Compost Toilets or Waste processing system?

By Eco Guy 5:33am 20th October 2010
If you happen to live 'off grid' you often have to make the choice over what form of human waste disposal system is best suited. We give you some advice on this smelly issue...

Disposing of number one's and number two's on an off grid property is not as easy as perhaps you would first think. The increased regulation and environmental legislation is making it more difficult to find a system that works reliably whilst not being expensive.

Composting Toilets..

For many many years the old toilet over a ditch technique has been acceptable; but nowadays this is considered unhygienic and impossible to manage in terms of environmental impact. So as a result a whole host of systems have been developed to turn what is a natural decomposition process into something more 'manageable'.

Composting toilets nowadays have several advantages. Foremost is that they drastically cut down on water usage compared to a traditional toilet. Secondly is that the waste at the end of the decomposition process is essentially compost that can be used to feed plants.

Also the usual disadvantage of them 'smelling' has been overcome through design. Plus you can now get toilets that either 'process' the waste in-situ (i.e. under the pan) or deliver the waste to a central unit for processing, thus allowing multiple toilets to be collected to the one central composting unit.

Although if one goes for the more 'automated' way of processing waste - you will often end up having a critical requirement on available electricity; i.e. to pump or 'blow' the waste to the composting unit.

Waste water treatment systems

These systems basically replace the old septic system and use accelerated decomposition processes to break down the waste. The acceleration is often performed by a fan that blows air through the water mass, encouraging microbial activity.

Once the waste is suitably processed it is then pumped to a distribution trench to be fed on by plants (usually the lawn).

Obviously for such systems to work they require power to keep running the fan. Although for some systems (like Biolytics) the fan is so small that it can be used with a solar powered system.

Obviously such systems are suited to providing a whole house solution to waste water processing (i.e. can deal with water from showers and kitchens as well). Also they can be quite tolerable of the odd power outage as the 'waste' will just get flushed into the system regardless of the outage.

Related Content Tags: waste processing

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