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Old 23-05-2010, 17:01   #196
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Very informative thread! My husband is building a boat from scratch, and I'm in charge of the interior. So, now that my legislators, in their infinite wisdom, have quietly made Type I and II treatment systems illegal in NC waters, Plan A is out the window. Now looking into composters, and it certainly sounds like a reasonable idea.

Bear with me, please, for unnecessary grossness, but I have a question I've not seen addressed yet. I understand the basics, peat/coconut fiber as desiccant, and separating urine from 'solids.' So far, so good. But what if the solids aren't? What if one comes down with raging Montezuma's Revenge? Or worse yet, gets seasick?

Reassure me that all eventualities are adequately addressed with more peat in the pot?

Thank you!
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Old 23-05-2010, 17:11   #197
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You might need to clean the actually bowl but it doesn't matter to the waste tank.
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Old 23-05-2010, 17:26   #198
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I'm still in the process of installing ours so I have no actual experience to speak from but I would think a regular old bucket would be a better choice if you are seasick. Besides, holding your head over a composting toilet doesn't seem like a good idea if you are already sick.
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Old 23-05-2010, 18:26   #199
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oh, yeah... There IS that.
We've got a couple of months yet before this becomes a real issue, so I'll be looking forward to reading how it goes for you.
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Old 24-05-2010, 09:05   #200
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But what if the solids aren't? What if one comes down with raging Montezuma's Revenge? Or worse yet, gets seasick?
Actually, if the waste is a bit more liquid all you might need to do is add a bit more dry material-sawdust or coconut fibre or the like-to attach the additional moisture. In my experience, these systems are pretty forgiving. We built a number of batch digesters (just 40 gal poly drums with seats and a vent pipe) for festivals, and they worked splendidly, even dealing with less than careful (and less than sober) patrons.

I've vented my toilet. The heat generated by the composting process causes the air to rise and creates a kind of negative airflow at the seat, which keeps any residual odors heading above decks.
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Old 08-07-2010, 20:57   #201
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more composting stuff

Having shot my mouth off on this board quite a bit on the composting toilet issue, I thought I'd add a kind of surprising recent experience I've had with same. I'm away from home doing some repairs on a rental house I own, and, being in the process of replacing the entire floor of the bathroom (thank you, former tenant, may you rot as the floor has), I've had the water off in the place for a bit. I can do with bottled water just fine, but the toilet thing was an issue. I thought about using a 5 gallon bucket with sawdust as a gonzo composter, but it seemed...um...uncomfortable. Then I suddenly thought, hey, the toilet is here and dry, why not use it? So I lined the john with a plastic contractor bag, threw in some sawdust (actually dried pine sawdust kitty litter) and used that.

Despite the gonzo arrangement, despite the small capacity and lack of vents, there has been ABSOLUTELY no odor of any kind. I mean, I can smell it when I go, but that's it. I cover the paper and leavings with a handful of the litter after use, use a bottle instead of the toilet for urine, and there have been no problems. It's been just me, but even with the small capacity of the lined toilet bowl, it lasts about a month before I have to dump the bag (there's a compost pile in the back yard) and even then there's been no smell.

My point is, we may be making this a LOT more complex than it is in our search for sterilization. As long as there's an absorptive medium with which to cover the fecres, and the urine is separated, it seems to work in an odorless and entirely satisfactory fashion. I suspect a 5 gallon bucket with an attendant toilet seat would last a couple at least a month aboard without having to dump it, and if my experience is any guide, there would be nothing objectionable about the setup.

In a related story, I was planning on using one of those "sun shower" setups to bathe until I get the pumbing lines back where they should be. I've used them before on boats and at festivals, and they do work, but they're awkward, and 5 gallons of water is a handful to manhandle.

I hit on the simple expedient of using 2 litre soda bottles instead. I took a bottle cap and drilled 6 holes in it as a spray nozzle. I fill the things 2/3rds full of cold water from my water bottles and in the morning when I make tea I fill em up the rest of the way with boiling water (Use a funnel though. Direct contact with boiling water makes the plastic deform). One bottle, if you're frugal, gives an entirely satisfactory shower. Two are positively luxurious. I've also started using the setup for dishes and the like. Works well, costs nothing. My kinda thing.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:33   #202
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But what if the solids aren't? What if one comes down with raging Montezuma's Revenge? Or worse yet, gets seasick?

Reassure me that all eventualities are adequately addressed with more peat in the pot?

Thank you!
I contacted Air Head and Nature's Head about this exact issue. I was worried to!

Both of the companies reported that their systems would not have any problem with this issue.
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Old 09-07-2010, 11:49   #203
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This sounds like the answer to my misguided politicians' stupid mandate. 5 gallon bucket as suggested above, for now, (actually, I'm thinking to modify a bedside commode, aka the grannypot,) and install the handsomer 'real thing' when the interior is actually finished.

So, any of you ever been stopped by the potty-police? I'd be interested to hear what the upshot of an encounter might be. I'm not sure our local blue-light flotilla, captained by BillyJoe-Bob an' 'em, would understand, but maybe I underestimate them.

Thanks, y'all!
Amelia
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Old 09-07-2010, 15:08   #204
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Reliance makes a gizmo called the "luggable loo" which is a snap on toilet seat for 5 gallon bucket. No urine diverter, but sounds like it might fit the bill.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:16   #205
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In a related story, I was planning on using one of those "sun shower" setups to bathe until I get the pumbing lines back where they should be. I've used them before on boats and at festivals, and they do work, but they're awkward, and 5 gallons of water is a handful to manhandle.

