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Old 13-05-2018, 06:35   #1
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Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

I know this is somewhat open ended as rules and regulations are different everywhere so just looking for basic info..

Composting toilets:

Will marinas be ok with this since you are using their facilities anyways?

Can I anchor in the USA and abroad and be within the rules?

What about everywhere else in the world?

And those that have one, what has been your experiences or any issues that have came up?
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Old 13-05-2018, 07:39   #2
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Re: Comosting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

A composting toilet is a Type III marine sanitation device in the USCG rules. You can use it anywhere you like, but you cannot dump your "compost" into the water anywhere inside the 3 mile territorial limit of the USA.

We have a lot (well one or two anyway) of composting toilet fanboys on here, so you will hear from them about how great they are.

Here was a comment my wife forwarded to me from someone she knows...

Quote:
I had a nature’s head in my (land) house, and the day we got rid of that thing was the best day of my life. I don’t know how people deal with it on a boat. Every time I dumped the thing out I thought, ya know what would make this even better? Heeling.... in a seaway. That would definitely be better. Oh, and tropical heat. Perfect.
Seriously, whenever someone says they “love” theirs, I wonder what the HELL I was doing wrong. I have been sprayed with sewage at pump out stations more than once, and I would STILL take that over the nature’s head on a boat.
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Old 13-05-2018, 08:12   #3
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Re: Comosting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

I guess I’m one of the “fanboys” (Why is it that some standard marine head users feel the need to insult people who use composting heads?).

It is a Type III head, so perfectly legal in all USA waters. However, you cannot dump anything over the side, and that includes the urine bucket. Canada is similar. Can’t speak about other places, but most countries are either far less restrictive in general, or follow the American lead.

I’ve never had an issue with marinas.

Like any tool, there are things to learn about how to use a composter properly. There’s plenty of discussion from previous threads here on CF, but I certainly don’t mind discussing it again.

The vast majority of composting head users are very pleased. Most say they would never go back to the alternatives. For cruisers on smallish boats with no more than three crew, in my opinion, it is simply a better way to handle waste on board.
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Old 13-05-2018, 09:39   #4
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Re: Comosting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I guess I’m one of the “fanboys” (Why is it that some standard marine head users feel the need to insult people who use composting heads?).
Mike,

My apologies, I did not mean to be insulting. You are a fan of composting toilets--there are many of them, many other people are not fans (is there a non-insulting word for that?) There are many things I would be proud to be called a fanboy of, but I guess it has connotations for some that are not desirable.

I personally have no strong opinion one way or the other about composting toilets. Someday, maybe, I'll send time on a boat with a composting toilet and reach my own conclusion. What I posted was the closest I have to personnel experience. In the meantime, for my boat, and my crew and my cruising lifestyle, there is no benefit to a composter--even if they worked exactly as well as their most adamant prophets claim.

If my quick and dirty choice of a word was insulting, I'll try harder to use something else. In the meantime, maybe try to be a little less sensitive on the internet. People sometimes use humor that doesn't translate well. Feeling insulted when it was not intended (actually even if it WAS intended!) is a waste of emotional energy.
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Old 13-05-2018, 09:48   #5
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

Ahem, pardon me. The OP was asking about "real life" experiences. Mike has real life experience. You state that you do not but feel absolutely entitled to state your emphatic opinion with nothing to back it up.

The CG info was right on the money though. Thanks.
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Old 13-05-2018, 11:40   #6
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

billknny, I know of no use of the term “fanboy” which is not meant in a slightly derogatory way, but if you say you meant it with no insult intended, I’ll believe you.

As you apparently are aware, the other composting head threads have brought out a number of uninformed haters. These people are quick to dispense their negative opinions based on little or no actual experience or knowledge. For reasons that continue to baffle me, this is usually accompanied by insults.

So yes, I am sensitive in this case. But thanks for the advice.

In any case, windycityxx I’d encourage you to keep asking questions here. There are many experienced users of these heads here on CF. Like I say, they are excellent tools for the task at hand, but they do require a different set of skills than standard marine heads (which can also operate fine as well).

Thanks redhead.
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Old 14-05-2018, 08:37   #7
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

There is a great blog called The Boat Galley written by a liveaboard cruiser (on a 34' cat) named Carolyn Shearlock. She and her husband are based in FL and have a composting head which they've written about several times.

Here's a link to the blog: https://theboatgalley.com/?mc_cid=01...eid=044f528ef3

There is a good search function for finding the articles and Carolyn is very responsive if you need help or have additional questions.
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Old 14-05-2018, 08:58   #8
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

I don't think that current use of "fanboys" is derogatory, and in this case I really don't think he meant to be insulting.

If one wants to be very cautious and politically correct, perhaps formal, it is safer to use "fans."

