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Humanure - Should we? Could we? Would we?
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 14525
Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our composting toilet system works well.

There is no smell, it is a joy to use and there is little effort involved in maintaining it.

I've just received a compost thermometer so we can now monitor how well the heap is doing.

My only regret is that I put in septic tank, percolation area, pipework, plumbing, flush loo etc etc etc bloody etc ten years ago when I could have saved so much money, hassle and worry using this system.

Sigh. You live and learn.

We now say things like, "gosh I was caught short when I was out today and had to use one of those antiquated flush loos - terrible experience" and (to guests) "you have a choice - you can use the old-fashioned water closet or the far superior composting toilet; don't be shy" or some such nonsense.

I have a prissy sister-in-law visiting this weekend who is not aware of our 'modernisation'. Could be interesting.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 14525
Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our composting toilet system works well.

There is no smell, it is a joy to use and there is little effort involved in maintaining it.

I've just received a compost thermometer so we can now monitor how well the heap is doing.

My only regret is that I put in septic tank, percolation area, pipework, plumbing, flush loo etc etc etc bloody etc ten years ago when I could have saved so much money, hassle and worry using this system.

Sigh. You live and learn.

We now say things like, "gosh I was caught short when I was out today and had to use one of those antiquated flush loos - terrible experience" and (to guests) "you have a choice - you can use the old-fashioned water closet or the far superior composting toilet; don't be shy" or some such nonsense.

I have a prissy sister-in-law visiting this weekend who is not aware of our 'modernisation'. Could be interesting.
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longjohn



Joined: 07 May 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:19 pm    Post subject: Update Reply with quote

Thought I'd give folks an update on my 'system'.

I have now dumped three loads of wood chip and poo into my compost bin. In as much as I can see what happens to it, it is slumping fast, which I take to be a sign of decay as well as settlement. It has been colonised by wood ants, which is fine with me.

I've added a box and toilet seat to the original bucket, which makes using it much more enticing. Still no smells or other issues. The only issues I have had are to do with mismanaging one bucket of my wood chip supply before bringing it indoors, as a result of which it has a few tiny flies.

It is gratifying to see how quickly the compost pile is growing compared to how quickly it grows if I only add plant material from gardening. Obviously, it is the wood chips that are doing most of that work but they are there because I have a reason to gather them and put them there. And fortify them with nitrogen before I put them there.

Separately, I noticed that the area in the garden where I peed through winter (and continue so to do) is the one area of hard-packed clayey-sandy soil that is supporting large plants (mugwort, nettles, one of the goosefoots, feverfew). They stand out as a dense island of tall, vigorous plants in what is otherwise a sparse mix of dandelion, deadly nightshade and the occasional birch seedling. One has to conclude that my pee has wrought a miracle!

These results have convinced me to install a separate urinal in the house when I eventually buy/build a house. I think the case for the power of collecting pee is overwhelming.

Poo less so but there are other reasons for keeping it out of flush toilets as all here know, so I will continue to collect it.
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skeptik



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2969
Location: Costa Geriatrica, Spain

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Update Reply with quote

longjohn wrote:

Separately, I noticed that the area in the garden where I peed through winter (and continue so to do) is the one area of hard-packed clayey-sandy soil that is supporting large plants (mugwort, nettles, one of the goosefoots, feverfew). They stand out as a dense island of tall, vigorous plants in what is otherwise a sparse mix of dandelion, deadly nightshade and the occasional birch seedling. One has to conclude that my pee has wrought a miracle!

Isnt nature wonderful? Ive noticed this effect before in the dried up moats of castles and old country houses. Hundreds of years of pee and poo out of the garderobe into the moat producing a high nitrogen soil particularly attractive to nettles.
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JohnB



Joined: 22 May 2006
Posts: 6457
Location: Beautiful sunny West Wales!

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just discovered one of the joys of compost loos. I'm sure plenty will be written about kenneal's poo palace, but I had the pleasure of filling it to the point where the next person to sit down would have had a rather messy experience. I had a great time compacting the contents of the bucket with a piece of wood Very Happy. Roll on the day when I can have one of my own! Sorry I didn't take a picture Laughing.
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Eco-Hamlets UK - Small sustainable neighbourhoods
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adam2
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 7121
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"water closet--device for mixing sh*t and water, and rendering both unfit for re-use"
Not claimed to be original, cant remember where I read it!
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skeptik



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2969
Location: Costa Geriatrica, Spain

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnB wrote:
I've just discovered one of the joys of compost loos.


If you want to go one better than just composting and are feeling keen, you could build yourself an anaerobic digester. Advantages - it provides methane to boil your kettle from the anaerobic methanogen bacteria that do the work, and all the nasty aerobic pathogens that might be in the pee and poo get killed off.

This process is used in sewage farms. I saw one in action a long time ago - a self powered reactor, the methane evolved used to heat the reactor to provide an optimum operating temperature. A simplified version is widely used in Chinese rural areas.

http://www.cityfarmer.org/biogasPaul.html
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Andy Hunt



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 6760
Location: Bury, Lancashire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skeptik wrote:
JohnB wrote:
I've just discovered one of the joys of compost loos.


If you want to go one better than just composting and are feeling keen, you could build yourself an anaerobic digester. Advantages - it provides methane to boil your kettle from the anaerobic methanogen bacteria that do the work, and all the nasty aerobic pathogens that might be in the pee and poo get killed off.

This process is used in sewage farms. I saw one in action a long time ago - a self powered reactor, the methane evolved used to heat the reactor to provide an optimum operating temperature. A simplified version is widely used in Chinese rural areas.

http://www.cityfarmer.org/biogasPaul.html


A fascinating read, thanks Skeptik!
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12654
Location: York

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
"water closet--device for mixing sh*t and water, and rendering both unfit for re-use"
Not claimed to be original, cant remember where I read it!

That would make a good signature-line, problem is everybody would then think I was talking out of my .... Very Happy
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
Posts: 6743
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well...

I finally got my brother in law and my sister in law's fiance on board with regards to buying some farmland together in Normandy. Between us, we should eb able to buy cash somwhere about 150 acreas Once bought, I will be taking a year out go go over and split into three dwelling units and to get the land in to basic shape.

Hopefully we will have found somewhere and I will be beginning the work on it before Xmas.

Composting toilet included of course....Wink

Finally, I feel like I am actually doing something

Once bought, I frankly couldn't give a sh*t what happens to it's exchange value in fiat terms.

My family's ticket to the future will have been secured (at least as far as that future can be secured)
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12654
Location: York

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done that man!
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
Posts: 6743
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:
Well done that man!

Thank you RC.

Once again, apologies for your having to make your own way down on the weekend.

Hope you had a nice time.... Smile
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12654
Location: York

PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No worries Cool
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leroy



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 335

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did anyone see this in Friday's Guardian - http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/29/waste.recycling - ?

Says that 68% of sewage sludge in the UK already applied to fields supplying 3,000 of 146,000 farmers with savings on fertiliser of 450/hectare. Positive in one aspect, but not great percentages really are they - 68% supplying only a small fraction of farms?
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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12654
Location: York

PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It should be good stuff but unfortunately the way things work here, often the sewage gets mixed up with industrial effluent before being processed. There are ways and means of re-extracting the most serious heavy metals (Lead, Mercury etc) before selling/giving it on to farms, but that doesn't mean it's perfect.
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