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Old 14-05-2018, 16:59   #31
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

I understand "bucket and chuck it" just fine, but would one do that on the Great Lakes, which are water supply for quite a few people? they are a zero discharge zone, as I understand it. In addition, I was once too weak from the flu to have taken the bowl outside to chuck...it had to go out through the toilet in that case. It's chewed, it doesn't clog a normal boat toilet.

One, of course, might "bucket and chuck it", anyhow, but one could hardly recommend that to others!

Oookay, I guess if it gets too moist (and smell would warn you), adding more dessicator would be the way to go. Mmmmm.

Ann
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Old 14-05-2018, 17:11   #32
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
I understand "bucket and chuck it" just fine, but would one do that on the Great Lakes, which are water supply for quite a few people? they are a zero discharge zone, as I understand it. In addition, I was once too weak from the flu to have taken the bowl outside to chuck...it had to go out through the toilet in that case. It's chewed, it doesn't clog a normal boat toilet.

One, of course, might "bucket and chuck it", anyhow, but one could hardly recommend that to others!

Oookay, I guess if it gets too moist (and smell would warn you), adding more dessicator would be the way to go. Mmmmm.

Ann
Ann I'm saying bucket and Chuck it for the upchucking not the genetic fecal matter.
( It runs in your jeans)
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Old 14-05-2018, 17:42   #33
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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Originally Posted by Virginia Lee View Post
To be honest, it is a problem. I'm on a cardiac med that has a side effect that causes me to occasionally, depending on what I've had to eat, err, I too much moisture to the head. Yes, you can add more coconut coir, and do so. Then the head will need emptying sooner. I didn't manage it correctly just this month, and the goop caked on the sides of the container, and would hardly churn. I shoveled out the goop, finding nice dry stuff at the bottom. My speculation is that too much moisture is what draws the fruit flies.

I can't say as others that there are "zero" odors. This last month or two, even with the moisture issue in hand, recent deposits cause us to briefly smell an odor. We changed the desk vent - the prior flush mount was allowing water to flow in, we now have a bronze u on the deck. No water intrusion, but brief odor. However, on the prior boat with a holding tank, we had frequent odor. Our Air Head is much better. As long as you can avoid bugs, I'd recommend it. As mentioned in other posts, you won't get awesome compost. We did once, with just the right moisture level. Go dry, even if not so compost-ee, as it seems to avoid bugs. Maggots of fruit flies crawling out of the head make pumping out the holding tank look good.

My home base is Crandon Marina in Miami, and they had / have a functional pump out about one quarter of the time. I prefer self maintenance to hunting for a working pump out
I just wanted to say thank you very much for an extremely informative post. Your comment about the churner not stirring it up enough seems to pertain more to the AH than to the C head.

The point about erring on the dry side is understood.

Thanks.

Ann
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Old 14-05-2018, 18:19   #34
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

Ann, I think youíve got an answer to your rather graphic question . The nice thing about these CHs is that you can always add more material to absorb added fluids. But it definitely would shorten the cycle.

At some point you could overwhelm the system, like when I got a couple of gallons of seawater that washed down my air vent after I forgot to close things down in big seas. But I really think that if youíre expelling enough effluent to completely overwhelm the composter, then youíve probably got some very serious health problems going on.

Virginia raises an excellent point about the agitators. I have a Natureís Head. I too find the agitator to be less than perfect at times. It can pack coir into the corners. This seems to happen by around mid-cycle for us. My simple solution is to use a slim gardening trowel to move the material away from the corners around mid-cycle. Takes about two minutes, and seems to be all that is needed.

Flies are the other bane of CHs. Iíve always used coir (compressed coconut husk), which seems to better than peat moss. Coir is also sustainable, and turns what used to be a waste product into something usable. Anyway, the only times Iíve had flies is when my vent fan failed (not sure why), and when weíve screwed up badly with the moisture levels, and got the pile too wet.

There is a bit of an art & science to the whole thing. Itís definitely not ďflush & forget.Ē Which is why I always try and share my experience with any new or potential user. CHs are not perfect, but in my experience, they are better than standard marine heads for smallish boats with smallish crews.
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Old 14-05-2018, 19:33   #35
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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Originally Posted by TreblePlink View Post
How effective are the types that don't stir the solids and don't vacuum vent the receptacle? I'm thinking of making my own from a 5 gallon bucket and replaceable plastic (and cappable) milk jugs ...
I'm just a casual lake sailor at the moment, not full live aboard. So take this as it is.
I installed a home built composting toilet last spring. (5 gallon pail, milk jug, and wood frame with funnel)Mostly as an excuse to experiment with it to see if it would be of value once we upgrade to liveaboard. I have no churning device or dedicated fan. Airflow is from front hatch and companionway only.
It was used several times through Last season and we found a little odor after locking the boat up for a week. It disappeared within minutes of opening the companionway. I did not empty in the fall, as it was less than half full. I expected bad odor this spring. There was absolutely none! No smell at all and looks like coconut fibre and some tp.
I see other people pumping out, or hauling porta poties, and all I have is a sealed milk jug!!!
To me it's well worth it. I can't imagine how much better a proper unit is.
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Old 15-05-2018, 00:42   #36
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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But, to be clear, it isnít a composting toilet in the same way a land based composting toilet is. Itís more like a dehydrating toilet, right?
Nope, it does compost. Composting is just decomposition in the presence of significant oxygen which causes anaerobic bacteria (the smelly ones) to die and be replaced by aerobic bacteria (the non-smelly ones). The end result is typically a rich earthy loam.

