Compost scale planning data

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Compost scale planning data
Author: Rman (Rman)
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 - 10:26 am
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Ecointerest, does your friends new system have an odour problem and is it vented? My first instinct is that the small 5 gallon parameters would not translate well to a larger system. Mainly round receptacle centered on the waste hole. I can envision a large volume container requiring a rotating platform to achieve decent coverage and to avoid a pyramid shaped build up and I would think they would be prone to odour problems.

Author: Joe (Joe)
Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 1:22 pm
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Give Love will be conducting a training seminar in Haiti June 4-6, 2014. It will be Alisa Keesey and Jean Lucho. I will also be there, primarily documenting their work. The cost is $250, most of which is going to cover transportation (cars and drivers). You will need to get yourself to Haiti if you want to attend. The hotel where most are staying is Best Western, Petionville. Alisa's crew has been collecting and composting humanure from hundreds of families.

http://givelove.org/

You can email me from our website here: http://josephjenkins.com/

Author: Ethanay (Ethanay)
Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 2:25 pm
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Cool, thanks both!

Ecointerest -- Do you compost directly in the larger recepticles? if not, how do you lift/move/empty them into the compost pile? i can't imagine comfortably handling something larger than 5 gallons! i'd love to know more about the entire workflow. Is that posted somewhere else?

Joe -- I'm glad you guys are collecting data. It still feels like we are in the "proof of concept" stage, and data for use in planning systems with enthusiastic-but-inexperienced participants can go a long way toward moving us past that stage as well as creating an initial positive experience with humanure composting, which in turn helps out with word of mouth. that initial positive experience is so key to marketing the system, esp. to municipalities and commercial compost/cover material providers.

I just looked through the Haiti sanitation paper. Thanks again for all the work you are doing to move this important, appropriate technology forward!

Author: Joe (Joe)
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 6:47 pm
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We have done similar work in Haiti. The organic material is collected from 150 households and composted in community bins. I have data but won't be publishing this sort of info until the next edition of Humanure, which will be a few years from now. There is more info at http://www.facebook.com/HumanureCompost (photos). The Haiti system costs sixty cents per family per month, not taking into consideration the return on the finished compost. Alisa Keesey has been managing the projects there (http://www.facebook.com/alisa.keesey).

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 6:22 am
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Ethan, it is unfortunate that you got no responses to your two previous messages.... I hope this latest one gets a few replies for your obvious enthusiasm and concerns.
I cannot give you any guidance with actual figures, however, as it's outside my experience, but there is one factor which can influence the capacity of the Humanure bucket system. Maybe I mentioned it in another thread, but in case not I will say it here.
Using the 5-gal bucket, the surface of the contents are right there for anyone to see, therefore we tend to cover it with enough sawdust to hide the previous deposits. "Out of sight, out of mind," for the fecophobes!
If one is using a larger container that is placed under the house or below the cubicle, the surface of the pile is further away, and you can have a cup or scoop there with a written message: "Please add just 1(one) scoop down the hole when you have finished." This reduces the sawdust additions, thereby increasing the length of time before the bucket becomes full.
I have recently set up a humanure system for a friend. This consists of a 60 liter (approx. 14 gal) garbage bin, placed under the house. The surface of the contents would be about 90cm (3ft) below the seat. There is some light gets down there so you can see "it" if you try, but it's far enough away that you don't need to be particular about covering all the paper, and all the feces. As the sawdust falls it spreads out and gives a light covering all over most of the surface.
So, in short, I find the 5-gal bucket good for myself, and it would be good for a very accepting and involved family of 4. Any more than 4 and you might be better to think of a larger container, e.g., the garbage bin.... but don't have that bin so big you can't move it when full.
Hoping these ideas help you progress.

Author: Ethanay (Ethanay)
Monday, April 14, 2014 - 7:04 am
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I've started collecting teh following data:

Pile Start The date the new compost pile began
f.dimensions The measurements of the compost pile, in feet (L x W x H)
g.capacity The gallon capacity of the compost pile (flat, not heaping), calculated from the f.dimensions
Entry The entry number
Date The date of the entry
g.hum Gallons of humanure deposited (e.g., 2 buckets = 10 gallons)
g.comp Gallons of household (non-humanure) compost deposited (1 bucket for this household = X gallons)
g.saw Gallons of sawdust purchased
$ Purchase price for transactions
temp.amb Ambient temperature
temp.comp Temperature of the compost pile at center
Notes Any other helpful info, such as adding liquid from urinal

Author: Ethanay (Ethanay)
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 8:29 pm
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I read through the few "large scale" (e.g., festival) humanure composting threads. This discussion would be relevant for that as well...but more on the "batch compost" vs "continuous compost" scale.

At what point does it make sense to switch from continuous to batch-style composting? How much frequency of use (e.g., buckets per day or week) and/or how many people?

Author: Ethanay (Ethanay)
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 8:16 pm
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I've searched -- and haven't found -- information for planning and managing humanure systems at various scales.

the Handbook has a blurb on how many buckets per person per week, which is a fantastic start. But how does that translate over to
1. optimal compost pile size assuming one or two year retention time?
2. amount of land needed for compost management
3. amount of land / garden space that the composting process will supply?

(i'm still thinking about relatively small-scale, decentralized appropriate-tech infrastructure for continuous composting, not large-scale batch composting).

A few thoughts:
1. Scales: individual, household, neighbors, neighborhood. how we define these depends on population data as well as optimal small-scale compost sizes -- that is to say, how big starts to become "too big" to do continuous vs batch composting? that's the point where we would divide and decentralize, like cellular mitosis.
2. Non-linearity: I'm willing to bet that there is a non-linear component to the scaling process. Consider one person using one bucket, vs 4 people using one bucket. The bucket takes a lot longer to fill, and the composting process probably is slower overall.

What this potentially says to me is that four individuals using individual humanure composting systems will probably use more time and space to produce the same amount of compost as four people using the same humanure composting system together. That means there's probably an optimal balance somewhere in there in terms of how many people a single composting system can use.

Thoughts? Links? Hopefully someone's done this research already :-)

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