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Sustainable Alternatives: Composting toilets

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mauryhillfarm
Vashon, WA
(Zone 8b)

November 16, 2008
4:26 AM

Post #5796192

My family is considering getting an Envirolet composting toilet to put in out studio outbuilding. I am wondering about how well they work, and if there is much "aroma' from the self contained system, which is the one we would need to use. Or... do you have experience with other brands and their positive and negative points? We can't afford it just yet, but I like to research big purchases well in advance. Thanks.
twiggybuds
Moss Point, MS
(Zone 8b)

November 16, 2008
2:32 PM

Post #5796927

I am also very interested in this subject for several reasons. Cost is prohibitive from everything I've seen and I see no reason that this should be so. They aren't rocket science.

I read somewhere recently that the Swedes are working on a model that separates liquid from solids at time of use.

The serious water shortages, inefficient and over burdened water treatment facilities, ocean dead zones, organic farming and folks increasingly moving off the grid are all pressing reasons to handle our waste differently.

I have two investment properties that are useless since Hurricane Katrina. They had both been inhabited for 40 to 50 years but now the county has changed the rules. One has been declared too small to support both a water well and a septic system. The other has been declared too close to a wetland for a septic system. They won't allow power to be connected again. My local health department has never heard of a composting toilet.
mauryhillfarm
Vashon, WA
(Zone 8b)

November 16, 2008
4:12 PM

Post #5797375

Someone told me composting toilets are now allowed in my county, though I would have to research the codes for myself to be sure.
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

November 23, 2008
9:53 PM

Post #5823503

I don't know if you live where this homemade composting toilet is allowed, but the link is pretty interesting.

http://www.solviva.com/wastewater.htm
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

November 23, 2008
10:11 PM

Post #5823589

when I was little (say 50 years ago) my grandmother moved into a newly built house in a small Michigan town. (She lived across from the school).

The "bathroom" in her house, was the same as our outside two holer but it was inside next to the wood bin. When you used the bathroom you dumped a scoop of lime down the hole.

http://www.lime.org/ENV02/ENV802.htm#Bio1

msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

November 24, 2008
2:15 PM

Post #5825647

Thanks, Gloria! That was good info regarding lime.


gloria125
Greensboro, AL

November 24, 2008
4:53 PM

Post #5826220

The lime seemed to contain the accumulation you might expect of the toilet.

Wow. That was an ancient memory!
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 24, 2008
6:39 PM

Post #5826629

My Dad would lime the two holer, primarily to keep the odor down. Every so many years, he would dig a new hole and move it, covering the old. Interesting Lime link ~ thanks.
twiggybuds
Moss Point, MS
(Zone 8b)

November 24, 2008
8:12 PM

Post #5826944

Pod I grew up with one just like yours except maybe you didn't have the black widows lurking under the seat like I did. We got indoor plumbing when I was 7 and it was heavenly.

The Soliva site linked above outlines the nightmarish experience one has trying to deal with the nuts at the DEQ. I would advise anyone to make whatever DIY arrangement you can and don't ask and don't tell. Maybe someday the government will grow a brain but certainly not yet.
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

November 24, 2008
10:00 PM

Post #5827239

Twiggy, you're right about the BS! I fully agree with the "don't ask, don't tell". We live 7 miles out of a very small town, so can get away with a little more.

I think lower on the page there was a picture of a homemade composting toliet that was attractive enough. There's a lot of info on the site about composting toilets and I love the way the filtering system works.

Maury, I just wanted to throw the homemade one in for consideration, if you live in an area where you could get by installing one. I love the envirolet toilet, and if I lived in the city it would be great to add to a shed or studio.
grownut
Clarkson, KY

November 26, 2008
3:38 PM

Post #5832861

You know if you could take it (the property) off the grid, I don't think any one could squeal too loudly...and maybe with info and enough people in the same boat the law could be found that allows it. I know someone in our area (where it is totally legal and still not allowed) was considering dealing with the red tape by asserting that there was no bathroom (or at least no black water) on her property. That effectively put her in a different category where they had no 'active' say in what she did. --No one particularly checks camper/ RV toilets because they don't go in to any 'questionable' system--
mauryhillfarm
Vashon, WA
(Zone 8b)

