Looking for contacts from Norway and North America, Public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas

  • LauriVarri
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  • I am a master´s student at Hame University of Applied Sciences in degree programme of bioeconomy. I also work at the University as an study coordinator at the degree programme of Forestry. The subject of my thesis is "Improving public dry toilet´s waste(especially leachate) management in recreational wilderness areas.
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Looking for contacts from Norway and North America, Public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas

Hi,
I am a master´s student at Hame University of Applied Sciences(Finland) in degree programme of bioeconomy. I also work at the University as an study coordinator at the degree programme of Forestry.

I am looking for contacts from Norway and North America that would have some basic knowledge about the management of public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas like national parks etc. I have done already a field study in Finland and Sweden this summer but I would like to get acquinted also on management in Norway and some areas in North America. This request relates to my thesis work. The subject of my thesis is "Improving public dry toilet´s waste(especially leachate) management in recreational wilderness areas.

Any contacts and advices are welcome.
Lauri
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  • muench
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Re: Looking for contacts from Norway and North America, Public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas

Dear Lauri,
Welcome to the Forum! You have come to the right place. :-)
Did you purposefully say "dry toilets" and not "composting toilets"? Maybe you have seen our discussion on that here:
forum.susana.org/241-composting-toilets-...ng-toilet-a-misnomer

What kind of dry toilets do you have in mind? There are many different types. See e.g. on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_toilet
A dry toilet can be any of the following types of toilets: a composting toilet, urine-diverting dry toilet, arborloo, container-based toilet, bucket toilet, simple pit latrine (but not those that operate on a "pour flush" basis), incinerating toilets, or freezing toilets.

You can find some contacts in this sub-category on composting toilets:
forum.susana.org/241-composting-toilets-in-general

Or here in the sub-category on public toilets:
forum.susana.org/170-shared-toilets-comm...ts-or-public-toilets

Check out this thread in particular ("Public Compost toilet on Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland (and in National Parks in the US, Canada, Ukraine and elsewhere"):
forum.susana.org/241-composting-toilets-...d-elsewhere?start=12

Geoff Hill is the one to speak to about North America. We only have 24 SuSanA members in Norway. I hope to hear more from them in response to your post... :-)

Anyway, hope to read more from you on the Discussion Forum in future! Feel free to continue to post in this thread (I hope you get some replies) and also in the other existing threads that I pointed you to.

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • LauriVarri
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  • I am a master´s student at Hame University of Applied Sciences in degree programme of bioeconomy. I also work at the University as an study coordinator at the degree programme of Forestry. The subject of my thesis is "Improving public dry toilet´s waste(especially leachate) management in recreational wilderness areas.
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Re: Looking for contacts from Norway and North America, Public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas

Thank you for your kind help Elisabeth.

Yes I I understand that the name “composting toilet” is a misnomer. I ment dry toilets, all kind of those (composting toilet, urine-diverting dry toilet, arborloo, container-based toilet, bucket toilet…) My subject was a bit inaccurate. The idea is to get a wider picture (and benchmarking) on how toilet waste management is done in different countries on these specific areas and what kind of technical solutions are used in sanitation, also including the septic tank toilets.

Based on my field studies in Finland and Sweden there can be many kind of toilet solutions in one national park and the resources for management sets restrictions on choosing the suitable toilet solutions and ways to handle the waste. From my experience, dry toilets are most common in these area, so that is my main intrest. In addition, I am very interested to hear how leachate or separated urine is handled(in dry toilets) in these areas, if those are is separated from the solid waste. Managing of liquids seems to be a big challenge for maintenance and waste management especially on remote destinations with heavy use.

I understand that there are different ways in doing thing in different areas and overall picture is difficult if not impossible to explain but to get some basic idea how thing are done gives a better understanding and hopefully new perspectives on this matter.

