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Incinerating toilets: this document describes the brands, properties, installation, and maintenance of incinerating toilets - a waterless system for onsite waste disposal where a septic system cannot be installed.
Incinerating toilets use electricity or gas to produce heat which literally incinerates the waste. Here we list suppliers of incinerating toilets and compare models, features, and prices.
We add advice on choosing among incinerating toilets and on how to use incinerating toilets. The photo above shows an Eco John Sr - "A highly efficient, waterless toilet that incinerates the waste with propane."
[The photograph above is of one of our favorite incinerating toilets, an Incinolet, from that company's product literature.]
Guide to Incinerating Toilets: where to buy, how to install, how to use, how to maintain incinerating toilets
What are Incinerating Toilets?
Incinerator Toilet Septic Systems: incinerator toilets use electricity or gas to burn the waste placed into these systems. Like chemical toilets and holding tanks they have limited capacity, are used where water is not available or must be conserved, and they do not address the handling
of remaining graywater from sinks and showers.
Incinerating toilet models include waterless-versions of incinerating toilets which produce a small amount of ash, and low-water toilet systems that are combined with an incinerator that can reduce gray water as well as sewage.
Typically no plumbing, no water, no digging, no drains, are
required, though an energy source is necessary, such as electricity, natural gas, or LP gas.
A vent is also required for incinerating toilets, either out through a
side wall or up through the building roof.
Incinerating toilets can be used in un-heated buildings, though if LP gas is used as the energy source, it should
be protected from very cold conditions. My favorite product name among toilets of this type was the "Destroylet" incinerating toilet which
was electric/propane fueled and which is no longer on the market in its original form. Each flush resulted in a more than 10-minute burn cycle which produced a pretty smelly exhaust.
I'd consider installing an incinerating toilet but I'd be sure to review all of its specifications first, including
energy use, overall size and installation costs, storage capacity, incinerating frequency, and the length of the incinerating cycle.
I expect that properly installed, odors, noise, and explosions are not an issue. Some models require that the
incinerating cycle be run after each use. As this can take some time the toilet may be unavailable during that interval. I'm not sure this is the whole story but some sources (NSF) argue that because the process consumes all of the
nutrients in the waste, the ash cannot be used for fertilizer. As long as the ash can be disposed of conveniently in a suitable location, it is sanitary and may not be an issue. Some manufacturers (Incinolet) recommend disposing of the ash in the household garbage.
According to the US EPA "Anti-foam
agents, catalysts or other additives
are typically required for use" though at least for some products such as the Incinolet the manufacturer notes that no addities are needed.
Incinerator Toilets [Gas, Electric Toilets] Regulations and Sanitary Codes
These units accept human waste into a chamber where the wastes are burned. They have a very limited capacity and require a source of electricity or gas. The ash remains must be
periodically removed. They must be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
The previous quote is from:
New York State Appendix 75-A.10 Other systems. In sum, other than
stating that the product must be installed according to the manufacturer's recommendations, many codes and jurisdictions are
silent on this topic.
Sources for Incinerating Toilets and Model Comparisons
The Eco John Incinerating Toilet
EcoJohn, a California company, provides several incinerating toilet models including the SR series waterless incinerating toilet (photo at left).
Here is a copy of the Eco John company's catalog of waterless incinerating toilets, separating composting toilets, and incinerating waste control systems for use with low-flush toilets.
This is a toilet that is ideal for cabins, pool houses, guest rooms, or other remote areas where a conventional toilet is not available or too costly to install." "This is a new revolutionary system that incinerates gray/black water from a holding tank. "
The company reports that "These products have been carefully tested and are
designed to solve the problems with toilets in remote applications.
ECOJOHN is superior where there is no power or water available, or where
septic tanks are restricted, or simply in situations where a regular toilet is too
costly or difficult to install. In addition to our self contained toilets, we also
build upscale portable restrooms that include our own ECOJOHN toilet
solutions that don’t need unsanitary and costly pump outs the ECOJOHN
restrooms provide hygienic, logistical, and economical benefits."
This system is perfect in areas where a water toilet is needed, but pumping out the waste
is problematic or too costly." The company previously offered an interesting waterless toilet system that includes an incinerator for
graywater that marries with a low-water toilet, the the EcoJohn Jr which is includes a sewage and graywater incinerating unit.
