glare.
willow-feeder-pooper-instructions-page-1.jpg
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info sheet
willow-feeder-shark-week-instructions-page-2.jpg
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shark week info
 
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The reason we have two currently used holes in each of our toilet rooms (as well as two closed-for-the-year holes) is so that the manure pile below is not quite such a tall skinny stalagmite in a big chamber, but distributes the manure and uses the space more efficiently. Especially in winter, a single stalagmite can form in winter reaching up close to the hole while the sides are not yet anywhere near full. More holes helps prevent that.

Oops, maybe don't put a deck of cards in the pooper if you have more than one person using it. Think of the line of people waiting outside!
 
paul wheaton
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I am now wondering if the spritz bottle mentioned in the document is in the pooper. It has to be emptied and taken out in the winter.
 
Chris Waldon
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Another design question:
For this type of setup, is it prudent to install some sort of vapor barrier on the bottom side of the boards that make the "box" the seats rest on? Or some sort of sealant?
Is the whole pooper bare wood, interior and exterior?

My thinking is that odors and moisture evaporating off the depository will affix to and penetrate the wood. How is this mitigated?
 
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The two seats is so you and your three year old can poop together. Which is actually really fun.
 
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I lived on a commune in NM 40 years ago with a 2 seater that had no door. There were 40 folks and strangers coming and going from 2-80.   The view of the mountains in Taos was gorgeous .
 
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Sharon Carson wrote:I lived on a commune in NM 40 years ago with a 2 seater that had no door. There were 40 folks and strangers coming and going from 2-80.   The view of the mountains in Taos was gorgeous .



...was it there in '71?  I have this vague recollection...hitching through taos, camping in the mountains...many hippies...outhouses...

and more recently our outhouses have always had a view but only one seat.......
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Julianne and Mr. Dirt of dirtpatcheaven posted another cool video about their visit to wheaton labs! This time, all about the Willow Bank.

 
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Hello! Great great article and video...i completely like this system...just was wondering one thing...

...what about the wheelie bin\barrel or reciepent...when full it will be closed with a lid wright?
will that than become anearobic? How will it change in the course of 2 years?

I was planning on adding a few worms (to bad that nitrogen en carbon will be released that way, but so be it) so i don´t have to carry heavy bins after 2 years when i am going to apply them to my willowbank! So but what about oxygen?? will my worms survive? or should i drill mini holes that even flies can´t enter?? Thanks, hope somebody can answer me




 
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Hi,
This is my first post on Permies. After I read the posts about 2 holers, I felt compelled to share photos of this one, a 18 hole outhouse I encountered in rural Finland. It's at a school that's still in use but the outhouse hadn't been used for who knows how long.
In the photo, you can only see 4 seats, there are another two to the right just out of view. The red thing on the left is a urinal. Sharing the same large pit are another 12 holes on the other side of the building, which are divided into 3 rooms. In earlier times, all the goodies fell into the pit and then would be shoveled out when needed.  For me, it was a moving experience to stand in the pit, look up at all the holes, and think about how it must have been when they all 18 holes were in use.
When I was there in August, the pit was amazingly clean and was being used for storage. We set containers under 3 of the holes so it could be used as a composting toilet during a festival. Along the front edge of these three holes, we added a common urine diverter. The diverter was made from some scrap metal formed like a rain gutter.
toilet.jpg
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Building.jpg
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Jocelyn Campbell
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Welcome to the forums, Job and David!

Job, we experimented with adding black soldier fly larvae to one of our bins, and we did something to the lid to allow air in, as you're thinking of for the worms, but I wasn't involved so I can't recall what that was, sorry.

David, that 18 holer does sound inspiring! At wheaton labs we're a bit different in that we avoid pit toilets or shoveling humanure when ever possible. Pit toilets have the possibility of leaching excess nitrogen or pathogens into the ground water. As for shoveling poo, the more it is handled, the more the possibility of being exposed to or spreading pathogens. All of our poo goes into bins (plastic garbage cans) to make sure we don't have any risk of stuff leaching into the ground water. Then we let the bins sit at least two years or until the poo is as safe and as inert as possible before it's moved from the bin. Only then will we use the poo to fertilize a nitrogen hungry fiber crop/trees (not food) that will further keep any excesses from the ground water.

