A few questions posed to the group

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: A few questions posed to the group
Author: Timothy Ryan Picco
Wednesday, February 13, 2002 - 5:21 pm
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Hey humanure lovers. I'm a student at the evergreen state college, who is doin a project on the feasibility of humanure, as the main on-farm fertilizer in a "closed-system" farm. Using the nutritional requirements(protiens, calories, vitamins, amino acids ect.) for certain diets, their vegetable equivalents, and the the average yields given given for each crop in Jon Jeavon's book, some friends and I designed a bio-intensive farm that would produce all the veggies, grain, fruit, honey, and canola oil a person would require for a year o' life. We figured that we had the compost growing on the farm as food scraps and green manure, but we couldn't think of an abundant and inexhaustible source of fertilizer that was to be found on the farm. Personally, I would employ some animals to lend a helping hand or hoof to this cause, but in this farm design, we were working without them. In the end, the fertilizer source was coming in off the farm. Presently, i'm looking to the unrealized realm of poo for the answer to my fertilizer problem. My project and questions are still young, but here they are.
The farm turned out to be 1/7 of an acre, but we doubled that space to allow for fallow. I'm guessing it would take quite a lot of humanure to fertilize 1/7 of an acre, much more than I can produce. The idea of having monthly parties where 100-150 people are invited to contibute to my soil's fertility sounds like it would work, but...i'm wondering about some of the possible ingredients that could potentially show up in the compost pile if this happened. Mainly, my question is whether or not HIV, hepatitis C and the plethora of pharmeceutical drugs and/or hormones people eat would break down in the thermophillic process. I'm open to honest answers, speculation and possible rescources that could help.
Thanks for listening, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Author: joe jenkins
Wednesday, February 13, 2002 - 9:20 pm
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Our garden has been 1/8 of an acre for many years and it's fertilized by humanure compost plus a little chicken manure from our dozen or so hens. We do inport feed for the chickens and sawdust for the compost, although local leaf drop could possibly replace the sawdust if push came to shove. The Asians are the real masters of efficient micro-farming.

Author: curious
Thursday, February 14, 2002 - 6:18 pm
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Any thoughts on the HIV\Hepatitis C\pharm. hormone breakdown?

Author: Aaron W
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 12:13 am
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According to information given in the Humanure Handbook, I don't see why Hepatitis C or HIV would be special, as far as viruses go ... I would think that they would be destroyed along with the rest of the pathogens at the given temperature and time thresholds (Chapter 7). It would be useful to have some scientific data though, and maybe some even already exists.

I feel that the issue of pharmaceuticals, or artificial food additives, and such type stuff that people routinely put in their bodies would be a greater issue. This also looms in my head. Not enough, though, to deter me from closing the human nutrient cycle by composting human "waste" ... is there a better way of dealing with it, contaminants notwithstanding?

If you're recycling for your own garden, it's a simple matter to be more conscientious in what you put into your own body. You're already being conscientious enough to recycle your own excrement, being conscious of what you put in is a logical step. There does remain a good question, though, of the possible effects contaminants (pharmaceuticals, etc) when humanure composting is attempted at a municipal level.

My feeling, though, is that it would be more important just to get the process started where we are at, than to put it off indefinitely due to small complications. Problems will inevitably crop up and they can be dealt with. It is the process of transformation that is important, and the consequent raising of consciousness of everybody involved. Start with what we can do.

When the compost is done, we can test it ... if it has pathogens or pollutants in it, we can find an alternative use for it than on food crops ... in the meantime, we have still recovered a lot of resources from the waste stream and saved significant amounts of clean water from being fouled.

Author: admin
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 9:33 am
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I agree. Better for the pharmaceuticals to go into a composting system where they can be remediated and then back into soil than directly into our waterways.

Joe

Author: Anonymous
Friday, March 11, 2005 - 5:12 pm
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We began the humanure composting bins a year ago and did not have much hay added to it. We have
been adding all of our kitchen scraps and ash
from our wood stove and we use cedar sawdust in our
buckets. Will the humanure still be ready to use
a year from now?

Author: admin
Saturday, March 12, 2005 - 12:22 pm
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Why are you adding ash from your wood stove?

Is the cedar sawdust from logs or from kiln-dried lumber?

Author: Anonymous
Monday, March 14, 2005 - 4:19 pm
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The sawdust is from logs. We are adding the stove ashes because we had heard that it was
beneficial. Is that not right?

What do you think about the small amount of hay
that has been added to the bins?

Author: admin
Tuesday, March 15, 2005 - 2:26 pm
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Better to put your wood ashes directly on the ground, not in the compost. Wood ashes are not a compostable material. have you monitored the temperature of the compost at all? Have you read the Humanure Handbook?

Author: Anonymous
Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 10:11 pm
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I have read the Humanure Handbook once. I need to
get a copy. I have not monitored the temperature
at all - I need to get a thermometer. Where do I get it? We are a family of 6 and are filling up
the bins fast. We are on our fourth bin and hoping to use the first next spring in our garden.
If I haven't checked the temperature this far( it's been over a year) will it still be reliable or maybe I should just test the soil?

Author: Stephen
Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 11:55 pm
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Your on on your 4th bin in how long? And what size are these bins? When did you start your 1st bin?
Secondly you should let your bin age for one year after your pile has successfully reached and maintained the thermophilic stage.

Author: Joe Jenkins
Saturday, April 02, 2005 - 10:24 am
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Thermometers are at reotemp.com. An aging pile will not have a high temperature.

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