Contact the ECOJOHN company at their website, Eco John or at Global Inventive Industries, 17150 Newhope St. Ste 707,
Fountain Valley, CA 92708, Tel:866.ECOJOHN Fax: 714.568.1068 or by email to info@ECOJOHN.com
The Incinolet Electric Incinerating Toilet
* Incinolet™ Electric incinerating toilet products, operate at 120V on a 15A circuit
or at 204V for some models. This toilet line "... uses electric heat
to reduce human waste (urine, solids, paper) to a small amount of clean ash, which is dumped periodically into the garbage.
A toilet bowl liner, dropped into the bowl prior to use, captures the waste, then both liner and
its content drop into the incinerator chamber when the foot pedal is pushed." - $1800.-$2100. U.S.
[Click to enlarge any image]
The manufacturer says the unit is odor free "A platinum type catalyst, similar to that used in automobile emission systems, controls smoke and odor." The length of the incineration cycle was not specified but
the manufacturer says that several people may use the toilet in rapid succession and that the toilet can be used while it is in its incineration cycle. When you push the start button, heater and blower both come on. The toilet's incinerating heater alternates on and off for an hour. The blower stays
on for an additional 30 to 55 minutes. The ash pan is emptied weekly, more often under condtions of heavy use.
This toilet may be a key choice for use in cold and freezing climates as the Incinolet toilet "can be used in any climate and can be left in an unheated environment for long
periods of time." Electrical energy use is about 1.5 KWH per incinerating cycle. The incinerating toilet unit uses no water and no additives.
Incinolet toilets draw electricity (120V or 240V for some models) only when the toilet is in use, unlike some composting toilets where electricity may be needed at all times, even
during "off seasons" since the composting toilet unit includes a heater and ventilation fan. Electrical consumption for these components, as we are just running a small vent fan or small heater, will of generally be much less
than that the current used by an incinerating toilet (for the combined incinerator heater and vent fan features) used during an incineration cycle.
Incinolet model specifiations are not readily accessible on the company's website.
We have also found advertisements for a Marine version of this incinerating toilet, the Incinolet Model WB / TR-III listed as a Type III MSD Certified toilet for use on inspected & uninspected vessels.
Incinolet Contact Information: Research Products/Blankenship, 2639 Andjon, Dallas, Texas 75220, USA, Tel: 800-527-5551 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website http://www.incinolet.com/ - The company has produced this incinerating toilet for more than 40 years.
Incinolet Toilet Safety - some exciting photographs courtesy of WombatNation
The Incinolet product specification [http://ssl3.adhost.com/incinolet/] includes this safety information:
"We equip INCINOLET with the highest quality temperature controllers, thermostats, and time limiters to assure you years of safe operation. INCINOLET is an appliance and, as with any other appliance, it must be used carefully in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations.
Young children, when using the INCINOLET toilet, must be supervised by a responsible adult. INCINOLET is intended for use by persons familiar with its operation and responsible for its proper use. Not recommended for use by general public or in rental property.
Really? Robert Stewart at WombatNation [ http://www.wombatnation.com ] has provided a lengthy, detailed and critical description of installation, testing, and use of the Incinolet at www.wombatnation.com/essays/incinolet.html from which we include these stunning excerpts (used with permission):
Mr. Stewart explains the Incinolet's operation and has generously shared his remarkable photographs of the Incinolet in action or perhaps, dis-action:
The toilet is actually kind of cool. You first press a button to start the heating system and then put a special purpose coated paper bowl liner [photo at below left] down between two sloping pieces of steel. ... You then poop or pee into the paper filter, step onto a lever, and wave goodbye to your human by-products and any toilet paper.
An important feature is the lever sticking out to the right near the bottom of the toilet [blue arrow, photo above]. This activates the trap door which provides access to the incineration compartment. The lever is shielded by a slanted metal plate so you don't accidentally open the steel doors before you are ready to [use the toilet] ...
The gateway to Hades opens up and everything within a couple inches is sucked into its gaping maw. The toilet then incinerates your thoughtful gifts at a very high temperature. ... The manual says 1,200 degrees F. For those of you recipe freaks, that's 1,200 degrees for one hour, then cooled to 130 degrees over the next 45 minutes.
... Side note to those of a litigious bent - I have never, not even once, felt a tingly sensation while using the incinerating toilet. ...
When it comes time to pay the toilet a visit, the first thing you want to do is press the Start button, which does two very important things.
