Earthship solar toilet compost compat...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Earthship solar toilet compost compatibility
Author: Mike Gibbons
Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 1:22 am
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I have just read both the Humanure Handbook and Earthships Vol III. The solar toilet in an Earthship dries the humanure to a powder.

Is this compatible with composting. Nutrient loss? Air contamination?

I like the idea of the sawdust toilet, but I have yet to convince my wife and visitors.

Author: admin
Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 12:14 pm
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Dried material does not compost.

Author: Mike Gibbons
Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 3:47 pm
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Thank you. Does it have any beneficial qualities for the garden at all?

Author: S. Infante
Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 6:25 pm
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My husband was very against the sawdust toilet and will not use it. The first day it was in, he said it looked "pretty good" and the next day he said he did not even notice it when he went into the bathroom. I asked him after the third day what he thought about it. He said it was a nonentity as far he was concerned, as it was unobtrusive, fit well in the bathroom, was not offensive in the least, and it did not involve him, except as a conversation piece.

We had our son's 10th birthday party Sunday, Dec. 19, 2004 (our first social situation with the new system in place) and the toilet was a big success. We still have our flush toilets, but now there is a choice. Many people wanted to see and use my new system (as they had heard me talk about it).

The process for me is working quite well. No smell, easy to handle. When I empty the humanure into the compost pile it is not an issue at all (from a smell standpoint or any standpoint, not too heavy, not too hard to clean, just another chore). The cloth diaper pail was much, MUCH worse than this. In fact, emtpying the bucket is not even comparible to the diaper pail.

I mention these as some things for your wife to consider. I was very surprised to have so many people interested and excited by the new system. If you leave your flusher in then guests do have a choice and even if only YOU use the system, then you have contributed that much less to the problem.

Now, my husband is making comments hinting that he might someday use it. He has said that he would use it in a heart beat if we lost our water for some reason (ha, ha- I might not let him then [I'm joking]).

The woman who turned me on to the Humanure Handbook was a wife who was not too thrilled with the idea, but her husband did it on his own, did not expect her to participate, and now she is a fan of the system and recommending it to others.

Author: Larry
Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 9:17 pm
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What a great testimonial for the virtue of patience when introducing the novel concept of composting humanure. I especially appreciated the comment that managing the toilet bucket is easier than the diaper pail. It may seem intimidating to the uninitiated, but after a little experience it is no more difficult or unpleasant than emptying the kitchen compost container.
In response to Mike's question about dehydrated humanure: it is no doubt a beneficial soil amendment, but inferior to biologically composted humanure. I suspect most of the nitrogen is lost, mainly as gaseous smelly ammonia. Good quality compost requires the addition of diverse ingredients and numerous organisms working the magical alchemy of composting.

Author: Mike Gibbons
Wednesday, December 29, 2004 - 11:26 pm
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Thanks Larry. I imagine that I will have to install some kind of toilet 'waste' system that is acceptable to the building inspector. I can't think that anyone would approve a building with nowhere 'to go'. I like the solar oven idea as it doesn't require 'infrastructure'

But a bucket with sawdust will probably end up in the same room as a choice. The photos in the book show that it can be made quite attractive. I like the idea of the nutrients ending back in the garden.

The posts on this site seem to indicate that I will have less negative reaction than I imagined.

Author: admin
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 12:23 pm
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The problem with dehydrated humanure is that the material can test positive for indicator pathogens (coliforms) since it has not gone through a proper composting process. Also, as Larry points out, there may be a significant loss of nitrogen.

I know of a lady who set up a sawdust toilet in her home and her husband (a college professor) refused to use it. So she did it alone and we monitored the system. She had 145 degree (F) compost in about 6 weeks, which I found amazing - one person, using a sawdust toilet alone and composting in her urban backyard in bins made from pallets. She had some hot shit! Her toilet is actually pictured in the Humanure Handbook, 2nd edition, page 189 (bottom, left).

Joe Jenkins

Author: Mike Gibbons
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 1:29 pm
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In your opinion then, Joe, what is the most acceptable token 'waste' system. Given that I'll have to put one in, even if I don't use it, and that it will get used in the future (even by the next occupants).

I'm sold on the sawdust collection toilet for myself.

Author: Larry
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 5:00 pm
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Mike, in most US jurisdictions you will need a permit for an Approved Onsite Wastewater Treatment System in order to get a building permit. Using a dry toilet can lead to a drainfield size reduction of up to 40% in some areas, but a septic system is still required to handle the other sources of wastewater, such as shower, laundry, and kitchen. Graywater re-use is permitted in an increasing number of States, but usually an Approved System must already be installed to serve as back-up. I think it is unlikely you will get a building permit with any composting toilet system. The old days of building a cabin in the woods beyond the eyes of regulators are mostly gone.

