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Old 03-12-2009, 12:55   #46
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To continue the costs discussion, my costs were lower.
Nature's Head: $850
Solar vent from Ebay: $65
Total $915

The Nature's Head included the vent hose and fan but I thought the solar vent was a better option. I will probably buy another bottle at some point, they are $40 but usually cheaper at boat shows I'm told.

As far as ongoing supplies, I am using sawdust. I used the Feline pine cat litter (which turns into sawdust when water is added) to start with, but I imagine it can't be that hard to find regular sawdust while cruising. It might cause some amusement when you explain what you want it for.... :-)

I plan to buy some of the compressed coco fibre bricks when I get a chance as well. They are supposedly much lighter and absorbent. Someone told me they have them at Petco for $4 for a pack of 3, apparently people use the stuff in reptile tanks. One brick supposedly expands enough to replace the 2 gallons of peat/sawdust required. Coffee filters....you can get like 1000 of them for a buck at the dollar store, and some folks don't use them anyway.

Never having had a holding tank, I don't know what chemicals are required or what they cost.
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Old 04-12-2009, 18:39   #47
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This subject affects us all and most of us have some (after dinner..) tales to share. Before you choose to cringe, just remember all that stuff has been living INSIDE of your sweet dear body! Did it do you harm up that close & personal?

My happy choice was very cheap after tossing my Lavac toilet & pump in a bin. I installed a quality pump and had a S/S box made that exactly fit the bottom tank of a Thedford Porta-Potti. Then I fitted a large down-pointing hose connector to the tank that goes trough the bottom of the S/S box as well. I deliberately made the hose as long as space permitted because under the tank it added significantly to the tank volume and made pumping even more efficient.

It is all very secure and my guests and myself have never had a problem with this fixed dejection system for many years! I have a powerful deck-wash onboard and recently I plumbed in a fixed pipe inside the Porta-potty tank as well. So now I run the deck-wash and feces pump at the same time. Naturally I do this in open waters and since I always flush down a good helping of pool-cleaner well in advance, I feel that the resulting "aseptic mud" is of no real harm to the environment whatsoever. I agree that having a spray-bottle with water/vinegar (to 2/1 mix) handy near the throne is very welcome indeed.

The Thedford Porta-Potti does not provide any sophisticated processing but all human refuse and paper etc. is quickly mixed together and the resulting uniform "mud" is always a easy smooth job for the pump.

Paper? We no longer experience problems on our boat with paper thanks to the agitation that mixes and softens it all to a more easily pumped sludge. I have no mental problem with paper fibers being returned to nature, but NOT the smallest piece of near indestructible plastics is allowed to leave our yacht unless eaten first.

This practical system can be chained to a bigger tank than the Thedford Porta-Potti under-seat tank with the same advantages. However, we manage in a marina with just one person onboard for at least ten busy days, much thanks to regular dollops of pool-cleaning powder. I love the smell of Chlorine in the morning...

We have sometimes added cheap machine dish-washing powder pre-evacuation to help dissolve those nasty fatty products as well, but I'm not sure how well the plastic tank can cope with such hi PH alkaline solvent. Acid and plastic usually don't harm each other... Cheap cooking-oil is also handy in the toilet area ready to add when the tank is empty and clean to help preserve the good condition of valves and hoses, especially before a long leave of absence.

Hope this case-story may be of some assistance to other cruisers....
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Old 04-12-2009, 19:26   #48
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My preference is to NOT keep poop around. The sooner you get rid of it (legally), the better. I don't think I am the Lone Ranger here.
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Old 04-12-2009, 23:12   #49
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I think your core-problem is of a nature that is outside this more practically oriented forum David. Your "preference is to NOT keep poop around" is simply impossible since your gut is always full of it except after fasting and a thorough rectal lave-mange .

Yes, David I can't help reminding you that we can't run and hide because you, me and all are literally full of poop at all times, some obviously more than others. At times we squeeze out a little and why this last bit off the production-line is such great concern for you is of course sad. Can't help here despite my university degree in psychology.

I was merely suggesting a way of dealing with it hygienically and safely in a crowded shallow marina as well as out a open deep waters. My suggested design has worked for me for many years without any need for the "long thick rubber gloves".
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:52   #50
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Yes, David I can't help reminding you that we can't run and hide because you, me and all are literally full of poop at all times, some obviously more than others. At times we squeeze out a little and why this last bit off the production-line is such great concern for you is of course sad. Can't help here despite my university degree in psychology.
It's not sad. It's actually pretty normal. And the reason it's of "such great concern" is because the part we squeeze out stinks to high heaven and is so nasty and yucky. Happy to be of service with my community college degree in environmental technology (aka wastewater treatment).
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:12   #51
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I finally found the photos of my Nature's Head before I took it down to the boat. One nice thing compared to the AirHead is that you can change the orientation of the crank & vent hose to come out either side. I believe with the AirHead you have to order the configuration you need.