1. Begins to heat the incinerator compartment [and]
2. Starts the ventilation fan.
Watch out: The ... instructions tell you not to press the Start button until you have ... [used the toilet]. But, hey, I'll gladly trade off a reduction in odor for the slightly increased danger of sitting on a metal toilet while it heats up internally to 1200 degrees F.
Now, it's time to lift the lid and insert a bowl liner, just like the instructions on the inside of the top lid call out to you. [Photo at left]
Since it is quite possible that small children and dim witted, yet overly sensitive, heads of recording industry associations may have continued to read this shocking tale of wonder and woe, I decided not to photograph an actual inicineration event, whether it involved fecal matter or ...[other material]. ...
If this had been a real visit to the incinerator toilet, I would have followed up the standard deposit and self cleaning process by stepping on this same lever. The now weighted down bowl liner would be overcome by the force of gravity and plummet into the maw of the incineration compartment, which doubles as an ash pan.
... what would happen if a non-human by-product were to go through the trap door during a burn cycle? ... Well, the [Robert Stewart] scientific research staff at the cabin have conducted this experiment for you.
Note: the manufacturer indicates that "You can use INCINOLET at any time-even while it is in cycle." making Stewart's test reasonable - Ed.
... The purpose of the [copper] rod is to ensure that the bowl liner drops completely through the steel doors. If not, you poke the paper with the rod until it does.
When our researcher stepped on the lever to aid the process, the flames that were consuming the bottom part of the bowl liner raced upwards.
In a snap decision of selfishly choosing hand safety over tool protection, our researcher promptly released the rod.
The rod vanished into Hades and the steel doors slammed shut.
Four hours later, a HazMat team retrieved the remains of the rod and its former metal attachments. [Photo, above left]
Learning from this experience, we constructed "Copper Rod Number 2" from a much longer length of copper rod and without any frivolous attachments of unknown composition.
As my wife ignored me safely from the living room, I managed to capture this rare photo [ at left of the incinerating toilet at work, flames in view].
Watch out: ... well I'm just not sure what to write here. Somehow, just warning to follow the manufacturer's instructions doesn't seem to do justice to Mr. Stewart's research. - Editor.
Thanks again to Rob Stewart, a software architect and eclectic invesitative blogger whose notes appear at his website: wombatnation.com for sharing text and phtographs of the incinerating toilet undergoing this exciting field test.
The Destroilet Incinerating Toilet from LaMere Industries
Destroilet, LaMere Industries, 227 N. Main St., Walworth, Wis. 53184, about $600.
* marks units that looked good to me on first review of their specifications, or which have received positive reviews from other sources I respect such as Real Goods.
The Scanlet Incinerating Toilet - propane fueled from Storburn
Scanlet - a Danish incinerating toilet fueled by propane.
* Storburn is a "natural gas" fired (actually propane fired or perhaps either) incinerating toilet. The toilet can be used 40-60 times
before an incineration cycle is required. The company says that "a full 100 lb. propane cylinder will burn 16 maximum capacity loads
(approximately 960 uses."
All gas-fired incinerating toilets will require a gas flue to vent combustion products. Incineration cycle time was not obvious at the website. Incinerating toilet prices: $2980 - $3200. U.S. plus
possibly some extra costs for vent kits and of course the propane tank and gas piping installation.
This is the brand name that popped up the most during my web research on this topic.
The Sunbio Electric Toilet from Eco Toilets in New Zealand
Eco Toilets offers Sunbio Electric Toilets which use 240 watts and require 2-3 hours to completely incinerate waste. Eco Toilets is in Hamilton, New Zealand and also produces composting toilets and other products.
General Comments about Incinerating Toilets
Watch out: besides the Stewart review of the Incinolet, a scan of product comments across a number of websites made between 2001 and 2014 found the following types of consumer complaints or concerns about incinerating toilets:
Energy consumption [US EPA, others]
Noise - "sounds like a roaring freight train" [various sources]
Odors [various sources]
I have been around one at work. I refused to use it. When I first started in that area the vent would back draft. Imagine that smell. When we had heavy use it backed and the element burned out. Now we bring in portapotties when there is a work group that can't go back across the levee. They have found scorch marks on the ceiling where is exits the roof. The smell down wind stinks, the blower is noisy, and it pulls a lot of amps. This is a unit of last resort were nothing else is feasible. - airstream trailer forums at airforums.com retrieved 3/6/2014 original source: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f446/ anyone-use-incinolet-incinerator-toilet-62782.html
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of 19 On-Site
Waste Treatment Systems in Southeastern
EPA 600/2-80-101, U.S. EPA,
Fire Breathing Dragon nicknamed incinerating toilet - an amusing web article by "Jim" whose web page does not give his last name - (not authoritative). The author reports urinating on glowing waste being incinerated, causing quite a mess. Incinerating toilet brand not specified.
