Design Flaw in RWANDA? No direct heat...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: Design Flaw in RWANDA? No direct heat hitting pile.
Author: Joe (Joe)
Friday, February 11, 2011 - 4:02 pm
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It's worth a try.
Rather than dig up the concrete floor, why not just put a layer of dirt on the floor, which would presumably inoculate the organic material with soil organisms. Liquid collecting on the floor would probably kill most of them, however, so a thick "biological sponge" on the bottom would be important.

Author: Mollynorton (Mollynorton)
Monday, February 07, 2011 - 2:20 am
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Hi Joe,

Yes, I have read the wonderful handbook. I was confused about the reader in the reader feedback section who built the toilet over the compost bin.

Our toilets are built over pits that are about 5 + feet down and lined in cement. They are the shape of a backward L, so you could say there are two chambers, the area below the toilet and the leg of the L that we could pull stuff back into after a year and access from outside the house. It is all enclosed with a rock wall and metal doors (In the attached pic you can see the outside access point. The toilets themselves are inside and above. These walls now have tightly fitting doors. )

Because we had never done this before, we were not convinced about the lack of smell. So we figured we would want to remove the poop frequently. We put some trash bins down under the toilet seats as transport receptacles that we figured we would empty as needed.

But so far, as you know, there is absolutely no odor. We are thrilled with the entire process.

So I am wondering if instead of using the bins, we can just remove them, and do what the reader did: use the toilet for a while, then open the access doors, pull it all back, let that rest and use it again.

There is a ventilator pipe out of the pit so it does get air. I wonder if it would be better to chop up the cement floor so that some good living things could enter the compost from below. The access doors are metal and bolt shut from above.

I guess my confusion comes in because then in FAQ, you are very clear that the composting process doesn't begin until the poop is added to the compost bins.

So I am wondering if, with our design, the cement latrines - with perhaps the floor being returned to dirt- could actually act like the bin itself as the reader did. Maybe you are saying it doesn't happen in the smaller 5 gallon bin system that get removed every week.

I guess like many new humanure composters, we are trying to figure out as much as we can before we start, when we really just need to see what works. But I like the idea of not transporting the buckets, and just letting stuff get to work in the pits, if that will work.

Thanks for any thoughts,
Mollytoiletwalls

Author: Joe (Joe)
Saturday, February 05, 2011 - 12:53 pm
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Have you read the Humanure Handbook? http://humanurehandbook.com/downloads/Humanure_Handbook_all.pdf

Author: Mollynorton (Mollynorton)
Friday, February 04, 2011 - 1:31 am
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Hello, I live in eastern Rwanda and just built an earth block house. Our urine-diverting toilet seats/stool (which I LOVE) are inside the house, leading down to a cement-lined latrine pit outside the house. The latrines are shaped like backwards L's, the idea being that we could pull the waste back and it would get heat from sunlight hitting the metallic doors. But oops! we built a huge water tank up the hill, and the metallic doors get NO sunlight at all. The tank really can't be moved.

So we have placed black bins in the latrine pit, thinking we could just pull the bins out when they are full and put them in direct sunlight (they are black) to get some heat going in there, and then move them to a compost pile.

Will the waste compost at all in the bins while they are still in the latrine pit? Or no because there isn't much heat in there (in fact, it feels more like an underground cellar - nice and cool!)? When I move the bins into the sun, should i poke holes in it so it gets some air in there, or leave the top off?

Then I will move it into a more permanent bottomless bin, but I think it should get composted more before that.

I can't believe we designed and built a house with a composting latrine and then blocked all its sunlight!

Any thoughts?! So far, our "aim" has been good and everything has made it into the bin with some just a bit of toilet paper missing and going off to the sides. So it should be easy to pull it out. I am just curious if any of it will be composted from building its own heat in the cellar/latrine!

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