What is the consistency of solid waste after a week? When “dumping” the solid wastes before it has composted (into a bag or over the side), is there spillage? Is it messy?
Many people, women and children mostly, cannot choose to urinate or defecate independently, how effective is the waste separation for liquid and solids if these processes happen simultaneously? How often does liquid get into solids accidentally?
If solid waste is left for weeks without churning, do they compost? Or does the solid waste need to be cleared out if the toilet will not be used for weeks? Months?
To answer these questions a basic understanding of the process is needed. When you churn the waste after using the C-Head, a single vane located at the bottom of the toilet creates a wave-like action with the medium, causing the solid waste to tumble end over end. This quickly coats the outside of the waste with the drying medium and then enspherates or conglobulates it into a convenient form (fancy words for rolls it up into balls . . . yuck!). Every time the waste is churned (after each use) more medium clings to the outside as the moisture within leaches through the previous layer of medium. The medium and the waste will begin to clump up. This has several really good effects. It covers the entire surface of the waste with a thick layer of medium, it forms it for easy removal when you tip the bucket, it minimizes the build-up of condensation by not increasing the surface area of the waste, and it doesn’t pack the waste into the bottom of the bucket as do the other toilets that use a dough mixer type bar to mash the waste into the medium.
So basically the waste is covered and stored in the medium until it can be emptied. It does not compost enough to cause it to break down into soil or lose its original form. Using a dough mixer type device does give the appearance of the waste having been composted and that is the main reason that type of system is used. It is not composted completely by any standard and it has no real advantages. It may speed up the composting marginally but not enough to really make a difference. None of the other composting toilet manufacturers recommend coming into contact with the waste in the toilet which tells you a lot. Compact composting toilets only initiate composting. Their size makes them impractical for complete composting. The waste must be composted further outside the toilet and letting it sit inside the toilet only invites insect infestations and solidification of the waste, making it harder to remove. The toilet would need to be out of service for months for the waste to compost to a safe state.
With the C-Head, dumping the solid waste is easy and relatively clean. Some dusting of medium and areas of residual waste may remain behind on the inside of the bucket but it is usually minimal and can be hosed off easily, especially if the bucket is filled with water and allowed to sit for a short time before taking a garden hose to it. When the bucket is full, the waste is normally damp looking but not “wet,” at least it shouldn’t be. If it is wet then excess urine is finding its way into the solid waste bucket during use. It will smell like sewage long before it gets wet. The best solution if that happens is to empty the bucket into a plastic bag or compost tower and rinse and refill the bucket with dry medium. If the medium is very wet then add more medium and churn it until it dries out enough to pour it out. The best practice is to empty the toilet as soon as you detect a sewage smell.
It is imperative that the pee and poop stay separated to keep the toilet odor free. That being said, everybody’s physiology is different and some women find it more difficult than others to get everything in the right spot. Men get a pass. Children are usually not a problem because they are usually fascinated by going to the bathroom and pay special attention to what they are doing. Just instruct them to get everything where it is supposed to go.
The Lady’s Maid is a good solution if the user is having difficulty keeping urine out of the solid waste. It is very effective, simple to use and inexpensive. To use it you hold it against the urine diverter or your body and it will catch and direct the urine. Positioning is learned and it usually is managed with the first use. These ladels are found at Walmart for 97 cents. Simply drill a 1 inch hole or several smaller holes in the center of the bottom of the ladle.
Solid waste should not be left in the toilet if it is not going to be used. Empty the toilet every week regardless of how full it is and leave it clean if you are not going to be using it for some time. There is no advantage to being able to store large amounts of waste in the toilet. It only means a more difficult process when emptying becomes inevitable. Compost the waste outside in a compost tower or discard it.
Please feel free to make constructive comments or ask questions below.
Copyright 2019 – C-Head LLC – All rights reserved.
Several people have written to me wanting me to write an article about installing a BEX kit in their C-Head for use at home, RV, travel trailer or houseboat. Here is a step by step plan for doing that. Keep in mind that all installations tend to have special issues that must be overcome on a case by case basis. If you do have an issue that you cannot resolve, please contact us for help.
I was contacted by a concerned C-Head owner regarding the recent passage of Georgia House Bill 201 that changes the laws in Georgia in an effort to reduce pollution in the estuarial waters of the ICW along the Georgia coastline. I researched HB 201 and it becomes apparent that the underlying purpose of the law is to control the use of bum boats polluting the scenery more so than the water. I get it. I live on the water and pay the government extra for the privilege. Truth be told, these people don’t produce enough human waste to effect anything, certainly not on the scale of the estuarial waters of Georgia. But toilets are an easy target for solving a problem that has little to do with the toilets. Few people will protest this angle of attack.
In addition to being able to have a customized fit, there is no other composting toilet on the market that comes close to being as beautiful as the C-Head. Choices in both the outside finish and the toilet seat size and color makes all the difference and make no mistake people want their bathrooms to look inviting, even as uninviting as the tasks may be. It’s called the “throne” for a reason. Today’s composting toilets have a range of looks that goes from resembling a washing machine (and the same size) to a plastic water cooler; from looking like they belong on the space shuttle or else in a local laundromat. Why is that? Well, expediency in manufacturing is probably the most basic reason. Ease of cleaning sure isn’t. The outsides can be deceiving as far as cleaning the inside goes.
The C-Head toilet works especially well in houseboats. The larger holding tanks and the existing flushing toilet with it’s through the floor toilet flange, give the houseboat owners an advantage over other type boats. Specifically, they can use the BEX kit (bottom exit kit) to take advantage of the existing plumbing and make life easier. The BEX kit, allows you to drain the urine into the holding tank directly through the bottom of the toilet using the existing flange. Since you are only using concentrated urine with a little flush water occasionally, the capacity of the holding tank is increased greatly, which reduces the need to find a pump out station. You can spend an extended time, weeks or months even, on the water and hold the liquid waste until you return to your marina to have it pumped out. No special trips or going off the hook to find a marina so that you can empty the tank. The C-Head is unique in this regard since there is no other composting toilet on the market that has this capacity.
I wish I might, I wish I may, I wish my poop would go away!
I finally finished one of my pet projects that has been in the making for a couple of years. People have asked me again and again, what do you do with the poop once you empty it out the toilet. For most travelers who use my toilet (boaters and recreational vehicles owners), the waste winds up in the trash. That has created a lot of discussion on whether it is legal or proper to do that. Actually it is both if the user uses minimal common sense. I foresee an issue in the future for boaters if emptying the contents into a marina dumpster becomes a common practice. If the waste is sealed in a 5-gallon plastic bucket as I advocate, then it shouldn’t be a problem, but some people can be more careless and create issues for everybody. So I have always thought; why not have a nice compost tower at home or on the facility where you can dump your waste and let nature do what nature does best. Put it to its intended use as fertilizer.
We come from a magical world where you simply flip a handle or pull a chain or push a button and all your nastiness simply swirls away down a hole off to some other place that is far, far away. Not one person in a thousand has any idea where it went. With that mind set, the issue of toilet paper becomes a non-issue. Using toilet paper is without doubt the crudest ritual that people of European heritage practice. The toilet paper business is a well entrenched industry with jobs and fortunes at stake. Vast amounts of money are spent every day advertising its existence, so much so that no other method of cleaning one’s bum is given any serious consideration. Hold that thought and read on.