Where people argue is many people empty it before the process is fully completed.

Dehydration is a different process and in fact composting toilets actually have an optimal moisture content.

Complete or not, it's a great alternative to a marine head. Never had a marina ask what type of head we have and with the ability to keep upwards of a month of solids between emptying, it's far easier to meet the dumping rules (it's not legal to empty a liquid sewage tank in a marina either).
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Old 15-05-2018, 00:44   #37
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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I've thought about getting a composter, what do you do with the urine? I know it goes into a bottle... but it too can't be dumped in the 3 mile zone. Thanks
If you are in port, easily dumped every 2-3 days in any shoreside toilet. But as mentioned by someone else, it's pretty much innocuous.

Certainly better than the boats with traditional heads that never leave the dock but people are using the toilets...hmm wonder where that goes and if they only drain the urine overboard?
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Old 15-05-2018, 00:49   #38
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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Beware, all, sensitive and potentially disgusting question follows:

@ all composting toilet users:

I basically like the idea of them, and i get it that they are dessicating, and I'm not too easily freaked out.

One thing I've been afraid of is if both of you come down with the flu, or a bowel blockage, and both have very liquid diarrhea, and vomiting, how does the AH or whatever cope with the separations? and the people? (because in my fears, it would be horrible.)

Thank you very much, I know it's difficult to write about.

Ann
As mentioned, vomit in a bucket or over the side. A little more peat moss will soak up an occasion diarrhea deposit.

If there are two of you with diarrhea every 15 minutes...expect to empty the solids tank as soon as you are feeling better. Of course, what do you in that situation with a liquid sewage system? Assuming 4-6gal per hour with flushing water, most sewage tanks would be full in an afternoon. Do you park at the pump out dock, so you can empty twice a day?
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Old 15-05-2018, 00:50   #39
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
I understand "bucket and chuck it" just fine, but would one do that on the Great Lakes, which are water supply for quite a few people? they are a zero discharge zone, as I understand it. In addition, I was once too weak from the flu to have taken the bowl outside to chuck...it had to go out through the toilet in that case. It's chewed, it doesn't clog a normal boat toilet.

One, of course, might "bucket and chuck it", anyhow, but one could hardly recommend that to others!

Oookay, I guess if it gets too moist (and smell would warn you), adding more dessicator would be the way to go. Mmmmm.

Ann
If you lean over the rail and vomit directly, you can legally do it in no discharge zones.
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Old 15-05-2018, 05:58   #40
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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If you lean over the rail and vomit directly, you can legally do it in no discharge zones.
its also legal if you hang your cheeks over the rail
But might be a bit chilly . ( the flu is primarily a wintertime gig)
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Old 15-05-2018, 07:46   #41
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Re: Comosting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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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. Canít speak about other places, but most countries are either far less restrictive in general, or follow the American lead.
So what do you do with the urine bucket at anchor? Do you have a "holding tank" for it?

Jim
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Old 15-05-2018, 07:55   #42
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

At some point perhaps someone will make a CH with a standard pump and normal sized holding tank for the urine.
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Old 15-05-2018, 08:06   #43
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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At some point perhaps someone will make a CH with a standard pump and normal sized holding tank for the urine.
Some people have plumbed the urine to their old holding tank. It seems unnecessarily complicated to me. I dump my urine jug over the side at anchor and, if I were in a marina, I'd use their toilets.

Regarding flies and bugs, the vent comes with a screen to prevent this. If you have a fly problem, it's worth removing the fan to check that the screen is in place (and maybe replace with a finer screen). Another thing is to always leave the hatch closed and the seat down. I've only had flies once, when there were 4 people on board for over 20 days and the composting bin was getting quite moist. Otherwise, my Nature's Head has worked flawlessly for the last 5 years.
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Old 15-05-2018, 08:10   #44
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Re: Composting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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its also legal if you hang your cheeks over the rail
But might be a bit chilly . ( the flu is primarily a wintertime gig)
Sort of true but then you have to worry about the indecent exposure ticket.
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Old 15-05-2018, 08:11   #45
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Re: Comosting toilet: rules, regulations, and "real life" use etc.?

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So what do you do with the urine bucket at anchor? Do you have a "holding tank" for it?

Jim
me personally I have 3 urine containers onboard for those times when I can't dispose of the urine for several days . Each has its own sealing cap. Also I can add more containers as needed .
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