Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly) - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 36 Old 08-16-2010
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I think a composting head would be great for the OP if they have a place on land to let the composting occur.

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post #12 of 36 Old 08-16-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PetdeBaleine View Post
“Fixing it the right way” is not always the way things have always been done. After reading all the books that Lin and Larry Pardey have written, I look at sailing a whole different way. They are cut out the items that fail and kept the ones that don’t. They travel the world and have no electrical system or waste system on board. I see nothing wrong a Raritan (holding tank type toilet), Natures Head, Pett or a bucket. It really up to the sailor and crew what works for them? I really love to sail, and really don’t like to mess with problems and maintaining things I’m really not happy maintaining. Plus on my 22 foot boat which done come standard with a holding take type head, I would rather use the space the holding tank takes for something else. I would like to hear why the Raritan is the preferred choice for RonReyea.
and RonRelyea says: "I never mentioned Raritan" !!!!! I've got a Nature's Head ... but again ... to each his own ... it all depends on your situation.
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post #13 of 36 Old 08-28-2010
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I hsppen to agree with John, and I think that is good advice. Compromise will asversly affect boat value, and typically causes one to encounter yet more problems. *He recommend the Raritan simply because it is the best head in the business. They came factory on Bristol's. If in shopping for a larger Bristol I came across a boat with a lesser head on it I would pass on the vessel, assuming that the owner probably skimped wherever possible. *Just my 2 cents. Also, if you aren't happy doing maintenance, boy did you get involved in the wrong Hobbie!

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post #14 of 36 Old 12-09-2012
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Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

A composting head is so superior, in so many ways, that it's almost ridiculous. The reason why people still buy complex, insanely expensive, space consuming and smelly holding tank systems is that the two models of marine composting head are not sold through any big marine retailers. Stores would poo-poo the idea (pun intended) because there are no dollars in it for them. The sales guy will sell you the holding tank system instead.

Think about the advantages of composting heads - no odor. Ever. Holding tanks and hoses stink. Get rid of at least one thru hull. Gain enormous storage when you pull out the holding tank. Save considerable dollars. Forget toilet maintenance, these things are almost maintenance free. No rebuilding, no leaks, no plugged hoses (yuck!)..., Forget searching for pumpout stations or spending your precious time pumping out. Get used to having to worry about emptying only about once a season for part time boaters, every six weeks for two people on a cruise. And finally, produce compost instead of toxic sewage which must be treated, then the highly toxic sludge must be transported then disposed of using a great deal of energy. The carbon footprint is huge. Holding tanks are very eco-unfriendly.

Now, what were the advantages of holding tank systems again? Oh yeah, none!

I've got a Nature's Head and my neighbor has the Airhead. Both are good. This dealer for the Nature's Head was very good. There are others.
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post #15 of 36 Old 12-09-2012
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Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

What is it about composting head users that make you guys become poop disposal missionaries?

It's not that I don't understand the pros of a composting head, but they're not quite as good as declared. For starters, regular flush heads do not need to smell. They only smell, if used incorrectly.

It is not true the composting heads "never" have odor. A damp garden odor is not uncommon, when you open the lid. Also, users can manage them incorrectly, just like a flush head and screw it up.

Second, guests would have zero inherent understanding of what to do. Then, fail to compost properly and you will have odor.

Third, many would find it disgusting to pee and poop on top of the last occupant's product.

They're not for me, but I'm certainly not opposed. There must be some kind of eco-satisfaction that is driving the irrational support. But I really don't get why your decomposed poop, buried in a landfill, is superior to mine emptied in the ocean along with every other creature that lives there.


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post #16 of 36 Old 12-10-2012
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Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

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What is it about composting head users that make you guys become poop disposal missionaries?
Those missionaries must come from one strange church!

Said missionary did revive a pretty old thread.

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post #17 of 36 Old 12-10-2012
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Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

Sorry if this shows up twice - I have a computer issue today...

