CANADA

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: CANADA
Author: Frankwork (Frankwork)
Monday, July 26, 2010 - 3:27 pm
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Toronto (GTA) Humanure composters wanted
I am a feature writer at the Toronto Star and I'm looking for humanure composters in Toronto or the GTA to interview for a feature story. Can you help?
Joseph Jenkins suggested I post my request here.
My e-mail address is fkopun@thestar.ca
Thank you!

Author: Tna4evr (Tna4evr)
Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - 1:34 pm
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Thanks for the thread maintenance, Joe. You've allied some concerns about freezing piles and lower temperature piles.

I'm composting humanure with varied rates of success (all successes, I might add) on saturna island in southern British Columbia. While I am enthusiastic about the process and have been filling our humanure hacienda with local Doug Fir and Alder (the Alder breaks down beautifully), I'm still having a little trouble getting the temperature up above 130. I've started adding straw and fresh grass clippings to aerate the pile. In addition, we occasionally ad "nettle tea" to boost the nitrogen in the pile from time to time. This has all helped immeasurably, but winter rains and cold make it tricky.

I wouldn't be overly concerned about getting a hot pile going if it weren't for the mice that were digging into the top of the pile. For warmth, or food, or both. That in and of itself is not a large concern, but there are also mice in our outdoor kitchen and the cat periodically brings them into our bed. I've put hardware cloth on the sides and base of the hacienda walls in an attempt to deter this problem, but they do seem to be tenacious. (They have no problems getting through the cat door without the cats help.)

Do you see this vermin problem as a cross-contamination issue? I know the likely of risk is small, but there seems to be something fundamentally wrong about it. I know there are raccoons in the neighbourhood, but they have not yet found or paid any particular attention to the piles.

Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Anatole
sent from sunny (and frosty) Saturna

Author: Joe (Joe)
Friday, November 13, 2009 - 5:53 pm
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First off, you don't have to worry about what comes out of your body. It's already in there, so if you're making compost from your own humanure, it's not dangerous to you. It is only dangerous to others if you are diseased and are allowing your humanure to pollute the environment, especially drinking water supplies and to a lesser extent, soil. If you're adding your humanure to a compost bin and a compost environment, you are doing the best possible thing with it.

Secondly, no matter what, if you are concerned about the safety of your compost, use the finished compost for horticultural purposes rather than in contact with food crops. You are not likely to have a constant thermophilic compost heap year round in cold weather when composting on a small scale. Just let it age for a year after the pile is completely built.

Remember that the pathogen research was done with humanure that was either inoculated with pathogens for the purposes of the research, or else the humanure was taken from a known population of people who were diseased. The idea that humanure is inherently pathogenic is not correct anymore than saying that people themselves are inherently pathogenic. The purpose of the research was to see whether the compost environment eliminates disease organisms. It does, and yes, the hotter the compost (within limits), the faster the pathogens will die off. They will still die off in lower temperature compost over a longer period of time.

Author: Clearsky (Clearsky)
Friday, November 13, 2009 - 4:08 am
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Hello Joe

We are still waiting for your response regarding our pile that didn't heat up to the required "cooking" temperature before winter...

We realize composts that have heated up during the summer will freeze, then thaw and there are no problems with that. But what about a compost pile that hasn't reached the required temperature?

Please let us know quickly! The rest of our buckets are filling up now and the old pile is too far from the main house in winter.

Thank you, much appreciated!

Greetings from Ela and Cara

Author: Clearsky (Clearsky)
Sunday, November 08, 2009 - 8:20 am
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Dear Joseph Jenkins

Can it be a problem to start a new compost that's heated up only to 32C just now, so shortly before winter? I'm thinking that it won't heat up well enough (meaning become thermophilic) before the outdoor heat of June starts and therefore might hurt the environment.

