Supreme batch composting toilet (No Urine Diverting) - Colombia

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  • monopopologo
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clivus multrum design discrepancies

Hello everyone!

I have been involved in many clivus multrum installations and I'm about to do another one. Now, I have always stuck to the textbook 30 degree angle and the ventilation tubes. But, it is very obvious in recent pictures of the CM brand systems that their angle is more like 50 degrees and there aren't any ventilation tubes going through the compost mass any more...

Would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Thank you!

regards,

Bjorn
I have been living off grid for the last 9 years, 4 of which without electricity and only recently we got satellite internet. I have been playing around with batch composting toilets and have developed a very well working system. The manual and building plans are distributed for free, we give also free workshops and technical assistance to communities in Colombia.

the manual you can find here: docs.google.com/document/d/1rqr1AbMgsU3v...b20/edit?usp=sharing
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  • monopopologo
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Re: supreme batch composting toilet (No Urine Diverting)

I'll keep it short and simple

We have been working on this batch composting toilet design for about 6 years now and keep perfecting it.

It is made with materials that are cheap and available at any hardware store anywhere in the world (I know, that's an assumption...)

Here is a link of a continuously updated edition of the free manual

drive.google.com/open?id=1rqr1AbMgsU3vO7...wljqbyc0RXfZflFVpb20

Would love to know your thoughts... spread the knowledge!

all my best

Bjorn
I have been living off grid for the last 9 years, 4 of which without electricity and only recently we got satellite internet. I have been playing around with batch composting toilets and have developed a very well working system. The manual and building plans are distributed for free, we give also free workshops and technical assistance to communities in Colombia.

the manual you can find here: docs.google.com/document/d/1rqr1AbMgsU3v...b20/edit?usp=sharing
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  • joeturner
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Re: supreme batch composting toilet (No Urine Diverting)

I like that you have made special attention to a drain and aeration. Your advice regarding cover material seems sensible. I agree that you should probably not use the resulting material on leafy vegetables and food crops without further treatment.

My main issues are that it is hard to know how effective your system has been at completely aerating the material. A small area of anaerobic conditions within the material would have the potential to create conditions for the pathogens to survive.

Of course how important this is will depend on local conditions, and it may well be that worms or soldier fly larve would help to keep the material mixed and agitated.

So I think for me, an improvement would be for some kind of emptying system where users do not have to handle the finished material, for example some way that the bottom container could unlatch to be taken away for emptying (I am not an engineer so I am not offering a solution as to how this could be done).

Of course if nobody in the user household has been ill the risk may also be reduced, but caution in handling and using the material would be sensible.

Also I would add some instructions about handling the urine/leachate as this passes through the material and may contain whatever pathogens are in the fresh faeces. Ideally this needs to be collected, handled carefully and treated. Generally urine diversion is considered a good idea, I am not entirely clear of the advantage of letting it drain through the material in your design.

I would like to see some testing to see how well this sanitises. I don't think the claim that the material would be free of pathogens stands up without proper microbe monitoring and preferably batch testing.

Generally I think your design is better than others. But without microbiological testing, I think it needs additional words of caution.
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  • Ecowaters
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Re: clivus multrum design discrepancies

It sounds like what you mean is installing site-built versions of the Clivus Multrum, not the manufactured Clivus Multrum.

Clivus has sloped its later smaller models much more.
That's likely because common sense will tell you that something heavy and sticky (feces) will not move down a slope by itself. Users are expected to rake down and move down the top of the pile. Many owners do not like this.

Also, feces and toilet paper were getting hung up on the pipes.

Clivus Multrum mostly sells to the parks market, which uses service contracts to maintain them.

So this takes us to why aerated batching systems are best for many situations.

Carol Steinfeld
Book writer, researcher, workshop presenter, eco-toilet vendor, market transformer

www.ecowatersprojects.org
www.ecovita.net
www.carol-steinfeld.com (personal)
www.ecotoilets.org (soon)
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  • monopopologo
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Re: clivus multrum design discrepancies

Hello Carol!

thank you for your input. Yes, that's kind of what I expected. I am looking at changing the self built CM design to have a steeper slope and perhaps only the bottom row of ventilation tubes. Our next installation will be at a eco hotel as a shared toilet for 16 people. The batch system is, in my humble opinion, too small or would be too much work for a situation like that.