Geneva A & C Corp, 1977.
Incinerating Toilet and Method.
United States Patent US4051561
, P. and Schroeder, H.P., 1994. “Life
Cycle Cost Analysis of
a Storburn Propane
Toilet.” Paper presented at the
International Cold Regions Conference,
Storburn International. Storburn
Inc. Gas-Fired Incinerating
product literature. Internet site at
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Hankey and Brown home inspectors, Eden Prairie, MN, technical review by Roger Hankey, prior chairman, Standards Committee, American Society of Home Inspectors - ASHI. 952 829-0044 - hankeyandbrown.com 11/06
Arlene Puentes, a licensed home inspector, educator, and building failures researcher in Kingston, NY. 11/29/06
Paul McClelland kindly suggested technical corrections regarding the Incinolet toilet's use of electricity 02/10/2010.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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Advanced Onsite Wastewater Systems Technologies, Anish R. Jantrania, Mark A. Gross. Anish Jantrania, Ph.D., P.E., M.B.A., is a Consulting Engineer, in Mechanicsville VA, 804-550-0389 (2006). Outstanding technical reference especially on alternative septic system design alternatives. Written for designers and engineers, this book is not at all easy going for homeowners but is a text I recommend for professionals--DF.
Builder's Guide to Wells and Septic Systems, Woodson, R. Dodge: $ 24.95; MCGRAW HILL B; TP;
Quoting from Amazon's description: For the homebuilder, one mistake in estimating or installing wells and septic systems can cost thousands of dollars. This comprehensive guide filled with case studies can prevent that. Master plumber R. Dodge Woodson packs this reader-friendly guide with guidance and information, including details on new techniques and materials that can economize and expedite jobs and advice on how to avoid mistakes in both estimating and construction. Chapters cover virtually every aspect of wells and septic systems, including on-site evaluations; site limitations; bidding; soil studies, septic designs, and code-related issues; drilled and dug wells, gravel and pipe, chamber-type, and gravity septic systems; pump stations; common problems with well installation; and remedies for poor septic situations. Woodson also discusses ways to increase profits by avoiding cost overruns.
Country Plumbing: Living with a Septic System, Hartigan, Gerry: $ 9.95; ALAN C HOOD & TP;
Quoting an Amazon reviewer's comment, with which we agree--DF:This book is informative as far as it goes and might be most useful for someone with an older system. But it was written in the early 1980s. A lot has changed since then. In particular, the book doesn't cover any of the newer systems that are used more and more nowadays in some parts of the country -- sand mounds, aeration systems, lagoons, etc.
Composting Toilets - Books & References
Composting Toilet System Book: A Practical Guide to Choosing, Planning and Maintaining Composting Toilet Systems, David Del Porto, Carol Steinfeld. Quoting an Amazon review: Del Porto's book is the definitive composting toilet book at this time. There is nothing even close. His book covers all aspects of composting toilet systems and touches on graywater issues as well. He treats the composting toilet as part of the home system. If a person is seriously interested in installing/having a composting toilet, this book can save him/her all of the mistakes people usually make. He even (carefully) explodes some of the advertising myths that the purveyors of composting toilets would have us believe. The book covers ready-made systems as well as home built systems. As trite as this sounds, the book truly is a must for someone considering installing composting toilet.
The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure, 3rd Ed.,
Joseph C. Jenkins. Quoting part of an Amazon review: The Humanure Handbook provides a wealth of thoroughly researched, hands-on experience and scientific data that demonstrates that after a natural process called "thermophilic" bacterial digestion, which occurs in a compost bin and where all pathogens are killed, excreta is then converted to a valuable nutrient for agriculture and thereby completing a full-circle life cycle. Most importantly, effluent can then be kept out of our drinking water and not treated or referred to as an undesirable "waste product". The information is conveyed in a humorous, folksy, down-to-earth easy to understand style along with drawings, charts, tables, photos and a wealth of resource info for further research. Jenkins' website has a forum for sharing more info, experiences and to answer any and all questions in the process of humanuring and constructed wetland gray water treatment.
