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  #21  
Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Anybody who thinks that rotting meat belongs in a landfill and soiled diapers do not, knows nothing about biological processes and risks they carry. There is no restrictions on diapers being placed in landfills.
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  #22  
Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot View Post
WHY should raw excrement be such a big problem in landfills? As I understand it, they are built with heavy barriers underneath to keep from contaminating ground water (because, right or wrong, bad things are always going to be thrown in land fills). But, more than that, it seems to me that the half cooked compost recipe will be just as likely to continue cooking in a landfill as out of it, although perhaps slower (but maybe not...don't landfills get very warm, and doesn't the extra heat speed decomposition? Or does getting buried remove too much oxygen?).
It's not a moral or ethical issue Godot. All feces carries pathogens, but human feces carries pathogens of paricular concern to humans. It's dangerous stuff. It's why developed countries put so much effort and resources into treating our sewage waste. It's the main reason our life expectancy in the developed world has shot up -- because we no longer swim in our own poop.

When I grew up I was taught to dump poop out of a disposable diaper before dumping it into the trash. Its been a long time since I've had to change any diapers, but is that no longer done?

You're quite right about the quality of modern landfills. They are designed with impermeable barriers, and are well monitored to try and ensure that toxic waste does not migrate into nearby ground water. That's good, but we all know that these solutions are not perfect (nothing is). It's still far better to divert toxic waste from landfills. Given that we already have well-functioning and easily accessible sewage treatment systems in place, it seems a no-brainer to ask people to use them.
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Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

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Originally Posted by mikeoreilly View Post
when i grew up i was taught to dump poop out of a disposable diaper before dumping it into the trash. Its been a long time since i've had to change any diapers, but is that no longer done?
hells no!!!
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Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

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Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
Anybody who thinks that rotting meat belongs in a landfill and soiled diapers do not, knows nothing about biological processes and risks they carry. There is no restrictions on diapers being placed in landfills.
Quite right, there are no restrictions. That doesn't mean it's a good idea (speaking as someone who knows a bit about biological processes and risk ). There's lots of research available. Here's a nice summary from a WHO study on groundwater risks:

"An analysis of household waste in the UK showed that over 4 per cent of the waste comprised disposable nappies (diapers) of which about one-third may be soiled with faeces. Domestic waste also contains bloodstained materials, such as sanitary pads, tampons and discarded wound dressings and animal wastes, such as dog faeces and soiled cat litter. The potential for pathogens within this mixture of sources is extremely high. ... The fate of pathogens in landfill sites is not understood. Although it is generally assumed that most are rapidly inactivated by the conditions that prevail in the landfill environment, the potential of leachate and run-off from landfill sites to transport pathogens into local water resources should be addressed in situation assessment."
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Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

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Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
It's not a moral or ethical issue Godot. All feces carries pathogens, but human feces carries pathogens of paricular concern to humans. It's dangerous stuff. It's why developed countries put so much effort and resources into treating our sewage waste. It's the main reason our life expectancy in the developed world has shot up -- because we no longer swim in our own poop.

When I grew up I was taught to dump poop out of a disposable diaper before dumping it into the trash. Its been a long time since I've had to change any diapers, but is that no longer done?

You're quite right about the quality of modern landfills. They are designed with impermeable barriers, and are well monitored to try and ensure that toxic waste does not migrate into nearby ground water. That's good, but we all know that these solutions are not perfect (nothing is). It's still far better to divert toxic waste from landfills. Given that we already have well-functioning and easily accessible sewage treatment systems in place, it seems a no-brainer to ask people to use them.
Well I don't think dumping the poop out of the diaper is going to help much as there is a lot of it in diaper as well. I don't think putting feces into the solid waste stream is going to hurt anything. Certainly it is biodegradable, and of much less concern then most of the rest of the solid waste. Of course once there is a cap put onto the landfill there is essentially no bio-degradation.
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

One other issue, I am looking to live aboard in a marina that has no pump out service in the winter (it is located at the fuel dock) so the ability to empty without a pump out is essential to me. I honestly don't know what the other boats do, as I have not been there in winter but the thought of walking up a cold and icy dock at 2:00 AM on Wednesday night when nature calls is not a good one!
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Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

Getting back to the original poster . . . we installed a Natures Head in our Catalina 27 before our two-month live aboard trip in the Bahamas.

Bottom line - it worked GREAT. A few bits of strangeness to get used to: guys gotta sit down to pee (hey, we are actually able to do this), remember to empty the pee bucket before it's 100% full.

Absolutely no smell on board.

We had to "change" to new peat moss after about a month and a half of full time aboard living (two adults).

This was a HUGE improvement over the messing around with vacuum extracting the tank, leaking pipes, plugged macerator pump, and the smell permeating the plumbing (after a few years).

They seem ridiculously expensive, but well built and solid. Good quality stainless fittings.
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Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

.



[
Quote:
COLOR="LightBlue"]Absolutely agree! Raw excrement should never end up in the landfill, and that includes all those people who dump filled diapers, or dog crap into the garbage stream. If you can't fully compost the waste (which takes ~3 months I've read) then it should be dumped out at sea, just like a normal marine head (once you're out past legal limit). Either that or should be dumped on land away from human activity, buried in a shallow hole.[/
Quote:
QUOTE]
[/COLOR]
There was quite an extensive thread on this topic a while ago, and, again, the need to dispose of "material" before it is fully decomposed (e.g. the 3 months+) defeats the purpose for me. You would have to be able to transfer the holding tank (and use a new one in the interim) to a location where it can "finish the job". Just how many tanks you'd end up with - and how to securely maintain the ones on shore - adds up to logistics that tell me: stop at the pump-out, once a week or when necessary, and let the marina or municipal sewage system take care of it.

Now, on a 27' boat, there is not a lot of room... but since you are talking "live aboard", you may spend most of your time in the marina, anyway, and make use of on shore facilities much of the time...

Last edited by flandria; 10-03-2013 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

I don't think it is a no brainer at all.

Wet plumbing systems are complicated, and sometimes messy. Also, as mentioned just a post or two up, pump outs often close in the cold seasons (and too often just seem to break and be out of service for extended periods). It has also been quite well reported that heavy rains frequently cause an overflow of the treatment plants (often discussed in other waste threads) dumping large quantities of untreated sewage into public waters. Plus, as noted in your summary above, a large percentage of soiled 'naps' are already heading into the landfill, and that kind of thing should be planned for. Your summary also mentions that the general assumption is that the waste is quickly deactivated. Besides, unless you are going to stop all diapers, tampons (I've seen signs in MENS rooms warning not to dump tampons in the toilet), dog waste, kitty litter, baby wipes (don't flush them, either) and everything else from making it into the landfill, I would think stopping every boat with a composting head from trashing their waste (maybe three gallons worth of partially composted material every few months) is extremely unlikely to produce any kind of measurable result. I suspect that if we all started burying our poop in shallow holes, there would be an awful lot of shallow holes scattered around (I'm guessing that this is illegal, too).

Everything in life is compromise. While landfilling waste might not be a perfect solution, it is no where near clear to me that it isn't amongst the best of many bad choices.
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Old 10-03-2013
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Re: Composting Toilets vs. Holding Tank

For what it is worth, I switched to a Nature's Head after not paying attention and overfilling my old holding tank with rather unpleasant and unsanitary results. It scarred me and I swore "Never Again!"

It took a long while to pull out the old system. There is a lot of stuff that goes along with it, jammed into all sorts of unlikely spaces. The new unit is self contained, is simple, with practically nothing to break (the fan is probably the weakest link), and just works. The girlfriend was probably a little skeptical at first (I think she spent a couple days holding "it"); but is now fully onboard (provided I do the pee bottle dumping). The bonus is I now have the room for a new 20 gallon water tank, which will happily double my capacity. Score!

[The waste disposal issue is still a concern, and I'm not feeling terribly guilty at this point, especially since dumping once, maybe twice a year might be enough]
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