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Old 16-12-2012, 07:28   #46
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

A hint for keeping your urine smelling sweet is just a drop or two of tea tree oil in the container. Available at any drug store. A little goes a long...long way.

We put a composting head in our Morris 36 last year and I couldn't be happier with the results.

Brian
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Old 16-12-2012, 07:38   #47
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

I have been composting everything I eat and drink for the
last thirty years, well not quite, once in awhile if I am out
and about and nature calls, I give it to the nasty habit of
doing it in fresh water which is destroying fresh and salt
water supplies around the world and contributing to the
decline in the fertility of the world's soils, not to mention
the stench and odor. I think for a novice the place to
start is with Jenkins' book, the humanure handbook. He
says keep it simple. I find its pretty hard to repotty train
most people once they are accustomed to sitting on the
porcelain throne and hearing that big swirling, gurgling
flush, its implanted in the DNA and any other method
is beyond comprehension. Actually the water thing is the
most stinky way of doing things because the gaseous odors
are expelled by the water in the bowl. I have been making
good use of the material in reforestry and gardening for
thirty years. Instead of "waste", I see this organic material
as a valuable resource to be returned to the earth from which
it came rather than polluting water somewhere. Right now
my "stuff" goes to an organic worm composting project. I
could elaborate more on the details of my setup, but I think
someone new to the process might benefit by Jenkins' Humanure Handbook which is online as a starting point. Most
people are going to stay, sadly, with the porcelain throne.
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Old 16-12-2012, 08:29   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luis_o_98
this seems to be a great thread with lots of info, but i have not seen what you do if you get liquid in the solids tank ....
Liquid is really no problem in my experience. A crank or two and it is absorbed. Add a little more sawdust or peat or whatever you're using for medium if you have to. In fact, I often mist my water vinegar mix directly into the medium to as I crank to add a little moisture. Too dry and things don't mix/ break up well.

When I use my natures head daily I find it best to empty once every two or three weeks, could go longer but it gets heavy. If leaving unused for any length of time I let it compost down. In any case once you crank and cover the material there's only an earthy smell at the vent. (yes, between deposit and crank it is a little fresh at the vent but that's life and far better than the anaerobic stench constantly wafting from a holding tank, imho anyway.)

I find very little odor from the pee jug. Keep a spray bottle of vinegar and water (about 1/4 white vinegar or so which I also use for general cleaning and always have around for removing mineral buildup in the tea kettle and cappuccino maker) and rinse the bowl with a few squirts after use. While I don't empty the jug daily there can be some slimy growth on the sides which are avoided when I do. (Yes, urine is sterile in the body but it's a high nitrogen medium. Perfect for for bacterial growth once exposed to the microbial rich environment-air. Think urea fertilizer.) Not really a problem though, even if I forget to empty it and leave it for extended period. A short soak with water and a capful of bleach and any growth rinses right out.

As for cleaning the solids tank, I don't worry about compost stuck to the sides. No need to wash. Inoculant for the next batch. But if over moist when dumping sometimes a tool (stick?) is helpful to loosen material in the corners/bottom. (Don't think "yuck", it's really not bad. Earthy compost smell only).

For those not seriously interested in the nitty gritty details, sorry. But for those that are, I hope they're helpful.
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Old 16-12-2012, 13:59   #49
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

Separating the number 1 material from the number 2
is not very difficult on my boat. I start at the source.
a five gallon plastic pee jug with some orange peeling
added takes care of many days of water consumption.
A recycled yogurt or cottage cheese container with
a lid serves ladies and gentleman as well. And a small
rinse after and then place the lid back on keeps
everything tidy. But the orange peeling is the best
I have found for knocking down the smell of the
urine and so called "waste". I use dried grass clippings
with a little bit of fresh smelling canyon soil as
the flushing material with a little bit of orange rind.
Every couple of months I take the valuable organic
material to the worm farm so they can finish the
job of creating valuable worm castings so vital in
sustaining soil fertility.
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Old 16-12-2012, 15:22   #50
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

ConradG I found this post very useful. We are full time live aboards and have just bought a Nature's Head. We noticed a bit of smell after 2 weeks when we first started using it but there were two factors that we were told contributed to this. First is we could not hook up the fan for several days as I was still installing the platform and second we used the wrong peat moss. Larry from Nature's Head quickly steered me to the right peat moss and the use of sugar though I see I am using too little sugar. I also like the post about tea tree oil. We still have a slight smell after a few days but it is not a fecal smell. I do worry about the bugs though. I hate bugs and here in the tropics they breed rather well. Your post also said you occassional use your vineger mix straight into the bowl. I was scared to do this before as I didn't know how the vinegar would react to the composting. I was lead to believe that we would get 6 months out of the solids your thoughts on three weeks is useful. We are just coming up on our third week now so I will watch it. But anyway thanks for the post
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Old 17-12-2012, 10:15   #51
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Glad to hear it was helpful.
Just a note on teatree oil. Love the smell and great stuff. Especially as an antifungal. Best for itchy toes or other parts! Use on scrapes for prevention.but personally wouldn't waste on the pee jug. I have two jugs with caps just in case. The vinegar solution rinse (several squirts after use) keeps the bowl clean.

