Friday, September 09, 2005

farm and wilderness poop

i visited the farm and wilderness camp in plymouth, vermont yesterday. moss helped me find my way around as we inspected their composting toilets. i was particularly interested in how they smelled. i was pleased to find they didn't smell of anything other than sawdust, and i really stuck my nose right in the holes. camp season has just ended and some of them are full to the seat. so, i'm now more convinced that what i've read in the humanure handbook is true: that a big pile of crap can be rendered inoffensive with judicious use of sawdust.

the toilets are very simple structures, mostly made of hemlock or pine. some have ramps, others stairs. the chamber for the compost needs to be accessible for emptying and so all of them are raised off the ground. some take advantage of the slope, others are simply raised platforms. some have ventilation tubes that passively vent to the roof, others have screens around the chamber to let air in. i didn't notice any flies around.
a one-holer
beautiful interior with sawdust bin
moss on the throne of a two-holer

i haven't had a chance to talk with the people who manage the compost but i did find out that they empty them only once a year and re-compost the material in bins. when those cure, they use the compost on site.

the compost compartments were mostly made of cinder block set into the hillside, one side open for cleanout, a plywood door to keep the contents in during the summer.

i was particularly interested in this set up because it is approved by the state. i'm thinking that our current privy design could be replaced by something like these.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is weird, but I am an engineering student at a christian university, and for a mission trip project we are designing and constructing composting toilets for a remote medical clinic. While searching on the web for designs, I came upon your blog. I was wondering if you ever did get the design for building your own composting toilet, and if there was any way that you would share this information. My email is and my name is Amy. Thank you.

5:26 PM EST  

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