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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > composting toilet report
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-18-2013 07:21 PM
MikeOReilly
Re: composting toilet report

Quote:
Originally Posted by flandria View Post
3.- I am not particularly anxious to adopt the "pee-in-the-water" solution. Sailing on the Great Lakes means we have no "3 mile limit", for one. We are at anchorages in coves where there is no current, or very little current, and 20 or more boats - 50 or more people? - are congregated in a relatively confined area. Yes, urine may be sterile, but I still don't want anyone to do it on my lawn, so why is it OK next to my boat? And more nitrogen in confined water? It may be irrelevant to worry about that, but... So, as a Great Laker, it looks like I may have to opt for a hybrid solution. That kind of defeats the purpose;
I agree with your thoughts flandria, but here's a suggestion: come up here to the north and east shore (Canadian) of Superior. If we share an anchorage with anyone it's an unusual event. Once we get away from Thunder Bay and the Sault we see very few people. Peeing overboard?? No problem .
04-18-2013 06:31 PM
Minnewaska
Re: composting toilet report

Thought of all you folks when I saw this:

04-18-2013 05:41 PM
flandria
Re: composting toilet report

I am on page 28 of 44 (so far) of post on this topic. I will read on through the rest of it and hopefully not miss anything really important (there are some fleeting comments along the way that may trick me into skipping something I should not).

My interest is real. We sail all the time on the Great Lakes so there is not "off shore limit" to get rid of matter that is not yet compost and thus the practicality of disposing of matter on land on occasion, depending on usage, is the issue that concentrates our minds first.

Now, as an aside, I also see a lot of stuff has been written about C.Diff. and the like and all matter of risk associated with untreated sewage. All valid.

Yet... When I was a boy in post-War (II) Belgium (I'm talking the 50s), I distinctly recall prepping the holes in which we would plant potatoes with raw human sewage from our own cesspit. We propably poured at least 1/2 gallon if not a whole gallon into the hole and then, when it had been absorbed in the soil, we placed the seed potato in it, covered with soil and waited for the stuff to sprout... and onto the next one to be planted... The local farmers did pretty much the same except on a bigger scale! None of us ever got ill and I am sure our hygiene was not nearly as dilligent as it is now.

This is just an aside, so don't jump on this as promoting stuff we shouldn't be doing.

My personal take, so far, is as follows:

1.- The benefit appears to be primarily in having a (dry) system that is less cumbersome and "cleaner" to maintain and repair. Both "wet" and "dry" systems rely on a subsequent disposal system - be that the municipal or septic system at the pump-out; putting it in the garbage (likely illegal since it is still waste at that time, even if it doesn't look or smell like it) or adding it to a composting system that will finish the task;
2.- You eliminate your stops at the pump out, unless you decide to "save" urine to be discharged there and can afford to be away from the dock much longer;
3.- I am not particularly anxious to adopt the "pee-in-the-water" solution. Sailing on the Great Lakes means we have no "3 mile limit", for one. We are at anchorages in coves where there is no current, or very little current, and 20 or more boats - 50 or more people? - are congregated in a relatively confined area. Yes, urine may be sterile, but I still don't want anyone to do it on my lawn, so why is it OK next to my boat? And more nitrogen in confined water? It may be irrelevant to worry about that, but... So, as a Great Laker, it looks like I may have to opt for a hybrid solution. That kind of defeats the purpose;
4.- So, I will keep on reading and will go to the Airhead etc... websites to learn more. I hope, meanwhile, that my sanitation system on board our Catalina MkII 36 survived another Canadian winter!...

In any case, many thanks to all the contributors to this thread!
04-18-2013 11:07 AM
highwind
Re: composting toilet report

Sorry. You're right. There is the vent system that comes with the system. I just remembered the comments about storing the full container with a sealed lid...
04-18-2013 10:32 AM
sww914
Re: composting toilet report

Quote:
Originally Posted by highwind View Post
The Humanure Handbook is still available for download by chapters in pdf format:

Look for table of contents.

