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post #381 of 443 Old 06-06-2012
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Re: composting toilet report

Thanks Fireboat52 for taking the time to educate us on "composting" toilets.

I'm putting one on our boat because I do not want to deal with pump outs. Besides my kids plug up the toilet at home, I can only imagine what they'd do to a marine toilet.

As far as the rest of you arguing about toilets, run for Congress, you'll be right at home. They can't agree on **** either.

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post #382 of 443 Old 06-06-2012
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Re: composting toilet report

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Originally Posted by tommays View Post
I went and a ton of diapers on two children without ill effects

Baby diapers seem to get dumped at every rest stop on the eastern coast of the USA without ending the world
Yea I went through quite a few with two kids also. The first kid we used washable diapers- kinda disgusting to put a dirty diaper in the washing machine (large solids went down the toilet) but I lived. I am just curious as to the legality of throwing human (or pet waste) in the garbage. Kinda felt bad for the workers who needs to un-jam the conveyor that carries the waste to the burner at the waste to energy plant and steps on a bunch of used diapers in the process. But I guess that is what the hepititis and typhoid shots are for, and it makes good TV for "Dirty Jobs".

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Re: composting toilet report

The danger of Various POOP is always a hot topic (really ) with horses being one of the hot topics up here as there are many mixed use trails and they would have you believe dog poop is bad and horse poop is somehow innocuous

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post #384 of 443 Old 06-06-2012
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Re: composting toilet report

Well, my post seems to have accomplished its purpose.

Hellosailor, To answer your question directly and unevasively, first, you should always dispose of your waste legally. Like many legalities, there are gray areas. Jenkins goes into some depth about handling waste and disposing of waste and the law, so reading his free online book (th Humanure Handbook) which is the bible when it comes to composting, is a great first step, if you are contemplating using a composting or mouldering toilet. Let's use the term "CMT" (compact mouldering toilet) from here on to keep all the nigglers happy.


In most areas, the law states that you cannot dispose of "untreated" waste in the garbage and yes it is probably illegal to put animal or baby poop in the trash (more on this in a moment) and yes, people that throw bags of untreated waste in the dumpster, are probably breaking the law in most areas. Pouring chlorine in with the waste (add vinegar too if you really want to wipe out the bugs) and sealing it from the public is technically "treating" waste and it will be sterile once the chlorine gas has permiated the interior of the bucket. Therer will be no measurable level of live bacteria in the waste and that is the reason the law exists. It would be prudent to use some judgement and discard the bucket at a time and place where it is libel to attract the least attention like the back of a dumpster or with other items at the roadside the day of pickup. CMTs give you this kind of flexability as opposed to holding tank systems. If you are using a shiney new Homer bucket, hit it with a couple shots of spray paint to mar it and keep the curious away.

Discarding poop in the trash with respect to diapers and pet poop is not enforced because it is not practical to do so but make no mistake, baby poop especially can be dangerous. As the use of CMTs grows, it will become a problem in congested areas like Boot Key, Annapolis, St Pete, etc. There is no doubt that if current trends continue, that is, putting bags of mouldered poop in the trash, one of two things will happen. CMT will be outlawed in the basins or the dockmaster will see a source of revenue and you will be charged a discharge fee. Knowing how municipalities love revenues, I suspect the latter will be the case.

If you live in an area where the eco police are all over you all the time, then you have several options. Save the filled, odorless, compact buckets onboard until you get home and then add them to your composting mound, go offshore and dump the waste out or lastly don't buy a mouldering toilet. Very simple, easy solution. Four 5 gallon buckets will hold between 4-6 months waste using a churning type CMT and if you can't find a place or make a trip offshore in that time frame to discard it safely by pouring the contents oveboard, then you need to go with a holding tank system and hope you are better at finding a pump out station everytime before you have to dump your holding tank inorder to take a crap. Sadly, I've been there and done that, (pre CMT) but as they say, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Discarding a $5 bucket every 5-6 weeks beats the heck our of seeking out a pump out station every week and paying $7 (for the tipless tightwads) to $25 to have someone else do it for you, not to mention the savings in maintenance and chemicals. Biodegradable 5 gallon plastic buckets are available for those concerned about that issue. Frankly all plastic buckets are biodegradable, just some take longer than others. I don't see anybody digging one up anytime within the next thousand years unless they have found a way to convert it to fuel, but who knows.

As far as urine goes, you can do a couple of things. Transfer the urine into a larger five gallon jerry jug (a week for two people) and then pour down the toilet or overboard offshore. Actually, pouring urine overboard in any active tidal area is harmless but not legal, but each owner must be the judge there. Never pour it overboard in a basin or on a river. If you are in a slip, just take it up to the bathroom and pour it out in the urinal. A fancy "green" cloth grocery bag is designed to hold two one gallon milk jugs or a two gallon jug very discretely and Campa-chem (formaldehyde free) will deodorize it completely so you won't stink up the restroom when pouring it out.