Sorry for the crappy cell phone photos, I meant to take more at the marina and forgot.
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Old 08-12-2009, 08:46   #52
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Another good discussion by a composting head user can be found at John Stevenson's helpful website: Head Upgrades

John's used it while cruising in Europe, in the islands, and in coastal U.S. waters.

Jack
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Old 08-12-2009, 15:19   #53
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I do this in open waters and since I always flush down a good helping of pool-cleaner well in advance, I feel that the resulting "aseptic mud" is of no real harm to the environment whatsoever.

thanks to regular dollops of pool-cleaning powder. I love the smell of Chlorine in the morning...

.
I humbly suggest that the pool-cleaner may well do more harm then the black water you are "treating" with it.
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Old 16-12-2009, 10:14   #54
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another 1,000,000 spill.....

Just an update for the non-believers: Seattle/King County spilled another 1,000,000 gallons of sewage into Puget Sound yesterday......a float valve malfunctioned. Evidently it's too complicated for these folks to install a float switch warning device.....
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Old 16-12-2009, 17:28   #55
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Good to know, but it's still not a useful argument for or against composting toilets...
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Old 16-12-2009, 19:16   #56
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No choice about reality

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It's not sad. It's actually pretty normal. And the reason it's of "such great concern" is because the part we squeeze out stinks to high heaven and is so nasty and yucky. Happy to be of service with my community college degree in environmental technology (aka wastewater treatment).
This is getting silly... This is not about choice or even what you 'like".

Yes, it is simply about a natural reality. My conclusions are that you either use a nose-clip and a petite night-porcelain every time, everywhere... OR ... you simply have no boat ... no plumbed toilet ... and absolutely no understanding of the daily realities of off-shore boating. So, rack off and let us talk about this please...
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Old 16-12-2009, 19:32   #57
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Chlorine is in your blood

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I humbly suggest that the pool-cleaner may well do more harm then the black water you are "treating" with it.
Not at all, please don't be frighten my dear. The pool-cleaner powder preparations are very effective at killing all pathogens including tough viruses and then it simply evaporates as every meticulous pool-owner knows. You must constantly top it up in your backyard pool to keep your standing outdoor bathing-water clean, crisp and hygienic. Lovely Chlorine is currently having a huge come-back in hospitals because it is cheap and very affective as well as safe for humans in antiseptic doses. Don't worry about Chlorine preparations as it is a natural simple substance and already present everywhere, for example as salt in the wide open sea-water and probably on you breakfast egg this morning. Bon appetite!
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Old 16-12-2009, 19:42   #58
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......Don't worry about Chlorine preparations as it is a natural simple substance and already present everywhere, for example as salt in the wide open sea-water and probably on you breakfast egg this morning. Bon appetite!
Chlorine is definitely not present everywhere in the sea. Chloride is. Chloride is an ion and is the other half of the sodium in salt. It has very minor "cleansing" properties. But chlorine as a dissolved gas (newly formed from sodium hypochlorite, for example) is a sterilizing agent. The chlorine you treat black water with is not what is already in the sea. However, whether the amount you are using to "treat" your black water has a seriously negative effect on the ocean, even locally to your boat, is quite doubtful.
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Old 16-12-2009, 20:12   #59
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Chlorine is definitely not present everywhere in the sea. Chloride is. Chloride is an ion and is the other half of the sodium in salt. It has very minor "cleansing" properties. But chlorine as a dissolved gas (newly formed from sodium hypochlorite, for example) is a sterilizing agent. The chlorine you treat black water with is not what is already in the sea. However, whether the amount you are using to "treat" your black water has a seriously negative effect on the ocean, even locally to your boat, is quite doubtful.
I guess this may evolve into a discussion about chloride vs. chlorine. Correct, Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is a very reactive halogen and a strong oxidizing agent, when dissolved in water at around neutral pH, it is largely in the form of hypochlorite ions, which you may recognize as the active ingredient in household bleach and is used in industrial bleaching and disinfectants.

Chloride ions are essentially unreactive. As the chloride ion, which is part of common salt and other compounds, it is abundant in nature and necessary to most forms of life, including humans.

Some fish from very soft water may be somewhat susceptible to high concentrations of transient Cl-. but at common concentrations, it is completely innocuous. I doubt that there will be enough Cl- buildup from the use of a pool-cleaner or similar products to cause problematically high Cl- concentrations even for a short moment.

As a cheap effective and therefor common disinfectant, chlorine compounds are used in hospitals, swimming pools and many areas to keep them clean and sanitary. I think it is a very good investment on behalf of the marine environment to ad a good dollop of pool-cleaner and in good time before emptying the "black-sludge" overboard at sea.
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Old 17-12-2009, 06:41   #60
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At sea, there is no problem dumping waste. The nutrients do nothing but benefit life in the water column. Problems come when waste is concentrated in non-moving, small bodies, aka anchorages.

~A.
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