Thank you for your reply. A few clarifications:

Poop dumped properly offshore is fine. However poop dumped in inshore waters is a big health risk. That's why holding tanks and pumpouts came into existence.

You don't usually dump the composted poop into a landfill. That would be a last resort. It is fertilizer. It goes on plants.

Yes, it's possible that a regular holding tank system does not smell. Mine always have (two boats over 10 years, with expensive professionally installed systems), as well as almost every boat I've been on. If we are honest, most of us will admit to the odd whiff even from the best system.

There is an earthy smell when you open the lid of a composting toilet. It's not a stink. This is for about 15 seconds, and only when opened.

Guests don't have to do much. If standing, pee forward. If sitting, nothing to be done. My guests can handle that, even 6 year old kids.

It's true, if you opened the trap door, spread you legs and looked down, you'd see someone else's poop. (Never done that, never will). However, you won't smell a thing, even when open, because the fan is sucking the air away from you, into the toilet.

I guess I turned into a compost toilet missionary after I had a malfunctioning holding tank system, and had to dismantle it. The smell was beyond belief. it was just about the grossest thing I've ever done. Never again. And I meet many boaters who, after installing a composting head, just can't believe such a drastically better solution was out there. Yeah, I suppose I'm kind of a fanatic now (lol). The Coast Guard loves them, btw.
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post #18 of 36 Old 12-10-2012
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Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

To each their own. I'm going to pass on the composting head.

Several rebuttals however:

The most common cause of flush head odor is not flushing enough clean water. Most think, like a home toilet, if you don't see the stuff anymore, it's gone. You must chase it to the tank with clean water. 90% of users don't.

You can say the "earthy" smell is not objectionable, or perhaps not as objectionable, but it is odor.

When the fan fails, and all mechanical devices eventually fail, you will know the same odor as a foul flush head. There is a cruiser vid done by Drake Paragon, where the guys composted has a failed fan.


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post #19 of 36 Old 12-10-2012
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Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
...There is a cruiser vid done by Drake Paragon, where the guys composted has a failed fan.
And, as I recall, he said it didn't smell much (if at all) without the fan. Installing a new fan is a snap, compared to repairing/replacing blackwater plumbing.

That said, I have to agree with you about "chasing" the blackwater out of the toilet. I have a holding tank (13 gal) and a Jabsco toilet. A few things I try to always do to keep the odors to an absolute minimum. First, ALL the fittings on the tank are on top. None of the tank fittings have blackwater pushing against them. This prevents those little stray drips that inevitably happen with most holding tanks. Second, I have TWO vents in the tank, so there is always some flow of fresh air through the tank to help prevent it from going totally anoxic. One vent is fine for equalizing pressure, but you need a second vent to keep fresh air moving through the tank. Third, I "chase" the toilet waste, first with a couple/three extra pump strokes of water, then I flip the switch to pump the bowl dry and keep pumping as fast as practicable until I can't hear anything going into the tank. That way the hose from the toilet to the tank has as little blackwater in it as possible. This helps keep any residual fluid in the hose from going anoxic. Finally, I try not to let the tank sit full or partially full for any longer than is absolutely necessary, and when I pump out (if the system is going to be sitting unused for more than a day or two) I add a couple of tablespoons worth of "OxiClean" to the tank to help digest any residual poop in the tank.

Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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post #20 of 36 Old 12-10-2012
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Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

"A composting head is so superior"
Glad you like your glorified cedar bucket, but there are in fact no composting heads for boats. The EPA has papers out on what is and isn't a composting toilet or system, and unless you use it, put it aside for 90 days to actually COMPOST, and then empty the sterile compost out, you don't have a omcposting toilet. You'd need at least two of them so you could alternate every 90 days, to really have a composting toilet.

What you have is a bucket that collects fecal matter, which is still "live" and still has to be disposed of someplace, sometime, and it ain't compost when you have to move it.

That the industry can't be honest about what it is and what it does--and doesn't do--speaks volumes as to why they haven't taken over the market.
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