Making a Simple Solid Waste Dehydrating System

How Dry I Am . . . How Dry I Am . . .

With a bucket and chuck it system, you can simply pour the mixed pee and poop waste contents of your toilet onto a pile of compostable material and then cover it with more material and let nature do its thing. This is a common method of composting your waste in a permaculture way. Joe Jenkins has a nice system for doing just that. It is, however, impractical for use on a 1/4 acre residential lot, simply because of the size and the amount of compostable material needed to create thermophilic composting in the winter time. It also doesn’t have a means to sort out and manage any waste that may be suspected of being unhealthy, that is to say, waste that comes from a person who is demonstrably ill or suspected of being so. You need a processor that allows you to separate and process unhealthy waste more aggressively and cleanly as well as one that allows you to take advantage of the useful properties of your poop and pee separately.

Joe Jenkins’ well designed waste management compost system
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The Wishing Well Compost Tower

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.

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The Problem with Toilet Paper

Can you put it in the toilet?

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.

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What’s your Main Malfunction, Maggot!

You’re disgusting!!

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?

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What is a Urine Diffuser?

The Boondocker’s friend

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.

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Diverting Urine into the Gray Water Tank

Do you pee in the shower?

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.

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