In this post:
So, where are we with human manure,
OK, how about dry toilets in high-rise buildings? multiple family complexes?
Experts say the solution is not flush toilets and centralized sewage systems ,
Doing it NOW!
Container Based Sanitation
…a list at the bottom of 7 posts on the subject of water-sanitation-toilets
On a yearly basis the average human produces about 500 liters of urine and 50 liters of feces. These two waste by-products contain enough nutrients to grow enough plants to feed this same person. But instead of utilizing these 550 liters as a “resource”, we mix it with roughly 15,000 liters of water, and all goes down the drain. Before it reaches the sewage plant (if there is one) this slurry gets mixed with hundreds of chemicals from other things that go down the drain – pollutants.
Dry composting toilets that do not use water, do not have to have strong smells, will produce usable fertiliser. They work productively in parts of the world. (Why is anyone still promoting water flush toilet systems?)
What do they smell like?
Bernelle Verster, in Cape Town, SA
Does it smell?
Yes and no. If you don’t (take care of) it, it might smell bad. It won’t smell like bleach, because killing all living things in the vicinity will defeat the whole point of using biological systems to manage your waste (we’re working with eco-SYSTEMS. Systems need multiple partners. Don’t kill them). It smells of your cover material, pine sawdust or plant clippings (which I find pleasant). It can smell like the soil just before the rain. So it smells natural, and for some people that means it smells bad because the toilet doesn’t have that synthetic perfume smell, they don’t have a smell that we’ve been trained to think smells ‘clean’. If you’re one of those people, good luck, you’ll just have to hold it in at my place.
The point is, there is plenty of information that says if you treat the human manure properly, it is fine to use on land, in growing food.
So, where are we with human manure.
Is food grown with human manure, healthy?
The World Health Organization put their “rubber stamp” on, yes, properly composted human manure over 60 years ago…. In the meantime a lot of people have been born and there is a lot more Human Manure to enrich the soil just like all the other grazing herds do.
Composting : sanitary disposal and reclamation of organic wastes / Harold B. Gotaas World Health Organization
Human excrement will not compost on its own because it’s too wet and too high in nitrogen. By adding a carbon-based material (sawdust, wood shavings, etc.) to the toilet after each use, the toilet contents can become balanced in carbon and nitrogen and the moisture level optimized for composting. The purpose of thermophilic composting is to subject the toilet materials to robust microbial activity which produces heat and bio-competition generated by compost microorganisms. This process has been scientifically proven to destroy human pathogens, rendering the toilet material hygienically safe and achieving the true essence of “sanitation.”
2 Gotaas, Harold B. (1956). Composting – Sanitary Disposal and Reclamation of Organic Wastes. p.93. World Health Organization, Monograph Series Number 31. Geneva
Elias Escalante, Music Programming Permaculture
Answered Nov 19, 2014: This has been answered by Joe Jenkins in The Humanure Handbook. When humanure is properly composted achieving high temperature and properly aged the resulting compost is very safe.
The fact that compost sanitation systems are waste-free and produce compost suitable for growing human food should make this an attractive sanitation alternative all over the world. Put it back in the soil!
Since the mid 90’s Mr. Joseph Jenkins has sold over 55,000 copies of his book The Humanure Handbook. (3 editions) He has traveled the world showing people how to construct his Humanure toilet system. “The world’s humanure could be converted, through composting, into lush vegetative growth to feed our growing population. The humanure process involves a compost toilet, a compost bin and cover material. Toilet instructions are simple. There are a variety of ways to make a humanure toilet (or you can buy one).”
OK, how about dry toilets in apartment – high-rise buildings? multiple family complexes?
2004, a study in Australia
The feasibility study using dry composting toilet (DCT) sanitation systems, including urine separation, in an urban environment, found that:
All regulators consulted, including EPA Victoria, Department of Human Services, Moonee Valley Council and City West Water, indicated their support for a demonstration project. Market research indicated more than half of survey (citizen) participants said they would buy an apartment with this type of sanitation system. 98 per … indicated that they would consider paying extra for a water-efficient apartment.
2008-2010: the Humble Pile project – Chicago, Illinois, USA,
22 city dwellers from six Chicago “row house” neighborhoods participated in the Humble Pile project. … The project organizer, Nancy Klehm, provided the materials, education, guidance on how to maintain the individual toilets and also arranged pick-up of the waste generated for three months.
They collected 1500 gallons of composting waste. Nancy Klehm combined and balanced the composting waste in order to optimize its effectiveness as soil. Within a year, the waste was fully transformed into nutrient-rich soil and was redistributed to the original 22 participants in hand-sewn, screen-printed sacks “The Great Give Back” .
The Humble Pile project proved to be a successful communal project that can be duplicated in a city setting with the proper organization.
