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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-20-2007
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Composting Toilets

Is there any one out there that has experience with an onboard composting toilet? I am wondering what sort of issues they would either solve or create? Seems like a possible alternative to a holding tank.....2 less thru hulls...But I guess most importantly do they keep everything inside in rough weather?

Tanya
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I'm not sure how well it would work on a boat. However, if the world ever became flooded like in the movie Waterworld, you would be able to make your own dirt and sell it like Kevin Costner did!
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About two years ago Practical Sailor reviewed the Airhead and the Ecolet. As I recall, they found the Airhead to be potentially applicable to a sailboat whereas the Ecolet is big and power-hungry. Also, I recall reading a message somewhere about two years ago from someone who had installed an Airhead in a Southern Cross 31 (my boat) with good results. I am staring down the barrel of this job myself. Any input from the voice of experience is most welcome!
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Be aware that you could run afoul of some regulations with respect to pump outs. It is a "spirit versus letter of the law" argument and its pretty easy to make a case for composting as a better alternative, but in some places (Canada, I think) if you have a head and no pump out you are subject to a hefty fine.
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Old 09-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbarnhart View Post
Be aware that you could run afoul of some regulations with respect to pump outs. It is a "spirit versus letter of the law" argument and its pretty easy to make a case for composting as a better alternative, but in some places (Canada, I think) if you have a head and no pump out you are subject to a hefty fine.

The law in Canada is in reference to having a holding tank and needing a pump out outlet. Porta-potties are fine as are composting toilets.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianseamonkey View Post
The law in Canada is in reference to having a holding tank and needing a pump out outlet. Porta-potties are fine as are composting toilets.
There was a thread on trailersailor.com a few days back where a Canadian posted that PortPotties weren't legal anymore. I looked it up and it turns out it is "just" Ontario:

http://www.tc.gc.ca/BoatingSafety/facts/foreign.htm

It pretty explicitly says you have to have a pump out to bring your foreign boat there. Canadians with older boats get 5 years to comply, but for visitors, it is immediate.
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Per question #1 of Airhead's FAQs (this bloody site won't let me post the URL to Airhead; broken apart, it is: www . airheadtoilet . com / faq . html ):
Q: Is this product legal?
A: Yes, Air Head Dry Toilet is classified as a MSD type III.
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All an MSD type III means is that the head does not discharge overboard. AFAIK, there is no legal requirement for having a pumpout deck fitting.

BTW, once you get 10 posts, you'll be able to post links... it's an anti-spamming security feature...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
AFAIK, there is no legal requirement for having a pumpout deck fitting.
As I mentioned above, it only seems to be Ontario. here is some specific verbiage from the page I linked to above:
Portable Toilets
Portable toilets are illegal on Ontario waters.

The owner of a pleasure craft shall ensure that each toilet and the holding tank(s) is/are installed so that;

The toilet and equipment are connected in such a manner that the equipment receives all toilet waste from the toilet.
Equipment designed for the storage of human excrement is provided with a deck fitting and such connecting piping as is necessary for the removal of toilet waste by shore-based pumping equipment.
No means of removal of toilet waste is provided other than the means mentioned above.
All parts of the system for removal of toilet waste are congruent with one another and the boat.
That seems pretty explicit to me.
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There were going to be some incredibly stupid rules instituted in British Columbia but with the help of recreational boat lobbyists and magazines like Pacific Yachting, these moves were prevented. I must confess I can't take the dumping issue that seriously as Victoria dumps raw sewage into the salt chuck daily. What all recreational boater from the bottom of Puget Sound to the top Alaska dump out in ten years, if none of these boats had holding tanks, is less than what Victoria dumps out in one day. The population of Greater Victoria is around 330,000 and add to that all the tourist there in the summer and you have serious raw sewage waste going into the ocean on a daily basis.

I also read about Airhead and intend to use it. I sent an email to them - to be gross - on how well it handled very watery diarrhoea after a stomach had reacted to food; they wrote back that this issue wasn't a problem.

If I recall, the Airhead unit is suppose to handle a couple's "depositories" for 80 weekends before needing to be cleaned out. I think the urine bucked needed to be cleaned out every two days.

My old Catalina is still direct flow outlet from the head so at some point I know I will need to do something about it, but from an ex-RV'rs point of view, I'm not thrilled with holding tanks. I think the Airhead unit will fill the bill.
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