November 27, 2008
3:36 AM

Post #5834754

Thanks all, I'm going to look into some of the homemade options as well as compare pricing on the manufactured type. We are not in town, but we are in King County along with Seattle, so sometimes we have to deal with fairly rigid regulations. Our place is quite visible from the road, so I cannot completely disregard the rules even if I know what I'm doing is not harmful to the environment or any kind of health hazard. Any further thoughts or experiences are welcomed. I'm just exploring our optiona at this point.
grownut
Clarkson, KY

November 27, 2008
2:31 PM

Post #5835562

Please understand, I was not advocating disregarding the rules, more redefining them. If a toilet is defined as something which produces blackwater then a composting toilet is not legally a toilet...Good Luck!
gloria125
Greensboro, AL

November 27, 2008
3:24 PM

Post #5835736

Hmmm. Redefining rules.
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

November 27, 2008
5:58 PM

Post #5836118

Yep, redefining rules!

Actually, Maury, with a little research on composting toilets, there are a number of homemade units that look nice. Neighbors wouldn't even know you had one, becasue it's claimed they don't even smell. The compost can be used to fertilize ornamental plants.
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 17, 2008
7:36 PM

Post #5901825

The one described in the solviva book is very interesting. Basically a bucket, and when you go twosies you top it with a scoop of either sawdust or leaf mulch. Emptying the bucket depends on how many are using it. When you empty it, it's composted, not to a safe-for-food crops state, but fine for non-food plants. It's intriguing.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

December 17, 2008
10:28 PM

Post #5902358

My Oma had the two seater board too. A large hole for adults, a small hole for kids.
If we were moving back to a composting toilet, I'd be adding EM to the tank to deal with the odours and to keep the composting microbes in a healthy concentration of beneficial ones.
http://www.emamerica.com/environment/general/index.php
http://www.emamerica.com/environment/faq/index.php
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

December 18, 2008
2:24 AM

Post #5903276

We've got one on the list for our property next summer on the garden side. Got everything to build it, just ran out of time.
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 18, 2008
4:08 PM

Post #5904706

I'd sure be interested in "real world" results. I'm thinking about trying it in my back yard. That's disgusting, so don't tell anybody, y'all!
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

December 19, 2008
2:00 PM

Post #5907744

Before investing too much time and effort, you might just try a 5 gal bucket with a lid in the corner of an out building, with a bucket for your additives (sawdust, etc) sitting next to it. Try it for a couple of months to see if what you think.
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 19, 2008
5:01 PM

Post #5908403

That was my plan. If it's as simple as she claims it is, it should work. Just have to find some sawdust.
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

December 19, 2008
11:33 PM

Post #5909610

Might do a search for homemade composting toilets. I know there are other things you can add, instead of sawdust...just don't remember what they are.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

December 20, 2008
1:45 AM

Post #5910128

I'd still add some EM, perhaps innoculate the sawdust with it, similar to making Bokashi bran.
mauryhillfarm
Vashon, WA
(Zone 8b)

December 20, 2008
2:42 AM

Post #5910332

I did find a simple design for a homemade composting toilet. We would have to investigate sources for cover materials (ex. sawdust) that would work. Here's the link:

http://www.weblife.org/humanure/chapter8_2.html
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

December 20, 2008
12:09 PM

Post #5911153

This link says dry cooking ash (?), lime or saw dust. I think I also read somewhere that shredded leaves or soil could be used, too. You could probably find saw dust at any cabinet or furniture making store. If sawdust isn't available, I wonder about the pine shavings that are sold for hamsters, etc. I don't think it's terribly expensive. LOL, didn't use to be, I remember a huge bale for about $8. EM would probably help, but it wasn't mentioned on any link that I read.

http://www.itdg.org/html/technical_enquiries/docs/compost_toilets.pdf

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

December 20, 2008
2:30 PM

Post #5911366

You can also buy compressed blocks of cedar shavings made for pet bedding. They smell nice when wet, and could easily be dampened and used like saw dust.
mauryhillfarm
Vashon, WA
(Zone 8b)

December 20, 2008
6:01 PM

Post #5912134

The site I found suggested that wetter sawdust from a lumber mill would work better than dry sawdust from a carpentry shop, so I imagine dampened pet bedding could work. There was something about types of wood, which ones are better for eventual use as fertilizer and which might contain substances that might be not so good for garden use.
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 1, 2009
9:58 PM

