One of the flatly most successful systems we went with aboard "Floating Empire" (and one of the ones about which we are most questioned) has been the system we use for dealing with waste. Seriously. I've dealt in my time with portapotti's with removable tanks, with bluewater buckets, and with blackwater systems. Having now dealt for most of the year with a very simple bucket composter, I can honestly say I'll never have any other system in a vessel, and maybe not even in a house. We did a bit of an entry early in the construction of the boat on the system we use, but I thought, at this juncture some 7 months in, it might be useful to revisit.
Our system has three very simple elements: We have a lid and seat from "Luggable Loo", intended largely for camping toilets. The system, intended for camping, consists of a toilet seat and lid designed to snap onto the top of a 5 gallon bucket.
|The full Luggable Loo system from Reliance.|
|The head boxed in during the original construction.|
|Just make sure you get uncoated/unoiled pellets|
We get asked all the time how often we empty the toilet. It rather depends. There are two of us living here (the cat having her own arrangements). In winter, or during lousy weather, when we're aboard all the time, we find we empty the bucket about every five days. In summer, when we're ashore adventuring or out on other vessels, it can be far less. We have two buckets and a lid, so we can change out the bucket without absolutely having to truck it up and off the boat if inconvenient. We just switch them out and empty when convenient.
There are a few things we've learned over the last couple of months:
In some weather conditions, there can be quite a bit of condensation from the compost, which usually winds up on the inside of the toilet lid. It's just water, but it can be a rather unpleasant shock in the middle of the night. Good ventilation or a moisture absorption material like "DampRid" inside the toilet chamber does a lot toward eliminating this.
Don't let dumping the thing wait. It's HEAVY when completely full. Thats why we have two buckets aboard so we can change them out at will and truck them ashore when we feel like it.
Separating urine can cut down on the number of times a month you'll have to empty the compost. Many toilet systems use a urine separator, or just a simple urinal for the guys to use so that all the liquid doesn't wind up in the bucket.
Use a simple toilet paper that will break down.
Don't forget to add the absorption material. Otherwise you get a puddle in there which CAN smell. Keep it locked into the sawdust, and you'll have no problems.
It is such a simple thing, rather like emptying the trash. It doesn't smell. There is no pumpout involved, no combustion toilet, no water is wasted. As water becomes more and more a commodity, I'm frankly thinking the humble composting toilet may be something we see in more and more homes in the future.
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