composting toilet report - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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  #11  
Old 12-18-2009
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This just totally cracks me up. I don't understand where there even is a yuck factor with composters--at least relative to marine heads in general. What yucks me out is trying to pump solid waste down a long, relatively narrow pipe into an onboard, sloshing, cesspool, all the while praying that it never clogs going in or out! It must be the rough similarity to home plumbing that folks find comforting in standard flush heads.

I'll take an early shot at Knotheads questions:

1. Not at all opposed.
2. Yes--$300 or $400 would do it.
3. Absolutely

I looked closely at the Airhead two years ago and only had two problems: 1) pretty blasted expensive for what is essentially a plastic toilet with tank. Not a show stopper but youch 2) On our boat, the height would put the user's head smack into an overhang from the cockpit. That was killer.

I'm putting in a new holding tank for my sloshing cesspool this winter.

Tom
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  #12  
Old 12-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arf145 View Post
This just totally cracks me up. I don't understand where there even is a yuck factor with composters--at least relative to marine heads in general. What yucks me out is trying to pump solid waste down a long, relatively narrow pipe into an onboard, sloshing, cesspool, all the while praying that it never clogs going in or out!
Yeah, and then you get to carry it around in it's sloshing state until you get the opportunity to suck it out through another long hose. Yuck! I'd rather deal with some compost.
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  #13  
Old 12-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
Yeah, and then you get to carry it around in it's sloshing state until you get the opportunity to suck it out through another long hose. Yuck! I'd rather deal with some compost.
True that, Knot.
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Old 12-23-2009
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I'm pretty interested in this. What I don't understand is, are you guys saying that 4 people won't overwhelm this system over a weekend?

How quickly does the solid material break down? Would these units fit on a smaller, older boat that was equipped with a pump out head?

For instance, my Coronado 25 had a head that pumped directly to sea. No holding tank was installed. That's because in 1969, you could legally dump anything into the water.

Well, the head was removed, the thru-hulls plugged and 'glassed over and an RV cassette toilet is now sitting on the liner shelf.

Genie mentioned that the composting head is taller, so I'm wondering if it'll fit.
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Old 12-23-2009
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The specs for the Airhead brand can be found here: Looks like around 19" in height.

The reason 4 people wouldn't overwhelm it is that it's only storing the solids, and I suspect that even before the solids break down biologically, they shrink as they dry out.

On our boat I might have been able to fit one vertically if I was willing to cut into the fiberglass platform built for a normal head.
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Old 12-23-2009
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We're considering an Airhead for our boat, though we have yet to bite the bullet. Our current head/holding tank system needs some hoses replaced, there are long hose runs by design (which I don't like), we need to rebuild the toilet, and we might end up needing/wanting to replace the 26-year-old tank. Even without needing to replace the tank, there's enough there for us to look at whether we want to continue with this system.

Based on the type of sailing we do, an Airhead would not be out of the question. We're aware of the pluses and minuses, at least those discussed on this board, other boards, and on various web sites. For my wife and I, we like the environmentally friendly factor and the utter simplicity of the system.

At this point, I have no idea if we'll end up going with an Airhead. We may indeed just replace our hoses and move on. However, we're definitely considering a composting toilet.

Just some thoughts on the matter...
-J
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Old 12-23-2009
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Interesting

I like the idea of this head. I'd appreciate more input from experienced users.

I have two concerns with the system as I currently understand it.

#1 Cost, the unit is pricey.

#2 Lack of capacity for liquid waste.

Item #2 could be addressed if my existing holding tank could be used. Any information on using an existing holding tank for liquid waste only?

Paul
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Old 12-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newpbs View Post
I like the idea of this head. I'd appreciate more input from experienced users.

I have two concerns with the system as I currently understand it.

#1 Cost, the unit is pricey.

#2 Lack of capacity for liquid waste.

Item #2 could be addressed if my existing holding tank could be used. Any information on using an existing holding tank for liquid waste only?

Paul
As far a item #1 is concerned, that's undeniable. Perhaps as usage increases price will come down but there is no denying that, at roughly a thousand buck, it isn't cheap.

As far as item 2 is concerned, unless you sail on an inland lake or always stay very close to shore and never stay at a marina, it really isn't too much of a problem. Perhaps my piloting is a mite off when I decide that I'm three miles offshore but, while I would never think of discharging solid waste, I have fewer scruples about losing a half gallon of salty sterile liquid overboard if I'm 2 1/2 miles off the coast. Whales pee out there too. Also the units come with a 1 1/2 gallon bottle that can usually hold a day's liquid for a normal crew. If you stay at a marina you can take the bottle to the head. All marinas rightly object to having partapotties and their chemical cargo dumped into their septic system but a gallon of yellow liquid has never bothered any marina I've ever stayed at. In case you need more capacity you can buy a second bottle. Three gallons should hold pretty large crew for a day of very inshore sailing.
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  #19  
Old 01-18-2010
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Awsom write up,, Thanks, you have SOLD me on these Heads.. Im sure it will be Very nice to have the Extra space too..

Paul.....
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Old 01-18-2010
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I'm sure sold. Great write-up.

I hate using my two porta-potties, but this will have to be an expense I incur AFTER I acquire a chartplotter combo unit.
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