One thing that hasn't been touched on in this discussion is aerobic purification and decomposition of human waste, such as is used in municipal treatment plants where treatment has to proceed at a brisk pace through the use of sprayers or waterfalls. Composting tends to depend on this similar process to kill pathogens without the liquid environment through the use of dry bulking agents to maintain oxygen levels. One of the advantages of the C-head is the storage of batches for further decomposition without the addition of fresh material. Unfortunately, the exclusion of air by sealing the container stops the aerobic purification process just as not turning a compost pile slows the decomposition and purification process. In a larger composting system the compost is withdrawn from the bottom of the chamber, where the decomposition process has been completed. However since it is an actively used system, there is still potential for contamination; thus the warnings and concerns about handling composted human waste. There is a report put out by the EPA that charts the life of the various pathogens found in human waste products when exposed to various environments.

water.epa.gov/aboutow/owm/upload/2005_07_14_comp.pdf

Since I can't post links you have to add http, etc. at the beginning to complete the preceding url.

Also, very little is said about municipal treatment plants that empty their effluent into our waterways and oceans, especially when these systems are overloaded by storm sewer runoff. Contrary to common beliefs, most cities (especially large older coastal cities) still have not completed the federally mandated process of separating storm water from sewage lines. So when you take your boat to the pumpout station today, it doesn't mean your waste is being handled properly. What it means is that you will likely be drinking it tomorrow!
My C-Head came with a venting system for the secondary storage container.
04-18-2013 10:27 AM
highwind
Re: composting toilet report

For those people with troubled holding tank systems, the addition of air into the holding tank has been recommended to reduce odors. Most recommendations center around larger and shorter ventilation hoses.
04-18-2013 10:23 AM
highwind
Re: composting toilet report

I should add that sunlight is also a great purifier, as well. So when you dump your compost out of your bucket you could be doing our environment a favor.
04-18-2013 09:58 AM
highwind
Re: composting toilet report

The Humanure Handbook is still available for download by chapters in pdf format:

Look for table of contents.

One thing that hasn't been touched on in this discussion is aerobic purification and decomposition of human waste, such as is used in municipal treatment plants where treatment has to proceed at a brisk pace through the use of sprayers or waterfalls. Composting tends to depend on this similar process to kill pathogens without the liquid environment through the use of dry bulking agents to maintain oxygen levels. One of the advantages of the C-head is the storage of batches for further decomposition without the addition of fresh material. Unfortunately, the exclusion of air by sealing the container stops the aerobic purification process just as not turning a compost pile slows the decomposition and purification process. In a larger composting system the compost is withdrawn from the bottom of the chamber, where the decomposition process has been completed. However since it is an actively used system, there is still potential for contamination; thus the warnings and concerns about handling composted human waste. There is a report put out by the EPA that charts the life of the various pathogens found in human waste products when exposed to various environments.
Search this since I can't post links:

water.epa.gov/aboutow/owm/upload/2005_07_14_comp.pdf

Also, very little is said about municipal treatment plants that empty their effluent into our waterways and oceans, especially when these systems are overloaded by storm sewer runoff. Contrary to common beliefs, most cities (especially large older coastal cities) still have not completed the federally mandated process of separating storm water from sewage lines. So when you take your boat to the pumpout station today, it doesn't mean your waste is being handled properly. What it means is that you will likely be drinking it tomorrow!
04-16-2013 02:14 AM
troy2000
Re: composting toilet report

Quote:
Originally Posted by sww914 View Post
We bought a C-Head after a couple of poo showers due to a clogging vent. I guess you could say that we'd had enough of that sh!t.
My wife wrote up the whole deal on our blog if you want to read it. I still can't believe that C-Head linked to it as a review.
It's here- Day 10: The **** Diaries, Golden Showers and **** » Landfall Voyages
Tks for the link. It's a good write-up, and it agrees with my personal experience using the C-Head.

The biggest knock I've had on mine is people carrying on about the fact that it has to be emptied more often than the Nature's Head or Air Head. But c'mon, folks.... emptying a C-Head is about as hard as taking out the kitchen trash. Even easier actually, because you don't have to stick a new bag in it afterwards.
04-15-2013 12:36 PM
sww914
Re: composting toilet report

We bought a C-Head after a couple of poo showers due to a clogging vent. I guess you could say that we'd had enough of that sh!t.
My wife wrote up the whole deal on our blog if you want to read it. I still can't believe that C-Head linked to it as a review.
It's here- Day 10: The **** Diaries, Golden Showers and **** » Landfall Voyages
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