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So how do you responsibly discard the waste from a composting toilet? The answer is this cannot be a zero impact solution and at any scale begins to become a serious health issue.
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I think you make a good point but I'd seems unlikely that a bucket or two in the corner of a yard per year would be a scale that would be a problem.
many of us poo very seldom on the boat but proper handling is important and volume matters, agreed.
For many of us it seems to be a solution if Handled responsibly.
 

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There is a HUGE difference between organic compost (food, grass ...) and human fecal matter mixed with compost. The latter carries fecal bacteria and the former does not. There is a reason that you are not supped to mix the fecal compost with food gardens - it's dangerous due to the fecal bacteria! - RTM that comes with your composting toilet!!!!

If you are spreading fecal compost in your yard then my post remains valid despite the ignorance of the parties involved. It's disgusting and dangerous - especially in an urban environment. If folks get sick in your neighborhood, you could be in a heap of trouble if they track it back to you. Now more so than before as you cannot claim ignorance. Gotta love the internet! :)

Where you dump the bacteria does not influence where it will stay. Once it rains, this bacteria can easily end up in your neighbors vegetable garden. Note that many of the recent food contamination issues are a result of this.

This exemplifies how messed up the public understanding of responsible environmental management is (gotta love "green"). A society of no understanding of consequences, only what's in it for me!

If you've ever seen the 3rd world you'll fully understand the dire consequences of failing to properly manage sewage.

So how do you responsibly discard the waste from a composting toilet? The answer is this cannot be a zero impact solution and at any scale begins to become a serious health issue.

One can have a zero impact with a porta-pottie or pump out head.

That's just the facts, not opinion or religion.
Are you obtuse or just a troll?
Let me quote from my previous post. Please actually read it this time, okay?

"Humanure may be deemed safe for humans to use on crops if handled in accordance with local health regulations, and composted properly. This means that thermophilic decomposition of the humanure must heat it sufficiently to destroy harmful pathogens, or enough time must have elapsed since fresh material was added that biological activity has killed any pathogens. To be safe for crops, a curing stage is often needed to allow a second mesophilic phase to reduce potential phytotoxins.

Humanure is different from night soil, which is raw human waste spread on crops. While aiding the return of nutrients in fecal matter to the soil, it can carry and spread a vast number of human pathogens. Humanure kills these pathogens both by the extreme heat of the composting and the extended amount of time (1 to 2 years) that it is allowed to decompose."


There is a lot of information on the subject. Why don't you actually check it out?
No offense, but you're information is a bunch of crap. ;)
You're insisting that the most natural process in the world, one that happens all by itself and has forever, is a dangerous practice.
That's just silly.

Google a fellow named Joe Jenkins. He's the guy that came up with the term "Humanure". He also composted his family's waste for over thirty years while bringing up children. He used the compost in his vegetable gardens for all that time.

The Humanure Handbook - Center of the Humanure Universe

He also paid to have extensive testing on his compost and has the documentation to prove his claims.
 

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I can see that with normal usage if you have your own yard available the ct sounds ideal.

How do you figure it would work out if you are limited to marina's and anchoring and are not off shore.
Until people become educated on the subject, unreasonable fears such as Heart's Content is exhibiting will continue and serve to hold back simple solutions such as special bins provided by municipalities for the specific purpose of collecting compostable materials.
The sad fact is that misinformation is holding back progress. People like HC are sitting on city councils and making decisions based on paranoia rather than science.

However, to answer your question directly. Placing the mostly dry contents of a composting head into a stout plastic trash bag and tossing it in the dumpster seems to work for a lot of people. It will still end up in the dump and be returned to the soil. And it won't be any more dangerous than all the diapers that end up there.
 

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But is it better? That's where your loosing the debate.

Until people become educated on the subject, unreasonable fears such as Heart's Content is exhibiting will continue and serve to hold back simple solutions such as special bins provided by municipalities for the specific purpose of collecting compostable materials.
The sad fact is that misinformation is holding back progress. People like HC are sitting on city councils and making decisions based on paranoia rather than science.

However, to answer your question directly. Placing the mostly dry contents of a composting head into a stout plastic trash bag and tossing it in the dumpster seems to work for a lot of people. It will still end up in the dump and be returned to the soil. And it won't be any more dangerous than all the diapers that end up there.
a. Is there something better about a cruiser depositing night waste mixed with saw dust in a waste can than disposing of sewage into a sewage treatment plant? To my mind, they are perhaps equal. Both are acceptable with some negatives.

b. The solids are not composted in the airhead of a well used boat--the design is inadequate, the temperatures too low and the rate is too high--they are only partially dried and mixed with stuff. Put the solids in my yard to compost? Like many sailors, that is 1-hour drive from the boat and I'm not trucking it home. There is no "green" disposal possibility anywhere I have ever cruised. So, while "humanure" might work for some--and I think it is an acceptable idea where there are good composting practices--it simply will not work for most sailors.

