Urine specific issues

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Urine specific issues
Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 2:02 pm
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Okay, I replaced the bio char in the urinal and took some pictures that will help to understand my description of the odorless urinal. Ken said that they made it clearer. If anyone else is interested, let me know and I'll link them here.

I know that most humanure adherents don't bother separating urine and I completely understand that. For my purposes though, it makes sense.
Since I haven't been able, by example or otherwise, to convince anyone else in my household to embrace the practice. I'm the only one using the toilet. And since I'm pretty much only using the toilet once a day, I only have to empty the bucket once every two weeks. Which is convenient. If I used it every time I have to urinate, it would have to be emptied much more often. Also, the contents of the bucket, while not dry by any means, doesn't leave much of a mess in the bucket.
Plus, it's easier and neater to use the urinal rather than to stand at the toilet. And I'm too lazy to sit down every time I have to pee.

Lastly, since I mix up my cover material with bio char, which takes time and energy to pulverize the char and do the mixing, I find that I use a lot less when the contents of the bucket are dryer. I use approximately one bucket of cover material for each bucket of humanure.

The contents of the urinal still gets added to the compost pile, but I find it works just as well to add the urine every few days to keep the pile moist.
So, that's my justification for separating.

This odorless urinal is pretty much just a bottle and a bowl. But the air that is displaced from the bottle as liquid enters, has to pass through charcoal. I have found that it entirely removes the urine odor, even when its days old.
I used to use the odor to tell me that the bottle needed emptying. Now I have to actually shine a light behind it to check the liquid level.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 12:03 pm
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Yeah, sorry Ken. I can barely understand what I wrote.
I'll email you a link to some pictures in the near future.

Author: Ken (Ken)
Sunday, July 08, 2012 - 10:04 am
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Thanks Knothead. I just returned from a week out in the wilderness camping so have not had time to digest what you sent. Pictures would be fine too. Just send to my email address if you want.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, July 02, 2012 - 2:39 am
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Have you seen this? http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=human-urine-is-an-effective-fertilizer
Interesting reading there. It's not conducive to successful humanure principles of course, but where someone prefers to separate urine from faeces for composting, this Website gives some handy hints.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Sunday, July 01, 2012 - 7:09 pm
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Hey Ken,
I'm going to try to describe what I did instead of linking to pictures because I didn't take any. I'll be sure to take a few the next time I take the unit apart.
What I did was take a large plastic kitty litter bottle, over a gallon size I'm sure. I epoxied an appropriate length of shop vac tube which is about two inches in diameter to the cap. I cut my plastic rum bottle in half and drilled a small hole in the cap to accept a little hose. This will be inverted into the top of the shop vac tube for the bowl. The small tubing is connected to the top of an old wine making vapor lock thing and another tube, connected to the bottom extends out of the bottom of the shop vac tube.
I took some 1/2" closed cell foam and cut pieces to fit tightly around the neck of the rum bottle and into the shop vac tube and another to fit loosely (to allow the air to pass) around the small tubing at the bottom.
Before installing the bottom foam rubber "stopper" at the bottom, I filled all the empty area around the smaller tubing, inside the shop vac tube with biochar. I then drilled two very small holes just below the top foam rubber stopper at the top to allow the pressure to escape.
The fouled air passes through the bio char and comes out of the two inch stand up pipe (the shop vac tube) odorless.

I hope that makes sense, and if you're really interested, I will take some pictures for you.
I can tell you that it really works. I don't smell a thing. Even after two or three days.

Author: Ken (Ken)
Saturday, June 30, 2012 - 11:43 am
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Knothead I would be interested in your improved urnal.

Ken

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 7:45 pm
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I can correct myself on that last question... have been looking at the SOIL website, and there is obviously lots going on which I was not aware of.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 7:07 pm
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Knothead, I can understand your frustration at finding no comments here for over a week! One was dated 23rd June and it turned out to be last year's! I discontinued my Facebook account last year so cannot access Humanure there.

Latest news from me is that I am hoping to revisit Haiti in December this year. I am wondering if anyone in Haiti has looked into Joe's website here, and heard about the efforts at City Soleil and Amurt School, then decided to try it for themselves in their "own back yard."

I would love to be in touch with anyone who's there and interested.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 4:46 pm
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What the heck is going on around here? Over a week and no new posts? This is entirely unacceptable. ;)

Anyway, I am excited about my urinal.
I can imagine what you all must be thinking. Exited about a urinal?
Yeah, I am.
The thing is that I've been using my kitty litter bottle/rum bottle urinal for years in the garage and the only problem is that after a day or so it would begin to smell. The air that was displaced by the liquid would become noticeably unpleasant.
Those days are over!
I have developed a completely self-contained, completely portable and completely odorless urinal by modifying my original.
If anyone is interested, I'll elaborate. :-)

Author: Joe (Joe)
Friday, February 11, 2011 - 4:06 pm
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Fittsdawg,

It's fine to top off the toilet receptacle with urine and sawdust. Just keep a clean layer of sawdust over the toilet contents at all times.

