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Old 01-08-2016, 08:31 PM   #1
JMC
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Composting toilet

Curious to see how this goes...

The trailer on order is our first of any kind. So this is all new to me. I'm intrigued by the composting toilet idea to replace the standard toilet. But they don't come cheap... the one I'm looking at is basically $1000.

Amazon.com - Nature's Head Dry Composting Toilet / Standard Crank Handle - Compost Bins

Three things are driving me to it:

1. Time saved not having to ever dump, flush or otherwise maintain the black tank. If this saves me 30 minutes after every trip it would be worth something. The compost toilet requires emptying, but that can happen before we leave the campsite. I can roll up to a dump station and just worry about the gray tank. If we ever buy some land I could dump the gray at the back of the land, especially if I'm careful about food waste going down the kitchen drain.

How much time is this saving me? How much disgusting-ness does this let me avoid?

2. If I get the compost toilet now, we'll never use the black tank. I could conceivably use it as additional fresh water (with some plumbing changes, of course) or for additional gray water. If I got really creative i could take it out and use the area for storage in some way, although that's a lot less likely.

3. No restrictions on using the toilet in cold conditions, when we might keep the plumbing winterized for a trip. We could still at least use the toilet.

Just looking for responses which might help me make a decision.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:38 PM   #2
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If you haven't already, check out the Wynn's site at www.gonewiththewynns.com


They have installed a nature's head in a few of their rigs, and won't have it any other way. They have lots of videos on their site and a lot of info on that system and how it works. I've thought about it as well, but it would have to be a lot cheaper than $1000 for me to entertain the idea.
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:01 PM   #3
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+1 for the Wynn's videos (and their entire youtube site). I think once we get to full timing we will certainly want to go this route, maybe not as weekends mostly campers.

I wouldn't ever convert a black tank to fresh, no matter how well it got cleaned, but certainly an easy mod to convert it to grey. Note that if I understand the composting route correctly, it only diverts solid waste to the compost; the liquid still goes out to a black tank. It is just much less messy and there is generally much less of the waste water.
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Old 01-09-2016, 06:49 AM   #4
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+1 for the Wynn's videos (and their entire youtube site). I think once we get to full timing we will certainly want to go this route, maybe not as weekends mostly campers.

I wouldn't ever convert a black tank to fresh, no matter how well it got cleaned, but certainly an easy mod to convert it to grey. Note that if I understand the composting route correctly, it only diverts solid waste to the compost; the liquid still goes out to a black tank. It is just much less messy and there is generally much less of the waste water.
I noticed the "urine diverting" in the write up. That must be going to a black tank. If that's the case, you're still going to be dumping. The dump site isn't the most wonderful place in the world, but it quickly becomes part of the routine. Also, to me, you're trading one type of work for another. Still having to work at it, but just in a different way. I don't see enough benefit to spend $1,000 on it. I'd rather spend that $$ in solar ;-)

Other thoughts I've had:

I clean the tanks out before I put it away for the season, sometimes at the state park several miles away, sometimes out back (i have several acres). I have considered building a redneck septic tank. Wouldn't meet code, but same principle as my home septic. 55 gallon drum with holes poked in bottom and sides, buried in a hole backfilled with sand and pea stone. Solids stay in the drum, liquids soak back into ground. Just make sure is no where near water wells, mine would be further than my septic field to the well).

I've also thought about one of the rv grinder pumps that attach to the dump valve. It would be easier for me to be able to plumb a sewer outlet outside my house to accept a smaller hose that the grinder pumps use.

Haven't done either yet, so the processes hasn't been difficult enough that a fix is required.

You sure have a lot planned for your new camper! Interested to see all your projects come together after you get it!
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:54 AM   #5
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Good thoughts and comments so far... so thanks. The toilet does have a urine container, so to be clear the black tank wouldn't be used at all with the compost toilet option. So no dumping at all of black tank.

How much time do you spend doing a thorough black tank dump and flush?
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:02 AM   #6
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Composting toilet in a 4 x5 bathroom isn't something I would choose to do. Not sure exactly how they work or how long they take to work, but they don't compost over nite. After a few days of USE you're going to want to remove that bag / bucket of %&%*^& and dispose of it, hopefully not in the nearest dumpster or trash can.

The process at the dump station is not the nicest camping chore, but something you learn how to do without much of a uck factor.

You can use the reg toilet in your RV even when winterized by flushing with a gallon jug of water sitting near the toilet. You never have to charge the water lines.

If you have to stop at the dump station to empty the grey tank, you will still have to wait in line if there is one, hook up the dump hose which puts you in contact with the dump basin, and when done you will still want to rinse out the hose and restow it. In the end what have you really saved? Carrying out a bag of &*^&*^*^ while your wife is fixing breakfast or dressing the kids isn't going to get you a lot of kudos.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Good thoughts and comments so far... so thanks. The toilet does have a urine container, so to be clear the black tank wouldn't be used at all with the compost toilet option. So no dumping at all of black tank.

How much time do you spend doing a thorough black tank dump and flush?
If I'm at a dump site that I can hook up the rinse hose to the tank flush, I hook up the hose to the flush system and let it run. Then open the valves and let it drain. I have a clear 45 degree elbow to watch for floor. It's pretty clear when you get down to just the flow of the tank flush. If I see chunks with that flow I let it run till it tapers off. A lot of time, I'd we are going to another site, I'll close the valve, run maybe 5 gallons of water in the tank and dump softener and deferment down the toilet for the trip. (GEO method stuff)

If I'm at a dump station without a threaded hose I can hook to the flush, I empty the black first, kitchen sink gray second, shower last (dirtiest to cleanest) to end up with a cleanish hose.

All considered, black dumping really doesn't add more than a minute or two to my entire process. Mostly the time to hook the hose to the flush, then unhooking. If you are aware of taking care of the black tank, long flushes really aren't ever required. And by taking care of it, I mean fully emptying it (hence the clear 45 adapter - sometimes I have gone from seeing full flow through the adapter to nothing instantly. This means a clog, allowing the flush to run build up water weight that will blow it through, without an adapter you'd think the tank was empty), leaving water and detergent in it to slosh while on the road, and don't skimp on water while flushing the toilet.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:18 AM   #8
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The compost toilet requires emptying, but that can happen before we leave the campsite.
Just curious...how (or where) do you do that before leaving the campsite?
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:42 AM   #9
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Just curious...how (or where) do you do that before leaving the campsite?

You basically take the toilet out and empty it into a trash bag. Sounds weird, I agree. But as you read up on it everyone agrees that it really just smells like dirt.

But this does take time, so maybe the time factor isn't as big as is thought.

Also surprised (and glad) to hear that dumping the black tank may only add a few minutes to the process. Less than I'd assumed for sure.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:54 AM   #10
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A composting toilet would be way more work and hassle for me than dumping a black tank. I find dumping and flushing the black tank a fairly simple task as compared to maintaining a composting toilet. Don't forget that the composting toilet also has to be maintained within a certain temperature range to keep it alive.
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