However, I do agree with you on the batch system. I have put a lot of work into developing our own system that we install commercially for small sites and distribute the build manual for free. Have a look at it, I would love to hear your thoughts. docs.google.com/document/d/1rqr1AbMgsU3v...b20/edit?usp=sharing

Sincerely

Bjorn De Boeck
I have been living off grid for the last 9 years, 4 of which without electricity and only recently we got satellite internet. I have been playing around with batch composting toilets and have developed a very well working system. The manual and building plans are distributed for free, we give also free workshops and technical assistance to communities in Colombia.

the manual you can find here: docs.google.com/document/d/1rqr1AbMgsU3v...b20/edit?usp=sharing
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  • Heiner
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  • I am a retired organic farmer and interested in nutrient cycles. As an volunteer I now travel mainly to poor countries and together with locals I would like to find new ways of sustainable agriculture. This is beyond the regulations of IFOAM.
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Re: supreme batch composting toilet (No Urine Diverting)

Thanks for sharing your knowledge und your manual!
I learned a hell of a lot!

Heiner
Heiner, the old farmer.....
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  • monopopologo
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Re: supreme batch composting toilet (No Urine Diverting)

Mr Turner,

Thank you ever so much for taking the time to look at our manual. With great pleasure I now take the chance to respond to your comments:

My main issues are that it is hard to know how effective your system has been at completely aerating the material.

I have emptied a tremendous number of these drums by now and I have never seen the slightest hint of anaerobic digestion. Typically, for a garden compost heap to avoid anaerobic digestion they are made a cubic meter. Anything bigger and they have to be turned or installed with ventilation tubes. Our drums are 200 liters in size. I reckon, take away the air chamber in the bottom and the unused top section nobody really wants to fill them to the brim!), they have about 150 liter in compost volume with three ventilation tubes. Compare this to a garden compost of one cubic meter, which is 1000 liters, and i find it safe to assume that there will be no anaerobic digestion. Also, from experience, I have never smelled any anaerobic whiffs...

an improvement would be for some kind of emptying system where users do not have to handle the finished material

Our batch system works with two drums. When the first drum is full, it is then slid out and a new drum put in place. At no point in time, ever, should anyone have to handle fresh excrement using these toilets. I see this as one of the most important characteristics of our batch system.

some instructions about handling the urine/leachate as this passes through the material and may contain whatever pathogens are in the fresh faeces

Yes, you are absolutely right there. I have promptly gone into the manual and added a warning about this. Treatment could be pouring it onto a thermophilic compost? Any suggestions? Our goal has been to simplify as much as possible and not waste any resources.

I would like to see some testing

So do I! Your comment made me think of a friend biologist professor at a University not too far away who last year told me to ask her if i ever needed anything. I'll take her up on that and keep you posted here!

Thank you so much for your comments. It's through comments like that (and through errors made) that we learn the most!

All my best

Bjorn
I have been living off grid for the last 9 years, 4 of which without electricity and only recently we got satellite internet. I have been playing around with batch composting toilets and have developed a very well working system. The manual and building plans are distributed for free, we give also free workshops and technical assistance to communities in Colombia.

the manual you can find here: docs.google.com/document/d/1rqr1AbMgsU3v...b20/edit?usp=sharing
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  • joeturner
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Re: supreme batch composting toilet (No Urine Diverting)

Please call me Joe.

I am concerned that your finished compost may still pose an unknown risk to anyone emptying the barrel.

It is good that you have not observed anaerobic conditions but that does not mean they are entirely absent.

Personally, I would never tell anyone to handle faecal compost at any stage of the process without precautions. Because I don't want to be responsible for any illnesses.

Treating the material as potentially hazardous and taking sensible precautions seems to me to always be advisable, particularly where medical help and microbial lab testing are not easily available.
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