• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Humanure  RSS feed

 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1351
Location: Cascades of Oregon
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Reuters today:
    Article about using human excreta for food security.  Sorry can't get the link to work.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 10003
Location: Portugal
923
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1351
Location: Cascades of Oregon
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes Burra, Thanks
 
Paula Edwards
Posts: 411
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would love to have a system where we still could use our flush toilet and must not handle poo around.
We have enough water here and our toilet does not need much.
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 489
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anna Edey, in her book Solviva, talks about adapting a flush toilet to compost humanure. The book is readily available. I don't know of anyone who has tried her system...maybe you can be the first?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
184
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
jacque g wrote:
Anna Edey, in her book Solviva, talks about adapting a flush toilet to compost humanure. The book is readily available. I don't know of anyone who has tried her system...maybe you can be the first?


I'm quite intrigued by the simplicity of her system, in which the toilet flushes into an insulated box of partially composted carbon materials such as wood chips and leaves, and a lot of earthworms (Red Wigglers).  The solids remain in the box to be eaten by worms and the liquids drain out into a series of planted beds which filter out the nutrients.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That box could also include Beneficial Microorganisms (BM, EM, etc), fungus, black soldier fly larvae, and many other decomposers.

We don't have drinking water to waste in excrement removal, but I understand that some people do.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
184
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's not really wasted, because it goes on to water plants. 
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't water plants much, either!

I would never let the overflow of a humanure compost go directly to food plants, but to trees or ornamentals, sure.  But I also don't give water to ornamentals.

Greywater can go directly to food plants, especially if it passes through a basic biofilter.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
184
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, you definitely have to route the water to non-edible plants, or possibly to mulch or animal feed plants, not to a vegetable garden.  But in a very dry location like yours, velacreations, it just doesn't make much sense to use water to move poo from one place to another. 
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yeah, that is why we don't  We use our hands (ewwwww) to move it...   in buckets, filled with sawdust.
 
Elijah York
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My wife and I have a very simple Humanure system... a five gallon bucket with a toilet seat designed to snap on to the five gallon bucket we purchased from USA Emergency supply. We line the bucket with newspaper (excluding the glossy inserts) for easier cleaning, and we cover after our bowel movements with peat moss. We have a Humanure compost bin we dump it into and add some straw.

I have also read about the dwindling supply of phosphorus... that's where urine comes in. Been studying up on that one also, and will save it for another topic of discussion later.
 
duane hennon
gardener
Posts: 774
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
45
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
here's another model from "The twelve Trades"
http://www.de12ambachten.nl/engmore.html
http://www.de12ambachten.nl/enggreen.html

http://www.de12ambachten.nl/eng-greentech/07-12%20diynonolet.html

i'm sure this will give some ideas for adapting to you local needs
 
Steve Evans
Posts: 8
Location: South Gloucestershire, UK
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Robert Ray wrote:
Reuters today:
    Article about using human excreta for food security.  Sorry can't get the link to work.


The original report, by the Soil Association, can be downloaded from the following webpage...

http://www.soilassociation.org/Default.aspx?TabId=1259

Use the "ownload the full report now" link near the bottom of the article to get the pdf.
 
Emil Spoerri
pollinator
Posts: 421
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Question. Why can't I just lob my poo under the Paw-Paw tree out back?

Am I to believe that my poo germs are going to migrate up the stalk of the Paw-Paw and get me sick?

Another question. What if I feed a dog (or pig) my poo and then several weeks later I turn around and eat my dog?

I ask this question, not because I intend to do so, but because I have read that this has been common practice with humans for a long time and because of that I have to jump to the conclusion that it is a practice of dog eating human poo and human eating dog meat for many thousands of years.

Hey, sorry, I read about eating dogs on wikipedia.

"The dogs are also often called "dong-gae" (똥개), meaning "dung dogs" or "shit dog" in Korean slang because such dogs ate and survived on human feces, like pigs did."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nureongi

In either case, I am not thinking about nor have I thought about in this modern world, either eating dogs or feeding pigs my own feces, it's just that, I think about these things, for if there ever may no longer be a modern world, well I might just end up doing things that I never thought I would do. And there is a precedent.