Post #5953134

A friend put in a sawdust toilet. They live in a small trailer. I mention this so you understand how small the bathroom is. I expected to confronted with an odor when I went in and was pleasantly surprised. No odors at all. This was set up as a temporary facility until they could save enough money to drill a well and plumb the place. He just used a 5 gallon bucket under a bench type seat like you would find in the old outhouse. He dumped the buckets out back to compost. It only took a couple of months before earthworms were living in the compost pile. By the following year it was dark rich looking dirt with a wonderful earthy aroma. You know the one I mean, the smell that says things will grow great here. We have a lot of sawmills around here, getting the sawdust is not a problem. They have water now and regular plumbing and a septic tank, but I am not sure that was a step forward. Of course with 5 children, the regular plumbing is much easier than keeping care of sawdust bucket.
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

January 2, 2009
12:08 AM

Post #5953755

Cool! Glad to hear from someone that has first hand knowledge!
twiggybuds
Moss Point, MS
(Zone 8b)

January 2, 2009
2:16 AM

Post #5954477

Kathy that sure sounds a lot better than the two holer and chamber pot I lived with until I was 7.
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 2, 2009
5:26 AM

Post #5955271

At this time of year anything is better than the 2 holer. I have had plenty of experience with that myself.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 2, 2009
5:27 AM

Post #5955273

Gives a whole new meaning to "frozen buns".
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 2, 2009
5:28 AM

Post #5955279

You got that right!
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 2, 2009
5:33 AM

Post #5955285

Been there, done that...I need one with a heated seat!
Guess I'm not as tought as my Oma.
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 2, 2009
5:37 AM

Post #5955293

You sit on that cold seat and the whole body tenses up. Try to relieve yourself in that condition brrrr! We put a foam seat on ours and it helped tremendously. Body heat warmed it up enough you could do what you came for.
bunsterco
Rutledge, MO
(Zone 5a)

January 9, 2009
11:52 PM

Post #5986613

I use the bucket system for humanure (or "humey" as we affectionately call it) and have for many years. Done correctly, it doesn't smell bad at all, which I think is true for all composting toilets (commercial ones i've used in the past, in public parks and such, were super-stinky). We use sawdust as a cover and the type of wood does make a difference. As i recall we got cedar one time and thought it would be great (it smelled so good just by itself) but, oh right, it's pretty rot resistant, and, um, the point is for it to rot. Ooops. So even tho it seemed like a good idea, we don't use that anymore if we can possibly help it. Also, wet sawdust is WAY better than dry, so we keep our sawdust outside and uncovered.

The Humanure Handbook by Jenkins is the best book i know of re: the bucket system.

I've not read it, but you might want to check out: the Composting Toilet System Book: A Practical Guide to Choosing, Planning and Maintaining Composting Toilet Systems by David Del Porto and Carol Steinfeld (saw on amazon.com).

There's another i read years ago that i quite enjoyed, called Lifting the Lid: An Ecological Approach to Toilet Systems (New Futures) by Peter Harper and Louise Halestrap (available at amazon.com.uk).But since it's from the UK and discusses lots of european pre-mades that arent readily available on this side of the pond, not sure how helpful it would be.

I hope you find something that works well for you, and feel free to ask me if i can answer any questions about the system i use. Good luck!

Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 10, 2009
5:29 AM

Post #5987849

bunsterco, any idea how it would work to use a galvanized 30 gallon trash can instead of a 5 gallon bucket? I was wondering if it would be worth having the extra capacity to cut down on the number of emptying trips, or would something of that size be too big for properly covering the contents?

I'm sure it would be mighty heavy when full but perhaps half-full would be workable.

Any input on "tank size"?
Thanks!
Shoe
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 10, 2009
5:20 PM

Post #5989180

As with gardening, I think (for me at least) it's prudent to start small! I'm sure y'all will appreciate the irony -- I'm going to use one of those huge kitty litter buckets. ;}
bunsterco
Rutledge, MO
(Zone 5a)

January 10, 2009
10:00 PM

Post #5990087

Shoe,

i cannot imagine trying to dump a 30 gallon container-- the 5 gallon are pretty dang heavy already. i'm also not sure about using metal with urine-- seems like that might not be a good combo.

i have heard of the idea of building a system where you use the giant trash cans with wheels on them (the kind the city i used to live in provided to make getting trash to the curb easier) instead of 5 gallon buckets. seems like that would definitely involve stairs or 2 levels of some sort, and i never looked into it much, since the buckets work fine for us.

you might want to look into a moldering toilet design. i dont know a lot about it, but a google search returned a lot of results, some of which looked useful at a glance.

good luck!
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 11, 2009
4:52 AM

Post #5991489

Thanks, bunsterco. Methinks five gallons of excrement must weigh lots more than I imagined. Reckon I better consider doing as brigidlily and start smaller than a big container.

