Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 28-03-2015, 18:07   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Refit in Port Townsend, WA
Boat: 1984 Slocum 43
Posts: 419
Composting toilet questions

For those liveaboards who use composting questions, we have a few questions.

1. Do you start out each empty tank with a peat brick?

2. What do you do with the contents when they're ready to empty? I'm talking in a marina with no vehicle available. I'm thinking the most recent dumps will be quite "fresh", even after stirring?
__________________

__________________
Mycroft is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-03-2015, 12:11   #2
Registered User
 
wrwakefield's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Wrangell Island, Alaska
Boat: Nauticat 43
Posts: 860
Re: Composting toilet questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
For those liveaboards who use composting questions, we have a few questions.

1. Do you start out each empty tank with a peat brick?

2. What do you do with the contents when they're ready to empty? I'm talking in a marina with no vehicle available. I'm thinking the most recent dumps will be quite "fresh", even after stirring?
We purchased a 'Marine' composting toilet recently and are preparing to install it. It, like its modern cousins, separates liquids from solids.

Therefore I will assume you are referring to the solids only with your questions...

Our research indicates we can dump a plastic bag containing solid waste into the dumpsters at [our and other] marinas. [I'm ignoring dumping overboard when in legal waters for doing so...]

Sustainable Solutions is the best web site we found about these separating, composting heads. [No affiliation...] They answer these and many other questions with their written content and well produced videos.

I hope this is helpful for you.

We look forward to initiating ours next month and updating our spring projects blog post when we do...

Cheers!
__________________

__________________
SV Denali Rose

Short on opinions; focused on research, facts & experience [yours and ours...]
wrwakefield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-03-2015, 12:33   #3
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,021
Re: Composting toilet questions

Q1: I start with a coir brick, although peat is good too so I'm told (coir is more environmentally sustainable). I break up the brick using as little water as possible. Then I add about 1/2 the brick to the bottom of my Nature's Head, bringing it up to about equal with the churner. As moisture is added through use the coir will expand even more, but about 1/2 way through the cycle (about 2 weeks into it) we'll start adding small amounts of what remains from the brick following each usage. This method works well for us.

Q2. I had the same concerns initially. My experience has been that even the most recent deposits are churned in and completely inoffensive. The contents looks, smells and feels () like moist soil.

In a marina with no access to semi-wilderness, and not being unable to sail out past the 3 mile limit, I'd first look for a good old fashion outhouse. Barring that I would likely bag and dump in a dumpster, but I'd probably open the bag so the material can continue composting.

I've thought about (but never tried) taking the bin into a normal washroom and slowly flushing the contents down through a toilet. As long as it was done so as to ensure no clogging, I don't see why this would be a problem. Urban sanitation systems are designed to deal with organic waste, which is what this is.
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 29-03-2015, 19:38   #4
Registered User
 
ejjawhite's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Hull, MA
Boat: CAL 35 III
Posts: 11
Send a message via Skype™ to ejjawhite
Re: Composting toilet questions

I have an Airhead and use the entire block of coir after moistening it and breaking it up. You don't want it too wet. At the end of my 1st year, I merely dumped it into a construction type heavy duty plastic trash bag. You could easily use the compost in a garden, though for liability purposes, the company will tell you to only use it for ornamentals or non-edible vegetation.
__________________
ejjawhite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-03-2015, 20:51   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Groton, CT
Boat: Bristol 29.9
Posts: 236
Re: Composting toilet questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Q1: I start with a coir brick, although peat is good too so I'm told (coir is more environmentally sustainable). I break up the brick using as little water as possible. Then I add about 1/2 the brick to the bottom of my Nature's Head, bringing it up to about equal with the churner. As moisture is added through use the coir will expand even more, but about 1/2 way through the cycle (about 2 weeks into it) we'll start adding small amounts of what remains from the brick following each usage. This method works well for us.
Mike,

When you're putting in coir equal to the churner, is that with the churner bar horizontal or vertical? Any rough idea how much water you're using to break up the brick?

We bought a Nature's Head towards the end of last season and really liked it, but by the end of the season we were still trying to get it "dialed in." Initially we didn't realize we needed to premoisten the peat moss and couldn't turn the handle (undoubtedly too dry). The next batch I think may have been too moist.

We're going to try the coir brick this year (easier to store and more sustainable) and we're hoping to shorten our learning curve a bit.

Thanks.
__________________
Cthoops is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-03-2015, 03:37   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 4,861
Re: Composting toilet questions

The nice thing is you can plan for it becasue it's not a twice a week thing like a holding tank.

We did the marina bathroom with lots of flushing once. It works fine just don't overload and clog it but really more trouble than it's worth. We did do it late at night as it took about 10minutes with lots of flushing.

If we can't get offshore, we double bag and put it in the dumpster.
__________________
valhalla360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-03-2015, 05:31   #7
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,021
Re: Composting toilet questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthoops View Post
When you're putting in coir equal to the churner, is that with the churner bar horizontal or vertical? Any rough idea how much water you're using to break up the brick?
Horizontal. This is a rough guide. Basically I aim for enough to get a good churn going, and I add the remainder throughout the cycle.

It did take us a few cycles before I got a good sense for the amount of moisture when pre-moistening. My first attempt I added way too much water. It worked OK, but the pile became saturated within a couple of weeks. My second approach resulted in a pile that was too dry. Took three times to hit the Goldilocks setting .

