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Go Back   SailNet Community > Boat Builders Row > Bristol > Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)
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Thread: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly) Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-20-2012 02:16 PM
Barquito
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

These are some good arguments on both sides about crapping on a boat.

My suggestion: Move the discussion from the Bristol sub-forum to the Catalina sub-forum.
12-18-2012 08:04 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
That sounds unlikely. Normally sewage treatment plants discharge fairly clean and sterile water......
Typical reaction. People believe what they want to believe. Here's a story that proves my point. Its not just likely, its a fact.

Narragansett Bay one of 20 most contaminated in U.S. | www.jamestownpress.com | Jamestown Press

Quote:
"Major sources of pollution such as storm run-off and inadequate sewage treatment dump toxic chemicals and hazardous waste into Narragansett Bay, turning it into – if you will – a potion of pollution.”
Quote:
....heavy rains have overwhelmed the wastewater treatment plants resulting in this discharge of raw sewage into the bay.
12-18-2012 03:02 PM
MarkSF
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
......and hundreds of thousands of gallons of the "highly toxic sludge" are pumped directly into our Bay every single day, from several municipalities. Every day. No holidays.

Who gives a literal $hit what recreational boaters do. Every bloody boat there is couldn't scratch what is actually already going on.
That sounds unlikely. Normally sewage treatment plants discharge fairly clean and sterile water. The toxic sludge referred to is usually either digested or trucked away to be used as fertiliser. Certainly if you consider a city of millions of people, and what the untreated effluent of that city would look like, the modern sewage plant is a miracle of technology, one of the most significant inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries, and one of the greatest advances in human health in all of human history.

Totally untreated discharge from boats is another matter altogether, as it may contain all kinds of human pathogens. Why do you think Cholera is such a problem in the third world? The smallest amount of untreated human sewage in the water supply can cause a Cholera epidemic.
12-14-2012 09:47 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardb123 View Post
.....Compare that to sewage, which must be expensively treated, through a high energy process. This has a big ecological impact. Most sewage treatment facilities produce a highly toxic sludge which is then destroyed by yet another high energy process that is bad for the environment.....
......and hundreds of thousands of gallons of the "highly toxic sludge" are pumped directly into our Bay every single day, from several municipalities. Every day. No holidays.

Who gives a literal $hit what recreational boaters do. Every bloody boat there is couldn't scratch what is actually already going on.

Compost all you want. I've already detailed why so many think they are gross. That's why there aren't more out there.
12-14-2012 07:09 PM
richardb123
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"A composting head is so superior"
Glad you like your glorified cedar bucket, but there are in fact no composting heads for boats.

What you have is a bucket that collects fecal matter, which is still "live" and still has to be disposed of someplace, sometime, and it ain't compost when you have to move it.

That the industry can't be honest about what it is and what it does--and doesn't do--speaks volumes as to why they haven't taken over the market.
No, sorry, not true. Composting begins right away in the toilet. It begins to break down and dry out almost immediately, because of the fan and vent. Yes, the composting process will not be complete when you empty it - just partially complete. If you can wait a few days after the last solid use before emptying, there will be no odor.

As the toilet instructions (and the websites) clearly explain, contents must finish composting elsewhere. A plastic bucket with holes punched in the lid works great. Then, after 3 months, you have a completely safe, environmentally friendly fertilizer. Compare that to sewage, which must be expensively treated, through a high energy process. This has a big ecological impact. Most sewage treatment facilities produce a highly toxic sludge which is then destroyed by yet another high energy process that is bad for the environment.

If you do not live aboard in the winter, you can leave the toilet for the season. In the spring, you will have finished compost right in the toilet. Two people using the toilet for a summer cruise and weekends will probably not need to empty it all season. Now, that is pretty incredible, isn't it? Not much like a bucket, you have to admit.

The best thing to do is talk to people. In my experience, everyone who has installed a compost toilet in their boat is pretty enthusiastic about them.

The reason why they have not taken over the market is the retailers cannot get them to sell. They are sold direct by the two manufacturers. The marine store guy is not going to tell you that a drastically better and much lower cost system exists, will he?
12-11-2012 01:55 AM
davidpm
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardb123 View Post

You don't usually dump the composted poop into a landfill. That would be a last resort. It is fertilizer. It goes on plants.
Since you have one I defer to your experience but I'm not sure it is accurate to call what comes out of the composting head, compost ready for plants.
It takes time for composting to happen and depending on your usage some of your deposits may or may not have composted. If for example I have guests and the bucket is full I have to empty it now and can't wait for a few weeks for the last deposit to compost.

I believe what some people do is have a spare bucket or two that they can stash somewhere for a while till it really becomes compost.

This brings up what for some is the most significant issue.
If you have a plot of land where it is easy to dispose of your home-made compost and your usage of the boat is such that you don't generate that much and you have a place to "cure" a bucket or two of fresh stuff and you don't have that many people using it and they don't have any medical conditions that would create and excess of of "intermediate" deposit then the composting heads will work great.

Many of us however have no back yard as we are cruising or live in an apartment or condo.
It is highly unlikely that a marina or landlord will be happy with our home made manure. It has to be aged appropriately and how will they know that was done.

The other more minor issue is that the pee bottle has to be emptied very regularly, probably daily. Depending on your location walking it the the on-shore restroom or dumping it overboard and not letting your neighbors see you may get tiring.

The purpose of this post is not to put down the composting toilets, their are obviously some people that find them perfect for their use.
They never have to deal with hoses, pumpout stations, broken, valves, lime buildup, joker valves, through-hulls and a host of other problems.

They do however have to deal with one or more buckets of "something" every few days, or weeks depending on usage, the pee bottle daily, fetching and storing the moss. Many folks find they have to treat the bottle and the bucket with something to make it all work properly.

So both systems have their advantages and disadvantages and different folks will make different choices.
12-10-2012 10:08 PM
SlowButSteady
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
...
The problem is some folks don't feel they should need to think through the head, as it doesn't make the boat go. It is certanly simpler than other boat systems, such as engines, but it's given no value or attention. ...
That is basically the whole problem. Blow off the little chore of pumping out after a weekend on the boat, let the holding tank sit full of poopy water for a few weeks (or months), and the system will become permeated with sulfides. Then you'll spend months or years trying to get rid of the "head odor".

Design and install the system properly, keep the system as aerobic as possible, and ALWAYS pump out before letting the boat sit for more than a day or two, and you'll probably never have to worry much about odors.
12-10-2012 09:53 PM
SlowButSteady
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
If properly vented and non-contaminated with chemicals, doesn't the waste in a holding tank begin to decompose as well?
Sure it will. Probably not as quickly as it will in a well mixed composting toilet. But it will certainly decompose. Some compressed air and a bubbler would speed up the process; that's how sewage treatment plants work (in part, anyway).
12-10-2012 09:25 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
And, as I recall, he said it didn't smell much (if at all) without the fan.
I don't recall him opening the lid.
12-10-2012 09:23 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Marine Toilet (good, bad, and ugly)

If properly vented and non-contaminated with chemicals, doesn't the waste in a holding tank begin to decompose as well?
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