Thank you for an immediate response... our buckets are filling up quickly. ;)

Have a good day!
Greetings from Clear Sky - Ela/Cara

Author: Joe (Joe)
Saturday, November 07, 2009 - 10:53 am
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My compost froze solid for the first 10 years or more, but became thermophilic when it thawed. In Mongolia, I know some people who have built a greenhouse over their compost pile. They have a lot of sun there, so it may help. Just because the compost freezes - that doesn't mean it hurts it or won't heat up. If you have a thaw, the compost should heat up at that time. My compost no longer freezes. I speculate that over 30 years in the same place, I may be breeding bacteria that are better suited to the climate.

Author: Halipoo (Halipoo)
Thursday, November 05, 2009 - 9:09 pm
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Do you mean to say that if added to in the winter, the compost pile will not reach thermophilic temperatures *At All*?

I wonder how a sustainable system can be acchieved at all to dispose of our human waste in a sanitary manner above the 60th parallel in this case. Do you have an answer for the large chunk of the human population who care about our future who live in a part of the world that has a winter?

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Thursday, February 19, 2009 - 2:48 pm
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1) The main advantages of a 20 liter container humanure toilet system include: simplicity, low-cost, ease of handling, odor control, versatility,and long-term sustainability. I use a 20 liter container system at my place of business where each toilet has about 6 receptacles available (more if needed), essentially creating a 120 liter (30 gallon) system for each toilet room. As each receptacle fills, it is set aside, out of sight, with a lid. When all are full, they are emptied into the compost bin. With two toilets and only a handful of users, the receptacles are emptied about every six weeks. It take about an hour to empty, clean and replace them. My business has two year-round full-time employees, several seasonal full time employees, and several part time employees, plus a large room used for community space at times. 20 liter systems can be located anywhere - bedrooms, closets, porches, outhouses, bathrooms. This makes them very versatile and easy to set up and use. The small size makes covering the contents very accurate and therefore odor control is easy.

Wheelie bins require a space designed for their size and removal. They may be easier to manage when they are simply rolled aside and ignored after they are full. However, there is no way the contents will thermophilically compost inside the bins. The wheelie bins would have to be emptied into a compost bin, and wheelie bins are hard to handle for one person (two people can dump a wheelie bin if it's not too big). The wheelie bin system holds promise when someone with the means and equipment is in the business of picking up the bins and recycling the contents via thermophilic composting. I expect this type of business to spring up before too long.

2) You can set one up whenever you need it. You will likely have better compost when starting in the summer, but if the compost doesn't heat up this winter, you can just let it age longer and use it for planting trees or elsewhere where the compost will be buried.

3) It's important to never add organic material on top of a compost pile. You should always dig a hole in the compost and add the material into the pile, then cover it over. If the pile is frozen, you will not be able to do this, but if it's frozen, nothing will be getting into it anyway. that's one big advantage to hot compost - when you bury fresh organic material in it, the vermin lose interest. If you build a sturdy bin with 4 sides and cover the top with a heavy wire mesh and ample cover material, you should be OK. I have had bears in my yard a couple times, but they never disturbed the compost. They got a bee hive once and found a trash bag and ripped it apart. Others who write in to this message board have concerns about bears. You can search the board for "bears" and see what they have to say.

Author: clear sky meditation and study foun (Clearsky)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 9:02 pm
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We are planning to set up a humanure toilet system for our growing meditation centre in BC Canada. The following questions have come up:

1) There are several opinions in our organisation about the various existing systems of toilet composting, in your view what are the main benefits for a humanure toilet over other composting toilet systems? Especially regarding emptying of buckets as opposed to collecting "wheely bins".

2) We have the choice of setting this new system up now (February) or starting in July - which do you recommend?

3) Our location is rural (Cranbrook, near Alberta and the US border) and we have to deal with rodents/deer and also bear problems. Any suggestions how to keep the environment around the composting toilet safe? Wire fencing seems to work for rodents/deer only...

Thank you for your time and advice!

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