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Old 07-19-2020, 10:37 PM   #1
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Composting Toilet question

I looked at many models of travel trailers, and noticed that they all have toilets with black tanks. As the wife and I plan on doing quite a bit of dispersed camping when we go full time, a composting toilet seemed like a good idea. Besides the obvious weight savings, we wondered how we could tie the black (unused as intended) to the gray tank to extend the volume of the gray tank without re-plumbing the entire rig. One idea I wondered about was something downstream where both tanks dump into a Y connection that may be used in this way to interconnect them? Am I off base here, or is there an even simpler idea that I'm missing out on here? Seems like this would solve a lot of problems for extended dispersed camping time, but I'm unsure of how this would work. Any ideas, suggestions, thoughts, experiences, or opinions will be greatly appreciated! Cheers!
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Old 07-19-2020, 10:51 PM   #2
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Before opting for a composting toilet I suggest watching this video


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Old 07-20-2020, 04:23 PM   #3
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I looked at many models of travel trailers, and noticed that they all have toilets with black tanks. As the wife and I plan on doing quite a bit of dispersed camping when we go full time, a composting toilet seemed like a good idea. Besides the obvious weight savings, we wondered how we could tie the black (unused as intended) to the gray tank to extend the volume of the gray tank without re-plumbing the entire rig. One idea I wondered about was something downstream where both tanks dump into a Y connection that may be used in this way to interconnect them? Am I off base here, or is there an even simpler idea that I'm missing out on here? Seems like this would solve a lot of problems for extended dispersed camping time, but I'm unsure of how this would work. Any ideas, suggestions, thoughts, experiences, or opinions will be greatly appreciated! Cheers!
We also intended to do off season (NorthEast as we are farmers, camping in the off season) and dispersed camping. So I ordered a composting toilet after receipt I realized 6’4” me wouldn’t be happy such a small “throne”. I also noticed that the only complicated issue was the hand crank mixing rod. We own a farm and I understand full well the art of composting, this was not a composting toilet. It is the start, but now where near the finish. So I came up with my own design, it is fully within guidelines of what could be considered by the manufacturer’s specs of compost. However to deposit this with composting bags into Canadian or US receptacles is legal. We have traveled 28,000 miles and on or about seven months with this “composting” toilet, No frozen black tank or plumbing, additional gray water tank capacity. It cost about $ 120.00 to construct.

If I wanted to gain even more gray water tank I would direct plumb the two tanks that are now joined with a “Y” fitting and an extra shut off valve to prevent accidental discharges.
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Old 07-23-2020, 09:26 AM   #4
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For grey water, is it illegal these days to just collect some in a 5 gallon bucket and water the plants? In the 80s I had an old Santa Fe TT which did not have a grey tank. All grey water just drained as it was produced. I was camping in a national forest and a ranger stopped by and told me to just let it drain into a 5 gallon bucket then take it out into the forest and water the trees.
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Old 07-23-2020, 09:01 PM   #5
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We did a 7 day group camp with some other people at an busy unregulated free campsite. One of the group had a composing toilet.


I wasn't impressed when I found out they were dumping the bucket of urine from the composting toilet in the trees behind their RV.

Sites will quickly become unsanitary if everyone that is dry camping starts using composting toilets.

Leave no trace.
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Old 07-23-2020, 09:10 PM   #6
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Why be upset, urine is a good fertilizer
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Old 07-24-2020, 02:35 AM   #7
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I think that people missed out on the concept I was trying to make in that water is the most precious resource that RV full timer's have. Wasting it on human waste makes little sense to me, as a composting toilet uses no water. As for the urine collection bottle, add some acetic or citric acid to it if it offends you. It's also sterile, so there's no worries about growing something weird out in the woods. I've actually measured trace amounts of urea in freestone streams here in the PNW, most likely from the critters that call the woods their home. At most, you'll urinate around 3 or 4 pints a day, so that's not such a big deal really. Now you could do what the astronauts are doing and recycle your (liquid) waste, and re-hydrate with it. I've even made beer with recycled water and it tasted just fine. Also, if you really want to save on water, you could distill the urine with a solar still and recover 98% of the water you excrete that way. All just so we can increase our time spent boondocking! Safe and happy journey's!
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Old 07-26-2020, 10:35 AM   #8
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Why be upset, urine is a good fertilizer

I agree......but too much of a good thing.