However I did use to use the Paw-Paw grove as an outhouse and I ate those fruit too, because I doubted anyone who thought I would get sick from it. Did I behave rashly?
 
chip sanft
pollinator
Posts: 427
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
33
bike books dog urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This question about the pawpaw makes me think of the tree bog that Paul posted about a while back, here: <http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=953.0>. I think that using willows or another hungry tree would be a great way to turn human byproducts into organic matter, which you could then use however you use other organic matter.

I haven't read about using human excreta without composting, e.g. in the Humanure Handbook, perhaps because of the possibility of pathogens contaminating something, even if not the fruit directly -- which sure seems unlikely in a tree-growing situation.

 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 10003
Location: Portugal
923
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
EmileSpecies wrote:
Question. Why can't I just lob my poo under the Paw-Paw tree out back?

Am I to believe that my poo germs are going to migrate up the stalk of the Paw-Paw and get me sick?



I think it's more likely the poo germs will migrate onto your feet, or visitors' feet, or kids' feet, or dogs' feet, and then to all kind of places that you weren't expecting them, like kids' hands, then mouth, or feet to sofa to hand to mouth.  Also flies feed on poop, then maybe on the paw paws, so they could easily get contaminated. 

Even I would probably think twice about eating fallen fruit if I knew that people pooped under their trees... 
 
Eli Boyd
Posts: 16
Location: Taos, NM
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think composting the poo does more then kill pathogens but perhaps more importantly allows microbes to begin the process of breaking it down into usable plant nutrients. This would happen eventually if left under a tree but I think it deserves a little more effort to hasten and control the process.. Basically it need carbon material and to be kept moist.
I'll be doing this myself in the not too distant future.  I have composting worms so I'll probably incorporate them into a humanure system of some sort..
 
                                    
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i would be concerned about hookworm if i did humanure.  anyone know if composting gets rid of it?
 
solomon martin
Posts: 102
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I thought you might all like to hear about the system that I grew up with.  Our outhouse was built over a shallow trench.  The building itself could be slid back and forth on wood beams.  The trench was essentially 3 outhouses long and would get moved every 2 or 3 years, after our family of four filled it up.  At the end of the cycle, we would
dig out the oldest 'night soil' which had been laying in the ground for at least several years and move the out house over the fresh hole to begin the cycle anew.  The soil that we dug out was dark and rich, full of earthworms.  We thought nothing of putting it around our vegetable crops as it was very clean and good fertilizer.
I believe my father learned this system from his time in Vietnam, where well appointed road side out houses invite travelers to make deposits for local farmers.
 
Raven Sutherland
Posts: 164
Location: MAINE
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
bought 6 yards of it last year
totally sterilized of course
and let some of it sit to see what weeds
plants would like it (a volunteer cantaloupe)
they have mixed it with wood chips

although it improves heavier soil texture
and improves aeration the plants did fabulous on
it to a certain point (this is in 5 gal. pots)

i will not buy anymore of it because
i wasn't too impressed with it
Rabbit manure is better
 
                          
Posts: 43
Location: Ozarks
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Isn't it true that using manure can cause problems with human pathogens? It seems to me that it cause problems, as well as just generally be gross. However, I think we fertilize with it, as our lagoon is very small and is always overflowing into the pasture.
 
maikeru sumi-e
Posts: 313
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
HeritageFarm wrote:
Isn't it true that using manure can cause problems with human pathogens? It seems to me that it cause problems, as well as just generally be gross. However, I think we fertilize with it, as our lagoon is very small and is always overflowing into the pasture.


