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.
Think of them as cuddly, cute creatures or as the more deservedly descriptive title of “tree rats”, squirrels are a hazard to gardening among other things but especially gardening. My first negative encounter with the furry little guys was when one day Nancy came up to me while I was working in the garden shed and said, “There is a squirrel living inside the sail cover.” Immediately, I suspected the worst and sure enough the little bugger had made a nest inside our mainsail cover using the finest dacron she could find and turning it into a fluffy, comfy, show white bed for her and her soon to arrive family. She had eaten holes in every panel of my $2400 mainsail. AAAHH!
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.
So, you somehow wound up having a bucket of maggots inside your toilet. How the hell did that happen? What is this? Your first week at Boot Camp! And what are you going to do about it? There is probably nothing more damning to compact composting/dry toilets than a maggot infestation. It can and will probably happen until you come to appreciate the fact that compact composting toilets do take a certain amount of maintenance and vigilance. They are nasty little buggers for sure. They glue themselves to everything in the most out of the way places you can imagine. It is all a survival mechanism for them and considering there is no shortage of flies, it seems to be working for them pretty well. So you’ve got it, what do we do?
One of the best ways to take advantage of your urine diverting toilet while boondocking is the use of a urine diffuser. The urine diffuser allows you to “set it and forget it.” The urine diffuser is a simple appliance that continuously buries your urine in a 12″ deep hole that complies with most public land management requirements for disposing of bodily waste. Basically you dig a hole 12″ deep and partially bury the urine diffuser. Connect your holding tank drain line to the urine diffuser using a dedicated, modified section of garden hose and then open the black water holding tank. If there is urine in the tank, open and close it as needed to monitor and control the outflow until it is empty. Once empty, leave the valve open to continuously drain the tank. Since your holding tank is only collecting urine and no solid waste is mixed in, it will flow freely into the ground as intended. This is because you don’t dump it all at once but rather it will drain continuously in small amounts each time you use the toilet.
A significant number of people have asked me what I think about using an EUD accessory (external urine diverter) or a BEX kit (bottom exit kit) to funnel the urine into the gray water tank. Many have simply said that is what they plan on doing and it is an interesting idea worth considering. It would allow you several options regarding wastewater storage and disposal. Let’s take a look.
Wire hose clamps have a lot going for them. For one, they are low profile and don’t tend to gouge chunks of meat out of your fingers and knuckles when working around them. Having done almost everything around my house and on my sailboats for years, I have come to appreciate a good thing. Here is a quick primer on a wire hose clamp that I invented. There are several tools on the market that make nice wire hose clamps. I have owned two and used them. They have their limitations, especially in confined areas where you are likely to find need for them. Anyway . . .
I have been experimenting with several pump types to use in conjunction with the pump tank accessory. The pump tank accessory, to review, is a reservoir that holds the urine until it can be pumped out to a holding tank. The pump tank isn’t necessary in situations where gravity feed will empty the tank, that is situations where the holding tank or drain field is below the toilet all the time. There are a few situations where the holding tank or drain field sits above the toilet or where the drain line must clear a hurdle that is above the toilet. Most sailboats have the holding tank mounted higher than the toilet because they don’t have room in the bilge. Also, Granny in the basement installations and most below-ground prepper bunkers will need to pump the urine uphill. In those cases, the pump tank is a good accessory to have. The pump system can be manual or electric.
I know it sounds self serving for me to tell people that they shouldn’t build their own toilets but hear me out. Live aboard boaters and RV owners are usually very handy. You basically have to be. You’re out in the middle of no-where and something goes wrong and there is nobody you can hire to fix it and no place to go to get parts, at least proprietary parts. When I built the C-Head I kept this in mind and made it so that parts could be easily found at local hardware stores. Having lived aboard two sailboats for a total of nine years, I knew that that would be a valuable consideration for my product by people who would use it. I also knew that because of that, people would try to imitate the design, thinking they were saving money and getting the satisfaction of being creative all in one deal. I mean it’s just a bucket and a jug and a box and a toilet seat, right? But let’s look at that.