How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

  • MichaelCarr
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Re: [SuSanA forum] How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term? (Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet))

I've got it ! 'hominumus' - hominum being latin for human

or you could try 'stercorat' which is latin for fertiliser
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  • hajo
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Re: [SuSanA forum] How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term? (Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet))

Dear all,

In trying to find appropriate names for products from on-site sanitation systems we should make a difference between what comes out of the respective toilet system and what it becomes later once processed for further use or even for sale.

In the latter case the producer can be as innovative as s/he wants to be in order to make the product and its name attractive to potential customers and it does not matter anymore where the product came from as long as it fulfils requirements regarding hygienic conditions and soil improvement/ fertiliser properties.

Where we name the outputs coming from the toilet system we do not necessarily think already of marketing and we mainly talk between professional, process-oriented people, not end-users. Here the name should not be fancy but technically as accurate as possible. I used the EAWAG Compendium as a guide for the following proposals:

Urine from urinal: relatively ‘clean’ urine from a urinal

Pit sludge: from any type of pit latrine (traditional, improved, VIP); partially decomposed, partially fresh; of varying density depending on GW and surface water conditions and user behavior;

Septic sludge: decomposed excreta from septic tank which can be pumped

Septic effluent: the mix of flush water overflowing from the septic tank into a soak-away (or solids-free sewer) containing urine, grey-water and black-water

Pit humus: decomposed excreta from double pit system (Double VIP, Fossa Alterna, Pour flush with double pit) where the excreta have rested for 2 years; pit humus is partially sanitised, not free of ascari eggs, dry and can be dug out with shovel and rake; can be used as soil conditioner or for further composting

UDDT urine: to indicate it could be a bit contaminated from feces and/or wash water depending on user behavior

UDDT feces: feces dried to varying degrees (depending on climate conditions, protection of vault against rain and surface water, user behaviour, cover material used, …); can be dug out with shovel and rake; can be used as soil conditioner or for further composting

Compost: excreta preferably mixed with food wastes and bulking material have decomposed under required conditions of aeration (aerobic process!), moisture, temperature and C:N ratio; these conditions are difficult to maintain; the CompostEra system (-> www.compostera.com ) seems to balance out lack of ‘optimal’ composting conditions by using ‘time’; compost is significantly sanitised (high temperatures can even kill ascari egss) and can be used as soil conditioner

Vermi-Compost: excreta are processed (eaten) by worms and converted to humus; requires also aerobic conditions with defined temperature and moisture ranges; product is well sanitised except for ascari eggs and can be used as soil conditioner.

Compost Tea: urine and possible (pour) flush water must be drained from a composting chamber as too much water prohibits the aerobic conditions for the composting process; the effluent is highly contagious and requires sub-surface application or further treatment before surface application as fertiliser

Looking forward to your comments,
Ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
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  • canaday
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Re: [SuSanA forum] How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term? (Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet))

Dear Hajo,

The terms you mention are fine except for the following 2 points.

''Compost Tea'' is not the proper term here, since it refers to finished compost that has been disolved into water, while air is bubbled through the water to keep it aerobic, and it is then sprayed on soil and crops to reestablish diverse, beneficial microbe communities. One of the biggest experts on this is Dr. Elaine Ingham.



The liquid that drains from decomposing feces could be called ''fecal leachate'', or something like that.

I also think that we should not say ''UDDT feces'', since after the detention time they are no longer feces, but rather ''ex-feces'', ''soil'', ''humanure'', or whatever one chooses. Feces is a temporary state: before that, it was food and, before that, it consisted of plants and animals growing on the soil, so why can it not return to be soil?

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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  • MichaelCarr
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Re: [SuSanA forum] [SuSanA forum] How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

Hi all - if i may - shouldn't compost that contains (contained) human waste be noted with a H - i.e, H compost, to differentiate it from everyday vegetable bio mass that does not?

also - 'compost tea' may be confused with the same term often used from the liquids of a worm farm - - it's a bit like GMO labeling - there should be a clear indicator to what it was / is

regards
Michael
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  • hajo
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Re: [SuSanA forum] How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term? (Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet))

Dear Chris,

I had a look at the video which you attached, and I fully agree, if that is what we should call ‘compost tea’, then the effluent from a composter is different. This is a real ‘tea’ making process even emphasised by having a ‘tea bag’ containing the tested compost for ‘tea brewing’ even by adding ‘food’ for the microbes.

What I have in mind is the effluent from whatever type of composter where the faeces have been flushed in by water flush and the effluent is a mixture of urine, black water and eventually grey water. It will contain some nutrients but is highly contagious and far from the ‘compost tea’ in the video.

Now I am wondering whether the effluent I have in mind is not actually the same as from the septic tank or is it anything ‘better’ because 1) it may be more concentrated since mostly no grey-water is passed through the composter and 2) it has more nutrients as is has passed more slowly through the developing compost then the flush water through the septic?

Should we call it ‘compost leachate’ to indicate the difference from septic effluent or is it just the same as ‘septic effluent’?


With regard to ‘UDDT faeces’ there has been a long explanation by others on this forum why the dried output from UDDT (without further treatment) is no soil and I felt like accepting those arguments.

‘Humanure’ I would not use as acc to Wikipedia ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost#Humanure ) humanure is produced by composting human excreta (faeces and urine). UDDT dried faeces do not contain urine and ‘dehydration’ is not composting.

I agree that ‘UDDT faeces’ are no more ‘faeces’ as they have been mixed with cover material (ashes, wood chips, soil, dehydrated faeces, …) and have been dehydrated to a certain level.