 
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Hi Jocelyn,
When I said shoveling, I was referred to how I imagined they did it years ago when this building was still in regular use.  But that was only a guess based on how big and deep the pit was. I'd also guess that that particular outhouse had been sitting unused for at least 20 years or probably much longer.  When I visited that area i August, I saw other compost toilets that were in everyday use. I even had the privilege of seeing a person carrying and dumping poo buckets from another nearby outhouse onto a compost pile. I was only there for a 3 day festival so don't  know anything more than that about their system.
 
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As a small child my father's parents were still on the farm and the old outhouse was still standing, and still useable. That one had two regular holes and someone went to effort to build a step down at the end with a small hole for a small child. So a three holer and the luxury of a toddler sized hole in it. It was easier then for a mother to take a child to go, and both could use it together. The house, being a fine city like Victorian complete with breakfast porch, maid's room off the kitchen... a small room at the top of the stairs had been turned into the bathroom, so often if my grandmother had to go #1 she still ran to the outhouse as she found it easier than doing all those stairs. It was stocked with old catalogs and phone books, and if you remembered, take a roll with you instead. I was told how peach tissues (if you bought a lug of peaches they were often in cardboard indent trays somewhat like oversized egg carton flats, and each peach had a bit of this strange tissue to keep it from being bruised) were totally prized and to be hoarded back then...

These are some lovely little outhouses/privies shown. I would like to have a composting toilet, right now I just settle for my pee bales near the shop...
 
Julia Winter
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So, I was watching the video of the spring 2017 PDC, and over-two-year-old bins were emptied into the willow bank (as in, the material was piled up alongside little willow trees, who like that sort of thing).  By the reports of the people there, the material had not broken down as much as would be hoped.  IOW, it was stinky and a lot of it still looked like poop.

Is there an adjustment that can be made to the system, to improve waste breakdown?
 
paul wheaton
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Those were the oldest cans.   They did not start off with sawdust/woodchips in the bottom as instructed. 

We want to wait until we empty proper cans to see how those turned out.


 
Julia Winter
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I found an interesting document about various different composting toilet systems at the greywater action website.  They note a method for using wheelie bins that has a fishing net inside to ensure aerobic decomposition:

Wheelie Batch
David Del Porto’s Wheelie Batch is our favorite amongst a large collection of drum & bin systems. Del Porto wins for use of a fishing net, rather than a clumsy plastic or metal aeration insert to drain leachate from compost. Users have enough bins or barrels to retain compost for 1-3 years. Dead simple, no transfer of excrement from one container to another, primary and secondary treatment happen in the same container.



Now, this may be a urine-containing system, and urine diversion is probably the factor that makes simple collection in a plastic wheelie bin effective.  The link above is to a 28 page pdf with a lot of really interesting information, including lots of links to white papers.  The authors appear to be based in Portland.
 
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i ve seen designs where the wheelybins had perforated pipes running from top to bottom in the corners. as well as these netting-bottoms.
my other guess is, that there hasn t been enough moisture in the bins.
does poo and TP need nitrogen to compost well? a bit of urine added to the bins might help but just enough to prevent leachate
 
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Hi Paul and all,

I corresponded with an Irishman named Feidhlim Harty who created a business in Ireland named FH Wetland Systems, from which he designs professional systems which are mainly soil-based constructed wetlands, gravel reed bed systems and willow filters. As far he knows, "those systems would all work - with careful design - in Wisconsin winters.  Feidhlim says that there are successful examples built in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Minot-ND, all of which have seasonal effectiveness, but are built to cater for the lowest efficiency times of year."  Feidhelm is writing a second book specifically about reed bed systems, to be published in November 2017.  He wrote a previous book called Septic Tank Options and Alternatives - Your Guide to Conventional, Natural and Eco-friendly Methods and Technologies, geared toward the homeowner, not industry, which you can find on the "Shop" page of his website.  Feidhelm says "it's quite a general overview of the options available; but whereas the EPA Code of Practice (Irish government standard for domestic wastewater systems - free to download from their website via http://www.wetlandsystems.ie/links.html) gives a good overview of most systems, including reed beds and wetland, it does not include willow systems or dry toilets.  In my mind I was writing the alternative code."  Each page is dedicated to a different system, covering all the systems available (in general terms) in Ireland at the time of writing, and in addition has notes on how to inspect and maintain a septic tank system.  "It's not all about reed beds, wetlands and dry systems - although those are covered."