c. A properly installed marine head has zero odor; it's a matter of proper installation. There are many old systems that don't work, but likewise there are many old cars that don't run. They're not hard to fix, but perhaps it's not obvious. Proper hoses. Proper venting (large or a filter). Short hose runs. Proper design. I was on my boat today, and it worked just as well as my home facility.

d. Risk of sinking. My through hulls are in a bulkheaded compartment. I don't have siphon breaks, as the head is 4" above the water line and catamarans don't heel much. Really, no risk of sinking in my case. Yes, there are some scary through hull installations out there.

e. As for comments that everything will eventually fail, well, obviously. Air-head sell spare parts too, and from what I'm told, things do break. I over-hauled my MSD system this summer, after 14 years, and it's like new. That seems pretty reasonable. Not difficult. Like "a", this issue is probably equal either way.

f. Hauling crap out vs. pumping-out. Pumping out is really easy in most areas, like getting gas (often the same dock). Hauling crap means carrying something through the salon, down the dock, to a can, and back. And pitching the piss each day. I don't have a poo phobia, not at all. I just know which system is easier.

g. psuedo-composting head needs continuous power. Fan wears out. Danger of fire. Small, but so is sinking.

h. Psudo-composting head needs large vent; if poorly installed these can REALLY take water, drowning the above fan and wetting compost. It's happened. A vent design error on an MSD system only fills the tank, and that is rare.

Yes, a pseudo-composting toilet can work. But I don't believe the case has been made that it is better for most sailors. Some will like it, but not very many. A bucket can work and so can a smelly poorly designed MSD. I offer that most air-head buyers are reacting to a bad msd expereince, rather than choosing with a clear head.

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PS. I have designed commercial composting operations (yard waste, presorted household waste, rendering waste), sewage treatment plants (both refinery waste and sanitary waste) and oil and metals recycling facilities: I am neither paranoid nor ignorant.
 

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No through holes

Less than 1 pint fresh water flush porcelain bowl whats not to like

Compleat system 500 dollars with a SS deck pump out and vent
 

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a. Is there something better about a cruiser depositing night waste mixed with saw dust in a waste can than disposing of sewage into a sewage treatment plant? To my mind, they are perhaps equal. Both are acceptable with some negatives.

I don't maintain that the choice of a composting head is for everyone. Cruisers who are using the head every day and don't have access to a place to deposit the compost are perhaps better off using a traditional MSD.

b. The solids are not composted in the airhead of a well used boat--the design is inadequate, the temperatures too low and the rate is too high--they are only partially dried and mixed with stuff. Put the solids in my yard to compost? Like many sailors, that is 1-hour drive from the boat and I'm not trucking it home. There is no "green" disposal possibility anywhere I have ever cruised. So, while "humanure" might work for some--and I think it is an acceptable idea where there are good composting practices--it simply will not work for most sailors.

Most sailors? I disagree. Most sailors that I know and work for wouldn't fill up a composting head in a month or two of use.

What's the big deal with carrying a sealed five gallon pail of mostly dry waste in the trunk of your car? You carry a sloshing tank of sewage around in your boat all the time. And if you're a cruiser, that's your home. You don't have to live in your car.

I don't believe that you can say that the design is inadequate. They do exactly what they are advertized to do. As you say and I agree with, if you are using it a lot and don't have a convienent place to compost it, maybe it's not the best choice for you.

c. A properly installed marine head has zero odor; it's a matter of proper installation. There are many old systems that don't work, but likewise there are many old cars that don't run. They're not hard to fix, but perhaps it's not obvious. Proper hoses. Proper venting (large or a filter). Short hose runs. Proper design. I was on my boat today, and it worked just as well as my home facility.

d. Risk of sinking. My through hulls are in a bulkheaded compartment. I don't have siphon breaks, as the head is 4" above the water line and catamarans don't heel much. Really, no risk of sinking in my case. Yes, there are some scary through hull installations out there.

e. As for comments that everything will eventually fail, well, obviously. Air-head sell spare parts too, and from what I'm told, things do break. I over-hauled my MSD system this summer, after 14 years, and it's like new. That seems pretty reasonable. Not difficult. Like "a", this issue is probably equal either way.

It's a personal choice. I gained a lot of room by removing the holding tank and I feel better about not having to have to worry about someone clogging up the head by putting too much toilet paper in it.
I don't know about how well the commercial heads hold up. But I know that if my breaks, I just need to find another bucket.

f. Hauling crap out vs. pumping-out. Pumping out is really easy in most areas, like getting gas (often the same dock). Hauling crap means carrying something through the salon, down the dock, to a can, and back. And pitching the piss each day. I don't have a poo phobia, not at all. I just know which system is easier.