EvM once recommended using "dried faecal matter from UDDTs" which I felt a bit long and not always appropriate as you pointed out that under your climatic conditions the UDDT 'faeces' stay quite moist.

Therefore my proposal of ‘UDDT faeces’, or maybe ‘UDDT faecal matter’ (to indicate it is somehow processed already) or coming back to an earlier proposal ‘UDDT solids’ indicating it contains faeces and any type of cover material and may be at different states of dehydration but does not contain urine.

Ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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  • muench
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Re: [SuSanA forum] How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term? (Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet))

Thanks all for your posts!

I feel like we're a little bit going round and round in circles with this - but that's OK as we always have new people joining the forum for whom it's new, and also it's good for us to have reminders. Also, we never really reached a satisfying conclusion, so fair enough to keep going.

I agree with Hajo that we should distinguish whether we want a term for marketing purposes (short and snappy and attractive) or a term that is scientifically correct. (I mentioned that here in one of the early posts of this thread on 9 April 2015: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/34-uri...it=12&start=12#12789 )

Like Hajo, I also wanted to point out that soil does not equal compost and that feces harvested from a UDDT after drying certainly do not equate to soil (and not to compost either) - at least not before it has been subjected to further composting (to make it into compost; which is not equal to soil).
I encourage you to check out this thread which helps to understand the difference between soil and compost:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fer...e-importance-of-soil

It would be awesome if someone had an hour or two to spare to go through this entire thread and summarise the different terms that have been proposed, together with their pros and cons... Any takers?

And about "compost tea", I have a question: Is this definition of compost tea as it currently is on Wikipedia OK? If not, let us change it:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost#Compost_tea

Compost tea [edit | edit source]

Compost teas are defined as water extracts brewed from composted materials and can be derived from aerobic or anaerobic processes.[35] Compost teas are generally produced from adding one volume of compost to 4-10 volumes of water, but there has also been debate about the benefits of aerating the mixture.[35] Field studies have shown the benefits of adding compost teas to crops due to the adding of organic matter, increased nutrient availability and increased microbial activity.[35] They have also been shown to have an effect on plant pathogens.[36]



Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. In my role as moderator: I am wondering if this thread has become too long and cumbersome? I am wondering I should split it off at a certain point - although most/all the posts seems to have stayed with the same topic, which is why I haven't done it yet.

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  • canaday
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Re: [SuSanA forum] How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term? (Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet))

Hi everyone,

We could call that fecal leachate or septic effluent.

Since pathogens die off over time, I suggest that it is important to state its age, for example, ''1-year-old dried fecal matter'', ''2-year-old composted fecal matter'', ''6-month-old thermophilically composted UDDT faecal matter that was later dried in the sun for a week and that has been tested to assure the effective absence of Ascaris eggs'', etc.

A short, catchy trade name would also be useful, but I think it important to clearly express what this material is.

The Wikipedia description of Compost Tea is correct.

I think it is no problem that this thread be long. This is a subjecct that we will likely never come to a unanymous consensus, but it is very important to exchange ideas.

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
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  • biosanita
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

I think the terms proposed by Hajo are very accurate with that 'compost' exception if they are to be used within a technical context among sanitation specialists.

Is my 'precompost' or 'presoil' suggestion too unfitting? Or maybe 'sanitation precompost/presoil'?

Also, as a dry toilet manufacturer that approaches both end users and decision makers not used to deal with sanitation definitions (or even to think about faeces), I understand that euphemistic need to describe the processes and outputs of UDDTs in a simple way, but bearing in mind the prejudice and fear regarding anything outside conventional systems. What is seen as the norm doesn't need promotion. While some people don't mind untreated faeces going down a drain to a river because it's normal, hidden and unthought of, they would be scared to think about moving around dehydrated faeces for composting.

It wouldn't be anything that sounds like a brand name at all. Just a way to say dehydrated faeces of your home toilet are not equal to fresh faeces, wich is what people who don't know about it tends to think. And for that, 'dehydrated faeces' is not enough difference.

Pablo
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  • hajo
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Re: [SuSanA forum] How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term? (Urine diversion systems (includes UDDT and UD flush toilet))

Dear Elisabeth, dear all,

I also feel that sometimes topics go in circles and questions are repeated but this ‘name topic’ we had not really concluded and so it keeps popping up every 6 months or so .. :)

Because we seem to agree that a ‘marketing’ name may mostly not be scientifically correct, I feel we had gone astray on the past discussion and collecting all proposals from the 8 page of the thread will not really help as they were often put forward trying to 'marry' marketing and science.

A marketing name has to be chosen by the respective producer as Sanergy has selected PureProtein and Agriprotein uses MagMeal (both for Black Soldier Fly processed faeces).

We just have to agree on scientific correct names of outputs from sanitation systems before further processing – once processed it may be again a different name.

I agree with Chris that ‘compost tea’ seems to me described correctly in the Wikipedia page, it resembles about what you also get from the video: the tea is produced from ‘brewing’ selected/tested compost with water, air and ‘food’ for the microbes.

The effluent from any composter loaded with urine, black-water (and grey-water) will rarely (and only accidently) have the properties of ‘compost tea’. ‘Compost tea’ is a manufactured product using compost (ex-feaces) and its name for me is rather a ‘marketing name’ as it is not really tea.. ;)

Ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein
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  • Tore
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Re: How should we call the excreta-derived product of a composting toilet or a UDDT? Do we need a new term?

With a UDDT I use the term "human fertilizer". One of the great by products of using a UDDT is that it produces a high quality fertilizer in the urine and a soil conditioner/fertilizer from the treated feces. The end user must not be frightened by whatever term we us. The products produce more nutritious crops resulting in better health.

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