Just wanted to put this info out there.  He seems really cool!
 
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Is there any thread showing how the fly traps work in the pooper/willow feeders?  thanks!!
 
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So if anyone's been paying attention, I've recently become quite enthusiastic about Terra Preta Sanitation.  Although I've come across the name before, the video I kept coming across was rather dry and boring, so I never got deeper into the subject.

I'm a bit baffled at what I consider a mediocre reaction to my recent posts, here and on facebook.  Either I'm late to the party, and everyone else is already aware of Terra Preta Sanitation and the topic is passé and my exuberance is unfitting, or other people also are unaware of it and don't appreciate the implications, as I didn't until recently.

This exchange came to mind yesterday:

Julia Winter wrote:So, I was watching the video of the spring 2017 PDC, and over-two-year-old bins were emptied into the willow bank (as in, the material was piled up alongside little willow trees, who like that sort of thing).  By the reports of the people there, the material had not broken down as much as would be hoped.  IOW, it was stinky and a lot of it still looked like poop.

Is there an adjustment that can be made to the system, to improve waste breakdown?



paul wheaton wrote: Those were the oldest cans.   They did not start off with sawdust/woodchips in the bottom as instructed. 

We want to wait until we empty proper cans to see how those turned out.




The reason I thought of it is because for the past year or so, we've also done our first composting toilet, I imagine pretty similar to Paul's pooper.  Urine-diverting, carbon cover on feces.

When our collection barrel became full (about 40 gallons perhaps) I sealed it up and set it aside for a while.

Recently, I had to move it and when I got it to its new location, I took a peek inside to see how things were progressing.  Same scenario, everything looked the same, but smelled worse than when it went into the barrel.

I'd been reading about Korean Natural Farming, bokashi, and lactofermentation (more about that in this thread) and I took about a liter of LAB and poured it in the barrel to start the fermentation process and then sealed it up again.

I'd say that was about two weeks ago.

Yesterday, my wife and I walked past the barrel and I told her what I had done.  I opened it up again and jokingly suggested that she should take a whiff.  She did, and she said it smelled like strawberry yogurt.

Anyway, that made me think back to this thread and how there were some smelly containers and I thought I'd suggest that you get some LAB on the lab.

For those interested, I started a facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/104884020343799/
 
paul wheaton
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For the willow feeder stuff:   what we want appears to be two mutually exclusive states at the same time.  So, step 1 is to stop having those thoughts. 

In other words, people want composting, and they want to maximize the carbon and nitrogen for the soil.   These two things are mutually exclusive.  After a fair bit of thought and discussion over here, I think what we want to do is hold on to the carbon the and nitrogen first.   Experiments with composting, red wigglers, BSFL, etc. will come later. 

So the goal is to mummify the poopies.   This means that when it gets dumped, you will see poop-jerky and the accompanying TP.  But this will be two years down the road, so it is now safe from pathogens.   And then this is put at the foot of willows/cottonwoods/poplars at just the right time of year and covered with more sawdust. 

We had some issues with anaerobic activity.  We are therefore going to attempt to put a 3-inch pipe into the system one one side of the can when it gets inserted.   Now sawdust or poopies will go into the pipe.  Therefore, the pipe will be open at the bottom and the top.   If there is any liquid at the bottom, it will dry out. 

 
Chad Sentman
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It's funny how my mind conceives an idea based on a few descriptions, and I imagine a system completely different than reality.

I think it would do my imagination a lot of good to visit one day and put some falsehoods to rest.

For example, when I saw the Instagram post about the willow feeder on skids, I didn't get it because my mind was imagining a tree bog system (permanently-ishsurrounding the toilet with poop beast trees), not an arborloo system (first fill the hole in the ground, then move the toilet building to another location and plant a tree in the space where it sat previously) and as seems to be the case, your system is actually neither.

It sounds like you have a wheelie bin collection whereafter it is set aside, time is the only applied method of eliminating pathogens, and after sufficient time has passed, the contents of the collection container are used to top dress/mulch pre-existing trees in another location.

