Septic tanks

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Septic tanks
Author: Angele Rowe
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 12:08 am
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Read your book... sure makes sense.. I may do a book review and when I do I will mail you a copy.

Right now we are on septic and out house as we run a retreat centre and was wondering about the idea of when we need to pump it can we compost it. We could build up a good base layer of sawdust, say several feet deep, which we have lots of.. as we live in the mountains in BC, Canada.

Wanted to hear any suggestions from others so we know what to expect.

I lived in Penticton and the city has 3 huge vats that they do it in and then sell it to the farmers.
I was told they use lots of disinfectants...

I like the sawdust toilet and when spring comes we shall convert a few outhouses over but the inside ones will take a bit more time...

Author: admin
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 11:55 am
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I was once asked to help a township (in PA) develop a means to recycle septage (the stuff pumped out of septic tanks). It never materialized - they couldn't get the funding, or something like that. While thinking about it though, I envisioned something like a dumpster fitted with a drain and an air hose system. The dumpster would be filled with sawdust and or other clean material (hay, straw, shredded newsprint, etc.) then the septage would be added until full. The drain would drain out excess moisture and pump it back over the top while the air pump would pump air into the bottom of the mass in order to promote thermophilic composting. The entire thing would be covered with the dumpster lid. This is similar to hi-tech "in-vessel" composting, but on a cheaper scale. Don't know how well it would work, but it would be worth a try.

Joe Jenkins

Author: Larry
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 3:13 pm
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Removing septage from a tank is a nasty difficult job. I did it once, composting the sludge by layering with lots of straw, sawdust, and grass clippings. It worked, but it is much easier and more effective to keep the solids out of the tank in the first place. I suggest to Angela converting the outhouse to the bucket system. If there is room in your indoor bathroom, consider installing a bucket toilet alongside the flusher, giving guests/family a choice. Inform users that a dry toilet saves water, prevents pollution, and returns valuable nutrients to the soil. Your septic tank may never need pumping again, since 90% of the solids going into a typical tank come from the flush toilet. And the drainfield should last much longer, since there will be a large reduction in effluent volume and strength.

Author: admin
Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 12:27 pm
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I will be adding a page to this web site showing photos of owner-built [sawdust] toilets soon.

Author: admin
Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 3:32 pm
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I have added the page of photos of some owner-built sawdust toilets at https://jenkinspublishing.com/toilets.html

Author: S. Infante
Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 8:02 pm
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Neat! I just sent you pictures of mine.

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