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Old 27-03-2011, 20:46   #376
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Re: Composting Toilets

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I wound up with a handful of through-hulls that are now plugged. One day I might use a couple of them for a watermaker.

Guy
Just out of curiousity, if you're referring to below-the-waterline through-hulls, how did you plug them? I have Spartan seacocks, which aren't threaded, and I have two extras now that the Airhead is going in. I plan to use one of them for a washdown, but the other is likely to eventually be removed and glassed, but not this year. I was thinking of putting a short hose on it, and then plugging the hose. Of course the seacock would be closed, so this would just be a back-up.
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Old 27-03-2011, 20:49   #377
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Re: Composting Toilets

USCG regs require that all waste tanks--black water AND gray water--be vented to the outside of the boat because methane is flammable. They also prohibit any common plumbing between black and gray water systems, even venting, so you cannot vent a black water tank into a sink drain either. This also applies to composters.

Is it done? Oh hell, there isn't ANYthing that shouldn't be done that someone HASN'T done...but that doesn't make it something anyone with any sense SHOULD do.
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Old 27-03-2011, 20:57   #378
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Re: Composting Toilets

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
USCG regs require that all waste tanks--black water AND gray water--be vented to the outside of the boat because methane is flammable. They also prohibit any common plumbing between black and gray water systems, even venting, so you cannot vent a black water tank into a sink drain either. This also applies to composters.

Is it done? Oh hell, there isn't ANYthing that shouldn't be done that someone HASN'T done...but that doesn't make it something anyone with any sense SHOULD do.
Hi Peggie, I may not have been clear...the vent that I'm talking about for the sink is for the fresh water tanks. They currently vent to the anchor locker. If I vent the composter to the anchor locker, then the two vents would be inches apart. So I'm talking about rerouting the fresh water vent to the sink. I definitely wouldn't vent a black or gray water tank to the interior of the boat. Thanks!
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Old 27-03-2011, 21:20   #379
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Re: Composting Toilets

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Originally Posted by peghall View Post
USCG regs require that all waste tanks--black water AND gray water--be vented to the outside of the boat because methane is flammable. They also prohibit any common plumbing between black and gray water systems, even venting, so you cannot vent a black water tank into a sink drain either. This also applies to composters.

Is it done? Oh hell, there isn't ANYthing that shouldn't be done that someone HASN'T done...but that doesn't make it something anyone with any sense SHOULD do.
Hey Peggy, not disagreeing with you, but where are you getting that reference? I skimmed through the CFR applicable to uninspected passenger vessels (title 46 / subchapter c); only references to tank vents I could find were related to fuel tanks.

I skimmed through marpol but I stopped looking halfway through because searching for "vent" took me to the 300+ references for "prevent".
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Old 27-03-2011, 21:54   #380
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Re: Composting Toilets

It's either buried somewhere in Title 46--which can take longer to search than the MARPOL regs--or it's in a USCG bulletin. A retired USCG inspector in Memphis has confirmed that the reg exists--we both even remember some of the same wording--but he can't remember where it is either...he thinks it's a mid'80s bulletin 'cuz the timing would be right to coincide with the (then) new sanitation laws. He's trying to find it for me.
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Old 27-03-2011, 22:01   #381
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Re: Composting Toilets

Sink drains can get pretty skanky...are your sure you want your potable water tank breathing that air? I'm a big believer in the idea that ALL tanks should breathe FRESH air, not the foul musty air in a bilge or a drain. There's bacteria, mold spores etc in bilges and drains that can get into the water. They won't harm you, but I wouldn't want to wash dishes in it, never mind drink it. But, that's my personal bias. If you don't mind, do it.

The composter can't be vented into the anchor locker, btw...it has to be vented to the outside of the boat, same as a waste tank. That's because composters are just as capable of producing methane as a holding tank or any other organic material if it's allowed to become anaerobic--which COULD happen if air to it is cut off for any reason...and methane is flammable.
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Old 27-03-2011, 22:20   #382
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Re: Composting Toilets

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It's either buried somewhere in Title 46--which can take longer to search than the MARPOL regs--or it's in a USCG bulletin. A retired USCG inspector in Memphis has confirmed that the reg exists--we both even remember some of the same wording--but he can't remember where it is either...he thinks it's a mid'80s bulletin 'cuz the timing would be right to coincide with the (then) new sanitation laws. He's trying to find it for me.
Yeah if you stumble across it let me know. I try to keep current on "this is where all the uninspected vessel stuff is" with the CFR's.
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Old 27-03-2011, 22:44   #383
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Re: Composting Toilets

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USCG regs require that all waste tanks--black water AND gray water--be vented to the outside of the boat because methane is flammable.
That may be what's in the regs but I'm pretty sure that methane is not a byproduct of aerobic processes like composting. Anaerobic, yes, aerobic, no.

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Old 28-03-2011, 16:42   #384
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Re: Composting Toilets

You are correct, but it's a rare tank that isn't anaerobic until an owner modifies the vent to provide sufficient ventilation to create an aerobic environment...and a blocked vent can turn ANY tank anaerobic in a matter of hours.
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Old 28-03-2011, 17:41   #385
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Re: Composting Toilets

Quote:
Originally Posted by peghall View Post
Sink drains can get pretty skanky...are your sure you want your potable water tank breathing that air? I'm a big believer in the idea that ALL tanks should breathe FRESH air, not the foul musty air in a bilge or a drain. There's bacteria, mold spores etc in bilges and drains that can get into the water. They won't harm you, but I wouldn't want to wash dishes in it, never mind drink it. But, that's my personal bias. If you don't mind, do it.

