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Mike Wallace

Composting Toilets

11 posts in this topic

I posted this under home improvement, but I figured this might be a better forum

Anyone have any first hand experience with composting toilets in cabins or hunting shacks? I'm looking for a way to have indoor plumbing without plumbing indoors.

I have done some research online and know there are several vendors for these products, but I thought I would check here for information.

Anyone?

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My neighbor up at the cabin couldn't WAIT to get thier brand new composter out of their cabin.

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My inlaws have one in their cabin, it sure beats walking outside, it is high maintenance, depends on how many people will be using it. If you are having a party with 6-8 people and they all are drinking, it will be a sloppy mess, if its a couple people should work fine, they have a fan to exhaust the smell, as long as that is running, and you empty it when you leave no problems!

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Irvingdog; Why?

Finns.

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Smell and maintenance. To much thinking involved. For the BS involved, it's easier to carry a heater to the outhouse and keep all the issues outdoors.....

Not my words. This is second hand. YMMV

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We've had one for a year now at our cabin and although it looks nice it's quite a pain to maintain and unload, etc. Ours is not actually in the cabin it's in a shed right outside. It doesn't seem to smell much at all as it's vented out the ceiling. I just wish it was easier to unload the thing. We're weekenders at the cabin and normally it's just my father and I. The wives seem to like it a bit more than a regular old outhouse however.

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You could go the counter culture route and use a simplified version of a composting toilet. Skip the manufactured contraptions for sale in the big box stores that require maintenance and chemicals entirely.

Toilet style seats are available from cabelas that attach to 5 gal buckets and also close tight to serve as a lid. Use that with some biodegradable liner bags and a good supply of sawdust. Lots of sawdust in the mix will keep odor issues to a minimum. Your 'mix' can then be transfered to a true outdoor compost pile that can be later used to feed ornamental trees and shrubs.

Any composting toilet, even the Cadillac version, is going to have a limited duty cycle. Parties and drinking don't mix with composting toilets. Too much of anything and you will have a stinking mess and want to take it out and go back to the old 3 gal/flush models. From the feedback here, and other discussion I have had about manufactured composting toilets, they just complicate something that should be very simple. For a party, you could get 5 buckets and lids and a chainsaw - self serve.

I believe that sometime in the future, sending human waste down the drain using clean fresh water to be mixed with more fresh water to later be cleaned and sanitized using expensive and complex systems and chemicals will be viewed as a huge folly. We are lucky, in Minnesota we have plenty of water and it is easy to disagree with about anything. Especially since we all have a couple of porcelain throwns mandated by code and a great supply of reading material..

LB

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Quote:

Your 'mix' can then be transfered to a true outdoor compost pile that can be later used to feed ornamental trees and shrubs.


Big accent on the word ORNAMENTAL! Also, I was under the belief that waste from omnivores and carnivores was not deemed suitable for composting practices.

Who would want to /ahem/ turn that "pile"?

I think I just threw up a little bit in the back of my throat.....

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Quote:

I think I just threw up a little bit in the back of my throat.....


Nothing lots of sawdust won't fix.. grin.gif There is a book called The Humanure Handbook that is quite popular with permaculturalists and other tofu types. It dispels the myths associated with composting carnivore waste. Don't get me wrong, there are certainly issues in handling human waste, but it not being suitable for composting is obviously not true. Composting human manure has been done for centuries.

Yes, turning the pile will make it 'dirt' sooner than leaving it in an unturned pile. Both methods work. Put yer boots on!

LB

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We have had one for five years in our summer cabin and first of all, it doesn't smell. We never get any odor from ours. If you have a lot of liquid volume, you can attach a drain hose and empty a five gallon bucket every five or six days. Maintenance is a little work. You have to follow directions from the manufacturer quite closely, but not having to go to the outhouse at three in the morning is worth the effort.

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A friend and I built a "deer shack" for him and his family,we cleared the land, excavated, installed the plumbing and electrical lines from the generator, and prepared the road for the modular home he bought and had placed on the site. It is a two story with 4 bedrooms. Since it is used primarily on weekends during the spring, fall and winter and for several weeks upto and including deer season. Conventional plumbing was not possible unless he wanted to heat year round and install a septic system. He opted for composting toilets, we installed them in both bathrooms, one of the critical things during install was the 4" vent pipes going high enough to clear the peak of the roof. It wasn't easy but we were able to get them high enough. In the 4 years they have been operating with a minimum of 2 adults and 3 kids using them, they have been great, I've never noticed smell, mess or any issues, and they have been simple to maintain. They are Sun-Mar Excel non-electric models without fans. They are spendy at almost $1400.00 each, but fit the bill for this place as there is no power other than running the generator when they are using the place.

Hope this helps.

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