That can be true depending on source and whether it's been treated, pasteurized, or composted properly. Composting at high temperatures like 160+ degrees F, promoting aerobic degradation, etc. should kill most known human or animal pathogens and parasites. Soil life and microflora also do their part to decontaminate and clean up pathogens, parasites, etc. I've also read that vermicomposting reduces and most likely eliminates risks and pathogens and parasites as the worms process, digest, and clean up our nasty stuff and replace it with their poo. I strongly recommend properly dealing with human waste and restricting its application in sensitive or critical applications, like on veggie or certain fruit crops like strawberries, unless it's been dealt with properly. Once dealt with properly, it should pose little to no risk. Human pathogens aren't generally well adapted to live in hot compost, aerobic situations (most of them are anaerobes in the gut), or the soil (where soil-adapted species outcompete and destroy them).

I think many of the problems with animal as well as human waste products comes from improper processing, storage, application, and use. Bunches of animals out pooping in a well-managed pasture = beneficial to soil and plants. Hordes of animals confined on pasture pooping everywhere = sanitary, disease, and environmental disaster. Animal poop in overflowing lagoons = menace to society, IMO. Hordes of people pooping and flushing valuable nutrients out to sea = civilization-destroying disaster.

Try reading the book called Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations. It'll put things in perspective. Restoring valuable nutrients to the soil from human waste is important too. We are depleting our fertile soils around the world faster than they can be replenished. As the article mentions, 3 million tons of phosphorus flowing out and away every year... The losses are staggering...almost unimaginable. We must close the loop. Our survival, the survival of every peoples and every civilization, depends on it.
 
Jan Sebastian Dunkelheit
Posts: 201
Location: Germany/Cologne - Finland/Savonlinna
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
HeritageFarm, think about it: Most pathogens are harmful because of the toxins they produce whilst alive others are harmful because of the toxins in their shell which are released when they die.

Most of the human pathogens are killed by a good long lasting fever in the human body. A properly mixed and stirred compost pile is much hotter over a longer period of time than a human body every could be.
Dirt is unfamiliar terrain for human pathogens there are no human cells to infect and to use for reproduction. Even if some surive the heat of a compost pile (which is possible) the worms and predatory microorganisms will give them the rest.
 
Nathalie Poulin
Posts: 60
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I disagree about the stirring of the compost pile.
Anyone who is interested in this stuff should check out The Humanure Handbook.

http://humanurehandbook.com/

This guy has had his compost tested for pathogens/parasites regularly for 30 years (that's how long he's been composting his humanure!) and it's always come back negative. He uses it on his veggie garden and neither he, nor his family has ever been sick from it because they've done it properly.
He fills up his compost bin, then let's it age for one full year, and when it's finished, it comes out as nice, rich crumbly humus for the earth.
He doesn't stir the compost pile because then it never gets truly hot enough in the center to kill off pathogens. He uses a compost thermometer to ensure that it gets hot enough and he never stirs it because it's called thermophilic composting.

This book really opened my eyes to the benefits of closing the cycle and using our composted excrement to enrich the soil.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you did a bio-system to clean the black water the water would have to go through a wetland area with things such as horsetail & cat tail, as the water meanders, and it has to slowly, it finally can act as a "spring" of sorts and drop into a second wetland, where it can match up with the greywater, after this is polished again by plants it can then go through either man made streams or flow-forms in order aerate the water more as it dumps into a pond that is set up to be naturally filtering.  Koi, & carp can be introduced here as well for aquaculture.  Water is then recycled back up to the greywater wetland for recirculation to prevent stagnation.

Here is a better explanation I found a few years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDN76_UDzdI
 
                    
Posts: 106
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am afraid we have to keep it as simple as possible.  DH is not exactly the handy man type,  I made a sawdust toilet a la Joe Jenkins, it works wonderful.  Our graywater goes in a very small pond, lined with a pondliner and filled with pea gravel.  I am so impressed with the Alaska set up, but would not even dream of it. 
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elfriede B wrote:
I am afraid we have to keep it as simple as possible.  DH is not exactly the handy man type,  I made a sawdust toilet a la Joe Jenkins, it works wonderful.  Our graywater goes in a very small pond, lined with a pondliner and filled with pea gravel.  I am so impressed with the Alaska set up, but would not even dream of it. 


