Humanure in your backyard in the Big ...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: Humanure in your backyard in the Big city
Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - 9:40 pm
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I've found a low-cost, what appears to be layman friendly test for coliforms! The name of the product is Coliscan Easygel. They have a website, or the tests are available from other suppliers. A home test kit, which includes materials for three tests, is only 8 dollars.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Friday, August 08, 2008 - 1:31 pm
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Demeter - can I get more info about the e coli testing from you directly? We are working on similar experimentation and I'd like to find out more from you. Email = joe at josephjenkins.com.

Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Thursday, July 31, 2008 - 1:49 am
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Consult your city ordinance book about rules for composting in your area. Ask your city clerk for it. You might be able to read it online.

I'm a microbiologist, so I have access to laboratory facilities. What the test involves is culturing several samples of compost on media (agar plates) which selects for _E. coli_. To have the test done in a commercial lab could cost $100. Realize you have to pay for materials and labor. OTOH, you could contact your local university microbiology or biology department. If you ask nicely, someone might do the test for you just for cost of materials--about $20--or totally gratis.

I might add that I did the tests twice: first after three months of aging, and later after six months. The first test showed presence of _E. coli_ in small amounts in some parts of the bin. The second test was totally negative.

(Message edited by demeter on July 31, 2008)

Author: D (Compost_d)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - 1:05 pm
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@Demeter
Awesome! Thanks for the details.

Did you do any research on the local governance guidelines about composting? How did you go about it? Where do you go for that kind of information?

Also, where did you have your compost tested? What does the process involve?

Cheers

Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - 4:16 pm
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LOL we are all relieving--yes!

After it has aged awhile, I dump the barrel into the compost bin in the backyard. My current compost bin is 3' by 3' and 2' high. That's a bit small. We are allowed to have a 150 cubic feet pile, so long as the pile/bin is less than 4 feet high. My main cover material is leaf litter, since we have that in abundance. I posted elsewhere on this forum that I dry the leaves in a solar cooker. That enables me to crumble them up--especially for indoors.

As of right now, it only accommodates one person--myself. Hopefully my husband will eventually use it. At least he is supportive of all my "green" efforts.

I got the barrel at the hardware store for $15. Here's the link for how I drilled the holes: http://www4.uwm.edu//shwec/publications/cabinet/factsheets/CanComposter.pdf
I had trouble getting it to heat up in the winter time. A 50 gallon barrel would work better.

We have a small garden which gets most of the compost, but until now it has only received yard waste and kitchen scraps. I look forward to next year when the Humanure will be ripe.

BTW, I did have it tested, and after having aged 6 months, there is no _E. coli_. Happy composting to you!

Author: D (Compost_d)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 - 12:35 pm
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@Demeter,
Excellent! Can you please share what you use as cover material? What do you do with the material once it has composted back to humus (do you lug the barrel some place)? Perhaps you can snap some discrete pictures of your operation and share them here? I don't have a garage but I do have a backyard. How many people does the compost accomodate? Where does one acquire a 35 gallon barrel or larger?

Thanks for sharing, it's relieving to hear other people do this.

Thanks!

Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Monday, July 28, 2008 - 5:15 pm
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I live in a suburb of a metropolitan area. There are pretty strict codes about how low the grass needs to be mowed, etc. But composting is allowed. So we have it. There is no odor from the compost pile except the nice earthy smell. No flies. We keep the fresh composting Humanure in the garage, in a 35 gallon barrel. While what we are doing is not illegal, there might be some fecophobes that might overreact. So the preliminary bucket emptying is done in private. The barrel doesn't stink either, and there are no flies. Use enough cover, and there is no odor problem.

(Message edited by demeter on July 28, 2008)

Author: D (Compost_d)
Saturday, July 26, 2008 - 11:08 am
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Big city living, it would be nice to hear what others are doing in their backyards. What are the dimensions of the heap. The house has 2 occupants living in it guest who often frequent. I can get the dimensions of the backyard. The thing is there are 2 seperate structures in the backyard, one is a 2 story office/apartment and the other is a massage studio. So aroma and pests can pose a problem. Please post your feedback and/or own bigcity backyard setup. Cheers

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