Installing a composting toilet.

accnick

Super Anarchist
3,520
2,520
It's true that big municipalities have sewage treatment overflow problems. Burlington Vermont was a classic on a pristine lake(fixed now I think). Boaters have no fingers pointed at them in the lakes, they're not involved, by strict laws. 

But we have the same problems here in our little harbors where no municipal sewage treatment problems come into play. Certain weather conditions(?) and bang, a high fecal choliform count closes the beaches.

We have birds, we have too many landscapers adding stuff to lawns, and we have boats. Hundreds of rec boats in our harbor all with heads and holding tanks. Fishing boats, with direct discharge heads (or no head). 

The boater angle is always, "It's not us! We just 'go' in the harbor, a little,...The Seals are doing it!" Whatever, the argument is old.

I think it's a bad way for a group to immediately go on the defensive and blame everything else as the major contributor.

So even though we have a free (really, self serve, no tips) pump out, you can sit all day on a park bench, and not see it used. And these harbors, Rockport, Camden, Rockland are all in their own NDZ as well as the 3 mi (another double threat!). We've done some promotional for using the pumps ashore, that's real help. 

But still, we get beach closures with no municipality to blame. 

View attachment 499555

Casco Bay is all an NDZ. I imagine that will happen to Penobscot Bay. That might help but I've never heard of anyone being fined or even warned about discharging their holding tank in Penobscot Bay. 
Camden has a pump-out boat which we have used regularly. Northeast Harbor has a busy dockside pumpout station, but it is in an awkward location and shares dock space with several ferries, so it's not always easy to get to. Fortunately, the no-discharge zone ends about a 15-minute run from our mooring, if push comes to shove, as it sometimes does.

 

DDW

Super Anarchist
6,702
1,229
If people used common sense, it wouldn't be a problem. But common sense isn't very common anymore. Rules are the replacement for common sense. 

 

Jim in Halifax

Super Anarchist
1,790
850
Nova Scotia
Camden has a pump-out boat which we have used regularly. Northeast Harbor has a busy dockside pumpout station, but it is in an awkward location and shares dock space with several ferries, so it's not always easy to get to. Fortunately, the no-discharge zone ends about a 15-minute run from our mooring, if push comes to shove, as it sometimes does.
Gosh, maybe you should eat more fiber...

Which brings us to the unaired topic of diet and the composting head (there was a spattering of reference to it when toilet paper was mentioned).

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,281
Edgewater, MD
It will only come up if you are anchored or on a mooring for more than 2 days. A pump-out is required and there are no exceptions. Just passing through they will never ask (I am local too). As a practical matter, only if you are on a mooring run by the city.


15.06.090 - Vessel toilets.



 




 




A.

A person may not operate the toilet fixtures of a vessel within City waters at any time so as to cause or permit to pass or be discharged into City waters any sewage or other waste matter or contaminate of any kind which does not meet State, County, and Federal requirements for water quality discharged by such devices. A person may not operate incinerating toilets in a vessel within City waters at any time.

B.

A person who anchors a vessel in City waters for more than two days shall pump out the vessel's holding tank at regular intervals, as determined by the Harbormaster. The person shall present evidence of such pumping to the Harbormaster.
Thanks for providing that. Very interesting. I had no idea there were "incinerating toilets!"

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,281
Edgewater, MD
It's true that big municipalities have sewage treatment overflow problems. Burlington Vermont was a classic on a pristine lake(fixed now I think). Boaters have no fingers pointed at them in the lakes, they're not involved, by strict laws. 

But we have the same problems here in our little harbors where no municipal sewage treatment problems come into play. Certain weather conditions(?) and bang, a high fecal choliform count closes the beaches.

We have birds, we have too many landscapers adding stuff to lawns, and we have boats. Hundreds of rec boats in our harbor all with heads and holding tanks. Fishing boats, with direct discharge heads (or no head). 

The boater angle is always, "It's not us! We just 'go' in the harbor, a little,...The Seals are doing it!" Whatever, the argument is old.

I think it's a bad way for a group to immediately go on the defensive and blame everything else as the major contributor.

So even though we have a free (really, self serve, no tips) pump out, you can sit all day on a park bench, and not see it used. And these harbors, Rockport, Camden, Rockland are all in their own NDZ as well as the 3 mi (another double threat!). We've done some promotional for using the pumps ashore, that's real help. 

But still, we get beach closures with no municipality to blame. 

View attachment 499555

Casco Bay is all an NDZ. I imagine that will happen to Penobscot Bay. That might help but I've never heard of anyone being fined or even warned about discharging their holding tank in Penobscot Bay. 
While in Pulpit Harbor, a local sailing couple informed me that Mainers typically pump overboard while in the open Penobscot Bay due to the high rate of water exchange and proximity to the ocean. They stated that most people would not discharge overboard in places like Camden, Rockport, Rockland etc. while inside the harbors.

You'll be pleased to know that I did not pump overboard even in the open Penobscot Bay. I paid the pump out boat in Camden. I didn't know you had a self-serve station in Rockport or I would have used it.

The guy operating the pump out boat in Camden is pure entertainment. He makes you sing sea shanties with him while he's pumping out your holding tank. He shows up in a harbormaster's uniform and gloves and won't let you help or touch anything. When he's done, he gives you a 15 minute primer and all the good things to see and do in Camden. I never had so much fun pumping shit in all my life.

