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Humanure Drum Question  RSS feed

 
Posts: 14
Location: Panama City, Florida, USA
bee forest garden fungi
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Hey all! So I have been utilizing a system where I do my business into a 5 gal buck and cover it with leaves. Then when the 5gal fills up, I dump it into a 55 gallon barrel, and seal it. It is almost full, and I just recently learned that it needs to be aerobically composted to heat up properly for humanure. Should I just drill some holes in the 55gal drum?
Thanks for the help.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Unless you drill a lot of holes, you still aren't going to get enough air.  It would be better if you could drill some holes on both sides of the barrel and run a piece of pipe or PVC thru the barrel that has holes drilled all over it.  That way you will get air into the middle areas of the barrel.  Another (easier) possibility would be to drill holes around the barrel, and only fill the barrel three quarters or so.  Then you could just roll the barrel around a bit to aerate it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 229
Location: Stevensville, Montana; Zone 4b
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food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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You don't need to use aerobic composting to break down humanure. Instead, if you don't have the room for a big open compost pile, and you are set on using 55 gallon drums, you can use anaerobic composting which relies on an acidic environment to break down organic compounds. Basically, anaerobic organisms thrive with no oxygen rather than aerobic which need oxygen to do their job. Below is a link to a person using this system in a suburb setting for humanure and also a link to a good description of anaerobic composting if you want to read more.



https://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/compost-digesters/anaerobic/
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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That youtube video is for a simple composting toilet.  I have one myself.  It is not anaerobic composting.  If you have ever tried anaerobic composting, you've undoubtedly noticed the wonderful smell associated   If you have a bin that you could fill all they way up at once and then seal it for a year, it may be fine and the smell should be gone by then.  If you have an anaerobic environment and you have to open the container to add to it, you may decide that aerobic composting is the way to go.
 
Posts: 114
Location: Nevada County, CA
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books food preservation fungi hugelkultur trees
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We do a number of humanure systems, which all translate from a simple bucket to a simple pile. Anaerobic is the key to everyone knowing what you're up to - our humanure pile is the first place I bring guests because of how impressively unoffensive it is. Cover with enough carbon and it wont stink OR last very long. We have plenty of rat problems, but not one has ever been spotted near said piles. Carbon!

I must admit, the very idea of a barrel of humanure on the property seems like the beginning of wartime technology.....
 
Tristan Alexander
Posts: 14
Location: Panama City, Florida, USA
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Haha, thanks for your input you guys. I will probably just let it sit in the 55gal drum and begin dumping a pile and covering with leaves instead. Do you ever turn it or just continuous add more leaves and chips and such?
 
Todd Parr
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No turning necessary.  Just add.
 
Tristan Alexander
Posts: 14
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Awesome. And same with my 55 gallon drum that's almost full? It's OK if it just sits and anaerobic composts for a year?
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I wouldn't open it   I don't know the actual answer, I have only composted from my bucket toilet aerobically.
 
gardener
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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I have some experience of simple composting toilets, though not the bin idea you propose here, and I would pitch in my two cents for the pervasive methane smell that may waft over the neighborhood when you empty the closed barrel. In my experience, one or two years may not be enough. If there's any way to make it an aerobic system I think it will work much better. There are designs online for wheelie bins with a raised mesh floor and a ventilation pipe going from the upper edge down to the gap. They are wheeled right under the toilet room from outside, and then are wheeled away to stand and compost for some time.
 
Ian Rule
Posts: 114
Location: Nevada County, CA
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Build the bottom of the pile with a mound of sticks - was an early lesson I forgot to mention. That ensures constant air-flow; as we never turn or tangle with THOSE compost piles.... at least until they're done ~cooking.

If I might be so snobby - pick up a copy of Joseph Jenkins 'The Humanure Handbook'. Masterpiece!
 
Posts: 512
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
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hey tristan,

do you use urine diversion?

 
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