Thermal composting of fecal matter as treatment and possible disinfection method--laboratory-scale and pilot-scale studies,
B. Vinneras, A. Bjorklund, H. Jonsson. Quoting Amazon review: When using toilets where the urine and faeces are collected separately for reuse as nutrients in agriculture, the collected matter should be disinfected. One way to do this is by thermal composting. Composting of different material mixes was investigated in a laboratory-scale experiment. This showed that the best mixture for dry thermal composting was a mix of faeces, food waste and amendment. The urine was collected separately by use of urine-diverting toilets. A new method was developed to mathematically evaluate and estimate the safety margins of pathogen inactivation during thermal composting. The method is based upon a mathematical calculation of the number of times total inactivation (at least 12log"1"0 reduction) of the organisms is achieved. In a pilot-scale experiment, the disinfection of a faeces/food waste mix was performed with a calculated safety margin of more than 37 times the total die-off of Enteroviruses and some 550 times that of Ascaris. Thus, well functioning composting seems to be
effective for disinfection of faecal matter. To get a high temperature in all of the material, the reactor has to have sufficient insulation. A major disadvantage is the initial need for handling the raw un-disinfected material. The degradation of the organic matter in the compost was almost 75%, resulting in a small final volume that could safely be recycled.
Experiences with a composting toilet article from: Countryside & Small Stock Journal, available as HTML download.
Quoting Amazon review: This digital document is an article from Countryside & Small Stock Journal, published by Countryside Publications Ltd. on May 1, 1994. The length of the article is 1516 words. The page length shown above is based on a typical 300-word page. The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase. You can view it with any web browser.
From the supplier: A composting toilet is a good alternative to propane burning toilets, but it also has many problems. The worst part is emptying the waste and compost every 4-6 weeks. Other problems are the fan that must be kept running constantly and bug infestation.
US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual [online copy, free] Top Reference: US EPA's Design Manual for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal, 1980, available from the US EPA, the US GPO Superintendent of Documents (Pueblo CO), and from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse. Original source http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm Onsite wastewater treatment and disposal systems,
Richard J Otis, published by the US EPA. Although it's more than 20 years old, this book remains a useful reference for septic system designers.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water Program Operations; Office of Research and Development, Municipal Environmental Research Laboratory; (1980)
"International Private Sewage Disposal Code," 1995, BOCA-708-799-2300, ICBO-310-699-0541, SBCCI 205-591-1853, available from those code associations.
"Manual of Policy, Procedures, and Guidelines for Onsite Sewage Systems," Ontario Reg. 374/81, Part VII of the Environmental
Protection Act (Canada), ISBN 0-7743-7303-2, Ministry of the Environment,135 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto Ontario M4V 1P5 Canada $24. CDN.
Manual of Septic Tank Practice, US Public Health Service's 1959.
Greywater System Books
The New Create an Oasis With Greywater, Art Ludwig; Buy New: $14.25. Ludwig is one of the most thoughtful, prolific, and sometimes controversial writers on gray water systems and alternative designs. We recommend his book as clear, easy-to-understand writing aimed at property owners who want or need to consider a graywater installation to conserve water, recycle water, reduce water use, or to reduce the load on their septic system. This is the latest edition of this Art Ludwig's greywater design book classic.
Builder's Greywater Guide, Art Ludwig; Buy New: $10.17. Installation of Greywater Systems in New Construction & Remodeling; A Supplement to the Book "Create an Oasis With Greywater" (Paperback).
Quoting a review from Amazon: I recommend that you get the 3 companion books on greywater treatment "Create an Oasis", "Branched Drain Greywater Systems" and "Builder's Greywater Guide". The information in these volumes will keep most of us far more informed than most of the regulators, the system builders, and the experts-in-theory. These volumes are real-world gems. Art Ludwig has cut to the core of wastewater issues. He's obviously done all of his homework, mulled-over the variables, and come up with a common sense, economically reasonable, environmentally responsible approach to wastewater. I expect to save money that I would have spent on a post-septic tank, aerobic unit that would seemingly have been ecologically responsible; but because of the technological overkill, ultimately that system would have defeated my altruistic environmental concerns.
... These books talk the talk and walk the walk better than anything else that I've seen. Buy a set for yourself, a set for your neighbors, and a set for the regulators.
Branched Drain Greywater Systems [superseded by "The New Create an Oasis with Greywater"], Art Ludwig. If you already have this book but are in the process of installing new gray water systems you should take a look at the newer
edition listed first above in this section of our Greywater book recommendations.