Thank you for all the links to this forum. This will help a lot. Some of the discussions i am already familiar with but not all.
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  • muench
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Re: Looking for contacts from Norway and North America, Public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas

Hi Lauri,

Thanks for these clarifications. About the leache: if it's remote areas it should be possible to infiltrate the leachate into the soil, shouldn't it?

We had a previous (short) discussion about leachate from composting toilets here: forum.susana.org/241-composting-toilets-...g-composting-toilets
and here:
forum.susana.org/70-composting-processes...ss-toilets-in-france (=for the situation in France)

Make sure you also include Australia and New Zealand in your analysis. There are plenty of recreational wilderness areas here as well. I have come across quite a few "hybrid toilet systems" during our bushwalks or camping trips which are a bit like a "straight drop pedestal with micro flush + settling/treatment tank".

If you put "hybrid toilet system Australia" into Google you'll find a few websites, such as:
www.gough.com.au/hts/commercial/
ds.com.au/remote-area-toilet-system/

I hope more people on the forum will chime in on this thread. Your MSc thesis promises to be an interesting piece of work!

Regards,
Elisabeth

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(Funded via GIZ short term consultancy contract)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
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  • geoffbhill
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  • Dr. Hill Waterless human waste researcher Toilet Tech director Engineered Compost Systems director
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Re: Looking for contacts from Norway and North America, Public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas

I have my PhD in the field of waterless human waste management in the back country.

Peer review links:
www.researchgate.net/profile/Geoffrey_Hill

I started a company to provide urine diversion toilet systems for high use public back country. We have provided 250 urine diversion toilet seats for high use public and private back country.

Reference sites here:
www.toilettech.com/referencesites

Best contacts for your research are:
Dan Jacobs
Trails Program Manager
Glacier National Park
406.888.7822
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tara Vessella
Wilderness Field Coordinator
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, CO
Office: 970-586-1469
Gov't Cell: 970-744-8251

Gina Bugslag
Recreation Officer- Westcoast
BC Parks | Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Telephone: 778.698.4303
Cell: 250.893.6572
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.bcparks.ca

Garry Oye
Former chief of wilderness, NPS
Retired
www.linkedin.com/in/garry-oye-a345486a/


Other research contacts for you

www.slu.se/en/ew-cv/bjorn-vinneras/
www.ecodomeo.com/english/
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  • LauriVarri
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  • I am a master´s student at Hame University of Applied Sciences in degree programme of bioeconomy. I also work at the University as an study coordinator at the degree programme of Forestry. The subject of my thesis is "Improving public dry toilet´s waste(especially leachate) management in recreational wilderness areas.
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Re: Looking for contacts from Norway and North America, Public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas

Hi Elisabeth,

Unfortunatelly you are not allowed to filtrate leachate from from dry toilets into the soil in Finland in any case and this makes the situation difficult in recreational wilderness areas. However there is lacking of proper research(at least in Finland, Sweden and Estonia) on how much leachate(and nutrients, and harmful substances) is actually leaching from dry toilet (where additivies like peat is used) with different loads.

Interesting hybrid systems! I was wondering how this idea could fit in cold climate. Also the need of heavy construction work like digging is problematic in many remote sites in Finland because of the costs and simply because there are no roads in these rough terrains. Spetic tanks are getting more and more popular in some recreational wilderness areas where is sufficient road system.

The treatment tank / filtration of liquid on-site is something that I see as an potential solution that can be scalable on different sites. But in cold climate there is always problems during the winter time. All the liquid gets frozen unless the tank is isolated well and dug under the ground. I noticed that in “Hybrid toilet” they were are using plastic pipe media, that´s interesting. Perhaps biochar could work pretty much in a same way.

Thank you for your words of encouragement!
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  • LauriVarri
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  • I am a master´s student at Hame University of Applied Sciences in degree programme of bioeconomy. I also work at the University as an study coordinator at the degree programme of Forestry. The subject of my thesis is "Improving public dry toilet´s waste(especially leachate) management in recreational wilderness areas.
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Re: Looking for contacts from Norway and North America, Public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas

Dear Geoff,
Thank you for your kind respond to my query.