Hope this is helpful.
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Last edited by fireboat52; 06-06-2012 at 03:46 PM.
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post #385 of 443 Old 06-06-2012
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Re: composting toilet report

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Originally Posted by tommays View Post
The danger of Various POOP is always a hot topic (really ) with horses being one of the hot topics up here as there are many mixed use trails and they would have you believe dog poop is bad and horse poop is somehow innocuous
Animal poop does not bother me much. As a kid I mucked out horse stalls and cattle pens. Walked through the stuff and stepped in my dogs poop barefoot. No big deal. Had my kids poop all over me- no problem. Drank from streams that ran through the cow pasture with cows peeing and pooping in the water. My sister said as long as the water was "rushing over rock" it was clean (not true BTW).

But other peoples poop, the line stops there. You deal with your own poop.
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Re: composting toilet report

Animal excrement and baby excrement is not the same as adult excrement.

How many dogs, horses, and babies carry hepatitis? But apparently 10% of Asian-American adults do. Not to mention, the illegal kitchen worker down the block.

Really, guys. There's poo and there's poo, and being a little paranoid about stuff that can do serious damage, is not such a bad idea.

Not that the holding tank is any cleaner, just that there's a process and a routine for handling it.

If I want to use a bucket and lime...I don't see what I need an almost-composting toilet for. I'd vote for a real composting toilet--but that means having two, with large capacities, and alternating as they composted for a month or three each load.
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post #387 of 443 Old 06-06-2012
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Re: composting toilet report

Hopefully, As CMT's (i like the term btw )become more common, marina's, both public and private will get with the program and either provide a means of disposal, such as designated bin. Or they will simply set aside an area for a compost pile and train someone to maintain it. A compost pile would also serve as a place to dispose of galley scraps and pet waste. It would also be a perfect place to empty urine containers.

I know. I can sense all the cringing and can hear all the protests. However a properly maintained compost pile is very similar to a properly maintained CMT. No smell, no pests, no problem. Rather than being yucky, it's a great way to enrich the soil. Without chemicals.

Speaking of chemicals, adding bleach to the closed up container seems to rather defeat the purpose somewhat and would certainly stop any composting that's going on in there. Better to add a few worms and let it be. If the lid is cracked once in awhile to let a little oxygen in, the composting will continue in the closed up bucket. Then when you find a place to dispose of the contents you won't be polluting the ground with chlorine.
I know that I wouldn't add a bucket of material to my compost pile if it had been "sterilized" with bleach.

As far as the law goes. I'm all for intelligent laws and do my best to obey them. But as far as stupid laws go. I feel an obligation to disobey them.
There is no way that having a compost pile in my back yard that I use to compost my personal waste is a health threat and in fact is a much more sustainable and healthy way to live. But in fact, it's illegal. So, what's better? To submit or to ignore? Everyone has to make their own choices and everyone has to live with the consequences.
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post #388 of 443 Old 06-06-2012
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Re: composting toilet report

It takes human waste 6-24 months to compost completely to a point where there are no human pathogens present and that is under ideal conditions. CMTs don't get anywhere close to creating those conditions. The space it would take to have a 100% efficient composting system is totally impractical on any size vessel.

Chlorine will evaporate overtime but once it kills the microbes in the waste it is not suitable as an activator. It must rely on the materials around it to turn into compost. It basically becomes bulk material. I should have made the point that if you do plan on using the waste for composting at home, then you should not use chlorine. Just seal it up until you can transfer it to a composting bin. You can also convert it to biochar if you don't want to wait to compost it. There are many videos on youtube about composting that are very informative.

The basic problem with a bucket and lime is that it is messy and it looks messy and it detracts from the value of your boat. It says unflattering thngs about the owner too.

You are absolutely right that people should not take poop lightly. I had a friend in the fire department that used to get very descriptive about his sexual proclivities and at the same time would complain about spots on the glasses coming out of the dishwasher (seriously). Point being that people can be blind to the dangers of exposure. But if you are only exposed to only a couple of people and you use minimal sanitatary practices like washing your hands after handling the CMT parts or using the can, you are pretty safe. It's like reefing. If you are wondering if you should wash your hands, you should wash your hands.
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Re: composting toilet report

Storing chlorine on a boat is probably not the best thing to do. If you get a leak in the container and the boat fills with chlorine gas- bad news. Also, chlorine attacks stainless steel (crevice corrosion) and is not a good boat cleaner because of this- spill it or use it to clean your bilge and your stainless keel bolts could be attacked. Better to use vinegar for boat disinfecting/cleaning.
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Re: composting toilet report

"There is no way that having a compost pile in my back yard that I use to compost my personal waste is a health threat... But in fact, it's illegal."

So, you're fairly certain that your compost pile will generate sufficient heat to sterilize the waste. And in the interim, no critters will get in, no rain run-off will get out, no incidental pathogens are going to be transported out of the pile, or survive the process. Like, on your pitchfork while you're turning it.

You know, it wasn't so long ago that big cities were decimated by fecal contamination of water supplies, among other health problems. The current bans on sanitray waste have all pretty much evolved from "Well what can we do to make sure THAT never happens again?"

And they're designed to work for everyone. If you're good enough to work without them--they make no allowance for that. Laws get applied to everyone, especially when their purpose is to prevent plagues and epidemics.

As the Roman soldier allegedly said to Christ while carrying the cross "Son, I don't care who you are. NO PERMIT NO PARADE."
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