Composting Toilet — Report on 8 months full time usage

Sagestone

Observer
Not sure - but there was another guy who used a macerater pump and then injected the liquids into his diesel engine's exhaust while the rig was going down the highway...
dwh covered this well and included a link to an obsolete but interesting Thermasan set-up on page 6, post #52 for 'exhaust' disposal.
 

Sagestone

Observer
Yikes, I'll keep it in mind if I ever build a tank :)

I have to say that I would not be a fan of anything that requires mechanisms and power to work, I can see the advantage of not having sewage to deal with but there's too much to go wrong and when it does you are stuffed and a week's drive (or more) from a service agent. A porta potti or one of those pee-diverting johns have (almost) nothing to to fail.

In our new build we won't have a generator so that's not an option for us either.
I generally agree with the 'keep it simple' methodology but then again, that would mean abandoning your truck and heading out with hiking boots and a backpack. Laces have been known to fail as well. :) Personal preference and inherent skills have to be weighed per each individual. With my mechanical skills and aversion to literally handling my waste, I see a distinct advantage to either burning it or macerating and pump dumping and/or exhaust dripping. I hope the electronics in my PC hold out so I can catch your reply;):beer: Cheers, keep the good info coming, Dean
 

daniel ruops

Adventurer
Fecal matter (s)

I wish to thank Rhetts and the other participants for sharing their opinions, perspectives and experiences on all matters "toilett". Several months ago we replaced our Thetford Cassette with a Nature's Head composting toilett. We are very happy for having made the change. Rhetts adaquately addressed the positive aspects of the Nature's Head toilett therefore I will simply state that we concur most positively with his review. We do not miss the odors, leakage on studder bump roads and the potental for Robin Williams comedy RV black holding tank and fecal matter mishaps.
 

DiploStrat

Expedition Leader
To Add a Note ...

based on two months full time usage. You can dump a composting toilet at a conventional RV dump station IF it has running water. (Which most do.) And you will still use less water than the folks who are cleaning out their black tanks. Takes a moment, but the process has none of the odor common to dumping a conventional black tank.
 

dumpnpump

New member
incinerating toilets/septic altern.

Hey everybody. Anybody know anything about those incinerating toilets or those incinerators that replace a septic system? I’m looking to build on 10 acres I bought in Wyoming and it’s pretty remote. Gonna cost a fortune to put in a septic tank plus paying for the pump outs. Ther are a few different brands but I was looking at Ecojohn. They are the most expensive at almost $4k but each flush only costs about 15 cents because it uses propane, and the other ones draw so much electricity, it’s probably gonna cost $1 per flush.
I just learned that these things even existed and I want to know more before I spend that kind of money. Can somebody weigh in here? I would appreciate it.
 

Haf-E

Expedition Leader
Is there a specific reason the septic is going to cost a lot? i.e. high water table, rocky ground etc.? One thing people often overlook when the get excited about composting toilets etc. is that you will still need to dispose of the graywater as well - so that will require a system as well - which, depending on your local requirements, may require a full septic system anyways...

I haven't used one of the propane toilets but think the composting systems are a good alternative - cheaper and less on going expense. You also get compost from it.

Check with your local building department about the graywater requirements...
 

thjakits

Adventurer
Hi all,

I am still a loooong ways away from needing a "mobile toilet solution", but by chance here is something that might help someone else.

The possible solution might only be possible for a bigger rig, but who knows - ....you might work out a smaller unit.....:



My other big interest is Aquaponics (Hydroponics with fishwater......)

I am mainly roaming one specific forum for their overall best approach for the "common backyard DIY on a budget"-guy.

One of the forum members (Cookie) was/is playing/testing different approaches to one of the common problems in aquaponics:

What to do with the fish solids and not wasting them!!

(In very short: there is different ways to do AP, if looking at the plant grow side of things. One of the routes doesn't really need a solids filter - up to a certain fish density and system size. The others need a very careful filtering of solids or you risk plugging up everything....)

Solids are mainly fish poo. Now it also happens that fish poo contains a mother load of nutrients, that you really don't want to go to waste, by filtering and disposing.
ONE way of converting/working the solids is in a mineralization tank - different ways to do that.

I don't recall Cookie's exact system, but I think it works by combining aerobic and anaerobic action....(don't recall exactly - different times and/or locations within the tank)
I also recall, that he is using air-injection to maintain proper mineralization.
I also recall, that his system is fairly quick about it all!

Now I wonder if one could make that happen on "the truck"?

Blackwater tank with a macerator feed, inject air and possibly heat it to a good (to be determined) temp. and convert the whole mess into a basically dump-it-anywhere "Fertilizer"! ??
No need to separate solids from liquids, as you will need to keep the system liquid for the air-injection to work.....
Possibly the same could be done to the greywater.....then filter it and use it again for flushing....

[I don't think this is a real composting process, rather a conversion of the mess into a non-environmental-challenging matter (What comes out of Cookie's mineralization system goes right back into the plant growing part....)].

Certainly, the process will take a certain time, but I think with a proper temperature application one could destroy all pathogens (which will also happen if you leave Urine sealed and alone - ph rises towards somewhere around 9, where pathogens will call it quits....)