And yes, didn't think about the urine effect.

Okay, off to Google moldering toilet design. Thanks!

Shoe
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 11, 2009
5:20 PM

Post #5992647

Just a thought, shoe -- I don't know about you, but I'd like to be able to sit/squat. 30-gallon container -- I got long legs, but...
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 11, 2009
5:25 PM

Post #5992672

Hah! Yep, I thought about that, too! ;.) Figgered I'd have to build a step-up platform. By doing so and being elevated like that would give one the kingly, or queenly, feeling that they indeed are sitting on a throne!

Happy Day to All!
Shoe
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 11, 2009
5:53 PM

Post #5992812

Lord of all you survey?!! Just how much would that be?! lol...
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 11, 2009
6:07 PM

Post #5992894

Hah! Good point, grownut! Reckon "for best results place throne outside, with a view".

Shoe
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

January 11, 2009
11:38 PM

Post #5993963

This is interesting: http://www.toiletology.com/Disaster-toilet.shtml
LOL, "toiletology"
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 12, 2009
4:38 AM

Post #5995018

That's a very interesting site KyWoods. Some very practical suggestions. You never know when a natural disaster will make us glad we know how to operate the manual bucket.
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

January 12, 2009
4:43 AM

Post #5995032

And that would come in sooo handy when I'm out there trekking through the woods! Wonder if it would be a bad idea to paint it camouflage colors...LOL "Now, where was that potty again?"
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 12, 2009
5:03 AM

Post #5995082

Under a bear in the woods?
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

January 12, 2009
5:11 AM

Post #5995098

LOL, good one!
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 23, 2009
8:16 PM

Post #6041428

Okay, finally got the sawdust and before I -- ahem -- begin, what do I do with the toilet paper? Cuz I AIN'T gonna go that primitive! I assume I drop it in the bucket with the other things I'm putting in the bucket? I mean, it dissolves quickly. And I do use very plain white TP.
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 23, 2009
8:25 PM

Post #6041456

The folks that I knew put the TP into the trash and then burned it.
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 23, 2009
8:53 PM

Post #6041577

Thanks. Until I learn otherwise, I will dispose of the TP separately.
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 23, 2009
10:31 PM

Post #6042072

I suppose it would compost just fine, it is designed to break down in a septic system. Further education is needed by me in that area.
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 24, 2009
12:03 AM

Post #6042459

Use plain ol' traditional Scott TP. They don't have any of the funky stuff and it's the ONLY kind recommended for septic systems. Made to biodegrade to nuttin. Which puts it almost on a par with sawdust...
http://www.scottbrand.com/us/
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 24, 2009
12:50 AM

Post #6042694

The LP/TP should compost just fine. You could install a hose sprayer and use that instead - a composting toilet and bidet in one!
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 24, 2009
2:26 AM

Post #6043110

ermm... while I'm not afraid of a composting toilet, the word 'bidet' has me runnin' like the wind...;-)

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

January 24, 2009
4:06 AM

Post #6043469

Typical American response. I saw my first bidet when I went to Havana as a high school student eons ago. Can't tell you how many bidet jokes I've heard over the years... yet they are very sanitary.
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 24, 2009
4:39 AM

Post #6043588

Don't be mean because I don't like having my backside squirted..:-p... And that's not necessarily a 'national preference' -I'd call it more personal choice. They may be [sanitary], but I don't have to enjoy them...Met my first one in Japan...it was a dark and stormy night...the toilet had waay too many buttons to read...

I will say that expecting it as a normal part of your ritual would probably lessen the shock...but it is a learned behavior, not in anyway anthropologically based...

This message was edited Jan 23, 2009 11:55 PM

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

January 24, 2009
4:59 AM

Post #6043631

I wasn't trying to be mean and I'm sorry if it sounded that way. Written words, sans audible inflections, can be misleading.