The composter can't be vented into the anchor locker, btw...it has to be vented to the outside of the boat, same as a waste tank. That's because composters are just as capable of producing methane as a holding tank or any other organic material if it's allowed to become anaerobic--which COULD happen if air to it is cut off for any reason...and methane is flammable.
Well, the fresh water tank is currently vented to the anchor locker, which I suspect is way worse than our sink. I'd rather not move it anywhere to be honest, but there aren't many options on our boat that are protected from salt water intrusion, but I'm open to suggestions.

I don't see an issue with venting to the anchor locker, which is not sealed (not even close), but is sealed from the interior of the boat. There is free exchange of air to the outside--it's only serving as a location that will not allow green water into the composting vent.

Nothing's finalized though, so I'm open to suggestions.
Thanks again,
J

EDIT: I meant to add that I wasn't suggesting that I'd plumb the fresh water vent to the sink drain. I was suggesting a separate fixture that if it overflowed would pour into the sink. No direct contact with any of the sink or drain fixtures. That's how I've seen it done.
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Old 16-05-2011, 10:50   #386
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Update:
Having mostly to do with keeping the Airhead vent line shorter, and discovering a way to make it work, I ended up installing a Nicro solar day/night vent over the head compartment, and I'm running the vent hose there. The fresh water vent line remains untouched and nowhere nearby.

Now it's time to hook everything up and start using the Airhead. I'll let you know how it goes.
Cheers,
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Old 16-05-2011, 12:06   #387
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Re: Composting Toilets

What about using the cat litter box ?
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Old 16-05-2011, 18:28   #388
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Re: Composting Toilets

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Still grossly overpriced for the $5 worth of plastic and a few bits of stainless.
Build your own, for a tiny fraction the price.
I thought this as well until I started to think the project through. I am a real handy person, but in the end thought that this is one of those things that 1. I don't have time for to do it right, and 2. would probaly take a few tries to perfect it.

I bought a natures head and installed at the begining of May. IT is well thoughtout product and built WAY better then I could have done without molds.

Me and my wife liveaboard right now and paln to cruise full time later. I am thinking iI will either buy a second base or use a 5 gallon bucket with holes in the lid, to finish out the composting cycle. OUr Cat had 2 heads, I repalced one with the Natures head. I am thinking when we are cruising and able to, we will the manual head to pump directly overboard, and when we are within 3 miles or dockside, use the natures head. We also sail a lot of the time with guest on teh SF bay, so I think the manual head will be the head to use in those circumstances.


So far I love it and the wife thinks it is OK. SHe is noto in love with it, but it sure beats walked up the dock 300 yrds to teh marina toliet or using the funnel and detargent bottle.
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Old 16-05-2011, 18:38   #389
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Re: Composting Toilets

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Natures Head mixing issue.

We added a bead of sika, 2 beads in hieght on the ridge behind the number one holes this solves the mixing issue.

Replaced the seals with new rubber which seems to be lasting.

Great piece of kit.
humm, does this fix the hard to turn the handle problem when the container is getting full, or the keeping the pee and poo seperate problem. i confuzid

Thanks!

Brian
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Old 21-01-2012, 18:40   #390
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Re: Composting Toilets

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These are the approximate costs I had to install an airhead composting toilet. Like many users, I did not want to empty the urine bottle after each use by hand, so installed a small 3-gallon holding tank. I also priced the components in my traditional head system for comparison. All prices in U.S. $.

Airhead composting system:

$950 Toilet
$15 above the water line though hull
$15 liquid waste hose
$85 liquid waste pump
$220 two inexpensive dorade vents for head ventilation
$50 ventilation hose and hose clamps
$60 - 3-gallon liquid holding tank
$50 electrical wiring costs (fan ventilation of unit)

$1,430 = Total

I carried an extra pump and 2 fans costing about $120 total. The peat and coffee filter like things and cleaning were other ongoing costs. Some of the other composting heads sell for about $100 less.

Additional notes:

In my case, there was extra time and money to modify the flooring, etc. to accommodate the composting toilet. (about $300) In contrast, the used boats I've purchased have always had some components from previous traditional head systems that can be reused, even if I'm mostly gutting the system. (deck fill, seacocks, etc.) This of course many not always be the case. Every boat and system will present it's unique issues.

Obviously different people may choose differnet options than I have, but I thougth some numbers of actual installs for comparison might be useful.
I realise this is a bit of an older post but couldn't resist replying to it. I installed a natures head a couple of years ago and it didn't cost nearly this much.
850 for the unit.
30 for shipping
35 for a longer hose
30 or 40 extra for a second urine container.
for a total of 945 installed.

I spent 100 dollars on a nicro solar vent that I installed in place of the cowl on my dorade over the head and used instead of wiring up the fan included with the unit. However it shouldn't be counted as it wasn't necessary. I just wanted to use a solar fan and not wire in the fan on the unit.

We would never go back to using a standard head. The boat and head area smell 1000% better with the composting unit.

Scott
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