Re: composting toilet report
The Humanure Handbook is still available for download by chapters in pdf format:
Look for table of contents.
One thing that hasn't been touched on in this discussion is aerobic purification and decomposition of human waste, such as is used in municipal treatment plants where treatment has to proceed at a brisk pace through the use of sprayers or waterfalls. Composting tends to depend on this similar process to kill pathogens without the liquid environment through the use of dry bulking agents to maintain oxygen levels. One of the advantages of the C-head is the storage of batches for further decomposition without the addition of fresh material. Unfortunately, the exclusion of air by sealing the container stops the aerobic purification process just as not turning a compost pile slows the decomposition and purification process. In a larger composting system the compost is withdrawn from the bottom of the chamber, where the decomposition process has been completed. However since it is an actively used system, there is still potential for contamination; thus the warnings and concerns about handling composted human waste. There is a report put out by the EPA that charts the life of the various pathogens found in human waste products when exposed to various environments.
Search this since I can't post links:
Also, very little is said about municipal treatment plants that empty their effluent into our waterways and oceans, especially when these systems are overloaded by storm sewer runoff. Contrary to common beliefs, most cities (especially large older coastal cities) still have not completed the federally mandated process of separating storm water from sewage lines. So when you take your boat to the pumpout station today, it doesn't mean your waste is being handled properly. What it means is that you will likely be drinking it tomorrow!
Last edited by highwind; 04-18-2013 at 10:34 AM.