Excess liquid, possible leaching issu...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Excess liquid, possible leaching issues/questions
Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - 6:22 pm
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Drum systems may not be ideal for a number of reasons. Outdoor bins definitely work as has been proven many times all over the world. The system you are describing seems complicated. Urine should never be separated from the compost as it provides important liquid and nitrogen. Your system is accumulating liquid because it is not composting - it's just sitting there. It's not going to compost in a drum. You can dump the contents of the drums into above-ground, outdoor bins, but 1 meter square is too small. Maybe 1.5 meter square would be better and it would hold the contents of several drums, maybe all five. I just posted a video where I went to look at a toilet system where "wheelie bins" were used at a music festival in Kentucky. They just left the plastic toilet bins, similar to 55 gallon drums, sit for an entire year, untouched, after they had filled. We dumped them into an outdoor bin to see what they looked like. You can see the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWzTgHM4Ar8.

You may want to look at the other videos there also.

Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 - 10:47 am
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You need holes in the bottom of your drum so that air gets to the bottom, and it can drain excess liquid. The drum should be set on blocks or bricks. If leaching is an issue, put the drum, with the blocks, into a tub to catch the drainage. Pour the drainage on top of the compost periodically.

Author: John D. Seibert (Shush)
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 - 9:56 am
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Mr. Nordstrom: Dear friend: May I suggest both urine and poop are so sought after that they should immediately be applied to the compost pile, ice/snow/freezing temperatures or not. Reference the book, where Joe dumps said items anytime so that they might thaw in the Spring with the pile's increasing internal temperatures.

Author: H.Nordström (Lllusion)
Tuesday, September 09, 2008 - 6:06 am
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Our family has a small country cabin in Sweden. We use an indoor toilet that freezes the feces and urine in a biodegradable bag lined bucket. As much as possible we limit urine in the bucket by urinating in the forest, thereby decreasing the amount of liquid in the compost. After each toilet visit we cover the excrement with a dirt/sawdust mixture commonly used with outdoor toilets here in Sweden. When the bucket is full we put the biodegradable bag containing the feces into a 55 gallon plastic, covered drum with a pipe extending out of the lid. Aside from the open end of the 10 cm diameter pipe there are additional holes drilled throughout the pipe. The idea with the holed pipe is to supply oxygen to the feces to aid the composting process. (After reading the messages in this forum I'm surmising that the bottom of the barrel is still anaerobic.)

What we find is that despite urinating in the forest there is an extraordinary amount of liquid in the drum into which must be added a large amount of leaves and sawdust. There seems to be no difference in the amount of liquid in the bucket when keeping the end of the pipe open versus closed.

After allowing the bucket to stand covered for a year we would like to move the matter from the drums to open compost bins in order to finish the composting process. Our fear is that our well water will be contaminated by liquid that leaches through the soil. Due to the size of our plot the compost bins are planned to be located approximately 50-60 meters away from the well.

I've read that in Sweden it is mandatory to prevent leaching by lining compost bins with plastic.

Q's:
1. Why is there so much liquid in the 55 gallon drums?
2. Will any type of plastic work when lining the open air compost bins? Won't an entact plastic layer along the sides and the bottom of the bin limit airation?
3. After two years of collection we now have 5 plastic drums to empty. A family friend tells us that we she transfers the waste from the drums to lined 1m (L) x 1m (w) x 0.75m (h) bins. Using the same method we’re going to need a quite a few of these piles/bins. Thoughts????
4. Are the 55 gallon bins necessary in the first place?
5. I've read the 55 gallon drum thread in this forum: is there any new information on this topic? It would be handy to complete the whole compost process in the plastic drums. Thoughts??

TIA!

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