Composting Toilets

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Guy_Incognito, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

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    Alright, anyone had much to do with them?

    I'll explain my situation:

    Block of land about 2.5 acres, fairly sloped, good view of the mountains reaching down to the ocean at the top end, so that's where the house is going.

    Soil drainage - by my eye, poor, bit of clay, rocks thrown in for good measure. On the house pad, water pools for a day or two - and it rains every day or two.......

    Rainfall - About 290 inches a year, bulk of that in the 6 month 'wet' season.

    Environmental - Borders on World Heritage protected rainforest. Local gov't requires a permit to clear anything with a site visit and the general rule is "as little as possible"

    Local Gov't - Hippies. :) Recommend composting toilets where possible, and I agree with them there - the lower sections of the region are practically swamps.

    Power - No grid, rough design of a solar system in place.

    So I'm looking at one of these:

    http://www.sun-mar.com/products/Centrex2000NE.php

    Basically a "1 pint" low flush composting toilet. Little runoff - most water is removed via evaporation, which will be fine in that climate - plenty of warmth to help things along.

    I don't mind the ye olde "long-drop" type composting toilets, but the wife has some ingrained fear of "something" coming up the chute to get her :p Also , the plans have a second-storey toilet in them that I'd like to keep if at all possible.

    So, that looks like the only "flush" composting type toilet on the market. Anyone seen any others around? Any good or bad experiences with composting toilets in general? Let me know, before it's too late :)
     
  2. busybee870

    busybee870 Well-Known Member

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    I HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING THIS AS WELL, YOU CAN DO WITH OUT THE WATER, BUT USING THE SAW DUST OR PINE SHAVING METHOD, RESEARCH UNDER HUMANURE COMPOSTING, GREAT PICS ON TOILETS, AND COMPOST INFORMATION. sAVE THAT PRECIOUS WATER!!
     

  3. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

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    heh - water conservation is not really an issue there with ... waitaminnit, that's supposed to be 1300 inches a year. Thought it looked a little low when it fell out of my calculator before. Stupid imperial units!

    Anyway, as I was saying :) , water conservation is not reeeeally an issue with 1300 inches of rain a year. The biggest hassle is getting rid of the water from a toilet system. And I'm afraid it has to be some sort of flush system, even just "tiny flush" like the one I linked to. I don't have any say in that - the wife says It Will Be So. (captials included) :p
     
  4. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    wow 1300 inches a year and I thought hawaii and pohnepei had the world record. I am planning on compost toilets also. homemade of course.
     
  5. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

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    Well, heck, that still doesn't look right :) Think I slipped a decimal point.
    Let's forget the imperial measurements and just say it rains a lot!
    My annual rainfall chart for the region says it's 3500mm a year.

    Anyway, where was I.... oh yes. Composting flush toilets. Read the specs etc on the site, and the thing I find interesting is that you can plumb a couple of pedestals to the same unit some distance horizontally away if needed, which is what I'd like. So I'll guess I'll go with it and see how it all turns out!

    But if anyone's had any terrible experiences with them, let me know... I hate being the experimental guinea pig with new stuff!
     
  6. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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  7. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    3500 mm? that is around 10 feet per year, give or take a few inches. 3500 mm is 350 cm is 3 and a half meter. one meter is a little more than three feet. so you get about 2 and a half inches per week, figured roughly in my head. well, at least you won't be watering the garden much...
     
  8. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I see that these recommend having a drain for excess liquid. Most places this drain would have to go to a septic tank and drain field as it is "black" water. The unit also has an electric element to evaporate excess liquid. I wouldn't want a composting toilet that used water to flush, because of excess liquid problems. Just the urine from regular use can lead to too much liquid and require heat and/or ventilation to deal with.
    Maybe you need to educate your wife.<G>
     
  9. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    My in-laws have on in their cabin. It took a little learning and fiddling to get it to work right but they've been very happy with it. It sort of flushes, or rather you step on a lever and dump the stuff down. It stinks a bit at times, mostly when not opperating correctly I believe. Wish I could tell you more but I haven't used it much.
     