At sites that are occupied less than 1-2 days a week it doesn't take nature long to cover up human activity but at sites that are occupied more often the human activity outpaces nature. This is where we often find places that smell like a latrine.

The people we stayed with had 4 people in the RV which over 7 days = approx 10-12gal of urine.
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Old 07-26-2020, 02:14 PM   #9
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The way I see it is that humans are just another animal that produces basically the same bio-waste products as another other large mammal. The ability of plant life to process said waste is going to depend on the climate, soil type, etc.


Lets use cattle as a convenient proxy, as they weigh roughly 10 times the weight of humans (adult males average about 2,400 pounds, adult females average about 1,600). In good pasture land it takes about 1.5-2 acres of good pasture land to feed a cow, and by extension to process their waste. Out west this might go up to 10-20 acres per head mainly due to lack of vegetation and water, and yes free range cattle can commonly be found throughout much of the western US, including places like southern Utah.



Extrapolating this out a 1 acre plot of boondocking land should easily support 1 person dumping urine, as long as you don't dump it all in one place all the time. Even here using the cattle equivalence and the volume of urine they drop each time they go (gallons by my estimate) humans should not pose a threat to the environment in most sparsely used boondocking sites where your nearest neighbor is hundreds of feet away.
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Old 02-28-2021, 10:20 PM   #10
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Before opting for a composting toilet I suggest watching this video



Funny, I came across this video today, doing an online search that took me to YouTube. GRIN
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Old 09-14-2021, 08:28 PM   #11
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On my Class C my grey and black tanks join at a dump Y where the sewer hose attaches. I use a composting toilet so I do not have solids in the black tank. At the sewer connection I put on a 3" gate valve and close it. Then I open each valve for the grey and black tanks. This now blends the two tanks and doubles my waste water storage. I connect the sewer hose to the downstream side of the gate valve and open it up to dump both tanks at one time.
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Old 09-14-2021, 08:40 PM   #12
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Composting toilets are they for you? Why do you want one? What do you gain? These are question you need to answer. Also: Are you comfortable being different?

I have been using a composting toilet for 2 1/2 years now in a full-time RV life with two people. We have used to different brands and both have pros and cons. Would I install a composting toilet in another RV? Yes! Why did we go with a composting toilet? We did a shuttle bus to RV conversion and we did not have fresh water, grey water or black tank storage. Fresh water was 5 gallon jugs and so was the grey water. An onboard toilet could only be a composting toilet. We like it so much that when we bought our Class C we immediately bought another compost toilet, but this time we got the C-Head. Now I bought a Class A and I am swapping toilets.

There are three maybe fourth one. Natures Head, Air Head, C-Head and DIY. I have owned an Air Head and a C-Head. Would I buy one over the other again? Yes, hands down the C-Head.

On to the video comments

Brand
As mentioned above we have owned two different brands. Why did we switch from an Air Head to a C-Head? We had similar issues as mentioned in the video, bugs, odor backup, cleaning if things weren’t perfect, and the way the solids mixed with the compost material. The mixer in the Air Head did not scrape the corners of the solids bucket leaving unused compost material meaning it was wasted. The venting system was half baked on how it connected to the toilet. Lastly is price. Much higher in cost than the C-head. Oh and the urine collection bucket like the solids bowl always needs cleaning, just not dumping. Urine smells bad!!

Stand-up deliveries
Sit down only on either unit. Don’t try to aim as the clean up takes longer than the going.

Odor
Neither unit really had horrible odor to the solids side other than the Air Head had odor back up from the vent. The C-Head I built my own power vent and tied it in to the Black Tank outside vent. The rig we had with the Air Head was a converted bus no black or grey tanks.

The foul odor comes from the urine jugs on both. But the jugs on the C-head they are just 1 gallon water/milk jugs so we replace the jugs every 5 days or so, no cleaning.


Toilet Paper
TP is a solid and has volume. Do not put TP in with the solids compost, have a waste basket with a bag. It is fine an no smell. Doing this we have extended our solids dumping to anywhere from 10 to 14 days. I know folks with sticks and bricks and RV’s that use the waste basket for TP.