Do I have it right this time? Precise language is so important!


I would love more clarification on the mutual exclusivity of composting and retaining nutrients.

Mummification: does this exclusively mean preserved in sawdust for two years, or does it mean preserved through pickling/lactofermentation to more quickly and effectively eliminate pathogens? I was amazed to discover the difference in smell in my system after only a few weeks.

The pipe doesn't make sense to me, unless you have a typographical error? It seems like you meant "no sawdust..." and not "now sawdust..."

Paul Wheaton wrote:We had some issues with anaerobic activity.  We are therefore going to attempt to put a 3-inch pipe into the system one one side of the can when it gets inserted.   Now sawdust or poopies will go into the pipe.  Therefore, the pipe will be open at the bottom and the top.   If there is any liquid at the bottom, it will dry out.

 

Typo makes the most sense to me, otherwise a video, photo or crappy illustration may be in order. 3 inches is an awfully narrow inlet.

 
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Yup - typo.

Sawdust and poopies are not in the pipe.  If any liquid shows up at the bottom of the pipe - it has an open air pathway and will, in theory, completely dry out. 

So you end up with sawdust, poop jerky and TP.  In the spring you put this at the foot of willow/cottonwood/poplar trees and cover all that with more sawdust so you don't see the poops or tp.  

But this cannot possibly be a perfect mummification process, so some composting will probably occur.  So far, we see that when we open a can, the can appears half full.  So material has broken down at least a little.



 
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I had a thought after reading the mummification bit. There is a functional need to control air movement to ensure the smell stays where it belongs anyway, right? Why not expand on that idea, the need for aeration to prevent anaerobic badness, and the solar chimney/trombe wall idea?

In other words, would it work to design a solar chimney/trombe wall system to create draw through the aeration pipes in the bottom of the bin, through the poop, paper, and carbon additions, and out of the chimney, thereby dessicating it all? There would potentially be no need for urine diversion, as the water will be actively evaporated by the draught up through the pile. And if the intake to the bin's aeration manifold was a long black PVC pipe, potentially equipped with a basic solar collector or simply set in a sheltered sunny spot, that bin could be cooked by warm air.

The full bins could be moved over to a holding setup where a similar aeration setup would continue to pull warmed air through the bin and out the top.

I think the idea here would be to determine how long it would take to completely dessicate a bin after being sent to holding (let's assume continuous use until full, then set aside until dried), and then another process could be employed, or some variation on the same.

If persistent pathogens were truly a problem, the dried, inert feces could be disposed of in a rocket mass heater, or pyrolised into biochar. At that point, what remains could safely be used on, if not vegetable crops, at least fruiting ones.

If the intent was still to feed the willows, I think it would be safer and easier to spread dessicated feces, and you could do so sooner and with less added carbon than with the mummification process. In addition, it would allow the opportunity to apply an oxygenated compost extract, a recipe for which can be found in one of Redhawk's soil threads, to the dried dung, ensuring the dominant microbiota are beneficial ones. I think I would suggest this for the mummified poo and paper and mountains of sawdust, too, even if the poo dessicator idea doesn't appeal.

I think a pooper using this dessication process, which is essentially just a potential tweak on the continuing project, could accelerate human nutrient cycling in a safe and effective manner, and create vast amounts of soil much quicker than earlier iterations.

Fascinating, anyways. I can't wait to see what you guys do next.

Good luck.

-CK
 
Chad Sentman
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The willow feeder we are talking about is at basecamp, correct?

At the lab, are there many different varieties of composting toilets, (artisans expressing their vision in seed and soil) or there also a pooper provided as a one-size-fits-all solution?
 
paul wheaton
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I guess I am talking about our willow feeders in general.
 
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https://www.discoverpermaculture.com/products/the-permaculture-circle/categories/182758/posts/2321877


geoff lawton just posted a video of his wheelie-bin design if anyone is interested, it's pretty similar but has a urine out-valve at the bottom which would seem less strict sanitation-wise.


 
this is supposed to be a surprise, but it smells like a tiny ad:
rocket ovens kickstarter - right now!
https://permies.com/t/87936/rocket-ovens-kickstarter-starting-monday
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