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Old 10-05-2008, 09:51 PM
 
702 posts, read 2,059,205 times
Reputation: 649

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Ok, gross topic but part of life, and something I've begun researching as I am in the process of buying undeveloped land to build a house and live off-grid.

There is a lot of information online, and I also own a book titled "Goodbye to the Flush Toilet" published in 1977 - it has a wealth of knowledge and I've only just started reading it. Prior to the early 1900s before modern sewage systems came into general use in the US, most human waste was transported from cities by wagon and used to fertilize food crops. It was called "night soil" because the transporters usually emptied the privys at night. Using human waste to fertilize crops is nothing new and has been used for eons. I'm sure we're all familar with horse manure being used as fertilizer - properly treated, human waste is no different.

I'm curious to hear feedback from others who are actually using alternative methods to return body waste to the earth. Do you have a composting toilet setup? Do you actually treat the waste, let it dry out, and use as fertilizer? If not, where does it go?

To all that have and may criticize me for such "archaic" thinking, keep in mind that our modern sewer systems are turning our waterways and oceans into polluted cesspools. Dumping vast amounts of human waste into valuable sources of FRESH WATER is another great folly of humankind, in my opinion. Not only is the precious water being polluted, but the waste is being WASTED. Not to mention the ridiculous proportion of fresh water used to keep the waste moving along the pipelines - to quote the book I'm reading the average person uses 13,000 gallons of fresh water to dispose of 165 gallons of body waste, annually. I can think of much better uses for 13,000 gallons of water.

With the purchase of my own land and having the control and choice of how to build a homestead from the ground up, I want to be ecologically responsible and do the best thing for the environment.

Comments appreciated!
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Puerto Penasco, Mexico
967 posts, read 2,708,037 times
Reputation: 517
Fnord,

I have a rural farm in WV, and it has a composting commode. The waste goes to a collection area where it is continually agitated over an electric heater plate. The result is essentially dust. I usually clean it once every 6 months by mixing the waste with peet moss, and burying in the woods.

I will use the system until my new house is built and a regular septic system is installed. For now, it works fine.

Mark
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,314 posts, read 2,737,352 times
Reputation: 1437
You should send for a Lehman's catalogue. They specialize in selling to the Amish, it's a great catalogue, there is a wide choice of composting toilets as well as appliances that work without electricity, as well as canning supplies, lighting, solar power, washing, etc. The address is: Lehmans Hardware & Appliances Inc.
One Lehman Circle
PO Box 41
Kidron, OH 44636
330-857-5757

I originally wrote to them because I had an old cast iron Victorian chandelier in my living room, but didn't have any lamps for it. They supplied me with three blue glass lamps that fit perfectly.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,772 posts, read 53,945,678 times
Reputation: 30078
Google Humanure Handbook. Available for free download.

We have a septic tank, county required it and the cost was minimal.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:46 AM
 
Location: The Woods
16,936 posts, read 22,220,713 times
Reputation: 9026
+1 on the Humanure book. Cheapest effective system I know of. An outhouse could work too, but you must be careful with where you put it to avoid contaminating water supplies.
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Old 10-08-2008, 10:36 AM
 
3,283 posts, read 4,663,925 times
Reputation: 753
Quote:
Originally Posted by fnord View Post
Ok, gross topic but part of life, and something I've begun researching as I am in the process of buying undeveloped land to build a house and live off-grid.

There is a lot of information online, and I also own a book titled "Goodbye to the Flush Toilet" published in 1977 - it has a wealth of knowledge and I've only just started reading it. Prior to the early 1900s before modern sewage systems came into general use in the US, most human waste was transported from cities by wagon and used to fertilize food crops. It was called "night soil" because the transporters usually emptied the privys at night. Using human waste to fertilize crops is nothing new and has been used for eons. I'm sure we're all familar with horse manure being used as fertilizer - properly treated, human waste is no different.

I'm curious to hear feedback from others who are actually using alternative methods to return body waste to the earth. Do you have a composting toilet setup? Do you actually treat the waste, let it dry out, and use as fertilizer? If not, where does it go?




To all that have and may criticize me for such "archaic" thinking, keep in mind that our modern sewer systems are turning our waterways and oceans into polluted cesspools. Dumping vast amounts of human waste into valuable sources of FRESH WATER is another great folly of humankind, in my opinion. Not only is the precious water being polluted, but the waste is being WASTED. Not to mention the ridiculous proportion of fresh water used to keep the waste moving along the pipelines - to quote the book I'm reading the average person uses 13,000 gallons of fresh water to dispose of 165 gallons of body waste, annually. I can think of much better uses for 13,000 gallons of water.

With the purchase of my own land and having the control and choice of how to build a homestead from the ground up, I want to be ecologically responsible and do the best thing for the environment.

Comments appreciated!

here is something which is a bit far out for residential use but human excrement in the right quantity can work too. grass cuttings can also work. so if you live off grid and have a few animals then voila!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM9SZyPpm-I
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Old 10-09-2008, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,475 posts, read 20,162,803 times
Reputation: 5611
I don't hink you want to use raw sewage to fertilize crops. At one time in my career, I worked for a sewage treatment plant with no outfall line, so we hauled it to the local farmers fields and plowed it in for use as fertilizer.
However, it was far from raw sewage, it was highly treated before we were allowed to put it anywhere near a crop.
raw sewage contains every desease know to man, it isn't good stuff in it's raw form. Be careful
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Old 10-17-2008, 05:44 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,505 posts, read 51,269,072 times
Reputation: 24611
Composting toilets is not practical because the ceramic does not break down very well.
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Old 10-17-2008, 06:00 AM
 
3,283 posts, read 4,663,925 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
Composting toilets is not practical because the ceramic does not break down very well.
huh???
are you kidding???
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,391 posts, read 37,724,158 times
Reputation: 22529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donn2390 View Post
I don't hink you want to use raw sewage to fertilize crops. At one time in my career, I worked for a sewage treatment plant with no outfall line, so we hauled it to the local farmers fields and plowed it in for use as fertilizer.
However, it was far from raw sewage, it was highly treated before we were allowed to put it anywhere near a crop.
raw sewage contains every desease know to man, it isn't good stuff in it's raw form. Be careful

The City of Austin has been making and selling Dillo Dirt fertilizer from human waste for a long time now. It is, however, made from treated sewage (one wonders how they treat it - must research that). They say it's fine for vegetable gardens - I'd be more concerned about the "treatment" part than the "human" part, myself.
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