2011 Erdos, China – Multiple Apartment Buildings – Doomed eco-toilet scheme was “valuable experience”:
(Plumbing contractors, having no experience with Urine-diverting dry toilet (UDDT) sanitation systems were a big part of the problem.)
What was meant to be an eco-town is, now, just another Ordos/Erdos apartment compound where – as in most of urban China — almost half of household water goes into flushing the toilet – this, in a growing city, on a parched plain with a plunging water table – a problem many cities in northern China share.
Businessman Scott Chen wades into the garden to show the size and quality of the produce that Arno Rosemarin is growing there from human manure, “… five to seven times better than usual (vegetables). And these eggplant – very thick, very big.” The produce — and the compost – have made money for the apartment complex. Organic farmers have flocked to get it, and say it’s the best fertilizer they’ve ever used. But now, only a few bags are left, and while Scott Chen comes regularly to empty the four remaining (in-use) toilet bins, and compost their waste, the scale isn’t what it was.
“I have a dream,” Scott says with a grin. “… All families, in rural areas and in urban, using these toilets to protect our water supply, to improve our soil quality, to guarantee our food security. That’s my dream. I will use the rest of my life to do this job.”
He just hopes it won’t take quite that long.
On Fri, Oct 19, 2018 at 2:19 AM <Scott Chen> wrote:
Yes, I am still in the dry toilet business ,but in a different way as shown in the documentary of Urine Superpowers. (below)
I made a speech to over 400 delegates from all the provinces of China on Oct 10th, 2018, trying to convince them to use ecological toilets in China.
But, too much pressure from those conventional sanitation systems. I am still fighting with them.
2018 – Eco-friendly composting toilets already bring relief in big cities – just ask London’s canal boaters
Our pilot venture servicing waterless toilets in Central London – We use GPS based location apps to collect toilet and organic resources from boat dwellers, and transform it into plant fertilisers and energy in de-centralised urban hubs.
A movement is gaining momentum to do something about this major environmental and public health problem in South Asia and the developing world. The solution, many experts say, is not to invest in western-style flush toilets and centralized sewage systems but rather to develop toilets and de-centralized waste-treatment technologies that use far less water.
Ironically, sewage pollution of South Asia’s rivers has worsened as increased wealth and population growth have led to wider use of flush toilets.
Sewage systems have failed for numerous reasons. Clogged pipes; diversion canals sometimes do not work, or there’s not enough electricity to run treatment plants; and frequently sewage systems simply don’t get built or are built to the wrong specifications, despite a large investment of funds by governments — particularly in India — and foreign organizations. Cheryl Colopy researched and wrote her book, Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia’s Water Crisis
Gates Foundation sees The Opportunity as:
A global demand for proper sanitation is estimated on average every $1 spent on sanitation provides at least $5 in economic return. Research shows that the annual market value for new sanitation technologies such as the re-invented toilet, could be more than $6 billion globally by 2030.
Gates Foundation’s Strategy is:
Collaborate with government leaders, the private sector, and technologists to advance promising new toilet and waste treatment systems, service delivery models, and policies that have the greatest potential to revolutionize and improve sanitation standards and practices, at the local and national level. Our core initiatives are “investments” that include:
• Promoting government safe Fecal Sludge Management (FSM)—a sanitation strategy that does not require sewers
• City-wide safely managed sanitation, focused first on those that need it most; slums and informal settlements
• Technologies; reinvented toilets, omni-processors of feral-sludge – completely changing the management of human waste to be affordable, at scale, and with little or no need for water and electricity
• Research to help the sanitation sector develop data and evidence about what works
Many organizations and individuals are working on solutions for the Gates Foundation’s ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’. The Nano Membrane Toilet is being developed in response to that Challenge. One of many, many.
Businesses are gearing up so we can collect more Human Manure!
There are now many successful examples of dry toilet sanitation projects world wide…. But I wonder if these workable ideas can be developed for really big formal urban areas. People are working on it…….
At the Stockholm World Water Week, 26 – 31 August, two sessions I attended discussed the business around sanitation.
The first was a meeting involving ‘Water Innovation’. “The Water Innovation Engine (WIE) which encourages coordination and investment in water innovation. The Engine brings together entrepreneurs, new ideas, and flexible financing to accelerate innovation to achieve the vision of the High Level Panel and the Global Goals. http://waterdatachallenge.globalinnovationexchange.org/ and http://urbansanitationchallenge.globalinnovationexchange.org/ (Which, of course, includes the Toilet part)
The second session from the water week, was on ‘Container Based Sanitation and the Sanitation Economy‘,
Since 2010, Container Based Systems (CBS) have been emerging as a viable, low-cost sanitation option, particularly in low-income urban settlements where demand for sanitation services is high and on-site sanitation and sewer pipes are not feasible or cost-effective.
The CBS Alliance was formed in November 2016. It is a coalition of CBS working organizations around the world with extensive experience in developing and providing CBS services.
