Ventilation Systems Part 1 – Boats

The first in a multi-part series of articles on ventilation

Ventilation is one of the most complex aspects of any composting toilet system, but it shouldn’t be. Almost all urine diverting standard sized and compact composting toilets require ventilation. In some, like the Separatt, it is the sole means of removing the smell and moisture produced by processing the solid waste. Urine odor can be fairly well confined to it’s container, but pouring it out is a stinky process indeed, unless you have treated it with a holding tank solution. Treating it is common with mobile applications like boats and RVs because public restrooms are often the place they get emptied and you don’t want to chase everybody out of the bathroom and have them complaining to the management. But I digress . . . This is a series of articles on ventilation. First I will discuss boats, except for houseboats with RV type flush toilets that use a floor flange which I address in the Part 2 which is RV and travel trailers. Part 3 will be fixed applications like homesteads, cabins, tree houses, etc and Part 4 will be prepper bunkers which are a special case and Part 6 is tiny houses, also a special case.

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The Bottom Exit Kit Accessory

Installing or converting to the BEX kit

One of the great advantages of the C-Head is the ability to easily funnel the urine out of the toilet into an outside receptacle such as a black water holding tank like those found in boats and RVs, or an agriculture type storage tank for permaculture use or into a drain field. You can do this using what we call the “bottom exit kit.” In addition to home and cabin installation, this can be done with most RVs, travel trailers and houseboats that have an original, factory installed toilet that flushes into a holding tank through a standard toilet flange that is mounted on the floor. Diverting urine to the holding tank in its concentrated state takes much longer to fill the the tank up and thus significantly extends the time between dumping the tank . In addition, it makes the disposal of urine much easier for both boondockers and for RV and travel trailer owners who prefer to use dump stations. More on that in a minute.

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Girl stuff!!

Going #3


“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax– Of cabbages–and kings– And why the sea is boiling hot– And whether pigs have wings.”

The Walrus and the Carpenter – Lewis Carroll

So now we have to get a little personal. Having spent a lifetime directly involved with hands-on medicine as an Army Special Forces medic and as a municipal and then county firefighter/paramedic, and having been married three times, I thought I knew pretty much everything about female anatomy . . . well almost everything. But once I got into the toilet business, I found out some things that I didn’t know and that were surprising. Number one, as many women order my toilets as do men. It may be because, between the two of them, she is the one with the bank account. More common than you would believe. And number two, women’s anatomies are significantly different with respect to what we call “directional stability” in the boat design business. And number three, when women go to the bathroom (#2), they usually don’t go #1, then #2, nor do they go #2, then #1. They usually go #3. That proved to be a challenge that I hadn’t expected to have to overcome.

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Captain Compost

The compost man with the plan

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.

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Churning vs. Churnless Versions

What is the difference?

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.

Churning version and churnless version
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What is a Pump Tank?

It’s a game changer!

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.

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Choosing a Toilet Seat

It’s like black and white!

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.

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