Where bidets are common, like my hotel in Havana, it's no big deal. However as you say, it is a learned practice, and it can be a BIG surprise if you are not expecting it.
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 24, 2009
5:07 AM

Post #6043654

Thanks Darius, I didn't think you were...but...well there was a hot button in there and I couldn't quite not respond...And I didn't put the smileys and exclamations in where they shoulda been so my response sounded worse than was meant...My Apologies.

Honestly -when I thought how bad it was to be surprised by a little bitty bidet and then pasted the garden hose comment to that thought...well, my horror knew no bounds!!!

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

January 24, 2009
4:27 PM

Post #6044822

LOL!
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

January 24, 2009
8:12 PM

Post #6045806

Brigidlily, way to go and congratulations!

I haven't had a close encounter with a bidet, but since we're on the subject...if it does what I expect it probably does with a force of water that I imagine it would have to have to do what it's suppose to do, seems like there would be a lot more to dry. Don't be laughing now...inquiring minds want to know! LOL!
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 24, 2009
8:30 PM

Post #6045848

Say that with a straight face and tell us not to laugh...does seem to be begging you to waste more paper though...
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 25, 2009
2:08 AM

Post #6047118

What I visualized was the backyard sawdust commode with the ice cold water coming out of a garden hose! Yeeks! Got to be a better idea... lol
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 25, 2009
2:48 AM

Post #6047257

Ok, for you cushy tushys out there, a composting toilet with a solar & wind powered, on-demand water heater connected to a targeted hose end sprayer with a gentle shower stream. After the rinse cycle you use the mounted hair dryer with an easy to reach on/off switch on an extension cable.
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 25, 2009
3:08 AM

Post #6047344

I want to use your outhouse mermaid. You obviously have all the right ideas!
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 25, 2009
3:08 AM

Post #6047352

My next publication "In Defense of Tushies" lolol.
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

January 25, 2009
12:53 PM

Post #6048141

Try as I might, couldn't think of anything witty to say here... but thanks for the explanation.

G_M, that is a great idea.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 25, 2009
5:53 PM

Post #6049301

Hah! I sure like the way ya'll are thinking!

Mermaid, what a great idea! But don't forget you have to have music in that high-dollar outhouse. Hmm, might I suggest, "I Feel The Earth Move (under my feet) ♫". (But NO "itsy bitsy spider songs"!)

Shoe
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 25, 2009
5:55 PM

Post #6049308

One of those kinetic operated singing TP dispensers...w/o the TP
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 26, 2009
4:41 PM

Post #6053089

So, I'll rig me up a hose with one a' them there jet sprayers on the bidness end, jest hook 'er up to the handle of that there kitty litter bucket...

Wait. Let me get the banjo out first...
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 26, 2009
7:18 PM

Post #6053757

May I suggest one of those sprayers with a "champagne bubbles" setting? You can sing Don Ho's "Tiny Bubbles" song while "flushing".

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 26, 2009
9:45 PM

Post #6054351

I am afraid that with all that washing and spraying the contents of the bucket might get a little soupy, if you now what i mean?
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 26, 2009
9:45 PM

Post #6054354

Right -- nothing like a touch of the cosmopolitan for the ultimate outhouse experience.

I feel a new reality show coming on...
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2009
12:13 AM

Post #6054962

Not to worry frostweed. A few small holes in the bottom of the bucket will allow the broth to drain. Think of all those hungry earthworms in the soup line.

Reality show...hmmm..."Out the Outhouse"?
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 27, 2009
1:29 AM

Post #6055343

Well after knocking the reality down a notch and Don Ho's 'Tiny Bubbles' I'm feeling a little less vulnerable and more like laughing...a lot!
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 27, 2009
1:32 AM

Post #6055361

That reality show will have to start with a disclaimer reminding folks to check their local codes because it is probably not allowed to do any of the above mentioned ideas. But then these days nothing that makes sense is legal any more.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

January 27, 2009
1:53 AM

Post #6055487

Any chance we can change the song on Saturdays to Lawrence Welk, with all the bubbles and the pop of the champagne cork? And with the wave of an invisible conductor's baton we can always start with "a-one anna two anna..." ♫ ♫ (You know, just to help us get started) :>)

All I know is I don't wanna hear the itsy bitsy spider song!