  10. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    have friends that have had their Sun-Mar composting toilets for years..never heard or "smelled" a problem with any of theirs..My Dad had a little toilet that was over a "hole" in the ground..pushed a button..water dropped into the toilet bowel and then you pushed another button and it opened and dropped down into the ground. Use to have it pumped out every few years or so. Sounds something like someone had mntioned before..but..I don't think I would want this type in a "real" house. It did have a smell in the hot humid Maryland summers...but it was only a summer used house so we never really cared much about it and Mom was always putting air fresheners around it anyways..I would definetly go with the composting toilets. If our septic every gives up the ghosts I will get one and not an expensive new septic built. Cost ways..is a big difference and for Mother Earth's sake a much better choice. When you think about it..flushing gallons of clean water literally "down the toilet"..for a few ounces of waste..is a real waste !! Good Luck with your choice..it sounds as though you have a beautiful place happening !!
     
  11. Aintlifegrand

    Aintlifegrand Well-Known Member

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    I currently use the sawdust toilet and it works great. No smell ( even in 98 degrees with only a small window above). It is made of oak and looks great. We compost the manure and use around trees etc. We have three-six people all the time using it. So far no problems. If you type in Sawdust toilet you will find a bunch of information.
     
  12. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I've heard the urine overflo tubes clog real easy. We have used the sawdust toilet for years. I just get tired of hauling it out. I'm planning to build composting toilets on the house. I read a book called 'the Toilet Papers' by Sim Van Der Ryn that has some good plans.
     
  13. dixiedoodle

    dixiedoodle Well-Known Member

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    When ya find out something give me a buzz. I sure need one my self. The woods,bires,and posin ivy is enough. I don,t have 1500 dollars for septic. Live next to road,but do have some land streatched out .
     
  14. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

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    From what I can tell, the amount of heat in the climate it'll be in will help the evaporation enormously. The heater seems to be for you crazy people who live more than 20 degrees from the equator. :p Average yearly temps at the place are about 22 deg C min, 30 degrees max. There's only two adults and two kids so it's not like it's a flush-o-rama all day, every day.

    A small soak pit (or transpiration bed with something large and green and leafy growing in it ... probably what I'll go for) *should* be able to take the excess. The unit itself will be underneath our pole house (about 2m clearance) and will likely have the afternoon sun on it. The vent tube will be painted black to help the chimney effect along as well.

    I'd go with the "long-drop" type such as a rotaloo but yeah, that hole in there freaks people out sometimes. And having a good look at the plans, well apart from the difficulty of the 2nd storey toilet (who designed this? :) ) the ground storey toilet is on a slab section before the house extends over a slope, so some sort of flush to help transport things along is probably going to be needed. Either that or an outside privy. :)

    Actually, here's a here's a few photos and what-not to give you an idea of what I'll have to put up with every single day :p

    Thanks for all the feedback - I'll see how it goes!
     
  15. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    I like the traditional Japanese idea of having a throne room separate from the bathroom. It could even be off an outside porch. It is not so neccessary if the composting toilet is kept warm enough and properly vented but I like the aesthetic of it all. Why spoil the moment. All you need is a room with a view. A simple window screen would be nice in summer.

    I like the two hole method since this is probably the best place for it to finish composting. Ideally each hole might hold a years worth, but I understand if you double that it will hold 20 years worth. The other route would be to join the bucket a month club, and slide a new bucket in each month. I think I would still have to holes so the bucket can be vented for an additional month before being sealed for a year. You would still need a place to store 12 sealed buckets and it might as well be the same room. They might look rather nice all stacked up together, perhaps capturing some solar energy and giving off some heat of their own. Am I correct that you could seal them after a month, or would they blow? Perhaps they could still be vented. Maybe they could provided lighting. :)
     
  16. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    we have a biolet deluxe composting toilet that is supposed to be for 3-4 full time using adults. NOT ! There are two of us and we both work away from home, yet we continually have problems with excess fluid. Worked with the company for over a year trying to solve the problem to no avail- finally gave up and just try to urinate in the outhouse as much as possible during the summer, during very cold winter i just empty the thing more often or drain off the excess liquid. was gross at first but by golly a person can get used to most anything!