I never have to visit a fuel dock unless I'm too lazy to carry five gallons of diesel to the boat. I would have to make special trips to the fuel dock just to pump out the tank. So in my case, it's a lot easier to carry a bucket the thirty feet or so once or twice a year.


g. psuedo-composting head needs continuous power. Fan wears out. Danger of fire. Small, but so is sinking.

h. Psudo-composting head needs large vent; if poorly installed these can REALLY take water, drowning the above fan and wetting compost. It's happened. A vent design error on an MSD system only fills the tank, and that is rare.

Yes, a pseudo-composting toilet can work. But I don't believe the case has been made that it is better for most sailors. Some will like it, but not very many. A bucket can work and so can a smelly poorly designed MSD. I offer that most air-head buyers are reacting to a bad msd expereince, rather than choosing with a clear head.

My composting head uses no fan. Nor does it need one. My composting head has no vent. Nor does it need one.
I have no idea why most composting head buyers made their choice. But from what I read, most people seem to be happy with their choice.
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PS. I have designed commercial composting operations (yard waste, presorted household waste, rendering waste), sewage treatment plants (both refinery waste and sanitary waste) and oil and metals recycling facilities: I am neither paranoid nor ignorant.
I don't believe I have ever accused you of being either. And I'm not trying to win a debate. I'm only trying to share my experience.
I may have been a little harsh with Heart's Content, but it's difficult to have discussions with people who refuse to educate themselves.

I don't disagree that it requires more effort to compost. I empty the bucket on the head that I use every day just about once a week. It definitely does require a commitment. I even spend the time to mix up a special blend of sawdust and home produced charcoal for cover material. But when I consider the thousands of gallons of water that I haven't wasted and all the great compost that I've been able to add to my poor soil. I feel the effort is a small price to pay.

I really don't disagree with you at all that a composting head may not be the most convenient choice for cruisers. I never claimed that it was.
I really am more interested in seeing people that it might work for consider the idea. Especially people who do most of their pooping on land. Which frankly, is probably most of the people who are reading this.
 

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HANUMAN
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SEALAND
711-M28 Marine Sanitation System

Mobnets
1973 Paceship Chance 32/28 "Westwind"
That's pretty neat! The tanks a bit small, but with the availability of pump out boats it might be a good alternative.

Now I wonder if I can take the contents home and compost it ... :p
 

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I really don't disagree with you at all that a composting head may not be the most convenient choice for cruisers. I never claimed that it was.
I really am more interested in seeing people that it might work for consider the idea. Especially people who do most of their pooping on land. Which frankly, is probably most of the people who are reading this.
When I consider the porta-poti I had on my last boat, the bucket head idea seems pretty reasonable; the porta-poti head has many flaws and inconveniences, but it's what make's sense on smaller boats. That boat was 27 feet and 1200 pounds; 300 pounds of MSD system would have insulted the efforts taken to save weight. I agree that your aproach makes a lot more sense than carrying a sloshing porta-poti base down the dock.
 

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That's pretty neat! The tanks a bit small, but with the availability of pump out boats it might be a good alternative.

Now I wonder if I can take the contents home and compost it ... :p
As long as you haven't used the chemicals, yes you could, but it would be a pretty disgusting proposition though.
If you think dealing with a mostly dry, sawdust covered plastic pail of virtually odorless waste is nasty, wait till you start dealing with anaerobically active liquid waste. :eek:

I would recommend that you stick with the pump out.

And yes, I know you were only poking fun. :rolleyes:
 

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Due to the LOW amount of flush water because it is a direct deposit device with the poop NOT traveling to a tank it is BIG at 9.5 gallons

We are pretty good about timing are deposits and while we did have it pumped twice in 2011 we cold have gotten by with once
 

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. And it won't be any more dangerous than all the diapers that end up there.
Good point.
The way I see it the volume is so low it shouldn't matter.
 

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Due to the LOW amount of flush water because it is a direct deposit device with the poop NOT traveling to a tank it is BIG at 9.5 gallons

We are pretty good about timing are deposits and while we did have it pumped twice in 2011 we cold have gotten by with once
Tommays, I don't understand what you are saying there. Where does the poop go if not into the tank?

The manual says it uses an average of one quart per flush. If you add in the urine and the solids. The way I figure it, you will probably get around thirty uses before having to pump out. Depending on how many people, especially females are using it, that's pretty good.
I would certainly choose a system that had it's own self contained tank before I ever went back to a traditional set up. If it smells anything like a port-a-potty though, I wouldn't want anything to do with it.
 

