Catlow Shipek

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since Nov 08, 2013
Tucson and Phoenix, AZ
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Recent posts by Catlow Shipek

Watershed Management Group (a USA based non-profit organization) is offering a virtual field study class on composting toilet systems. The class is scheduled for Thursday, July 9th, 5pm-7pm (MST).

Learn all about the humanure composting process, associated benefits and use, toilet design options, maintenance, and permitting (in Arizona, USA) for planning your own composting toilet. A variety of composting toilet systems will be explored including two site-built design options in use at our Living Lab and Learning Center (Tucson, Arizona) - a 55-gallon barrel option and a masonry dual-chamber option.

Learn more and register here:  https://watershedmg.org/event

The instructor will be Catlow Shipek, WMG's Policy and Technical Director & Co-Founder who led a 2-year pilot funded by the US EPA focused on eco-sanitation which led to the state of Arizona approving the two pilot reference designs for both residential and non-residential use.

See a primer:
6 months ago
Join the Humanure Revolution!
Watershed Management Group is offering a virtual field study course, April 30th at 5pm (AZ time), on composting toilets. This virtual course will empower you to save water and put "waste" to productive use. Learn all about the humanure composting process, associated benefits and use, toilet design options, maintenance, and permitting (in Arizona) for planning your own composting toilet. We will explore a variety of composting toilet systems including two site-built design options in use at our Living Lab and Learning Center - a 55-gallon barrel option and a masonry dual-chamber option.

Online Training Course Fee: $10

Info and Registration here: https://watershedmg.org/event/virtual-field-studies-class-composting-toilets
8 months ago
Wyatt - Have you considered a double chamber system? Modifications would need to happen for your cold climate. I have attached some schematics we have developed for Arizona. This is probably the least intensive for management once setup.
- Catlow
5 years ago
Wyatt - Yes, I have seen designs for using a wheeled bin as a direct receptical. Typically the toilet is in an elevated room. A vertical chute under the toilet goes to the wheeled garbage style bin underneath with easy access to switch out the bins as needed.

Here is one link to such a system. There are dozens of variations: http://www.milkwood.net/2011/04/18/compost-toilet-specifics-the-bins/
5 years ago
Not knowing what your environmental context is you may consider investigating a Watson wick. I prefer dry composting toilets since we live in an arid environment.

Also - I have noticed in my actively used chamber I get great colonies of mushrooms at times.
5 years ago
The biggest challenge in moving through the pilot process here in Arizona was meeting the concerns of public health officials. A number of meetings, presentations, and even a few system tweaks were needed to keep the process moving forward positively. We were very thankful for the insight of our technical advisory committee that helped to provide direction.

There is a group in Oregon called ReCode Oregon also moving through a number of sustainable code issues including composting toilets.

Also, David Omick (omick.net) a technical advisory member for us is also helping to revise national standards regarding composting toilets.

Overall the movement seems to be picking up momentum as the issue is popularized and the hidden away systems that have been used for years are finally feeling confident to be more forward about their use.
5 years ago
Hi Greg - I am not familiar with composting humanure in a small 5gal bucket and how to best manage it. I think the bigger issue is to ensure there is a meso to thermaphilic composting process that happens without the significant mass as a 55gal container or a larger humanure composting pile has.

With regards to lifting and moving a larger (55gal) batch system - we have experimented with some success on either sliding or putting the barrel on a coaster wheel base to switch it out of position and insert a new barrel.

- Catlow
5 years ago
Hi Greg - I like your line of thought. However, coming from a watershed health perspective and having worked with regulators I do not recommend taking your composted humanure off of your own property. Other potential issues you will face with such a system is 1) amassing a substantial number of buckets, 2) maintaining an aerobic composting process in a closed bucket, and 3) over-saturation of the sawdust bucket quickly by the urine and then being gassed out by the resulting ammonia.

If you do not have space for composting in a larger "batch" system I would recommend looking at a commercial-based composting toilet system that can evaporate the urine and speed up the composting process.
5 years ago
Hi Jen - These should probably be taken on a case by case basis. The interesting thing about composting toilets and using humanure is it typically contains the risk to only those living and eating the produce from the site. And, as mentioned before the humanure composting process + a healthy soil is extremely robust in handling most issues. However, precautions should be taken especially when there is the potential to put others at risk. Again, most research out there is with regards to residual medications from composting farm animal wastes and not specific to humans. Time for more humanure research!
5 years ago
Dog poo composts very nicely. I have seen several humanure style composting piles specifically for dog poo heat up, compost, and turn into a rich resource. Following the similar aging, heating guides to humanure the composting process is robust in taking care of potential pathogens. Plus it keeps those plastic bag methane bombs out of the landfills.

I have not seen anything definitive regarding composting cat feces. There are more direct pathogen risks to humans. Time for some good 'ol hands on research...
5 years ago