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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 01-30-2009
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To Compost or not to Compost...

Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I ate one too many bowls of granola in my life. But, I want a composting toilet. Nature's head costs $850. I have maybe $5 in coins under a berth cushion. Looks like a simple design. I've seen landlubbing crunchy peace corps types build their own. Can I do it on a boat? Does anyone know anyone that has done it? Will the coast guard put me away once and for all?
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Old 01-30-2009
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I know several people who use them. One problem with most of them is that they require a ventilation fan to be running pretty much constantly. That is a big disadvantage on a small sailboat, where electricity is a scarce commodity.
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Old 01-30-2009
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Many of the Gemini owners have back fitted them onto our boats, not one has had a problem and all of the ones who have are positive in that they would do it again.
The fan draw can be accommodated with a small solar charger and NiCad battery.
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Old 01-30-2009
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What do you do with the compost? Isn't it illegal to dump the untreated contents of a marine head within 3 miles of the coast? Does "composting" qualify as an approved "treatment"?
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What do you do with the compost? Isn't it illegal to dump the untreated contents of a marine head within 3 miles of the coast? Does "composting" qualify as an approved "treatment"?
Take it home and put it on your lawn.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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Old 01-30-2009
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Take it home and put it on your lawn.

Uggh! Sounds like a sh**y job to me!

For $850 you can buy a LectraSan and put treated sewage in your holding tank or dump it directly overboard if you're outside a NDZ.
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Billy-

With a composting toilet/head, there is no holding tank. The solid waste is stored in a composting chamber, and then turns to compost. The urine is often put in a separate, but much smaller holding tank.
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Uggh! Sounds like a sh**y job to me!

For $850 you can buy a LectraSan and put treated sewage in your holding tank or dump it directly overboard if you're outside a NDZ.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 01-30-2009
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Though I have no experience with these in the marine environment, I have one that has been in use at the lake house for the past 12 yrs and have never had a problem. We have no holding tanks(they are an option) and never had the need even with 7+ people normal use for the summer. AS for the fan I hardly usedit never had an issue with odors outside or inside, maybe a small wiff on a real muggy stifling still day.
I will empty the compost once a year (it could go longer) the compost had no odor and I spread on the flower garden. The worst was the bunches of Monarch butterflies that gathered around the mound and stayed for days, if that is a problem.
No plumbing problems, throw a sanitary napkin and just reach in and pull it out. better than cloged plumbing out at sea.
The only negative side to these was that unless your6.5+ft tall the comode is a bit high and we use a small step to rest your feet while siting on the throne.
It will take up no more space than the regular marine head with its associated hoses, valves etc. plus lots of room left over for storage(no holding tank)
All this said.... I have a jabsco, But it will be replaced with a compost when the time comes....
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Old 03-29-2009
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Composting human excrement is generally frowned upon, unless you are a Chinese rice farmer.

In the West, there is more concern as to whether the composting has been done adequately (time and temperature) and if it hasn't been, a host of diseases apparently can be spread. So the practice is usually discouraged. What do you do, switch to the #2 composting head while you leave the first one to age for a month after the last use? Or, dump it before everything has composted? At that point you might as well just hang over the side and be legal for less.

Enter the composting head. Composted or not--it is still human excrement and dumping it ashore may be problematic because of that.
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