Compost Really?
Yes it takes 6 plus months to make usable compost, but this hold true for just about anything in a compost pile. We dump the solids in a garbage bag and throw it in a garbage can/dumpster.

The compost material we use is the ground up coconut husks. We have tried wood chips, shavings and dust and they all produce a sour smell regardless of the type of wood within a day or two. The coconut husks do no have an odor other than the smell of dirt.

Challenges
Venting
It is my opinion that any composting toilet needs to be power vented, using like 1 1/2” PVC pipe or something similar and a 60mm 12 vdc computer fan. Buy 3 or 4 packs of fans they last about 4 months. With the Air Head we vented right out the side of the rig. I think I mounted the vent outlet too low and it did not prevent back flow and sometime we had odor in the rig especially when driving.

With the Class C I tied the vent into the black tank vent also with a fan. Works great absolutely no odor.


Bugs
I don’t know why the Air Head had tiny little flying bugs but it did. The C-Head does not.

Moisture management
Good venting resolves excess moisture in the solids tank. The C-head has far less issues with moisture getting into the solids than the Air Head did. Most importantly sit to pee, but the C-head liquids catchment works better than the Air Head, less chance of getting pee in the solids.

No TP or coffee filters also reduces the moisture in the solids tank. Less to keep dry. Less bulk to manage

Cleaning
We found that with the Air Head we needed to clean the poo bowl after every usage. The C-Head has a direct shot to the bucket no muss to fuss.

Urine Jug
Like mentioned in the video dumping everyday is a must and not a pleasant thing because of the foul odor. The Air Head has a proprietary jug for their unit and cleaning the scale on the inside is not easy. The C-head uses replaceable 1 gallon water/milk jugs. When they get scaled up toss and put in a new one.


Where to dump the liquids. When we were in campgrounds we dumped the liquids in the CG toilet. With our current rig we dump directly into the black tank. We have the black and grey water combined. We put no solids in our black tank. If you are in dispersed camping site we have dumped the liquids out and away from us or anybody and try not to dump in the same location multiple times. Use your discretion and be a good steward of the environment.

I am in the process of building a urine diverter with a direct shot to the black tank. I am going to use a HepvO sanitary waste valve, in a vertical position instead of a P Trap. I communicated with HepvO and they said it was fine to use for this application.

Solids capacity
I think the Air Head and the C-Head have about the same solids capacity. The C-head uses a modified 5 gallon pail. The big difference is how they stir the pot. The Air head has kind of a W shaped auger that sit horizontally across the compost and mixes it up when you turn the crank. The shape of the auger leaves much undisturbed compost in the corners of the bucket. The C-head has a vertical auger that goes to the bottom of the bucket and kind of folds the compost and poo into the mix. It does a much better job of mixing the compost.

Empty Solids
We full-time so we don’t have the option of having a fixed compost tub to dump to. So we bag it and toss it, dumpsters, garbage bins, etc. . Again if in dispersed camping use your discretion and bury it 12” deep more reason to put TP in the bag. Use your discretion and be a good steward of the environment.




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Old 09-14-2021, 08:43 PM   #13
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Your Outdoors RV 25RDS TT has:
80 gallon Fresh water tank
40 gallon Grey waste tank
40 gallon Black waste tank

Just like Grabcon I have an additional dump valve on my 5vr
I have Black tank, Grey Tank, Galley Tank......and with the additional dump valve on the common drain header I can open the grey/galley, open the grey/balck, open the black/galley, open the black/grey/galley tying the waste tanks together as needed for waste capacity

**Black --Grey--Galley all ALL waste and grey/galley can stink worst then black

I have done this set up on last 2 5th wheels (since 1985) and works GREAT

With an additional drain valve --either permanent or one of those twist on for end of drain line you can combine your black/grey and have SAME capacity as your FRESH water tank

You already have Black/Grey----use them
Just a simple additional drain valve

Simple..........
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Old Yesterday, 12:58 AM   #14
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If your just dumping the solids in the garbage why spend all that money on a compost toilet ?

Get plastic bags to line your toilet with and throw them out after use. You can even put the paper in them.
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