I think I use less than what is commonly recommended by composting head sites, and certainly what the coir directions say on the package. My approach is to add perhaps a cup of water (I'm not good a measuring ... a cupish ) to a coir brick. Seal it in a plastic bag and put it in the sun for a few hours. Then I mechanically break the brick apart using a knife to peal apart layers. It's hard at first, but after wedging out a few layers it gets easier. If it's still rock hard I might add more water, but I try to keep it as dry as possible. The key though is to have it very broken up, otherwise you won't be able to churn.
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 30-03-2015, 12:04   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Groton, CT
Boat: Bristol 29.9
Posts: 236
Re: Composting toilet questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
It did take us a few cycles before I got a good sense for the amount of moisture when pre-moistening. My first attempt I added way too much water. It worked OK, but the pile became saturated within a couple of weeks. My second approach resulted in a pile that was too dry. Took three times to hit the Goldilocks setting .

I was feeling a bit like Goldilocks when I was describing our experience. Thanks for the info. I'm looking forward to getting it "just right" this season.
__________________
Cthoops is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2015, 09:28   #9
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 14
Re: Composting toilet questions

I've read all the threads on composting heads I've been able to find. (I'm leaning strongly toward a c-head.) Here's a question/consideration I have not seen addressed:

In really choppy weather or even in a knockdown, what's to keep the contents of the head from being tossed out of the waste container and making a huge, unbearable mess?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.
__________________
Sailinstuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2015, 12:15   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 4,861
Re: Composting toilet questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailinstuff View Post
I've read all the threads on composting heads I've been able to find. (I'm leaning strongly toward a c-head.) Here's a question/consideration I have not seen addressed:

In really choppy weather or even in a knockdown, what's to keep the contents of the head from being tossed out of the waste container and making a huge, unbearable mess?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.
We have a Natures Head. The base is secured to the floor with brackets and the seat is secured to the base.

In rough conditions, we've never had an issue. We've never had a knock down.

In a knock down, what's to keep a 300lb holding tank from breaking free and busting the hoses off (a 35gal holding tank will weight upwards of 300lbs), draining the entire contents into the bilge? When full, the Natures Head weighs around 40lbs including contents and the top should contain the solids.

Realistically, in a knock down, poo coming out your backside is probably the more immediate mess to deal with.
__________________
valhalla360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2015, 12:48   #11
Registered User
 
Rhapsody-NS27's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: VA, boat: Deale, MD
Boat: 1981 Nor'sea 27
Posts: 1,409
Re: Composting toilet questions

I don't know about the c-head but the natures head and Airhead (the one I have) both have trap doors for the solids that normally stays closed so less likely anything will go flying about. Liquids, will likely get out but still, not as bad as the holding tank scenario valhalla360 mentioned with a holding tank.
__________________
Daniel - Rhapsody Blog,
“A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s.” — Bernard Moitessier
"I don't need therapy, I just need my boat"
Rhapsody-NS27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2015, 12:57   #12
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,021
Re: Composting toilet questions

My response is pretty much the same as the previous two. I can't tell you about CH or AH, but on my Nature's Head there is a trap door that completely seals off the compost pile. It wouldn't spill out, even in a 180-degree roll over, unless the whole head came unbolted from the floor, and even then it would remain contained. The urine bottle stays completely secure even in the roughest conditions, and would only spill its contents in a severe knockdown (90 degrees or more).

If this is of paramount concern you could secure the NH lid with a simple latch that would keep the urine contained in the head. But seriously ... in a knockdown this severe, you'll have much greater issues to deal with than a little piss on the wall .
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2015, 14:14   #13
Registered User
 
RainDog's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Varies
Boat: Pacific Seacraft 34 #142
Posts: 1,183
Re: Composting toilet questions

We use less than 1/2 cup of water per brick of Coctoec. It takes it a day or two to rehydrate.

Read more in great detail here: https://raindogps34.wordpress.com/20...ur-dry-toilet/
RainDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2015, 14:32   #14
Registered User
 
ejjawhite's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Hull, MA
Boat: CAL 35 III
Posts: 11
Send a message via Skype™ to ejjawhite
Re: Composting toilet questions

I soak the coir block in a pan with 1/2 gallon of water. It will expand to 5 times its original,size and then I flip it into a plastic bag, break it up, and scoop it into the head. Regarding the question of rough weather and spillage.... It is quite well enclosed and I do not think there is any possibility of that. You could alway secure the pee tank and cap,it off. Personal, I pee in the sink w a fresh water rinse, otherwise the container fills too quickly... It may sound gross, but pee is virtually sterile and close to non-polluting. I let the wife fill the pee tank and I carry an extra tank for the pee in case we aren't in a position to dump it.
__________________

__________________
ejjawhite is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
oil, posting

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Composting Toilet - Nature's Head EighthWonder Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 381 08-10-2015 13:09
Composting Toilet reiner Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 45 05-08-2012 17:25
Vent for Airhead composting toilet lovinlifebda Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 6 05-03-2012 16:49
The C-Head Portable Composting Toilet fireboat52 Commercial Posts 1 01-12-2011 18:05
Dry Composting Marine Toilet? Simes Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 0 21-09-2008 09:26



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 17:50.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.