David Goodman (AKA “David the Good”) and I have been communicating off and on for several years. He used to live about 30 minutes away from me and while we had a couple of phone conversations, somehow we never managed to get together until he and his family were on their way to their new home in the tropics. I’m still not sure where he wound up exactly but from the pictures on his blog, it looks like a piece of paradise.
The C-Head toilet is available with two options regarding the processing of solid waste. The churning version and the churnless version. One has a churning mechanism to move the medium around (medium = sawdust, wood shavings, peat moss, coco coir, etc.). The churnless does not. Each has its advantages and disadvantages over the other. The difference in cost is $35 with the churnless version being cheaper, so if you are uncertain which version would work best for you, we suggest you get the churning version and modify it into a churnless version for testing. You may want to convert the systems back and forth depending on who is using the toilet. For example, if you are having guests who are not used to using a C-Head, you may want to use the churnless version during their stay for a couple of reasons. So let’s look at the differences.
C-Head offers an accessory called a pump tank that is basically a reservoir for urine until it can be pumped out of the toilet to a holding tank or drain field. It is used in situations where the urine must be pumped uphill to its destination. If the situation allowed for a simple gravity feed draining system, then the EUD would suffice. Having to pump urine uphill is common in sailboats under 40 feet and installations in basements or in underground shelters such as prepper bunkers.
My toilets offer several different options with respect to toilet seats. One size does not fit all and since options are available with flushing toilets, why shouldn’t they be with a dry, composting system toilet? Let’s look at why someone would prefer one over the other.
Looking to the future, some aspects of urine diverting toilet technology are clearly promising. Separating urine from the solid waste reduces the time and cost of converting human solid and liquid waste to a safe, recyclable product. The Novaquatis urine source separation project at Eawag has developed a highly efficient wastewater treatment plan. It is based on using a slight variation on the same type of plumbing infrastructure that we use today for standard wastewater treatment systems. These systems do have some drawbacks in that they can be expensive, and do require ongoing maintenance of the grid which includes lift stations (counter measures to the ironclad plumbing axiom that “poop flows downhill”) and processing plants. In addition, they require all users in the area to use a specific type of urine diverting toilet and a dedicated plumbing system. Urine diverting toilets have a good reputation based on theory because most people who understand them think they are a good idea. That is not the same thing as thinking that they actually want to own one or learn how to use one. People are slow to change habits, especially toilet habits.
I recently watched a YouTube video about a couple that decided to move to the woods and create a permaculture homestead for themselves. I know that this is the dream of many couples, especially younger people with unlimited desires and expectations but limited resources. The couple bought 30 acres because they wanted to be able to “have the resources” to operate a full blown permaculture domicile. On the face of it that seemed reasonable, even wonderful, but after having once had just two acres to maintain (during my twenties and thirties), I have a good appreciation how much work is involved managing 30 acres. I would imagine that the bulk of their land will be used to provide privacy. The video also got me thinking, so I googled the question, “Per capita, how much land is available on this earth for each human being to live on?” It drove me to this interesting discussion on Quora.com. The long and short of it is that after you deduct the water, deserts, mountain ranges and other uninhabitable or unproductive land on this earth, there remains, reasonably, less than two acres for each person, probably much less. Considering all the inhospitable land and governmental constraints against development, it is probably reasonable to say that, on average, a couple could expect to have less than a 1/2 to a 1/4 acre to share if it were possible to divide the productive land up among everybody on earth. All of this begs the question, “Would you want or need more than that?”
In a true permaculture setting, there is no such thing as waste and the same is true for bodily waste. Everything gets used. Keeping in mind that a BoonJon Garden is designed for managing organic waste as well as providing food, let’s look at the elements of the garden and the things that effect the design of your garden. It is important to remember the goal of your garden, which is to provide system for turning carbon based waste back into food and successfully managing the hazards associated with managing organic waste. It is an ongoing learning process. Aside from neighbors and local government, there are three major natural factors that will effect the design of your garden; local climate, the lay of the land, local fauna and flora.