Msd vs. Composting - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-16-2011 Thread Starter
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Question Msd vs. Composting

I'd like to hear some comparitive views from sailors who have used both composting heads and the more standard holding tank head. If you've used both, which are you using now? Why?
I just bought Seablossom and her "head" is an empty room, so the subject is of considerable interest to me. Thanks.


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post #2 of 17 Old 06-16-2011
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I think I recall a fairly extensive recent thread here on the topic. Did you do a search? Not something I am familar with.
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post #3 of 17 Old 06-16-2011 Thread Starter
Both ends are pointy.
 
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Red face search?

Nope. Lazy, I guess. Mea culpa.


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post #4 of 17 Old 06-17-2011
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I have a Sealand traveler which is a head and 9.5 gallon tank all in one

Everybody that really has a composting head is very happy with it

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post #5 of 17 Old 06-17-2011
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Not all are happy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
I have a Sealand traveler which is a head and 9.5 gallon tank all in one

Everybody that really has a composting head is very happy with it


... and some have taken them out and gone back to a holding tank.

http://www.zerotocruising.com/?p=6898

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post #6 of 17 Old 06-17-2011
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Composting Head

got one ... like it ... replaced a leaking, too small holding tank and electric head .. wouldn't go back ..

No smell .. gotta dump the liquids regularly at the marina toilet - no big deal

after reading pdqaltair's link ... I used peat moss .. no mess ... I vent through the original hole in deck that was used for pumpout with their supplied hose. You have to have a screen on the vent hose to prevent fruit flies. I had flies once because I had no screen .. once I installed screen on vent- no problems. I get a little water in the vent hose ... empty the water into shower sump once in a while.

I don't use any additives to the peat moss ... I can stick my nose close to the open head and smell only a clean dirt smell ... and smell nothing at all when the head is closed.

It is tall and the crank takes room, but I have no problem with that.

Last edited by RonRelyea; 06-17-2011 at 10:16 AM. Reason: updates
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junkrig View Post
Nope. Lazy, I guess. Mea culpa.
Here's a good thread on the subject.

composting toilet report



Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair
... and some have taken them out and gone back to a holding tank.
In my experience, which consists of using my homemade head every day for the last 18 months, the only time there is a problem is when I skimp on the cover material.
There is no problem with odor or insects if the stuff is buried properly by the cover material.
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post #8 of 17 Old 06-17-2011
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junkrig, there are no composting heads for small craft. They're misnamed.

What you've got are "separting heads" that collect urine in one container and feces in another. You're left to haul a bucket of partly decayed fecal matter off the boat, instead of having a liquid waste tank pumped out. It's still sewage.

IF you've got enough room for two "composting" heads, you can allow the feces to actually compost for 4-8 weeks while you use the second head. Then you probably will have real compost, that you can dump in your garden. And switch back to using the other head while the second one composts.

It's not semantics, it's intentionally misleading marketing, and it is still RAW FECAL MATTER that you're dealing with. That may be more convenient to handle and dispose of than a waste tank, but it still ain't compost.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
junkrig, there are no composting heads for small craft. They're misnamed.

What you've got are "separting heads" that collect urine in one container and feces in another. You're left to haul a bucket of partly decayed fecal matter off the boat, instead of having a liquid waste tank pumped out. It's still sewage.

IF you've got enough room for two "composting" heads, you can allow the feces to actually compost for 4-8 weeks while you use the second head. Then you probably will have real compost, that you can dump in your garden. And switch back to using the other head while the second one composts.

It's not semantics, it's intentionally misleading marketing, and it is still RAW FECAL MATTER that you're dealing with. That may be more convenient to handle and dispose of than a waste tank, but it still ain't compost.
I don't think you can say that they are misnamed. The composting does in fact take place in the heads. It's just not completed unless, as you stated, it sits awhile.
For heads like mine, which is a simple bucket, (I no longer use the separating seat) I prefer to simply say containing head.

You're right about the fact that it's much more convenient and sanitary as well as a lot less smelly to empty than a waste tank. That is unless you are off shore and simply pump it over the side.
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonRelyea View Post
got one ... like it ... replaced a leaking, too small holding tank and electric head .. wouldn't go back ..

No smell .. gotta dump the liquids regularly at the marina toilet - no big deal

after reading pdqaltair's link ... I used peat moss .. no mess ... I vent through the original hole in deck that was used for pumpout with their supplied hose. You have to have a screen on the vent hose to prevent fruit flies. I had flies once because I had no screen .. once I installed screen on vent- no problems. I get a little water in the vent hose ... empty the water into shower sump once in a while.

I don't use any additives to the peat moss ... I can stick my nose close to the open head and smell only a clean dirt smell ... and smell nothing at all when the head is closed.

It is tall and the crank takes room, but I have no problem with that.
The thing is, ZTC replaced their holding tank head with a composting head because they had heard it was better. The system they had was working fine. Comparing anything to a poor designed and failing system is pointless.

I've been around many composting toilets. No thanks, but suit yourself. There are pluses and minuses. A holding tanks system, if properly designed and maintained, is pretty much effort free. The problem is systems age and fail and many are poorly installed.

(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

"Well, I just climb up to them."

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