I fill the empty space in the top of the toilet receptacles with food scraps. Once the receptacles are removed from the toilet and set aside, you can dump kitchen material in there. Just keep a lid on it. Works great. And there is no need to cover the food material with sawdust or anything. Just use a tight-fitting lid and empty the receptacles into the compost pile on a regular basis.

Author: Fittsdawg (Fittsdawg)
Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - 5:06 pm
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A question for Joe:

We currently have a sawdust toilet system based on your book. Our bathroom is on the 2nd floor and there are three of us (one of whom uses the toilet a lot). We use the sawdust toilet for pooping and then when it is 3/4 full of poo, pee, and sawdust, and we'd have to lift off the seat to go, we pull that bucket out and use a new one. In order to get more out of our bucket before heading outside, we move it over to a broken shower stall and top it off with pee and sawdust, sort of like a sawdust urinal. Sometimes the pee gets pretty high in the bucket and I was worried we might be drowning out all those good bacteria in the poo you were talking about. Any concerns about our system or do you think it's fine to submerge it all in pee topped off with sawdust?

Author: Danl (Danl)
Saturday, February 05, 2011 - 4:05 pm
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Having not read much on composting humanure other than Joe's book, I can't see the benefit of seperating urine and feces.
If you're in a situation that prevents re-using feces, then you are to be commended for re-using what you can.
When I sit down in my reading room, I can be fairly sure of liquid. It may take a while, as I've reached the age where my prostate is bigger than my pride. Hence the reading material.
If you compost poultry manure, you are adding urates to compost. Just the way chickens and other birds work.
I put my two dogs feces into the pile and have noticed no difference. I have trained my Australian Sheperd to pee on the pile, or as close as he can lift his leg to it. He seems to understand. I think its the odors.
But really if you don't have to, why seperate ?

Author: Vocmoon (Vocmoon)
Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 5:35 pm
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I very much appreciate this website and book on humanure and composting. Unfortunately I do not have the option to compost human feces under my current circumstances. Instead I use diluted human urine as fertilizer.

I seem to have good results in preventing ammonia formation by adding approximately 1/3 cup of left over fiber from juiced carrots, celery, cilantro and beets to 1 quart of diluted urine (1 part urine to 7 parts water). Toilet paper added to the diluted urine instead of juiced vegetable fibers, seems to work well for reducing ammonia also.

Question: Can dried alfalfa meal be added to human urine to prevent ammonia formation? If so how much? It seems like it would be OK since it is dried ground up plant material. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Author: Md_heath (Md_heath)
Monday, October 04, 2010 - 3:55 am
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ok, so now i tried it. after using a composting 'bucket toilet' with both urine and feces for some time now, i decided to experience the urine separators thing and see. i quit after one night. one night of 2 persons separating urine was enough. the odor was far, far more than i have ever had with my composting 'bucket toilet' system. and having to handle the product daily, instead of once a week, well, clearly now, i do not get it. why separate? the compost of feces AND urine in far better, the smell is far worse separating, and the inconvenience is far greater in separating. i just do not see the advantage...

Author: Joe (Joe)
Friday, October 01, 2010 - 10:41 pm
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Why would peeing in a container and pouring it on a compost pile be more complicated than defecating in a container and pouring it into a compost pile? It seems to me that separating urine would be more complicated than not separating it.

Author: Fredw (Fredw)
Friday, October 01, 2010 - 12:57 pm
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Thanks. I'll check out both.

Author: Md_heath (Md_heath)
Friday, October 01, 2010 - 2:46 am
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you should be able to find the book Ecological Sanitation on the internet as a .pdf download and it has lots of discussion on urine use in it. the humanure handbook is also available as a download and i can attest to the fact that composting both feces and urine is surprisingly easy and very little trouble.

Author: Fredw (Fredw)
Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 4:33 pm
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Thanks, but I'm not ready for feces composting even though I recognize its benefits. It seems considerably more complicated to me than just peeing in a gallon jug and pouring it on the compost pile.

Author: Md_heath (Md_heath)
Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 3:00 pm
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i would like to offer you a thought - in 'their' book, Ecological Sanitation, the EcoSan folks, the primary promoters of the idea of urine separation, show that using compost produces 50 to 100% more output vs using only urine. i would suggest you take a second look and consider composting both urine and feces and enjoy the resulting benefits and reduced handling effort.

Author: Fredw (Fredw)
Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 2:25 pm
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I would like to get information especially about using urine in the garden. Presently I am diluting it some and pouring it over my compost pile. I would like to know more about how much to use, best way to add it to the compost, or other ways to use it in the vegetable garden.

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