Feedback needed for closed barrel com...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Research: Feedback needed for closed barrel composting idea
Author: Kate_s (Kate_s)
Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 9:51 am
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

[No profile available] Edit this post

This is effectively my system, other than the containers are smaller because I live on a narrowboat. I add some worms because the containers are either on my roof or in the engine room; I also put an insulation jacket round them for at least some of the time.

Like most (if not all) boaters in the UK I separate because otherwise there is simply too much bulk to cope with. However, I do keep a close eye on the moisture levels and add urine when needed.

I keep the lid slightly propped open to allow air in but seal it, turn it upside down for a few days every so often to balence the moisture and then give it a good roll round to break things up.

Last summer I did some measuring of temperature and achieved 34 deg (C) for several hours at a time, so whilst it is cold composting I think it is working fairly well. I allow a year but it seems to be well broken down in about eight months.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, March 28, 2016 - 3:33 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

Sorry for missing out an answer to your query about "the barrel tightly closed."
A tightly closed lid is not necessary for the Humanure method. Sawdust, adequately covering the surface, is all you need. It needs air to compost.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, March 28, 2016 - 3:29 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

Dane, I admire your desire to get this basic and simple technology working. "Closing the loop" of nutrients that our bodies no longer need and returning the nutrients to the soil is basic good sustainable practice.
I wonder if you have read the Humanure Handbook. If not, it is thoroughly recommended to download it and have a careful read through. There you will discover the essential combination of sawdust with urine, this providing the desired Carbon/Nitrogen ratio of around 25 or 30:1. This plays a very big part in preventing smells from arising.
Covering the humanure surface, immediately after urinating or depositing faeces, is an essential part of the Humanure method.
Although it is possible to compost humanure successfully by adapting it to the sort of barrel method you envisage, this can lead to unnecessary complications and undesirable results. If you wish to experiment and feel confident in doing so, that's fine. But I really do recommend sticking to Joe's method "per the book," if you are able to.
With this method, there is normally no problem with excess liquid escaping from the compost. Sufficient sawdust (or similar smothering, absorbent cover material) will take up urine and this also helps with the composting process.
IF you stick with your barrel method, yet still apply sufficient sawdust, and make those few holes in the bottom of the barrel, then put a layer (say 10 cm thick) underneath the barrel, see how it progresses. Be willing to make adjustments as needed. Any slight leakage of liquid which might occur will be then absorbed by that sawdust. (I employ this method in one of my outside toilets and it works well.)
One factor about this whole concept of Humanure is that we become innovative and willing to "deal with our own shit." "Getting it right" is the objective and great satisfaction comes with success. Wishing this for you.

Author: Dane (Dane)
Monday, March 28, 2016 - 11:03 am
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

*response to Ecointerest*

Thank you for your reply!

Do you think that if I do exactly as I described (with the barrel tightly closed) that there's a chance it won't compost at all even in a time frame of one year?

I could add urine, question is how much - I imagine the separation will keep the volume lower and be better for the smell. What do you think about keeping it separate and then adding some litres of urine in the end as part of the 'mixture' that I add before sealing the barrel and storing it?

I will also consider not separating at all though

It sounds very good with the holes as a passway for worms! I just really don't want to contaminate the soil underneath, ground water etc. We're close to a small stream and we also have a well. Ground water is very high here, very wet area and we get quite a lot of rain. I could instead add compost worms to the barrel at spring time so they have half a year with it before winter? What do you think?

Do you think it's necessary to tumble the barrels over the ground once in a while to mix it around?

Thanks again! :-)

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Monday, March 28, 2016 - 4:10 am
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

The Humanure process objective is thermophilic temperatures, and requires the nitrogen from urine to provide the correct C/N ratio. It's the one method that does not require faeces/urine separation and makes for simplicity and efficiency.
If you wish to continue separation, and to run the system as you have described, there should be no real problem with that; it's only the two of you and plenty of time for the compost to mature.
I would ensure the bottom of the barrel allows access to soil underneath, via a few holes. Any earth worms will be able to migrate in and out at will.
Unless there comes a period of very heavy, persistent rain, don't bother to cover the barrel. Rain carries with it plenty of dissolved oxygen and some nitrogen. The worms love it.
Do as you say, i.e., leave to mature for a year, and it should compost well...but I would not exclude all urine.

Author: Dane (Dane)
Friday, March 25, 2016 - 5:58 pm
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

View profile or send e-mail Edit this post

Hello all,

I have a lot to read and learn still but I hope I can get some comments on this idea. I havent been able to find any descriptions of similar methods so perhaps its just because its a completely wrong way of approaching humanure you can let me know if you think thats the case and if you have ideas for adjustments or sources for other methods I should consider, Ill be very grateful if you share them :-)

My idea is:
Separating pee & poo - pee will be mixed with water and used directly as a fertilizer.
Poo goes directly into a 100-200 liter plastic barrel. Sawdust or dry leaves are added on top during usage. When it's near full, I will add a mixture and seal the barrel with a lid so it's completely closed. I put a date on the barrel and store it in an open shed (cold climate). Once in a while I can tumble the barrel over the ground to mix it all up.

I can imagine the closed method may be slower but I can easily 'wait it out' and leave a barrel be for one year for example. I have room to store maybe 10 barrels at a time. 1-2 people will use the system.

The 'mixture' I add before sealing could for example be: kitchen waste / compost worms / rain water for moisture / "Bokashi"

Conditions:
Small house in Denmark. Most of the time 1-2 people live in the house and in some periods noone lives there for a couple of months. Average temperature in the summer is 17C (62F), in autumn/spring around 10C (50F) and in the winter our average is just a few degrees above 0C (32F) with common freezing temperatures in the nights, and they can sometimes get down to -20C (-4F) and lower.

Looking forward to hear from you!
All the best

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics Profile Last Day Last Week Search Tree View Member List Log Out     Administration
Topics Profile Last Day Last Week Search Tree View Member List Log Out   Administration
Welcome to The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board
For assistance, read the instructions or contact us.
Powered by Discus Pro
https://www.discusware.com