Composting Marine Heads - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 26 Old 06-06-2008
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KeelHaulin...we are on the same side on this one...but I was roundly rebuked the last time I suggested that the 3 mile limit was ridiculous in most places. Ducking for cover now!

No longer posting. Reach me by PM!
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post #12 of 26 Old 06-06-2008
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I agree

Some have said they don't stink inside the boat, I imagine if you get anywhere near the vent you'd wish you hadn't, but that's also true for standard holding tanks. I'm going to sleep on it, it's either that or a tank above the waterline with a gravity drain. I just like not having to worry about the thru-hulls and the storage I'd pick up.

I'd like to hear opinions, especially first hand experience. Brandon
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post #13 of 26 Old 06-06-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
So my poo needs to be "cleaner" than that sea-lion poo; so when the fish eat everyones poo (yes fish eat LOTS of poo) the "clean" poo I send overboard is the preferred poo?
For the fish its a good source of food. I read an article about a study operation that raised pigs on human waste and then fed the pig waste to catfish and finally used the catfish waste as fertilizer. I am not sure what pork raised on crap would taste like and I hope I never have to know but there is quite a bit of nutrient left after our inefficient digestion systems get done with our food.

Now the cholera and other waste born pathogens I would much rather not have to swim with.
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post #14 of 26 Old 06-06-2008
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Originally Posted by huguley3 View Post
Now the cholera and other waste born pathogens I would much rather not have to swim with.
Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia page on cholera that I find interesting:

"Cholera is rarely spread directly from person to person. V. cholerae harbors naturally in the plankton of fresh, brackish, and salt water, attached primarily to copepods in the zooplankton. Both toxic and non-toxic strains exist. Non-toxic strains can acquire toxicity through a lysogenic bacteriophage.[15] Coastal cholera outbreaks typically follow zooplankton blooms, thus making cholera a zooontic disease."

Cholera is only spread among humans if the person who has contracted the disease is spreading their waste into drinking water supplies or by other contact. If you have cholera you are violently ill with diahrrea; likely so ill that you would be hospitalized. Cholera and coliform bacteria are present in waste of other marine mammals (and plankton); that's why I was asking why "our" waste must be more clean before discharged than theirs.


On the subject of the composting head; one difference with odor is that a holding tank vent is not a forced-air vent. It just allows excess air to escape and oxygen to diffuse in (so it does not become anaerobic). The vent of a composting head is blowing air out; so I would think that more odor would be present when it is "smelly" (before the waste has dried out). That's not to say that a standard holding tank can't get very ripe smelling; especially in hot climates.

Last edited by KeelHaulin; 06-06-2008 at 02:08 PM.
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post #15 of 26 Old 06-06-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
If you have cholera you are violently ill with diahrrea; likely so ill that you would be hospitalized. Cholera and coliform bacteria are present in waste of other marine mammals (and plankton); that's why I was asking why "our" waste must be more clean before discharged than theirs.
I just picked cholera because it is fairly common and most people would know what it was. I would not recommend testing it and dogs are a good counterexample but I think you would be better off eating the poop of a different creature than you would eating the poop of someone else. Since if it lived in someones big colon it is going to be pretty happy in some of the more hospitable places in your body.

Every time I have been in the water I have managed to swallow at least a bit. And it always gets in your eyes and nose.

I guess its certainly not relevent to composting toilets but I would rather not swim in or swallow macerated fecal matter. Maybe I am a prude.
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post #16 of 26 Old 05-02-2009
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Huguley3 has it exactly correct. Most (not all but the vast majority) infections do not travel between species. That is why everyone one is so bent out of shape about swine flue and avian flue. they had to mutate to become dangerous to people. The stuff that lives in your crap can certainly live in my eyes so if I have a choice I would rather have sea lion poop in my water than human. As sort of an aside this is why it is such a criminal idea to give human antibiotics to animals, but that is for another post.