 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,281
Edgewater, MD
My original plan was to install a composting toilet and remove and replace the holding tank with another 20 gallon fresh water tank for a total of about 80 gallons of fresh water.

Unfortunately, there is a large necessary locker behind the toilet and every single model that I looked at would block access to that. I'm not willing to give it up.

 

chester

Super Anarchist
6,632
1,599
Clearly if I get a composting head I need to leave my little holding tank installed so that they can come pump it out every now and again :lol:
one might plumb a holding tank so you can dispose of the contents of the urine bottles and then pump that out occassionally.  With only urine it would last a lot longer.  if you still remove the plumping to the tank from the old head saving space and odour.

 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
3,267
2,906
While in Pulpit Harbor, a local sailing couple informed me that Mainers typically pump overboard while in the open Penobscot Bay due to the high rate of water exchange and proximity to the ocean. They stated that most people would not discharge overboard in places like Camden, Rockport, Rockland etc. while inside the harbors.

You'll be pleased to know that I did not pump overboard even in the open Penobscot Bay. I paid the pump out boat in Camden. I didn't know you had a self-serve station in Rockport or I would have used it.

The guy operating the pump out boat in Camden is pure entertainment. He makes you sing sea shanties with him while he's pumping out your holding tank. He shows up in a harbormaster's uniform and gloves and won't let you help or touch anything. When he's done, he gives you a 15 minute primer and all the good things to see and do in Camden. I never had so much fun pumping shit in all my life.
You should get a best visitor award, really. I've heard about the high water exchange of our bay. I wonder why the plastic all ends up inside? :)

There's an Oyster farm in Pulpit Harbor up the creek a bit. I hope the big growth in aquaculture will really help the bays water quality. Their existence will simply ramp up testing which will monitor seasonal ups and downs. 

That is Steve Pixley, Camden's Harbor Master. He's a rig! He's a jovial guy and it's nice to hear that report. 

 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
3,267
2,906
one might plumb a holding tank so you can dispose of the contents of the urine bottles and then pump that out occassionally.  With only urine it would last a lot longer.  if you still remove the plumping to the tank from the old head saving space and odour.


I haven't used a composter yet so I can't say how it will smell,  but every time I'm on the boat these days, I take a deep breath in the head compartment.

Every bit of head kit is removed now, even the seacock, and it's had fresh air blowing through it for more than a week. 

Something is waaay different in there. And my head didn't smell,...at all,... really! :)

 
one might plumb a holding tank so you can dispose of the contents of the urine bottles
Read about a guy who did this. It’s an appealing idea since an emergency 3am session to empty a full bucket because certain people forgot to do so earlier loses it’s charm after a few times. Not naming names of course ;)

I haven't used a composter yet so I can't say how it will smell, 
All I smell is soil or peat. It really is a nice change to that whiff of sewage I could never get rid of.

 

mrybas

Member
196
106
I haven't used a composter yet so I can't say how it will smell,  but every time I'm on the boat these days, I take a deep breath in the head compartment.

Every bit of head kit is removed now, even the seacock, and it's had fresh air blowing through it for more than a week. 

Something is waaay different in there. And my head didn't smell,...at all,... really! :)
Will ya take a shit in the thing already…the suspense is killing me!

I’m seriously considering the OGO as the 15” depth fits where the other composting toilets won’t. 
 

Eagerly waiting for a poo report!

 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
3,267
2,906
The OGO sits in the shop, unmolested. I'm collecting installation parts which is a small bag: 1/ 1/4" PVC pipe, 2 45 deg. elbows, the proper sized hole saw that will bore a hole through 1 1/2" or plywood and fiberglass just forward of the mast, and the SS clam shell that will cover the PVC pipe that will protrude 1/2" above deck. The 14/2 wire to run to the switch box. That's it! I have it all but have been working on the icebox this weekend. I have expelled 7 - 12 oz. cans of foam into the void between the hull and the iso foam (but that's another thread,...)

I have all the OGO parts but there's damage from the uninstall to repair first. Paint, mostly. 

And I have the OGO support system on the bench: A 12" X  12" X 6", bone dry block of cocoa coir.

I've looked into a zillion different opinions on medium and this looks like the best start. Unlike a bag of loose fill, this will require prepping in a separate bucket, though for a boat, the compressed storage size wins out.

When I know what I'm doing; just drop a brick - or half a brick, in a bucket in a cockpit locker with a known amount of water prior to needing. 

That's it - the whole system (less bagging solid waste/emptying liquid waste): A wrapped brick in the clean, fresh 'hamper' in the head, that was previously occupied by, Chernobyl: 

Old head and holding 2.jpeg

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Max Rockatansky

DILLIGAF?
4,031
1,099
just drop a brick - or half a brick, in a bucket in a cockpit locker with a known amount of water prior 
Depending on your ambient humidity, you may not need water. Our MO is that once we need refills, the coir brick has been stored in the hot humid engine room for long enough that it is reasonably easy to break up into the container (ex-cat litter bucket) that holds same for use. Also in the bucket is the calibrated measuring device for refills.

Whatever you end up doing, know that the drier your medium, better results

 

Latest posts




Top