Author: TCLynx
Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 12:09 pm
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There are composting toilet systems that are approved in some states but I expect if you don't have access to a sewer system, you will likely need some sort of septic system. As noted, you also need to deal with grey water and most states don't allow grey water to be used without going through a septic and drainfield. I would suggest using whatever is predominant in your area. Re-sale is easier that way if the situation ever comes up.

Author: Clare Averill
Sunday, March 05, 2006 - 7:10 am
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Does anyone know of any testimonials regarding the use of either simple solar-oven-toilets or sawdust-equivalent composting toilets in the context of poor tropical island nations? Many such nations, despite being very wet for 3-4 months, are hot and dry for much of the year.

Author: TCLynx
Sunday, March 05, 2006 - 7:21 pm
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I did read one web page somewhere that was more about grey water re-use but I'm sure composting of humanure would be very practicle for the situation. I don't have any examples of testimonials though.

Author: Rangdrol
Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 1:19 pm
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We went round and round trying to decide to dessicate and then compost or just compost or bucket and compost.

We compromised.
The composting toilet will have sufficiant air to compost but we are installing a Tazmanian style urine evaperator to reduce the total liquid volume in the vault.

We built the walls last year so we are going for it. We are planning to then recompost the products of the vault and use the finished compost on a seedling nursury down the hill from our water.

We can not afford to waste even a gallon of water here so we have some other systems to point at if they get nasty.

Our back up plan is to put up a camping portapotty and tell them we haul it out IF they ask.

We arent expecting to see them until after the greywater system is in place and functioning but we did decide to go to court before we give in.

We teach science and math and devised a devilish plan!


You might want to find a sympathetic lawyer. You may save yourself time and money.

In any case build we say build what you want to live in and pretend to go along with them. Some times doing the right thing sucks. You can probably buy an approved portapotty for less than a sceptic system and since it will hardly ever get used you wont have to pay to have it pumped and it will always be there when they come to check up on you.

TCLynx can you give us the URL for that greywater page please.

Author: Rangdrol
Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 1:34 pm
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Does anyone here know the biological facts for dehydrated feces?

Has anyone tried it in a stove?

Author: TCLynx
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 2:44 am
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I can't remember exactly where I found the story about the grey water use that I mentioned above. Here is the main site I usually send people to about greywater.
https://www.oasisdesign.net/index.htm

I plan on putting in an approved septic system seeing as I need a bank loan to build the house I want. It will make re-sale easier if I ever move. Just because it is there, does not mean I have to use it.

As far as sepparating the urine from the feces, why? The urine makes everything compost so much better. If you don't add urine, then you will need to add water or the contents will be too dry to compost well. Heck, I know of people who will add urine to a non-humanure compost pile in order to get it composting. Urine is too valuble to just evaporate away. It can be diluted and used as firtilizer all on it's own. It can be used instead of dangerouse $$ chemicals to rot away an unwanted tree stump.

Author: Anonymous
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 2:47 am
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I know many people burn animal dung. I'm not sure I want to be roasting my marshmellows over that camp fire though.

Author: Rangdrol
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 12:37 pm
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Thank you for the link TCLynx.


Loan?? Whats that??? ;) Our banker looked at me like "I had lobsters growing out of my ears". He was even more flustered when I told him we were giving the land away [so he could not hold it as collateral].


I wondered if people would ask why seperate it. I am glad there are purists about ;)

The simple answer to why we are seperating out most - but not all - our urine for evaporation is design principles. Probably just as clear as well.

Burning dessicated humanure and humanure compost seems like basic science to me. The facts need to be documented. We are at least a year away from being able to do the work. We were hoping to find some good info here.

I dont want to bore everyone with our project. We are aware of the role of urine in the compost process. As I mentioned elsewhere we have a devilish plan. Composting our humanure is just one step in a complete system.

We think a greywater and urine thread would be very useful. We would love to detail our plan as well [got a wallet full of pictures!]. We would really like to see what other people have in place and what they are experiencing.

Joe is fairly focused here. Perhaps another site? It seems like it should be here as the humanure is the center point for the other systems.

Author: Anonymous
Thursday, March 09, 2006 - 9:28 pm
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So tell us more, what is your plan or system?

Author: Rangdrol
Friday, March 10, 2006 - 6:54 pm
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Oh thats right just twist my other!

I will move it to the wood chip post. It belongs there.

Author: Rangdrol
Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 6:54 pm
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The AEM

https://aem.asm.org/

has published an online report:
"Survival of Fecal Coliforms in Dry-Composting Toilets"

It is useful for the dessicators and dehydrators.

https://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/67/9/4036?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&titleabstract=Survival+of+Fecal+Coliforms+in+Dry-Composting+Toilets&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

Author: Joe
Friday, March 17, 2006 - 10:09 am
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Thanks for the link.

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