You have done an impressive research on the field that seems to have very little attention despite that waste management problems are raising in National parks and other similar areas. It would be interesting to discuss with you more about this matter someday.

I will be in touch with the persons you recommended. I really appreciate your help with this.

The TBW system with decompose seems to be interesting. I really like the idea to take the solid waste out right away that presumably reduces also the smell inside the toilet (saves cost of additives like peat, bark etc.)
What kind of experiences you have with this solution in cold temperatures, like -10 to -20 celcius?
I was also wondering that how the conveyor belt stays clean and doesn´t the urine get contaminated by pathogens when it flows along the belt to the urine pipe?
Is it allowed to compost the fecal waste in USA so that the waste is in a direct contact with the soil? This isn´t possible in Finland, because you are not allowed to let leachate (originated from dry toilet waste) or similar matter to the soil?

You can also sent me the answers conserning the toilet system to my private e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if this topic is not a right place to continue this discussion.
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  • geoffbhill
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Re: Looking for contacts from Norway and North America, Public dry toilets in recreational wilderness areas

Happy to help out. The world needs more research here in waterless human waste management.

The BTW (Behind the Wall) is a urine diversion seat from France made by Ecodomeo (Emmanuel Morin). It does not require any bulking agent. With urine removed, bulking agent is entirely unnecessary. Bugs eat the feces without much effort, periodic watering and covering with a plastic or rubber sheet to keep the material moist is sufficient. Complete decomposition to stable organic matter takes 6-18 months depending on conditions.

We have this system in a few dozen locations with freezing temperatures, and used in winter only conditions in Canmore, Alberta at the Nordic Center. No issues. Design of piping to accommodate -20 to -30C on occasion. Various design considerations include: large diameter piping, minimize # of bends, minimize length of pipe, insulate pipe, straight drop in large pipe to get below frost line, and something we have designed but not deployed is a solar 12V heater (basically 12V heat tape and a 12V heat pad for the urine collection tray).

The design of the urine drainfield matches that of conventional septic fields. It is permitted as such in a few states in USA. In a septic system for residence in USA, one of the most common ways of treatment/ disposal of domestic sewage, a tank holds the waste stream for 24 hours to precipitate out solids, and effluent goes straight to ground contact within the soil based field. So these fields are used to treat waste with fecal matter, and urine, but diluted with water. We oversize our drain-fields to accommodate the high strength nature. Some are considering incorporating a dosing system to flush the entire field at one time, rather than trickle in urine to the front of the field. Usually we install 1-2 10' sections of 4" perforated pipe. This meets the daily peak flow and infiltration capacity of most soils by 5-10x at high use public sites used by 10,000 - 30,000 visitors per year.

Yes, urine picks up bits of feces on the belt and washes them into a tray with a urinal filter pad. There is some O&M here changing the filter pad every 4-6 months at moderate use sites. The design of the drainfield, complying with US standards, can handle feces, so we do not worry about some feces being in the urine. If desires were to have a sterile urine effluent, the urine can be stored in tanks for weeks - months to kill all pathogens, before going into the drainfield.

In most installations now, we install a 20L stainless steel grease trap to act as a small settling chamber for the urine, protecting the drainfield. This can be oversized to make a weeks-months retention time and kill pathogens. There is ample research on the destruction of all pathogens in stored urine. Here is one.

www.fwr.org/wrcsa/1439106.htm "Although there is a low risk for transmission of infectious diseases from handling urine, it should be stored for at least 50 days before use. This should be compared with Swedish recommendations (Schönning 2001) that vary from shorter storage times (1 month) at 4°C where the urine can be used on crops that are processed before use as fodder or food, to longer storage times (6 months) at 20°C where the urine can be used on all kinds of crops, even those that are consumed raw by humans.?

Geoff
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