You may prefer the newest edition, but there is great information in this older version, perhaps all you need, and these copies are
sold at very low prices - an aid to people of limited means.
Rainwater Catchment Systems for Domestic Supply: Design, Construction and Implementation,
Erik Nissen-Petersen, John Gould. (Mr. Ludwig, while much appreciated, is not the only author providing really useful design guides for graywater systems--DF)
Quoting from an Amazon review: This book reviews the art of roof and ground catchment systems for rainwater. The water collected can be used for household or other purposes. The designs are aimed for individuals with limited access to electricity and/or civic water utilities. The text includes drawings, photographs and step-by-step instructions.
One might say the book is really written for the 'aid worker' since it also considers ethnic and gender issues that would be 'obvious' to the future owners of the the systems.
Guidelines on rainwater catchment systems for Hawaii, (CTAHR resource management publication)
Patricia S. H Macomber. This more technical document may be especially helpful for rainwater collection and recycling systems for climates
where there is heavy rainfall such as demonstrated for Hawaii.
Design for Water: Rainwater Harvesting, Stormwater Catchment, and Alternate Water Reuse, Heather Kinkade-Levario. Quoting from Amazon's review: Design for Water is an accessible and clearly written guide to alternate water collection, with a focus on rainwater harvesting in the urban environment. The book: Outlines the process of water collection from multiple sources-landscape, residential, commercial, industrial, school, park, and municipal systems
Provides numerous case studies, Details the assembly and actual application of equipment, Includes specific details, schematics, and references.
All aspects of rainwater harvesting are outlined, including passive and active system setup, storage, storm water reuse, distribution, purification, analysis, and filtration. There is even a section on rainwater harvesting for wildlife. In addition to rainwater, there are several affordable and accessible alternate sources, including cooling tower bleed-off water, air conditioning condensate, gray water, and fog collection. Design for Water is geared to providing those making development decisions and guidelines with the information they need to set up passive harvesting techniques. The book will especially appeal to engineers, landscape architects, municipal decision-makers, developers, and landowners.
Heather Kinkade-Levario is a land-use planner in Arizona and the author of the award-winning Forgotten Rain. She is president of Forgotten Rain L.L.C., a rainwater harvesting and stormwater reuse company.
The Toilet Papers: Designs to Recycle Human Waste and Water : Dry Toilets, Greywater Systems and Urban Sewage (Paperback) Sim Van Der Ryn, Wendell Berry; Quoting from an Amazon review: With a title like "Toilet Papers" and from a distinguished eco-architect like Sim Van der Ryn, I needed no intro or review to buy a copy of this little, but well researched historical over-view of effluent mitigation and current eco-friendly toilet design. This book is filled with good line drawings and photographs to depict everything from the historical perspective to the current dry toilets and their construction..
Quality issues in harvested rainwater in arid and semi-arid Loess Plateau of northern China,
K. Zhu, L. Zhang, W. Hart, M. Liu, H. Chen (out of print, find by search and deferred order).
Amazon's description may be helpful: Loess soils cover vast areas in the arid and semi-arid regions of northern China. Due to the lack of reliable surface water and ground-water, rainwater harvesting has played a prominent role in farmers' domestic usage and agricultural irrigation. An economical and valid type of water storage cistern with optimum design of components has been introduced to rural areas in the Loess Plateau. Different collection alternatives showed apparent variations in rainwater quality. By using different catchments, such as mortar roofs and cement-paved courtyards, compacted land or road surfaces, rainwater can be effectively collected for storage in cisterns. This study focused mainly on the quality of rainwater harvested from the different catchment systems and stored for different periods of time. By analysis of the water samples stored in these cisterns, it was evident that rainwater quality could be improved significantly by self-purification during the storage. With emphasis on rainwater quality affected by the
different catchment systems, it was found that the measured inorganic compounds in the rainwater harvested from roof-yard catchment systems generally matched the WHO standards for drinking water, while the concentrations of some inorganic compounds in the rainwater collected from land and road surfaces appeared to be higher than the guideline values for drinking water, but generally not beyond the maximum permissible concentrations. However, Fecal Coliform, which is an important bacteriological parameter for the three catchment systems, exceeded the limits of drinking water to a greater extend. Trace amounts of 55 organic pollutants were identified, including aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic compounds and phthalate esters, etc. The analytical results indicated that roof-yard catchments that included the ''first flush'' usually provided safe drinking water with low organic contents, even for rainwater collected immediately after rainfall. In contrast, rainwater harvested from road surfaces had poor quality
with respect to the organic constituents, regardless of stored time.