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Due to the LOW amount of flush water because it is a direct deposit device with the poop NOT traveling to a tank it is BIG at 9.5 gallons

We are pretty good about timing are deposits and while we did have it pumped twice in 2011 we cold have gotten by with once
Interesting device. Probably a good choice for smaller boats who don't want to go the composting route. An EXCELLENT device when matched to a maceratior/overboard discharge for Canadian boats. Most canadian boats of any vintage are direct-overboard flush only, which in most areas is totally reasonable form an environmental point of view, but a unit like this would allow you to keep the stuff out of the water while travelling by the oyster farms of Desolation Sound, or in the crowded low-flow harbors and anchorages.

As long as it has some flush water it might smell less than a porta-pottie, but on the other hand, it'll be an anerobic tank and every time you make a deposit, I would expect smell unless you use chemical warfare.

As for the previous comments about there being no way to dispose of composing toilet waste, the answer is to put it in the trash. I like Knothead's comparison to diapers in the trash. There was also some hysteria about the dangers if someone's dog got into the trash, or the poor trash handler etc, and to those I would say that trash is rife with bacteria. That raw turkey you threw out 3 days ago is now crawling with salmonella and shigella. The cat litter is full of e-coli and even toxoplasmosis:eek: and yet sanitation workers and those who rifle through trash seem to do okay....:rolleyes: The Nature's head has a neat design feature whereby a yard-waste trash bag fits snugly over the lower part of the toilet. Turn it over and it all goes into the bag. No touching of poo required. Though I still wash my hands afterwards for good measure.

Medsailor

PS Knothead, I can't speak much to the question of development of immune systems as a child because there isn't enough good evidence one way or the other that infections "strengthen" the immune system. What I can tell you is that the immune system is largely developed before adolescence and doesn't change much as an adult. Many of us who go into healthcare fields suddenly find that we never get sick anymore and some (usually not the providers because we're supposed to know better) attribute it to "a stronger immune system" when really the evidence shows it's because we wash our hands obsessively.

For further reading related to your question, check out "The Hygiene Hypothesis." A mature, but unproven, hypothesis that allergic diseases specifically are caused by the lack of parasite exposure in the developed world. When reading about this topic or ANYTHING MEDICAL please PLEASE skip right over Wikipedia. ANY website is better than they are on medical topics. :hammer
 

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Tommays, I don't understand what you are saying there. Where does the poop go if not into the tank?

The manual says it uses an average of one quart per flush. If you add in the urine and the solids. The way I figure it, you will probably get around thirty uses before having to pump out. Depending on how many people, especially females are using it, that's pretty good.
I would certainly choose a system that had it's own self contained tank before I ever went back to a traditional set up. If it smells anything like a port-a-potty though, I wouldn't want anything to do with it.

The poop goes into the tank and travels 12" BUT does NOT have to travel down a hose to a tank and use a bunch of water getting it there which cuts out most if not all the places systems get smells from

To be perfectly honest if you leave the freshwater OFF and people are just peeing you can turn on the water and rinse the bowl at the end of the day

If you leave it on it takes a TINY amount of water to flush pee and is for sure the lowest water use unit of its type
 

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The Bears two cents worth....
Would be very interested in poll, and hats off for a great article Genieskip! Exactly the kind of information needed for "an informed desision". The idea of getting rid of that 10 gal. holding tank and all the extra plumbing on my 24' boat is fantasicly beautiful. I don't care what the factory rep's say after a couple of years those poly tanks smell. And the idea of a dorade vent instead of a 1 1/2" hole in the hull is even better.
Run the poll, get more input, get more info, feedback. Faster,S..Dad, this is good, get on it.
Redthe Bear
 

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We were ready to jump to a composting toilet at this time last year. Saw the Airhead and Nature's Head at Strictly Sail Chicago and thought this was perfect. No qualms about yuck factor or any of the disposal issues which to me are moot if done responsibly. We decided to hold off until we had access to the boat in the spring to confirm it would fit with access to everything necessary. Glad we did as either of the units would have fit perfectly. Our problem was there was no good, visually or structurally acceptable way to route the exhaust hose given the construction of our boat.

So now I'm taking a hard look at the self contained gravity flow unit by Sealand (Dometic) pictured previously in this thread. I'm going to start a new thread for specific input on that unit/concept so as not to get this one way off track.

Mobnets
1973 Paceship Chance 32/28 "Westwind"
 

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Our problem was there was no good, visually or structurally acceptable way to route the exhaust hose given the construction of our boat.
Mobnets
1973 Paceship Chance 32/28 "Westwind"
What I plan to do is plumb the nature's head vent hose out of the side of the hull in an above the waterline through-hull. I've got one there that I'm not using anyway and I'd rather keep my solar vent free for circulating air through the shower and head.

Did you consider going through the hull above the waterline?

MedSailor
 

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MedSailor;
No I didn't. Interesting idea but how are you going to prevent water entering when heeled over to that side?
Mobnets
 
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