55 gallon drum/barrel for composting bin

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: 55 gallon drum/barrel for composting bin
Author: Elias
Tuesday, January 17, 2006 - 7:14 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

So, I just wanted to know why nobody has mentioned (in the posts I read) using 55 gallon barrels - like oil barrels - for composting humanure, like they show in this webpage http://www.homestead.com/peaceandcarrots/composttoilet.html (which is, by the way, the option I'm about to try out).
Happy humanuring

Author: admin
Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - 12:26 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

The problem with a 55 gallon barrel is that it is too heavy to deal with by hand when full, other than to dig it out. If water weighs 8 pounds/gallon, then a full barrel (of water, as an example) would weigh 440 pounds. Five gallon containers are small enough that they can be moved by just about anyone.

Author: Elias
Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - 12:59 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

Hi, thanks for responding so quickly!
What I was thinking of doing was using the 55 gallon barrels only as composting bins and just flip them over after a couple of years to harvest the humus. I'm aware that there could be a problem with anaerobic conditions happening in the bin, so I was thinking that maybe it would need a peforated pipe in the middle as a chimney to breathe through. Also Im wondering if there would be a slury at the bottom of the bin that could be a problem.
I just wanted to see if anyone had used a system like this, or if this was uncharted territory, in which case I'll happily report back to the forum with my obsevations.

Elias

Author: Larry
Thursday, January 19, 2006 - 12:05 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

Barrels can make serviceable compost bins, but I think drain holes are essential. A vertical perforated pipe may not prevent anaerobic conditions in the bottom of a sealed container. When you dump out the contents be prepared for a black stinky mess. If leachate is a concern, use a drain line at the bottom of the barrel to collect excess liquid, which can be poured back over the pile to keep the top moist, or used as compost tea around trees.
The World Toilet Organization has a page with a design for a unique sawdust/bucket toilet. Check it out at: http://www.worldtoilet.org/design/design.htm

Author: Anonymous
Thursday, January 19, 2006 - 7:10 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

There is a post by a person using a large trash can to compost indoors, it is in the "cover materials?" thread. They are using a tank aerator to force air into the pile (powered by a solar pannel) and it is vented through a smaller finished compost bucket to avoid having to vent to the outdoors. I don't know how the experiment has worked as the post is a couple years old I think.

I am doing a version of this but outside on a patio. We are in Central FL so hopefully warmer temps will let the compost cook faster so that the bin doesn't fill up too soon. We have only just started, (three buckets so far), and the bin seems like it will be full by the 4th bucket. We drilled lots of holes in the 45 gallon trash bin. The challenge seems to be carefully pouring the bucket in the center while keeping the cover material up around the sides. On the second bucket dump, there was some odor problems as I think the dump was off center and wound up against the side. I Had to lay the bin over and work cover material down along that side to take care of the problem.
We are in an appartment complex and I'm sure we would be in some sort of trouble if we allowed strong odors to persist around our pattio.

In any case, I'm still waiting for my compost thermomiter to arrive but when I was fixing the problem the day after the 2nd bucket dump I noticed conciderable heat comming off the deposits. I personally think a little veggie oil added in with the deposits seems to heat it up quickly. We add our kitchen scraps into the toilet.

For cover material outside we are using leaves, pine needles, and what I'm going to start calling palm straw (old dry pallmetto and cabbage palm fronds that have been crunched up.)

Author: TCLynx
Thursday, January 19, 2006 - 7:12 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

I've made a plastic 55 gallon drum into a composter before. It took alot of hole drilling though.

Author: Elias
Thursday, February 09, 2006 - 12:25 am
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

Hi again, thank you all for your comments, they all helped me very much. Here are some photos of my implementation http://www.flickr.com/photos/74196812@N00/sets/72057594061574590/ , i used chicken wire to provide air to the compost pile and drain holes under the drum. I think its working since there are no harsh smells anywhere. Don't know the temperature since I havent found a compost thermometer anywhere here (in mexico) - any good-cheap thermomethers selling online?...
Well thanks to everyone who answered my post and especially to joe jenkins (whom id like to meet someday, if your ever in mexico... )

Author: Elias
Monday, February 13, 2006 - 10:46 am
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

Hi again. Just wanted to let you know that I made a blog (in spanish) with the pictures of my composting barrel at http://nanacatl.blogspot.com/ so that people can more easily leave messages. You can leave messages in English too if you want to, no worries. Well, thanks again.

Author: admin
Monday, February 13, 2006 - 11:22 am
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

Looks interesting. Please keep us informed about how ithe barrell composter works out.

What part of Mexico are you in?

Joe

Author: Anonymous
Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 5:26 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

Our compost bins (here in central FL composting on an appartment patio in large trash bins with holes drilled-hence why I post these updates as Anonymous) seem to fill up really quickly. Probably has to do with the ratio of cover material to bucket material to keep the smell down in smaller footprint containers. The thermomiter arrived and we were cooking over 130 degrees F for a few days after every deposite.
I wonder if adding one of those tank aerators will help it cook down faster or not?

Author: TCLynx
Thursday, February 16, 2006 - 5:27 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

http://www.reotemp.com/
look for the 20" backyard composting thermomiter.

Author: admin
Saturday, February 18, 2006 - 12:23 am
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

An electric aerator would make for an interesting experiment. The air can be pushed into the compost or pulled through it.

Author: Elias
Monday, April 24, 2006 - 9:57 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

Hmm. I was hoping that the chicken wire will let enough air circulate through the compost.. so that no furher handling would be necessary. This WAS my hope since now - after 2 months, and 10 humanure buckets the - 200 liter bin is full, it looks ok, and has no bad odors still, I still havent got a compost thermometer in celcius, but a metal rod inserted in the pile (which I used to poke some holes in the compost) tells me it just warmed up a little bit. So now Im willing to use an air pump to see if some extra air, and perhaves some extra urine get things cooking a bit more.
So, I'll post again with more info on this.

Author: Anonymous
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 11:46 am
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

I appreciate your posting of the 55 gallon drum composter trials. I plan to try a similar tactic here this summer. Here are a couple links for ideas.

http://biorealis.com/composter/compost.html

http://www.sunfrost.com/composting_toilets.html

I plan to try some versions of these. I don't want to divert urine but want to try to keep it in the drum. I like the idea of a pump to bring it back to the top to remix and also help evaporate, but am worried about the odor. I plan to use 55 gallon drums inside an outhouse.

We will see how it works.

Author: Anonymous
Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 12:28 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

Keep us posted about how your 55 gallon Drum trials go!!!!!

Chicken wire should let plenty of air at the pile. More important than allowing air in, make sure you use some cover material that help fluf things up a little and entrap air in the pile.

I've thought about adding a air pump into our system but so far it seems to be working very well all on it's own other than the fact that a 55 gallon trash can doesn't seem to hold much.

Author: Wendy Martin
Sunday, May 21, 2006 - 7:04 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

I was the owner of Peace and Carrots Farm. Just saw the thread about our 55 gallon drums. When the barrels were frozen, but done composting and the snow was cushy, we would roll the barrels over to the underground house roof to be dumped out on a warm day. Very easy to transport.

For the orchard, we filled up 5 gallon buckets with the finished compost and hauled them via ATV to the orchard to spread around the base of trees.

No problems and fairly easy...

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics Profile Last Day Last Week Search Tree View Member List Log Out     Administration
Topics Profile Last Day Last Week Search Tree View Member List Log Out   Administration
Welcome to The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board
For assistance, read the instructions or contact us.
Powered by Discus Pro
http://www.discusware.com