Shoe
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 27, 2009
2:02 AM

Post #6055529

I do not believe you itsy bitsy spider folks have ever been in the outhouse. I have never seen an itsy bitsy spider in the outhouse. They have always been big old hulking things that can stick out a leg and trip you on the way in.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2009
2:40 AM

Post #6055726

Actually Shoe, I was thinking of something like Sade's "Smooth Operator" to precede the Tiny Bubbles (or Splish Splash I was taking a Bath) song.

No spiders allowed. Hmmm, might need to equip the outhouse with one of those battery operated vaccum cleaners. If fair warning and reason doesn't work with those critters, the vaccum is safely at hand.

Being tickled by an octopus while perched on a coral head in Bora Bora was disconcerting enough...
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

January 27, 2009
2:49 AM

Post #6055778

Y'all ain't right!
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 27, 2009
3:00 AM

Post #6055837

g_m, I emphatically do NOT want a splish-splash bath!!!
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 27, 2009
3:48 PM

Post #6057510

g_m, thinking about being tickled by an octopus really doesn't make me believe I can make this thing truly functional.

But I believe I will refer to it as my outbox.
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 27, 2009
3:54 PM

Post #6057533

I think as long as you don't perch on a coral head in your outbox...

(Ex)Amish friend. Still doesn't have indoor facilities. They use a framed bucket with PineSol (well when it's well below freezing and the backside breeze gets to be too much)-and the PineSol is all you smell. Don't think its that eco-friendly, but it works...
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 27, 2009
4:12 PM

Post #6057622

Okay, I do have a report. HYPOTHETICALLY (in case the health dept. is lurking...) someone I know VERY well has begun using a bucket for a certain elimination activity. This person got sawdust and mixed it 3:1 with coffee grounds and covers the elimination results with it and nothing unpleasant in the olfactory sense is occurring. No final results will be used in the veggie bed, but the front rose garden just might be very happy this year.

HAHAHA if this were actually happening I will post results from my "friend."

nudge nudge wink wink say no more
grownut
Clarkson, KY

January 27, 2009
4:29 PM

Post #6057707

woot.
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 27, 2009
7:38 PM

Post #6058484

not to worry msrobin...we're OK. Somethings you just have to poke fun at to keep from crying. The continued water shortages will probably make composting toilets a reality sooner than you might expect.
^_^
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 27, 2009
8:37 PM

Post #6058682

C'mon, msrobin -- be not right along with us! We DON'T share outboxes!

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

January 27, 2009
8:59 PM

Post #6058761

My "strange outhouse" story... About 10 years ago I went to visit a cousin about 2 hours away who was finishing up their vacation house. Naturally I needed to go to the bathroom when I got there. Billy said they only had the outhouse in the back yard as the plumbing wasn't hooked up yet.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the door... finding a modern porcelain WC, on a plywood floor. Coming in through the back of the outhouse was a garden hose, supplying water to the tank for flushing! Turns out the WC was installed directly over the septic tank clean-out port.

Naturally I didn't have my camera, and when I came back the next weekend, he was tearing it down to install the WC in the basement. Would have been a funny photo...

darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

January 27, 2009
9:01 PM

Post #6058765

In this weather, see what happens if you aren't quick to close the door ... LOL.

Thumbnail by darius
Click the image for an enlarged view.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 27, 2009
9:31 PM

Post #6058895

Very funny Darius.
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

January 27, 2009
10:45 PM

Post #6059191

Oh, yes, Brigidlily, IF your friend decides to do this, please keep us posted!

Now don't get me wrong...I am enjoying this thread as much y'all. I'm just totally amazed at some of the stuff you all have come up with! DH keeps asking what I'm laughing at!

Everything I've read, says not to use the "compost" around fruits or vegetables, just around ornamental plants and trees. When you go to "fertilizer" your plants and trees, I think your suppose to bury it a few inches under the soil.