City eying home water-recycling technology; uses bath and washer water for irrigation., (ReWater Systems' equipment for greywater irrigation):
This is an article from: San Diego Business Journal [HTML] (Digital) available online in digital format. I have not (yet) reviewed it -- DF
Onsite Wastewater Disposal Books
Onsite Wastewater Disposal, R. J. Perkins;
Quoting from Amazon: This practical book, co-published with the National Environmental Health Association,
describes the step-by-step procedures needed to avoid common pitfalls in septic system technology.
Valuable in matching the septic system to the site-specific conditions, this useful book will help you install a reliable system in
both suitable and difficult environments. Septic tank installers, planners, state and local regulators, civil and sanitary engineers,
consulting engineers, architects, homeowners, academics, and land developers will find this publication valuable.
Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, Bennette D. Burks, Mary Margaret Minnis, Hogarth House 1994 - one of the best septic system books around, suffering a bit from small fonts and a weak index. (DF volunteers to serve as indexer if Burks/Minnis re-publish this very useful volume.)While it contains some material more technical than needed by homeowners, Burks/Minnis book on onsite wastewater treatment systems a very useful reference
for both property owners and septic system designers. We refer to it often.
While Minnis says the best place to buy this book is at Amazon (our link at left), you can also see this book at Minnis' website at http://web page .pace.edu/MMinnisbook
Septic Tank/Soil-Absorption Systems: How to Operate & Maintain [ copy on file as /septic/Septic_Operation_USDA.pdf ] - , Equipment Tips, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8271 1302, 7100 Engineering, 2300 Recreation, September 1982, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfimage/82711302.pdf
Septic System Owner's Manual, Lloyd Kahn, Blair Allen, Julie Jones, Shelter Publications, 2000 $14.95 U.S. - easy to understand, well illustrated, one of the best practical references around on septic design basics including some advanced systems; a little short on safety and maintenance. Both new and used (low priced copies are available, and we think the authors are working on an updated edition--DF.
Quoting from one of several Amazon reviews: The basics of septic systems, from underground systems and failures to what the owner can do to promote and maintain a healthy system, is revealed in an excellent guide essential for any who reside on a septic system. Rural residents receive a primer on not only the basics; but how to conduct period inspections and what to do when things go wrong. History also figures into the fine coverage.
Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, Bombeck, Erma: $ 5.99; FAWCETT; MM;
This septic system classic whose title helps avoid intimidating readers new to septic systems, is available new or used at very low prices.
It's more entertainment than a serious "how to" book on septic systems design, maintenance, or repair. Not recommended -- DF.
US EPA Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual Top Reference: US EPA's Design Manual for Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal, 1980, available from the US EPA, the US GPO Superintendent of Documents (Pueblo CO), and from the National Small Flows Clearinghouse. Original source http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/Pubs/625R00008/625R00008.htm
Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook, R. Dodge Woodson. This book is in the upper price range, but is worth the cost for serious septic installers and designers.
Quoting Amazon: Each year, thousands upon thousands of Americans install water wells and septic systems on their properties. But with a maze of codes governing their use along with a host of design requirements that ensure their functionality where can someone turn for comprehensive, one-stop guidance? Enter the Water Wells and Septic Systems Handbook from McGraw-Hill. Written in language any property owner can understand yet detailed enough for professionals and technical students this easy-to-use volume delivers the latest techniques and code requirements for designing, building, rehabilitating, and maintaining private water wells and septic systems. Bolstered by a wealth of informative charts, tables, and illustrations, this book delivers: * Current construction, maintenance, and repair methods
* New International Private Sewage Disposal Code
* Up-to-date standards from the American Water Works Association
Wells and Septic Systems, Alth, Max and Charlet, Rev. by S. Blackwell Duncan, $ 18.95; Tab Books 1992. We have found this text very useful for conventional well and septic systems design and maintenance --DF.
Quoting an Amazon description:Here's all the information you need to build a well or septic system yourself - and save a lot of time, money, and frustration. S. Blackwell Duncan has thoroughly revised and updated this second edition of Wells and Septic Systems to conform to current codes and requirements. He also has expanded this national bestseller to include new material on well and septic installation, water storage and distribution, water treatment, ecological considerations, and septic systems for problem building sites.