On my 28 foot boat which will have a crew of one or two, a composting head appears to be the least of the evils, so I guess I'm a fanboy.
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Old 14-05-2018, 09:22   #9
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

But, to be clear, it isn’t a composting toilet in the same way a land based composting toilet is. It’s more like a dehydrating toilet, right?
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Old 14-05-2018, 09:27   #10
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

what class or type of marine sanitation device is it under if you sundry then burn the stools to boil water for cooking? Obviously nothing is dumped in the water.
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Old 14-05-2018, 09:32   #11
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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Originally Posted by crazyoldboatguy View Post
But, to be clear, it isn’t a composting toilet in the same way a land based composting toilet is. It’s more like a dehydrating toilet, right?
Correct. Although I have no experience with land based composting toilets, so I can't make the comparison, you are correct that the Air Head (and I assume some others based on the same design) are basically desiccating heads. Their purpose (and method) is to keep the moisture level in the solids container at a perfect environment for aerobic bacteria to grow and BEGIN the composting process. Thus the separators to keep urine out of the solids container and the fan, to lower the moisture content. Too much moisture and you get anaerobic bacteria: the stinky kind. The design is such that the moisture content stays pretty even, composting begins, and depending on whether you're a weekender or fulltime (we are fulltime) and whether you have a second solids container or not (we don't), composting occurs to a certain degree before the container requires emptying. Obviously, the last "deposits" do not have time to compost. But the first ones do begin composting, which is why you can use it 80 times before it fills up: decomposition of the first deposits begins and the contents shrink, allowing more room for more deposits. You don't end up with compost that you can put on your flowers, but you also don't end up with a bucket full of poop. It's sort of somewhere in between. Hope that helps.
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Old 14-05-2018, 09:43   #12
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine View Post
There is a great blog called The Boat Galley written by a liveaboard cruiser (on a 34' cat) named Carolyn Shearlock. She and her husband are based in FL and have a composting head which they've written about several times.

Here's a link to the blog: https://theboatgalley.com/?mc_cid=01...eid=044f528ef3

There is a good search function for finding the articles and Carolyn is very responsive if you need help or have additional questions.
I know this site well and their newsletter, Carolyn is great.

I just think its interesting to use the term composting toilet and boat galley in the same sentence...
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Old 14-05-2018, 09:46   #13
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyoldboatguy View Post
But, to be clear, it isn’t a composting toilet in the same way a land based composting toilet is. It’s more like a dehydrating toilet, right?
Correct. Its main mechanism is drying, or desiccating, the poop. The material does does begin composting, but it doesn’t have enough time to fully compost. Some people transfer the material into a bin for further composting, but if you’re a full-timer, there’s just not enough time between cycles to have the material fully composted.

Land based composters suffer from the same reality, but they are usually larger, and use electricity to heat and dry effluent. There are many designs, but they don’t really change the speed composting.

What I usually end up with after four to six weeks is a bin full of what appears to the sight, smell and touch as rich soil. There is nothing offensive or icky about it, even for full-timers. Just tip the bin into a trash bag for final disposal, or for further composting. Easy peasy.
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Old 14-05-2018, 09:49   #14
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

I have a CHead on mine and are very satisfied. Absolutely no smell, no trips to pump out again no smell.

The C Head utilizes two containers that lift out. Easy to place trash bag over the composting container and just dump. The urine tank is small and does require regular emptying but it set up with a sanitary handle and a pouring spout for emptying into larger tank or whatever. Compost bag goes into dumpster at marina or into a 5 gal bucket with lid

CHead states that a load of compost material should be good for two adults for one month.
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Old 14-05-2018, 10:16   #15
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

Windycity,

We have both water flush [LaVac] and composting marine head [Nature's Head] onboard.

A few years ago we placed a 'composter' in our forward head as a hedge against times when one cannot discharge overboard- and there is no pump out facility... [There are few pumpouts in Alaska, and one has to work at getting 3 miles offshore when transiting the inside passage...]

What many people don't realize [especially those with no experience with a properly used modern composting toilet- marine and otherwise] is it is all about keeping the liquids separated from the solids.

Most of us have used an outhouse. By not combining liquids and solids, you avoid that memorable outhouse aroma...

Keeping them separate also makes emptying the solids bin like dealing with a bag of dry peat moss. No big deal, and no mess. [A 13 gallon plastic trash bag fits tightly over the bin, so emptying is a contained, mess free process when done properly...]

If enough liquid is allowed to mix in the solids bin, then you are dealing with an odiferous primodial soup similar to what gets stored in holding tanks for liquid flush toilets...

There are many more details and links to very objective, informative, third party information regarding this topic on our page outlining our choices, experiences, and outcomes, if you are interested.

Best wishes deciding what best suits your needs.

Cheers! Bill
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