Darius, love the picture! Your other post regarding the WC right over the clean out port is an excellent idea for us to consider with our new room addition.
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

January 28, 2009
12:25 AM

Post #6059567

The coffee grounds are not needed.
msrobin
Caneyville, KY
(Zone 6b)

January 28, 2009
12:54 AM

Post #6059711

I agree, coffee grounds aren't needed, but they DO attract earthworms and when I was a flight attendant, we used them to mask the odor in the lavatories (sp?).
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 28, 2009
4:06 PM

Post #6061989

I... er, I mean my friend... just happened to have picked up a bunch of coffee grounds for the roses and thought, what the heck? Kind of like Grandma Rose's chicken soup -- it couldn't hurt!

darius, what might REALLY hurt is the OTHER use for that newspaper...
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 28, 2009
5:44 PM

Post #6062480

Better newpaper than a poison oak leaf - guarantee that mistake will only be made once!
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 28, 2009
5:47 PM

Post #6062492

I trust that was not the same episode as the octopus?
garden_mermaid
San Francisco Bay Ar, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 28, 2009
5:50 PM

Post #6062508

Thankfully there is no poison oak in Bora Bora.

My first intro to poison oak was an early childhood experience.
AZgrammie
North of Heber, AZ
(Zone 6b)

March 8, 2009
10:35 PM

Post #6239353

Pros & cons: When my DH & I bought this remote property in 1988, he said very emphatically that he would not come up here with me if he had to use an outhouse! He had cousins who had one in Indiana when he was a kid, and hated outhouses. I didn't like them much either, because of the smell and the spider populations. So I ordered a composting toilet from Del Porto. It was a small, self-contained unit that was not that different from a household toilet, except that there was no water hookup. It came with an electric heater but since we didn't have electricity up here, I went ahead and took the heater out. The temps only get down to about 5 occasionally in the winter and "deposits" were usually pretty warm. We put it in the barn "just in case" it smelled bad, but it never did. t had a drawer on the bottom that you would empty when it got full. After use, we would sprinkle in a little water to wet the tpaper down (yes, regular tpp only I'd buy RV tpp when if I happened to go to an RV store), then take a scoop full of peat moss (the powdery kind, from a plant nursery) and dump it on top. There was a crank to wind the mass to mix everything together. The crank handle usually broke, the weak spot in the process., so I sometimes turned the mass with an L-shaped brass rod I picked up somewhere. My son & DIL and their 2 little girls lived up here for a year, and we found that 3 women (4 when I came up to visit) produced entirely too much liquid so it would overflow. We did have a "French drain" hooked up, a tube that emptied into a covered hole in the ground but it was inadequate. When it overflowed, the whole yucky mess had to be shoveled out by hand and it was pretty ghastly. Finally we ruled that males were prohibited to use it for urination, they had to go find a bush. Except for that problem, I loved the toilet! Most of the time it worked great and the compost was indeed sweet smelling and easy to remove from the toilet. By the time I moved up here to live, we had put in a septic system which has been problem free for the past 8 years or so since we put it in, despite our terribly rocky soil. When some new neighbors moved up here and could't afford to put in a septic system, I carefully cleaned out the composting toilet and "lent" it to them, asking that if/when they put in a septic system, they'd clean it out and return it. Uh, yeah, right. Never saw it again. Meanwhile, I may just put a 5 gallon paint bucket with a toilet lid on it out in my barn and get another big bag of peat moss -- sometimes after two cups of coffee and a glass of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, that hike back to the house seems like a long way! LOL. So all in all, I'd say composting toilets are the way to go, you just have to recognize their limitations. The folks across the (small) canyon from me have a composting toilet in their bathroom, with a mulcrum (the container for the compost mass) under their trailer. It is marvelous, truly marvelous!
kathy65468
Eunice, MO
(Zone 5b)

March 8, 2009
10:38 PM

Post #6239368

I agree and think of the water it saves!
grownut
Clarkson, KY

March 8, 2009
11:16 PM

Post #6239586

We need to cross this thread with the NPK one...
twiggybuds
Moss Point, MS
(Zone 8b)

March 9, 2009
1:16 AM

Post #6240033

http://www.cleantechblog.com/2009/01/peak-phosphorus-commence-urine-recyling.html

Ya'll scroll down and look at the new toilet that's being mandated in some European countries. It's unfortunate that more details aren't provided because I'm not understanding how the 2 waste products stay separated all the way to the waste treatment facilities. I'd love to have one of these but I'd want to keep the goodies for my own use.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 9, 2009
1:36 AM

Post #6240143

I had seen that earlier and must say I am charmed by the thought of men sitting down too...
grownut
Clarkson, KY

March 10, 2009
11:27 PM

Post #6248982

Now I had an uncle who sat. He claimed any gentleman should, there was no excuse to do anything else. Unhygienic pride...

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