That little fan is important in keeping the smell, "nicer" as it may be , going outside. My 12v connection is weak and the plug needs to be jiggled sometimes. I routed the exhaust hose in a more direct and upward way which helps it vent naturally. Also, if there are dips condensation (respiration) can puddle in the hose and impede draft a little.

I've never tried peat. Sawdust/wood shavings I find free now. Animal bedding, woodworkers. A few paper bags last a long time. A bag from the feed store is cheap/huge. I find toilet paper seems to dry out the medium and make it hard to crank too. Clump/jamb. So I spray it as it comes around when cranking. Used to add kitchen scraps but they seem to want to jamb also. Finally realized that extending dumpout was more the goal than finishing compost which can't really be done in the unit anyway if it's being used daily.
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Old 19-12-2012, 16:01   #52
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

When confronted with excessive moisture we add additional composting material (peat moss, coir) to balance things out. This has solved most of our moisture issues.

When urine or other foreign gets into the solids tank in a significant quantity it is a different matter. That can require a very disagreeable clean out of the solids tank. However in almost two years of live aboard cruising, this has happened only once, when we were very new to the system.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:30   #53
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

I have a lot of new people come aboard- how will they "take" these composting heads? Will it gross them out? How often will it need emptying the poop side with say 4 -5 people?- Im wondering how it will work for charter guests?
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:50   #54
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradG View Post
Finally realized that extending dumpout was more the goal than finishing compost which can't really be done in the unit anyway if it's being used daily.
On this note then, how critical would you say the crank is?

Urine separate of course, then a deposit + paper + medium, + vent ... is that enough to keep the smell at bay?

If so, then a 5 gal bucket would work.
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Old 09-01-2013, 22:27   #55
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

The crank is what mixes the compost and keeps the smell down
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:42   #56
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram View Post
I have a lot of new people come aboard- how will they "take" these composting heads? Will it gross them out? How often will it need emptying the poop side with say 4 -5 people?- Im wondering how it will work for charter guests?


There comes a point where there is too much poop being made and not enough time to compost. It's just a fact of life. Some live aboards probably even experience this. I certainly have.
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:58   #57
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

So you all feel the crank is an essential? Was trying to keep the cost down.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:03   #58
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
There comes a point where there is too much poop being made and not enough time to compost. It's just a fact of life. Some live aboards probably even experience this. I certainly have.
How many poops can this pooper handle in a day, I think this could be the qustion- If it could handle 10 poops a day for 2-3 days this might work?? How many poopers did you have onboard Ben to poop the pooper? - ?- Im really looking at trying one if theres a good chance this could work for me?
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:20   #59
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

the crank stirs it up mixing the compost...covering...the poop...(i have chead)...you could eliminate the crank and just put more compost, but you would end up using more compost therefore filling up your crapper faster

the truth is that it does not really compost, but manages with no spell until you empty it off of your boat...i have found there to be no smell even if you get your face closer to the unit than you like. it is by far the most hygenic toilet i could imagine working on in a boat. i am glad i put it in and will do so for every other boat i ever own in my life. kiss
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Old 14-01-2013, 09:55   #60
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Re: Composting Head for Liveaboards ?

Before we invested in a fancy head, I tried an 'ad-hoc' one, a five-gallon bucket with peat, positioned under invalid's bedside commode. Worked ok for #2, of course. Tried to divert urine by way of handheld soft-plastic funnel fixed into plastic tubing, thence into jug. For some reason, that bright idea didn't work well, at least for the female of the species. Sufficient for one floaty-camping weekend, but the C-Head was on order the following week. What a difference. Worth every one of its 500 bucks. Simple, practically fool-proof, odor-free, easy to maintain, and not a space-hog. No extra construction needed, so installation, including included but optional extra composting container and ventilation lines, less than 2 hours. No expensive proprietary extra jug needed. We haven't had a guest freak out yet, not even a pampered 9-year-old princess. Count us happy with that choice!
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