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Ecological Sanitation: save the precious water

I have read the Humanure Handbook in full detail. His system is very good and effective, but has the problems to going mainstream that I mentioned before.

I big step will be when we engineer a system where the user steps on a pedal and the feces get swallowed into the apparatus and get mixed with dry material. In other words, as similar as possible to the flush toilet, but without the water. Any engineers out there who want to contribute to this ... maybe as part of a thesis at KU??

January 19, 2011 at 9:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Ecological Sanitation: save the precious water

Hi,

The is Chris Canaday, the author of piece BG posted. I dont know how you found it, but thanks for spreading the word.

Joe Jenkins' system is very simple. Urine and feces go into a bucket and get covered with sawdust, then are added to a compost pile. This is great for those who use it, but is unlikely to go mainstream for several reasons:
-- You need access to a lot of sawdust.
-- You have to have room for a compost pile.
-- You have to be willing to carry the bucket to the compost pile every few days to empty it.

The main difference between my system and his is that I keep the urine separate. In this way the pile produces less smell and the nitrogen-rich urine can be used as fertilizer more efficiently, avoiding losses to evaporation of ammonium during long detention times. Urine dispersed on the soil transmits no diseases. There are a few wierd tropical diseases transmitted via urine, but, for example, the urine has to go into freshwater where certain snails live (schistosomiasis).

In our interactions with the natural world, we need to think about recycling of everything, including our excrement. One of the key tips for recycling is source separation of different materials, so that is what we do by keeping the urine separate from the feces, and the excrement separate from the water.

Ask your water people how much of your big price tag on water is due to the difficulty of getting nitrogen back out of the water.

Our excrement has just what plants need to make our food again ... and just what we do not want in our drinking water.

Wheat is big in Kansas. This is the main crop the Swedes fertilize with the urine stored in underground tanks at apartment complexes that have EcoSan. And it has greatly lower levels of heavy metals, etc., as compared to the fertilizers used currently in Kansas.

I am glad to see the discussion. Feel free to send me any questions you like.

Best wishes, Chris

January 19, 2011 at 5:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )