The Time Value of Humanure Composting

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: The Time Value of Humanure Composting
Author: Wayne
Monday, December 26, 2005 - 8:06 pm
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Imagine you are 20 years old and have $3,000. to invest in the Stock Market or in a septic system. A conservative investor, you decide to invest in index funds and, instead of the septic system, you decide to build a saw dust toilet and a set of humanure compost bins.

If your index funds (invested in an IRA) grow at an average rate of 7.2% per year, your investment will double every 10 years. By the time you are 70, you will have $96,000 (before taxes).

If, at the end of the 2nd year, you begin harvesting 2 cubic yards of finished compost on an annual basis, you will, by the time you are 70, have harvested 98 cubic yards of finished compost (2646 cubic feet). Does $5.00/cubic foot sound unreasonable? If it's not worth that now, chances are it will be worth more than that in 50 years. $13,230.

And finally, by not flushing the toilet 3 or 4 times per day for 50 years, you've saved somewhere between 100 and 200 thousand gallons of water. At $6 per 1000 gallons (my current rate), that's worth $7200 (in current dollars). Over 50 years, we can safely assume the water rates will quaudruple--so, lets say it's worth $14,400. in water saved.

In sum, that's $123,630 that you could reasonably save (before taxes) by using a saw-dust toilet during the course of your adult life.

You also have the excercise and therapeutic value of managing and using the system. If you decide to go with the septic system, you will have nothing to show for it at the end of 50 years and will probably have to invest additional $$$ in the system to keep it going that long. In fact, that additional investment, should be added to the time value of humanure composting. Chances are, you will be $100,000.00 ahead, after taxes, if you go the saw-dust toilet and humanure composting route.

--
Wayne Ferguson
wayneferguson AT juno.com
https://www.TheFourPrecepts.Com
https://www.TheFourPrecepts.Com/waynesworld/humanure.html

Author: wayne
Monday, December 26, 2005 - 8:23 pm
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My calculations on the water were wrong--I changed course in the middle and forgot to revise the result. It should have been about $2400 for water saved: $12/1000gal (on average, over 50 years) times 200 thousand gallons (my rough estimate for 1 person's flushing).

Author: admin
Monday, December 26, 2005 - 11:41 pm
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Impressive, nonetheless.

Author: TCLynx
Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 10:24 am
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I like it. I wish I could skip the septic system but to build I will have to put one in. That does not mean I have to use it but I will still need to spend on it.

Author: Larry
Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 10:54 am
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You're not alone, TC. I think most of us who compost humanure also have a septic system, or city sewer hook-up, since there is a need to treat other sources of wastewater, such as shower, laundry, etc. But I agree with Wayne that there are significant savings by taking the flusher out. We save about 1/3 on the water bill. Most solids going into a septic tank come through a flush toilet, so our tank will not need pumping for a long time, if ever. Reducing the volume and strength of effluent going to the drainfield means that part of the septic system should last much longer. Returning nutrients to the soil means less money spent on purchased amendments, fewer pest problems, healthier plants, increased property value, and the immeasureable satisfaction of participating in the nutrient cycle. The effort to compost humanure is amply rewarded.

Author: TCLynx
Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 11:10 am
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I am so astounded about this whole thing of needing to pump septic tanks. I had never heard of such a thing untill a few years ago. I always thought a properly sized/installed septic system never needed attention unless something was damaged (say by tree roots or something). I know of septic systems that have been operating with no attention for 50 years and when checked were found to be fine.
Anyway, I'll likely have to put in ones of these new $$ airating septic systems here in FL, maybe that will allow me to place the drain field shallow to support plants but who knows.

Author: honeychrome
Monday, March 06, 2006 - 2:25 pm
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Hey, I think Wayne is really onto something here! It seems to me that resistance to humanure composting, veiled as concerns about "public safety & health" is in part an attempt to protect the business status quo (sewage system designers, installers, treaters, even plumbers....). If suddenly a majority of people started using sawdust toilets and composting their humanure the bottom would fall out of the 'waste management' industry, and they're going to do everything they can to fight it and enforce our 'contributions' to their economy. But if we can convince the much bigger and more powerful financial industry that we'll be putting our saved money into their economy.... maybe we can pit (ha ha) them against the waste management industry and get widespread coding approval! OK, I'm joking a little bit here, but it seems to me that until some big business decides it can somehow make money off of our humanure composting it likely will never get widespread coding approval (at least until the environment is past a critical crisis point). The powers that be just can not allow us to remove so much or our money from their economy.

Author: TCLynx
Monday, March 06, 2006 - 10:36 pm
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Waste management could start a sideline of composting humanure for people who live in appartments and can't easily do it themselves.
Pipe dreams

Author: Rangdrol
Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 12:02 pm
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Hey folks "Waste Managment" is the giant mega corp that got all that attention back east for being the Mob remember?
Also anyone interested might want to read Ken Kerns "Owner Builder and the Code". Check your blood pressure and Rolaid supply first.

The LAST thing we need in the beggining of a "new" technologie is to get the money boys involved. We should be doing every thing we can to be invisible to them.

I think the original post was a clever bit of humor.

I would edit it and challenge everyone to think of a better one.

I would say that composted humanure will be less valuable as time goes on as more will be available and there will be laws passed to restrict its use.

The cost of water is going to go WAY up. Remember folks Kenny Lay was buying water when he got busted. His buddies are WAY into water for a reason.

The cost of "sewage disposal" was left out, a monthly bill here in the west anyway.

Sawdust is not free even when it is free and it won't be free much longer anyway as it IS being targeted by the money boys as a resource to be exploited for profit.

Septic intallation is highly regulated here so even if you could find a $3k install and a 7.2% rate the cash numbers would be a little bit different

and last but not least "time value" and IRA's are things of the wealthy. At the last census over 49% of my [old] county was at or below the poverty line. {my new county is actually poorer!]

The working poor [projected to be the largest group] will see no benefit. They will reduce their water usage, but pay the same amount, AND still get increasing sewage bills. In fact recycle/waste reduction by the poor is punished in most places.

Not trying to rain on the parade, we really need a reasonable coherent argument that "sells".

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