Will the compost pile smell like poop ?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Will the compost pile smell like poop ?
Author: Emma Holister (Emma_holister)
Tuesday, December 02, 2008 - 1:26 pm
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I find that our experiments with a humanure loo using sawdust have been completely odor free. However, I've found some sawdusts better for controlling odor than others. The stuff I got from the local sawmill is very nice smelling, but I know it's not the best material to use as it is still very fresh as opposed to aged. Fresh sawdust smells very sweet but it's also full of air so that the bin fills up rather quickly. I'd like to know how to 'rot' or 'age' my own sawdust, will it simply age naturally if I keep it in my damp cellar in large plastic trashcans with covers? I wouldn't want to leave it loose for fear of rats.
As for other types of sawdust, the stuff I gather after cutting my own wood seems to be quite a lot courser than the sawmill fine stuff and as a result the odors are less controlled, so I'll have to stop using my own sawdust...perhaps I could use that for the cat litter instead...

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Friday, November 07, 2008 - 11:52 pm
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It could be that the cover material you are adding is too coarse. Try a finer cover material, like only straw or hay. I saw someone using a very coarse cover material and they had lots of flies and some odor. When they switched to a finer cover material, the flies and odor disappeared.

Author: Marc Van Hummelen (Rowan)
Wednesday, November 05, 2008 - 4:24 pm
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Hello, I've started my sawdusttoilet in august and emptied plenty of buckets since then. Until the beginning of october I've never had a smell off of the pile, but recently these little, mothlike flies have turned up together with a bad smell. The simple rule is to add more cover material, I know, which I have done: a third of a small straw bale, leaves and stalks of runner beans and herbs. The little moths won't go away and neither will the smell. The temp is at 40C with a lot of humidity coming off the top of the pile. Do I stick to the rule and keep adding? It makes scraping it open to add another bucket more difficult and impractical.
Thanks for any tips
Marc

Author: TCLynx (Tclynx)
Monday, August 06, 2007 - 12:04 pm
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Dan,
If the deposit in the regular toilet smelled up the room then the deposit into any other container will probably smell up the room about the same. Once you cover with the sawdust (or other cover material) you will have no more eminating odors. The odor got access to the air in the intervening time of the deposit exiting the body and getting covered up by the water/cover material. That doesn't change.

The bucket and compost piles should not smell if they have enough cover material.

The only time I usually notice odors from the bucket would be first thing in the morning when people have been peeing in it overnight and not bothering to add cover after going.

The only time I notice major odor from the pile is when adding the contents of several new buckets as this operation takes a few minutes and a really hot pile can have a strong odor when you dig into it and dump the fresh buckets. Just incentive to cover quickly.

I have a pretty sensitive nose and will notice the odor long and add more cover long before my neighbors do.

It doesn't take long after no new additions to the pile before the nasty smells will be gone. There is no worry about an aging pile causing any smells.

Author: Leslie Moreau (Lessismore)
Monday, August 06, 2007 - 12:28 am
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This thread is more about the compost pile, which contains all kinds of compostable materials.


A composting toilet is altogether different: there are lots of different ones. The two I used stank terribly, but some have passive or electric fan venting system that's supposed to remove odor.

Author: Dan Sullivan (Danl)
Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 11:20 pm
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I don't wish to step in anything I can't wipe off, But I must ask. Are composting toilets REALLY odorless?
Not to be impolite, but I just made a deposit in our fresh water wasting flush toilet that backed my Huskey out of the bathroom. Must have been the Thai food last night. I just can't imagine a covering of sawdust or anything would contain that smell. Not composting at our present location, but you never know what the future might soon bring.
Hope this isn't too lame a question, sorry if it is.

Author: Leslie Moreau (Lessismore)
Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 7:16 pm
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Okay, that's easy and makes sense. Thanks.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 2:53 pm
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The rule is simple enough: if you small any unpleasant odor, add cover material until there is no odor. I have seen a number of people using humanure toilet systems who cannot follow this simple rule. I don't know why, but there are people who just cannot follow directions, no matter how simple they are.

Author: Leslie Moreau (Lessismore)
Sunday, August 05, 2007 - 1:38 pm
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Most of what I've read reassures me it won't, but I've also read a few stray comments about the odor from the compost.

I'm just starting, have close neighbors, not to mention renters in my own house. I want to keep this matter entirely to myself but am starting to worry that the odor will cause concern or disgust.

I'd appreciate some feedback, especially from people in a similar situation.

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