I hit on the simple expedient of using 2 litre soda bottles instead. I took a bottle cap and drilled 6 holes in it as a spray nozzle. I fill the things 2/3rds full of cold water from my water bottles and in the morning when I make tea I fill em up the rest of the way with boiling water (Use a funnel though. Direct contact with boiling water makes the plastic deform). One bottle, if you're frugal, gives an entirely satisfactory shower. Two are positively luxurious. I've also started using the setup for dishes and the like. Works well, costs nothing. My kinda thing.
The 1.5 gallon garden sprayer with one of those dish sprayers attatched works really well also. It does cost a few bucks but they are rugged and last a long time (mine was used for flyspray and the horses for five years before it's current role as a portable pressure water system). An advantage is that they give you some pressure. The dish sprayer makes it a demand thing so that you don't use water unnescessarily but is a nice shower head. Mine is 1.5 gallons and a dark green color so it warms quickly in the sun but it also works when the sun isn't shining or inside in the winter if you have a shower well with provissions to pump it over-mine is a small manual bildge pump- by adding a little from the kettle...You can also leave those solar showers out tied to the deck and use them to fill the sprayer.... or the soda bottle.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:45   #206
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. . . I've vented my toilet. The heat generated by the composting process causes the air to rise and creates a kind of negative airflow at the seat, which keeps any residual odors heading above decks.
Aha! Now there is the solution to the thread about the problem of other boats anchoring too close to you. Install a composting head vented above deck. Also it might be good to install the thing aft (normally downwind) of the cockpit. And then there is the problem of rain and boarding seas while underway. Life is just not easy . . .
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:58   #207
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eco-heads (the short kind)

Donna Lange claims to use the lower half of an old cooler. In it she put kitty litter.

Keeping the urine out will make a big difference. Note the Mr. Peebuddy urinal design by Chris Melo at chrismelo.blogspot.com (I think).

I'm happy to hear of potty police, since around the marinas in Brisbane, Calif., you'll see some appetizing brown floatables that make oil spill blobs look attractive in comparison.

It's not hard to make a urine-diverting composting toilet. Manage it well and you don't need to vent it actively or can screw on a cap on the rainhat during storms. A solar muffin fan will keep random spray out of it.

Many folks who buy a manufactured composting toilet do so for the looks, resale value, peace of mind, or the girlfriend/parents-in-law factor.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:04   #208
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Reiheld,
A little bit of moisture is actually good for the composting of the solids. Also, diarrhea has a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio good for composting. Urine is high in nitrogen, so can throw off the process, cause odors from methane (from too much liquid on bottom), and add the ammonium element if the N is not bound up with carbon.
Stick to coconut coir (an idea I posted here long ago), because it's hydroscopic and renewable (peat, not so much) and less dusty than peat so less likely to clog your fan.

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Very informative thread! My husband is building a boat from scratch, and I'm in charge of the interior. So, now that my legislators, in their infinite wisdom, have quietly made Type I and II treatment systems illegal in NC waters, Plan A is out the window. Now looking into composters, and it certainly sounds like a reasonable idea.

Bear with me, please, for unnecessary grossness, but I have a question I've not seen addressed yet. I understand the basics, peat/coconut fiber as desiccant, and separating urine from 'solids.' So far, so good. But what if the solids aren't? What if one comes down with raging Montezuma's Revenge? Or worse yet, gets seasick?

Reassure me that all eventualities are adequately addressed with more peat in the pot?

Thank you!
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:14   #209
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I'm planning to make my own composting head this winter using an Ecovita Privy Kit, a bucket (for solids), a plastic cat litter jug (for liquids), and some plywood I already have. I plan on building the plywood in and painting it with epoxy paint to make it look like it belongs there. I would have preferred a Nature's Head or Airhead but they won't work with my head configuration. Plus, the way I'm doing it will be a lot cheaper. I'll post pictures when I get around to doing the build/install.
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Old 12-07-2010, 13:29   #210
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Thanks, all, for the great suggestions. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm a little concerned that the urinal-type used-beer-diverter, as described in the delightful blog referenced above, is illegal, subject to draconian fines, in fact. If I understand it, NO raw sewage, including a pint of pee, may be discharged within 3 miles of the U.S. coastline - except by some legal quirk, directly from the body of the discharger himself. No containers or mechanical devices emptying into the water allowed, even though we all know that urine is sterile. Otherwise, my little imagined funnel and tube would be installed by this time tomorrow.

What irks me about the stupid NC law and the potty police is its utter feel-good futility. We must keep a log of pump-outs whether we need them or not. Those who spent big bucks on a formal disinfecting waste-treatment system are just, to coin a phrase, SOL. Of course no decent mariner would consider falsifying his log, hastily entering pumpouts that never happened when he sees the blue flashing light on his stern, right? Perish the thought. Pay no attention to the feedlots and paper mills just upstream. And the far more numerous pelicans and porpoises all keep logs.

My current concern is this: What happens when you attempt to explain to the nautical equivalent of Deputy Barney Fife, that no, you don't ever pump anything out, and in fact you don't own a holding tank?
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