Thursday, September 17, 2009

Composting Toilets

I did a little research into composting toilets the last few days. The ones you can buy are, apparently, rubbish. I read review after review about several brands of them, and 99% of the reviewers had nothing good to say about them. They cost well over $1,000 and have complicated drum and rake systems. Then I found a link to The Humanure Handbook, and found my answer. This is an utterly simple system for a composting toilet. A box, a bucket, some sawdust, and seat. And it doesn't waste a gallon and a half of perfectly good drinking water with every use, since there is no water required and no flushing.

They sell these very reasonably, but I can't see any reason to buy one when they are so simple to make. There are some great pictures on that site of toilets made by the readers of the book, and some are very, very nice! The only other point to using one of these is that you need a compost bin, or a service to haul away the "produce." I'm pretty well sold on this composting toilet, but I wonder how accepted they are by local health departments. Will I still be required to have a septic system just for the grey water produced by my shower and sink? That I will have to find out. 

On another note, I finally came up with an acceptable floor plan for a 12x18 cabin, which is as small as I can go to get in all my requirements for space and storage capacity. Yay!


Anonymous said...

Depends on where in Texas you are going to build. I know in brewster county outside of any city limits you can expell your grey water above ground as long as it doesnt pool. ( sit and stagnate) In brewster you dont have to worry about anyone inspecting to see if you have a septic or approved composting toilet if you have 10 acres or more and are 500 ft from the main road. I spoke with the county inspector on this and he said even if he gets a complaint from a neighbor about and out house , he has to be able to find it first. Its not really a big deal. but as a warning there are a few people out there which know nuthin about building and they are the ones who complain about others composting toilets. I am just gonna tell em when they ask , " I have a sunmar composting toilet" Its the approved sort. Good luck!

Abby said...

Good to hear, Nick :) I'd rather have an inhouse than an outhouse. I'm not going to have the fancy two holer like these folks: but I do like their exhaust system and may copy it. Of course you can always have a porta potty for display purposes and squeamish guests and just empty it occasionally at the RV park at the Ranch, assuming they have a dump station there.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah , absolutley. I wrote about doing that I think in my blog quite a while ago. That is also what the inspector told me. He said if he didnt see any other kind of toilet out there ( which he doesnt have the right to look where ever he wants , and he saw a chemical toilet (cheepy from walmart) in the house ( or out side)with a receipt for dumping at the camp ground tacked to the wall. That would be enough for him and he would leave.