So - maybe - with a proper mix of this all - it might be possible to build a simple system, that will leave an organic fertilizer instead of a cesspool.
If you are "out in the wild" - you wouldn't have to be concerned about just dumping the load in the bushes. If you are near a sewage dump - well, still can dump it there too!

I do remember, that Cookie mentioned that he read a LOT about general sewage treatment systems and tried to apply a lot of it in his system.
I do not remember where exactly in the thread, Cookie starts to deal with his mineralization system - sorry, you will have to read through it all....

http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=20661


.....NOW, ONE BIG WARNING: Aquaponics is a very addictive matter - you have been warned!! :sombrero:

Cheers,

thjakits:coffee:



PS: To a recent discussion elsewhere on this forum - water use per persona per day.

Someone mentioned 15 liters for a shower! Just as a anecdote: A former Peruvian Air Force mechanic told me, they were trained to "shower" with a 1-liter bottle of water!! I tried it a few times and though it is tedious - it works!! You need to use EVERY drop and have them do double duty - just wet your head and make sure that every drop running off wets some other body part! Soap yourself and scrub and start to rinse again on top - MAKE SURE you rinse water from the top does double and triple duty on the way down! Not exactly FUN, but if you need to - it works!
You even can have a mouthful left for brushing teeth!
So much to using water, if necessary!

Flushing toilets: If you are anything like me, I DO like to flush (as opposed to "dry move" the stuff).
ON recent work trips to Peru I encountered two completely opposite flushing bowl designs (though not obvious to the eye...)

- one "good luck if it sucks it all out at the end and used 200 gallons of water"!!
- on the other hand "GONE as soon as you press the button"!

[On my next trip I will try to catch a bowl-manufactures name and try to measure or at least estimate the minimum amount of water needed to flush...
Possibly sample videos of both systems to compare the extremes - ....with "paper substitute......"]
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
Killing the pathogens is easy. Raise the temp to 140 degrees F or higher for one hour.

If you also want to compost the material, then you have to keep the temp below the temp at which the bacteria dies off - which IIRC is like 150 degrees for aerobic and 160 degrees for thermophilic. You also have to turn it, because the bacteria needs oxygen.
 

magentawave

Adventurer
Why not just build a simple bucket style head like Jenkins does in his "Humanure" book? Because I won't have a compost pile in my motorhome, I'm going a step further than Jenkins by separating the pee from the poo.
 

thjakits

Adventurer
...well, I think part of the discussion is about "Composting toilets NOT being composting toilets!" - rather collection systems for composting systems.

Personally, I don't care if I produce compost on the run or not - I just want to get rid of the blackwater/matter in an efficient and SAFE way.
SAFE meaning - I do NOT want to cause a possible health-risk by dumping un-treated or partially treated human waste.

I think by now we are clear that Compost-Toilets do NOT produce compost, but the question is still lingering: Whatever you get out of the Compost-toilet, ....is it SAFE to dump anywhere (...in the bushes, in the drainage besides the road, etc....)

I think Cookie (from the link in my previous post), keeps it all moving with the air-injection (that is a continuous process, but with a rather small electric air-pump).
He definitely does NOT heat the mess up to 160F - so his process must work a little different, ....I guess.

One would have to look in more detail into the exact processes available and see which is the best to apply to a RV....
I am certain though, that the mess has to be liquid to be able to be processed in that manner, so pee and poo stay together, might even need a little up from the grey water....
At the end - I want to be able to dump anywhere in the green or anywhere gray-water gets to go.
To me it seems the problems really start, if you need to dump blackwater and there is no facility (town) or you have to dump a messy/unsafe pool in the green.....

thjakits:coffee:
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
He definitely does NOT heat the mess up to 160F - so his process must work a little different, ....I guess.
Ah...that's not exactly what I meant...

You have to get to 140 to kill the pathogens (if you want to kill the pathogens quickly), but going up to 150 or 160 will also kill the bacteria you need.

The beneficial bacteria has to be kept -below- 150.

So, to make it safe quickly you would bring it up to 140 to kill the pathogens, then if you want to also compost it, cool it down so the bacteria can do its work without dying off.

But if you've got time to wait for the pathogens to die off, then you don't have to heat it to 140.
 

JCTex

Observer
I have an electric toilet in my 38' Motorhomes and a macerater to dump the tanks. I want to change to a Mature's head, primarily because of the water used. Frankly, however, Iwth these two electric luxuries, I'm just spoiled. If ever this thing breaks where it will cost a lot to fix, I assure you it will be replaced by a NH.

NOTE: There's another major source of information for this thread that's being missed A young couple has become the go-to source of actual user information regarding compost toilets in the RV world. The reason most of you have never heard of them is they travel in a motorhome and post in those circles.

They are in their 2nd MH with a Nature's Head. It would be phenomenally helpful here if you could get Jason and Nikki to read this thread and comment. They also maintain a boondocking electric system with monitors; so, they could accurately comment on their toilet's electric use. The biggest concern here is how to appropriately dispose of the full plastic bag. Both of these people are extremely environmentaliy conscious. If they have had problems finding places to put it, I'm sure they would tell us. They are on an Alaska trip now. If ever there is a place where disposing of the bag is hard, I suspect it's there.

Look up Gone With The Wynns. If I knew how to post a link, I'd do it for you. They have an entire sub-set in their blog on using a Nature's Head.

Jerry
 
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