Sadly I think about it all the time because I want a room in my house like his! 
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dunkelheit wrote:
Most of the human pathogens are killed by a good long lasting fever in the human body. A properly mixed and stirred compost pile is much hotter over a longer period of time than a human body every could be.


Leukocytes & T-Cells go into high gear during a fever - probably more effective for killing pathogens than the temperature itself.  But no doubt 70c will kill most life forms!
 
                        
Posts: 508
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I always am a bit bemused by the fact that people get all bent out of shape considering the POSSIBILITY of contamination from human waste being used.  Meanwhile,  the public at large thinks nothing of eating food from source plants that have been sprayed with chemicals  that in some cases are so dangerous  farmers are warned to use protective gear when handling them.

Seems a little odd somehow.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
a magazine that we got this month had instructions for a compost toilet that was so simple it was ridiculous.

a 5 gallon bucket with a box around hole in top and toilet seat on it..

well I can make it easier..

hubby has 2 camping toilet seats that fold..they are just the right size to pop over a 5 gallon bucket so no need for the wooden box..

we plan to get a bunch of sawdust and we plan to put one out in our heated furnace building in a warm quiet private corner, with a bunch of sawdust handy and some paper and accessories..

and have an INSIDE outside heated toilet ..you put sawdust down in the bucket, then add a few handfuls of sawdust to FLUSH it after each deposit and empty onto a compost pile when full..how easy is that..also since we have 2 of the camp toilets and lots of 5 gallon buckets..I plan to put one back in our back woods and maybe build a outhouse building for it..and do the same thing as in the shed..but in an outhouse building..so that we don't need to truck back to the house to use it..

we do have 2 bathrooms in our house..but these will make 2 more..composting toilets on our proeprty and maybe when we get them going we won't use the flushers as much

we have to go out to the furnace building at least 6 or 8 times a day anyway in the winter so why not use it while we are out there..and in the summer the one in hte back will make it simpler to stay out all day..
 
T. Joy
Posts: 438
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When you're doing an alternative build like cob or strawbale how do you get around not putting in a toilet, septic tank etc and using a composting toilet instead? It's ridiculous to me that anyone can dictate how you choose to sh!t on your own property but somebody "official" always has to have their nose into everything, including that!
 
                              
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado, Zone 5, Cold Semi-arid
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This will likely depend on the local Health and/or Building Authority, and how progressive they are.  It seems, in the US, most jurisdictions are going to require a minimal septic system at the least, unless in  some remote areas, or officials are truly relaxed and/or open-minded.

Some jurisdictions will allow "composting toilets", like the Sun-Mar, and others.  If so, one should be sure to use such a device if given approval.  A Humanure Composting system is not a "composting toilet", so it's best not to be clever with officials.

This has been discussed at times on the Humanure forums in this thread, and others: http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/messages/messages/3/1348.html?1231627451

Keep in mind, the rules aren't just to punish the current owner.  The rules are (ostensibly) for the protection not only of oneself, but of anyone who may own the property afterward, and the wider community and environment.  Would anyone want to deal with someone else's sewage crap when buying some property?  Probably not.  Holes full of partially rotted crap here-there-and-everywhere?  Probably not.  Leaching septic waste contaminating the local watershed because someone didn't want to pay for proper sanitation?  Probably not.

One may be environmentally responsible, but the person before might not have been.
 
                              
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado, Zone 5, Cold Semi-arid
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The "Humanure Handbook" is the definitive guide for using humanure.  The information is freely available from the author, videos of the process are available on youtube (by the author).

For those who don't want to read the entire "Humanure Handbook", which is somewhat technical at times, Joe Jenkins has authored an 8 page synopsis, also free:

Humanure Sanitation: http://www.humanurehandbook.com/downloads/humanure_sanitation_paper.pdf

This short 8 page document describes the basics of the humanure toilet and composting system, how to set it up, how to use it, and how to maintain the system.  Very straightforward.  There is even a table showing the effectiveness of hot composting for various pathogens.