So on to COMPOSTING TOILETS. Even when flushing overboard when offshore the average head smells like - not to put too fine a point on it - crap after about a week. I figure at least part of the reason for this is the lack of air flow so maybe a continual fan would do the job.

One very major issue that I have not seen discussed is maintenace of the composting toliets relative to the pump ten times throw the switch pump some more turn the switch etc etc etc. If the composting toliet eliminates one overflow a year with the sweet smell of urine permiating the bilge it is worth whatever the cost.

The Air Head website says that they can be adapted to an existing holding tank for the liquid portion. Has anyone done this or know of anyone who has? Has anyone replaced one head on a multi head boat with a composter? If so what is your feelings.

Thanks all sk
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post #17 of 26 Old 05-02-2009
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My 2 Cents

My boat needed a holding tank, and was about to install one when my wife saw the Airhead toilet. She loves the idea. Me not so much. I wanted a conventional system (holding tank) since I know what I'm in for.

I did some reading, and found this:
Joseph Jenkins, Inc. - The LOVEABLE LOO

Airhead and Nature's Head people say that if you keep the urine and most liquids out, you get no smell.

Well, I thought I'd try an experiment. I set up a 5 gallon bucket in the bathroom of my house to use. It was funny. We just remodeled the bathroom: new wide pine floor, new toilet & sinks curtains & paint..and now an orange bucket. Toilet was off-limits except to pee. I also got some coco husks bricks to mix. To start, I slightly hydrated about one gallon of the coco husks as the composting medium, then after every use, a cup gets added. We stir the bucket with a stick every few days. This was late winter, all windows closed all the time. I was kind of hoping the experiment would stink up the house so we could be done with it. I was surprised that there was no smell what so ever. Not kidding! I was expecting it to stink at first, and kept the bathroom door closed (no vent fan) to let the stink collect, but there was no smell. After you go, a cup of the husks and the smell disappears as quick as flushing the toilet. Smell would not be a reason to doubt this system. I must admit that it somehow seems "grosser"...not flushing it away and out. The stirring is a little gross too, no smell or anything, it doesn't even look gross, just the idea is unsettling.

We're going to try it on the boat. I've glassed over the two hull holes, and we'll see. We are still undecided as to which we get, the Airhead or the Nature's Head. At this point, if it were me I'd stick with the 5 gallon bucket but I've been told that females might appreciate the urine separating feature of the commercial units.

-Preserved.

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post #18 of 26 Old 05-02-2009 Thread Starter
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Well, I notice a year and a half has gone by since I originally posted this question and no one has replied that actually has a composting head on their own vessel. I'm very impressed with your bold experiment, Preservedkillick, and I'm not surprised by the lack of smell. I have a friend with a composting head in his home and there is no smell there either. I suspect that those with problems are either supporting anerobic bacteria growth or they are not keeping the composting material as dry as required. As for the concerns posted by people regarding Vibrio Cholera, or any spread of pathogens, this potential problem is decreased by the use of a composting head as opposed to the use of water as a transporting medium to dispose of waste, which is the method by which pathogens such as Vibrio cholera are transmitted. I'm still interested in hearing direct information from cruisers who actually have long term experinece with a composting head abord their own vessel. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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post #19 of 26 Old 05-03-2009
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Captain,

There are a number of people cruising with composting toilets on the Gemini Cat Yahoo Groups:

Gemini_Cats : Gemini Catamarans

You need to join to read the posts. I did and most posts are on installation issues, from then on seems everyone is happy with them.

PK

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post #20 of 26 Old 05-03-2009
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I buy into the composting idea, but here is my concern. Since there's a seperate reservoir for the urine, which isn't all that big, and I'm cruising in a no-discharge zone how do I get rid of it? Am I suppose to go empty it on shore? If I'm at my berth and the reservoir is full I would find it a bit weird walking down the dock past all the boats & people to go dump my urine in the toilet.

We had an Envirolette composting toilet at the cottage years ago and everything got mixed together, no seperate reservoir, but this toilet was way too big for a boat. It worked well, no smell - go fuss.
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