2 bin composting toilet system design

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: 2 bin composting toilet system design
Author: Pinar Kinikoglu (Pinar)
Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 4:27 am
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Hello;
Few months ago, we decided to go "full Jenkins" and since then all of our problems are resolved! Thanks a lot.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 7:57 pm
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All kitchen scraps go into the humanure compost bin. They're collected in the kitchen in a small, porcelain bucket (with a lid) and emptied as needed.

Author: Pinar Kinikoglu (Pinar)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 - 6:03 am
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I understand.

Another question: Are you putting kitchen scraps to your active composting bin, too? If so, are you also collecting them in some other place in large quantities before you deposit them into the bin?

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Monday, August 18, 2008 - 6:50 pm
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I have never used a direct deposit compost bin/toilet, but I can see how covering the material could be a problem due to the frequent, small deposits. The standard humanure toilet system, with a 20 liter receptacle, allows for the depositing of the contents of several receptacles at one, so it's easier to cover adequately.

Author: Pinar Kinikoglu (Pinar)
Sunday, August 17, 2008 - 5:56 am
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Hi Joe;
We put our humanure toilet/composting bin system into work last month. Everything was going well until we put some decaying (very smelly) food scraps (in rather large quantity) to the bin. Very unfortunate move on our part. Since then we have a common house fly problem inside the bin. The interesting thing is that there is no odor at all that we can smell inside the bin!

Some background:
1. we were using grass clippings from our land as cover material.

2. in the design, instead of putting a ventilation pipe, we left the top 15 cm of the two facing side walls open, and secured it with a fly net.

3. since we are using the active bin as a toilet daily, the material that was deposited to the bin at one time is very small compared to your system. So, we were only putting a couple of handful grass clippings to cover it. We were not putting a big sack of hay on top of the grass clippings until this problem.

4. When this fly problem happened, we got some combination of finely chopped and course sawdust and cover the whole thing really well and then put a thick layer of hay (still, not as much as you do, since we have to pull that layer to the side when we use the toilet.) The first few days, it was ok, but then again, every time (once every day or every other day) we open the lid on top to use it, we see that inside is swarming with flies! All except few fly out. Those few try to stay inside on the walls. We try to get all out. But, next time, they are still there! We were seldom using the composting bin/toilet for urine.

5. Since this problem, we are collecting the food scraps at some other place. Actually, we simply dug a shallow hole, and put the food scraps inside. We put some hay on top, with a heavy stone so that dogs or other animals don't disturb it. Before every deposit of food scraps, we take the hay out, deposit it, then put it back. If needed, we add more hay to the top layer. And, It is working just fine. No fly problem there.

I am not sure if these flies are those larvae hatching from the first swarm (and we have a vicious cycle there, ie: before we get them out, they are laying their eggs!) or they are still smelling something there and coming in. The only place that they can enter is the lid on top. There are slight openings here and there where the lid is touching the frame, and it seems to me that it is really hard to get in from there but somehow they are doing it.

Now, we plan to put more sawdust. Is there such a thing as too much saw dust? I am worried that too much saw dust will prevent air circulation inside the compost. Not sure, what else we can do. We considered leaving the top lid open but put a net on top (similar to yours) so that rather than flies being trapped inside, they would fly out and not lay their eggs inside. But at the same time it means, they can get in more easily.

When we watched your videos again, we noticed that you put a huge sack of hay every time you deposit your 3 5-gallon buckets. We can not put that much because of the way we use the composting bin as toilet. But, there must be a way to do it!

The pictures of the bin are in Picasa. If you are interested in seeing them, I can send the link.

Any feedback is really appreciated.

(Message edited by Pinar on August 17, 2008)

Author: Pinar Kinikoglu (Pinar)
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 - 2:27 am
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Thank you very much Joe. We will drill holes as you suggested to help air to go into the bin as the box will be completely closed.

By the way, we watched your videos and read the book. They helped a lot. Thanks again.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Tuesday, July 01, 2008 - 1:07 pm
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Are the boxes completely closed on the sides? Is there any way for air to enter near the bottom? I have little experience with fully enclosed (watertight and airtight) compost bins, but I did do an experiment over the past 6 months with such a bin. I created a false bottom in the bin and ran an air pipe into the false bottom (you can run your ventilation pipe down into the bottom of the bin to do the same thing). In order for this to work, I had to drain the liquid that builds up on the bottom, which I pumped back over the top. This is a fairly complicated system, however, but it seemed to allow for aerobic composting inside an enclosed container.

Otherwise, you can drill holes in your box sides and that will allow air into the mass.

Regarding cover material, a cup after using the toilet will not be enough. 3 or 4 cups maybe, depending on what you're covering. If you're only covering urine, a cup may be enough.

Have you looked at any of my short video clips? [http://jenkinspublishing.com/videos.html]

An enclosed bin with the top covered will make it more difficult to access the compost for management purposes. As long as you can get in from one or two sides, it may work.

Unless you have torrential rains and your compost is not heating well and leachate is running off it into the well, I doubt that you should have any concerns about the compost pile. Keep monitoring the temperature, keep it covered and well-managed, and you should not have problems.

Author: Pinar Kinikoglu (Pinar)
Tuesday, July 01, 2008 - 11:43 am
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Hi;

We are planning to build a composting toilet in our land where it is pretty hot (around 35+ Centigrade during summer) and rain is only during winter and spring time. No snow.

We have no prior experience. We are planning to compost other organic material such as food scrap, leaves, grass clippings, etc. in the same place.

We plan to build a 2-bin composting toilet system for 2 people and wanted to check our design with you.

Our measurements are in meters (1 meter is slightly more than 1 yard).

- 2 adjacent bins like wooden boxes with no bottom (directly on earth) and a hole at the top with a lid. The lid will be opened to use the toilet. This hole will also be used to add cover material and food scrap, etc.
- The size of each bin will be 1.75 cubic meter where each side is 1.2 meters long.
- One side of the box will have an access door for maintenance and annual removal.
- bottom will be covered with straw before the initial use (about 1/3 of the height of the bin)
- bins will have another hole on one side close to the top for connecting ventilation pipes.
- we are not planning to separate urine
- we assume that a cup of covering material such as sawdust, leaves after each use will be enough
- we will occasionally rake the heap (once a week) to flatten it a little bit.

Based on our design, we have the following questions. We would appreciate if you could give us a feedback as to if our design would work and any necessary modifications.


Will we need another hole, opening other than the ventilation pipes for air to go into the bin? Will the ventilation pipe be enough for supplying oxygen?

Will the frequency and amount of cover materials be enough in terms of preventing odor and flies?

We have a water well at 90 meters deep. Our planned toilet site is about 30 meters (downslope from the well) away from the well. It is also about 10 meters from the house. Should we have any concerns regarding polluting the water?

Thanks in advance.

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