The founders of the CBSA are Clean Team (Ghana), Loowatt (Madagascar), Sanivation and Sanergy (Kenya) and SOIL (Haiti).
Groups affiliated with CBSA include Sanitation First (India), MoSan, re.source sanitation, Non-Water Sanitation and WSUP. Find information about the alliance on their website …https://cbsa.global/about-us
We are here to promote sharing knowledge and learning! GET IN TOUCH! email: [email protected]
Many believe that sanitation systems could cost less, be more efficient and use less water – really closing the loop.
The review indicates that conventional sewer systems are the most expensive urban sanitation solution, then systems based on septic tanks, ventilated improved pits (VIP), urine-diverting dry toilets (UDDT), then pour-flush pit latrines. Simplified sewer systems may cost less than both conventional sewer systems and septic tank-based systems.
Cost reporting methodologies are inconsistent, and few studies provide data on lifecycle costs for the full urban sanitation chain.
Doing it NOW!
Already over 30 years in operation Ecological Life Allermöhe eV, Germany
36 units not connected to the public sewage system. The www.susana.org case study report on Ecological Life Allermöhe eV shows very strong positive results !
The settlement consists of a total of 36 houses, which were built in a compact construction.
Kailash Ecovillage’s Community/City Compost Toilet and Urine Diversion System
Started in 2007, an apartment complex in the city of Portland, OR, USA. with 34 living units that each have city-code flush toilets, but with a gradually increasing number of between 10-30 users of various dry toilets who recycle their pee and/or poop; out of a population of between 50-60 people.
>My wife and I have been using a dry toilet, like the Humanure Handbook toilet, for decades. The Village currently has an outdoor Urination Station with one toilet for mixed excreta, and a dry urinal for urine collection. Several residents have their own dry toilets in their private residences and others save their pee in bottles and contribute to our common collection tank for processing or applying directly to their own gardens. The beauty of our system is that you can have as many portable, inexpensive toilets as you need.
>We have one compost processor where the material is carefully composted to make a wonderful humus fertilizer.
>I made a presentation about our system at the 2018 World Dry Toilet Conference held (August) in Tampere, Finland.
>We now have 4 years of data from 2 passes through all compost bins. We are now in the process of submitting final paper work to the City of Portland to get official approval for our system.
On Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 2:45 AM Ole Ersson <Kailash Ecovillage> wrote:
I met with city of Portland officials today.
We were approved in principal!!!!!
I just need to submit a couple more rounds of paperwork, then anyone using our same design will be able to meet city requirements.
Hopefully by the end of the month/year, we will be in a new era!
Achieving this breakthrough will also likely facilitate approvals in locations outside Portland since precedent can be so important for conservative building codes. I feel very privileged to live in a city with such a forward thinking building officials.
Once we get the final approvals, I will add links to our web page with full details.
Why don’t you check our web page at the end of January? I’ll probably have our link up and running by then.
From their website: As of 2019, Kailash Ecovillage has an innovative model of ecological sanitation, also called ecosan. In Summer 2019 we received a permit through the city of Portland for a composting toilet and urine diversion system for all our living units. This has allowed us to process human excreta (pee, poo) into sanitized compost and urine. This helps us to build better topsoil and has allowed our gardens to become self sufficient in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other trace elements. While ours is a community system, Portland has also permitted systems for single family dwellings. This equitable ecosan solution is designed, like bicycles, for anyone and anywhere on the planet.
There are two apartment buildings on the southern tip of Manhattan New York City, that are considered “green”. The Solaire and the building next to it, the Verdesian.
The centrepiece is a decentralised, closed-loop treatment system. This includes grey-water reuse for toilet flushing, cooling systems in both buildings. These buildings are considered by some to be examples of sustainable sanitation in cities. (case-study 10) They are a rent stabilised buildings that receives a lot of help from the state of New York, and the city. Their system still uses flush toilets, and as mentioned by others, water only downgrades the value of the human waste.
When it comes to “scaling up” to build systems that can replace what we have today in big cities….I would say that achieving it in New York City, would really be the grand triumph. New York City does produce fertilizer pellets from some wastewater treatment plants, for sale.
Who will come up with the winning system?
So far Soil Haiti is one that works!
An example of CBS scaling up!
Lloyd-EkoLakay in Haiti: Can Container-Based Sanitation be a Key Part of Citywide All Included Sanitation for Dense Urban Settings?
7 posts on the subject of water-sanitation-toilets, covering the following issues:
#1 Leaky toilets are everyone’s business!
#2 The beginning of Wasted Water.
#3 The natural way to empty our Bowels?
#4 We have 12 years to cool off planet Earth!
#5 Dry Toilet sanitation systems for our growing population
#6 Online Tools to Re-Invent with the Have-Nots.
#7 What is wrong with the Have’s? Plenty!