composting toilet report - Page 14 - SailNet Community
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post #131 of 443 Old 02-22-2010
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The dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake have far more to do with excess nitrogen due to fertilizer use than human waste. Another big source of pollution are the waste lagoons at most of the corporate feed lot animal farming operations. When these waste lagoons overflow, there are massive fish kills in the contaminated rivers/streams/creeks. If we eliminated the agricultural runoff, the dead zones would be far, far smaller.

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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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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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post #132 of 443 Old 02-22-2010 Thread Starter
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Medsailor, glad to hear from someone who has had liveaboard experience with a composter. I don't live aboard, though I do cruise, sometimes with large crews, for short periods.

The material that comes out of the composting compartment is much, Much, MUCH less noxious than what used to live in my holding tanks. And the whole thing smells a great deal better than the hoses, pumps etc. that used to pollute my head. Plus I gained a hell of a lot of room getting rid of all that hardware.

I have not been in a knockdown with one of these heads but I can tell you that nothing is going to come out of the composting compartment if the boat spends any time beyond horizontal. It is firmly bolted down and with the trap door between the compartments closed nothing would make its way out. I can't make the same bold statement for the contents of the urine bottle, though if the boat spends much time beyond 90 degrees, a few ounces of urine loose in the head would be the least of my problems. Also, how many mostly full holding tanks are secured well enough to withstand that kind of treatment? I have seen some that would be on the overhead in a knockdown, with much worse consequences than what would happen on my boat.

genieskip
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post #133 of 443 Old 02-22-2010 Thread Starter
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I really have to agree with Sailingdog. The amount of urine going into the ocean from a cruising sailboat is negligible and considerably less than the proverbial drop in the bucket. The problem is untreated sewage pumped directly into the water from large concentrations of people but mostly agricultural and industrial waste. While we shouldn't get careless , we don't need to go overboard. When not close to shore (and not in rough weather) I pee directly into the water and don't feel the least bit guilty. My pee output for a week still probably doesn't equal a whale's single episode

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post #134 of 443 Old 02-22-2010
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into the risk/benefit analysis that plays in our life decisions, we must ask ourselves how big a part of the problem we want to be, and how much it is worth to us to protect a common asset.

human waste is less of an issue than animals as most of it is treated. The problem with farms, family farms the same as corporate, is untreated runoff. SD's point of agricultural runoff implies that meat consumption is another contributor to pollution, linked to our own lifestyle choices.

emotionally, I'm fine with "i don't care", it's much more honest than denial, justification or moral relativism. i don't care enough to stop eating meat.
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post #135 of 443 Old 02-22-2010
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Medsailor—

The Coast Guard would probably argue that since you're pissing in the sink, it is a marine sanitation device, since it is designed to "receive" sewage the way you've installed and used it... and fine you accordingly if doing so inside an NDZ or within the three-mile limit.
They'd pretty much have to catch me in the act to prove that one. Otherwise it's just a sink. If the idea of that unlikely occurrence keeps you up at night you can always install a seacock with a padlock on the sink drain and be in complete compliance.

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post #136 of 443 Old 02-22-2010
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In my previous town in Virginia, about 90% of the harmful bacteria in our stream from dog poo and about 10% from human poo (that had not been deposited into the sewage system). It is also worth remembering that many sewage systems are also storm drainage systems that overflow and dump untreated sewage into the watershed each time a big storm comes along. I'd agree that what we do in the open ocean probably has a negligible effect, but what we do in sensitive or strained ecosystems may be another matter. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd imagine that each boater that pees in the Chesapeake Bay probably reduces the maximum oyster population just a tiny bit. A shame, because oysters are so tasty. Even more importantly, as people who enjoy a great part of our lives on the water, I think we have a responsibility to set an example for the landlubbers who effect the water quality so much more and to be a voice for water quality. We're the ones who'll enjoy the clean water and bountiful seafood the most.

Colin S.
Downeast Maine

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post #137 of 443 Old 02-22-2010
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into the risk/benefit analysis that plays in our life decisions, we must ask ourselves how big a part of the problem we want to be, and how much it is worth to us to protect a common asset.

human waste is less of an issue than animals as most of it is treated. The problem with farms, family farms the same as corporate, is untreated runoff. SD's point of agricultural runoff implies that meat consumption is another contributor to pollution, linked to our own lifestyle choices.

emotionally, I'm fine with "i don't care", it's much more honest than denial, justification or moral relativism. i don't care enough to stop eating meat.
There is of course the option to take the bottle ashore and dispose of it in a regular toilet. Problem solved.

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post #138 of 443 Old 02-22-2010
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I'm sorry for getting pissy, so to speak. As a man of science, medsailor, you might understand, when I think i know the facts I can't settle down.
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post #139 of 443 Old 02-22-2010
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What do you all got against algae.

Comments above seem sort of Opisthokont'centric. Have a heart, algae are Eukaryotes too.

What are you pretending not to know ?

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post #140 of 443 Old 02-22-2010
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Quote:
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...if the boat spends much time beyond 90 degrees, a few ounces of urine loose in the head would be the least of my problems...
If my boat spends much time beyond 90 degrees, there will be some urine flow no matter what happens to the head!

Tom

Tom K

2000 Beneteau 331
Northern Chesapeake Bay

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy ~ Steven Wright
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