Here is a playlist of short videos, by Joe Jenkins, demonstrating the system he has used for 30 years on his PA property.  Well worth watching.

Starting a New Humanure Compost Pile -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BWc-RjuWbs

Emptying Humanure Toilet Receptacles -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZTZTVv6kYs

Steaming Humanure Compost -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOuP9CWP2z4

The Humanure Hacienda - Humanure Compost Bins -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXcU-JQFdms

Humanure Compost Bin - Active Side -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzvBZImkH0s

Digging Out Humanure Compost -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ejGvGe3QK8

Adding Humanure Compost to a Garden -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynUNOsMrO1k

Winter Humanure Composting -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJn5iuzUWJc


If you can only watch a few, the first two are the two to watch.

Here is a longer video (~8 mins) on the sawdust toilet receptacle, aka, The Loveable Loo:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPg-n4czGE0 .  This video mainly shows the workshop where they make the loos and the sawmill where they get their materials.  At about 3:30 minutes, Joe shows a humanure toilet inside a home, and at about 6:15 he speaks to the difference between sawdust and planar shavings (wood chips).

Humanure Headquarters: http://www.humanurehandbook.com/manual.html

The Humanure Handbook, FREE pdf: http://www.humanurehandbook.com/downloads/humanure_instruction_manual.pdf

Humanure message board: http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/messages/

Hope this helps.
 
T. Joy
Posts: 438
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have always liked that lovableloo get up. I just think some people's idea of "doesn't smell" might be different than other's, you know? Hence this discussion. I appreciate all the different ideas personally.
 
                                      
Posts: 30
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I also have read the Humanure Handbook and all the other info I could find on this subject.  There really is a lot to know and the author goes into a fair amount of detail on all aspects of humanure from the history, risks, present methods used, and finally the benefits.  I went into this topic when I first started less than thrilled, but found the book very well done and I couldn't put it down.  I am convinced that humanure is an important part of our ecology and the circle of life and can and should be an enriching process.  Our flush systems we use are the equivalent of "set it and forget it" to quote an infomercial.  Just doesn't make any sense in the bigger scheme of things on multiple levels.  So I started experimenting with the humanure concept as described in the book myself and it actually works as stated.  So far my limited experiments have not been a hassle or problem.  There hasn't been any smells issues, and frankly I am a little surprised how simple this really is... Almost a "well duh" moment now that I have started.  So I will be building my own Lovable Loo soon and introducing this concept to others in the house.  So far my experiments have just been me as I wanted to see if this was really going to work and be useful in my own sustainable projects and efforts to reduce our spending, waste, and pollution.  This one really is pretty simple and I encourage everyone to check out Joe's book and give it some thought. 

I started investigating this as a result of a sewer pipe problem at my home.  We were out of water and toilet for almost a week while they had to do major surgery on my sewer pipe.  That just made me think about a much broader spectrum related to our water and waste management systems and our reliance on the public infrastructure.  So much of what we do today doesn't make much sense, so this is just one little part we can maybe reclaim and even make our lives better.  So far this really does look like an improvement and not just another hassle.  I know I am looking forward to the next phase of my humanure experiments here at my own home.   

Longsnowsm
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22488
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
Xep Arkonatitlan
Posts: 21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have used two chamber composting toilets for twenty years. We used a two chamber c-toilet for twelve years comerrcialy. Simply burrying poo promotes parisites. After proper composting a one year chamber is used two fertilize over an acre of coffee avocado etc. forest. If the drainage field for your flush toilet is over an acre maybe you are not wasting nutrients. PS how come no-one else knows that grey water goese into a declined ditch (filled with non leafy mulch) not a stinky, but mulch filled, pond. We also used grey water recycling for a restaurant for twelve years, dark grey water says Art.
 
Misty Schellack
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't understand how/why people are worried about parasites in their own poo. For the parasites to be in your poo, wouldn't they have had to be in you already to begin with?
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!