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Composting toilet guide:
This article describes the nature of composting toilets, how they work, how they are used, where they can be used, usage restrictions,
and different composting toilet types and features. We describe how to choose a composting toilet, what questions to ask, what features you need, where to install the toilet, how much space is neeed, elecricity, heat, special supplies, cleaning & service requirements. Bulk & mulch alternatives.
We define & describe just about every composting toilet type, feature, methods of operation, & maintenance requirements as well as costs. We list sources of various models of composting toilets and compare composting
toilet model features, uses, and costs. We include a table of composting toilet supplies, uses, properties & prices.
Guide to Buying, Using, & Maintaining a Composting Toilet
What is a Composting Toilet?
A composting toilet is a self-contained unit (not connected to a septic or sewer system)
which breaks-down and dehydrates human waste to a compost which can be added to soils.
Shown, the L&T Duomatic toilet produced in Greece and discussed in this article. [Click to enlarge any image]
will consist of a place to sit (which is likely to look a lot like any other toilet),
a composting chamber which breaks down and sanitizes the sewage, and a drying chamber or tray
which permits moisture to escape, reducing the sewage volume.
Composting toilets come in models which use a little water or no water at all, and in electric
(heated and power-vented) models and non-electric models. Some models include electro-mechanical
mixers which mix waste in with a mulch product to speed and improve the composting process
Properly designed and installed the toilet is vented so that there are no abnormal toilet odors.
Periodically the compost must be emptied and on occasion toilet components are cleaned.
People use the toilet in a normal manner, and modern composting toilets in fact look pretty familiar,
resembling water-based toilets in general shape and comfort.
Waste is mixed with a "starter mulch" to begin the composting process.
Composted waste is emptied from the toilet at intervals ranging from one or two months to 12 months
depending on level of usage and toilet design.
Composting toilets which do not mix new human waste with material already being composted
produce a compost which is easier and safer to handle. This is a reason that some models use
multiple containers or compartments, though there are other solutions to this problem.
If the visible portions of the toilet need cleaning, normal household cleaner and toilet brush are used.
Composting Toilet Selection Question List
The following questions one asks when considering installing a composting toilet are addressed in the article below:
WHEN will the composting toilet be used? Part time, full time?
HOW OPERATED depending on who is using the toilet you'll choose between manually-operated toilets, semi-automatic, or fully automatic operation of the composting unit and other features. And the smaller composting toilet units, depending on usage level, will require more frequent attention. This is also a "WHO" question as different user populations will be more or less happy doing maintenance tasks
OPERATING REQUIREMENTS for composting toilets include
ELECTRICAL SERVICE is there electricity available? 120V, 12V, solar, or none? Composting toilet models include non-electric as well as various electrical models that operate the composter, operate ventilating fans, and in freezing climates provide heat
SPACE AVAILABLE for the composting toilet system is important for small cabin, buildings with no basement or easily-accessible crawl area
CLEANING & MAINTENANCE requirements exist for all toilets, but details and frequency of cleaning, emptying the compost, operating the compost mixing feature, and other tasks vary by design and toilet capacity
COMPOSTING TOILET SUPPLIES - provides a table comparing supply requirements & costs. All models require some form of composting bulk medium: sawdust, peat moss, or specially prepared products. Some people try wood chips - which IMO are not likely to work well in most designs and can clog or break others,
REGULATIONS: composting and other alternative toilet designs are regulated in some jurisdictions.
SOURCES: list of composting toilet manufacturers, brands, sources. Some of these manufacturers include helpful product choice guides right on their websites, and some also sell composting supplies for their toilets.
Where are Composting Toilets Most Often Used?
Composting Toilets may be used where the water supply is limited or not available at all, or where a building owner for other reasons wishes to conserve water use.
Other wastewater treatment will still be required for handling graywater from sinks and showers.
Shown above is the SunMar compact composting toilet. SunMar composting toilets and toilet models by other manufacturers are described below.
Full-Time and Part-Time Usage Composting Toilets
The buyer should consider carefully their intended maximum usage level of the toilet
before choosing a composting toilet model.
Full time composting toilets are intended
to serve as the main toilet in a full-time occupied building (more than 5 days continuous use, for example).
Part time composting toilets are intended to serve buildings which are not occupied full time
(that is less than 5 consecutive days) or by some manufacturers, these models are intended for
use during limited hours per day (10 or less).
Electric vs. Non-Electric Composting Toilets
Electric models include heaters to aid the composting, possibly a power ventilation system,
possibly a system which mixes air in with the compost to improve the aerobic bacterial breakdown of waste,
and possibly a mixing mechanism to mix sewage with mulch to aid the composting process.
Non-electric composting toilets may also be vented but will lack a heater and power mixing.
Water and Electricity for Composting Toilets
Composting toilet models vary among waterless, low water, and foam flush units. Obviously a
water-model requires a water source.
Composting toilet models also vary between models requiring electricity (typically 110V),
battery operated (12V), possibly solar powered, and models which use no electrical power.
Features such as automatic mixing, aeration, and vent fans will require electricity
The Composting Earth Closet: Antique Composting Toilet Photos
Sent to us by an Australian reader, and shown here are images of what we think is an antique composting toilet, missing some parts of course. Readers who have more to offer about this device are welcome to use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send us information.
Below first photo: two large gear wheels mesh with and move a steel conveyor belt that moves waste to a mixing chamber. In our second photo, propellers (yellow arrows) driven by the rear conveyor gear (orange arrow) provide additional mixing of waste with compost, typically using a sawdust starter.
Since earth closets incorporating moving parts have been described as early as 1881 it's certainly possible that the device above was a mechanically operated composting toilet.
Davey & Co. advertised a "self-acting" earth closet, according to compostingtoilet.org - http://compostingtoilet.org/news/000305.php retrieved 2016/02/25 - Ed.
Automatic, Semi-Automatic, and Manual Composting Toilets
A fully automatic composting toilet will typically control a heater, ventilating fan,
and a mixer to mix sewage and mulch together. A fully automatic toilet
mixes each time the seat is lowered.
A semi-automatic composting toilet
will still use a thermostatically controlled heater, fan. But
the sewage-compost-mulch mixer is manual, typically providing a
handle that is turned a few times after each use of the toilet.
[Click to enlarge any image]
The compost process involves biological breakdown of the waste - a process that
needs oxygen (air) heat, and some moisture.
Waste/compost/mulch mixing (the traditional "turning of the compost pile") is used
to improve the aerobic breakdown of waste pathogens, to macerate the waste
(which aids breakdown), to be sure that all parts of the
sewage are heated and treated, and to speed the composting process.
Not all composting toilets use a compost/sewage/mulch mixing mechanism, and composting toilet manufacturers
do not all agree on whether or not mixing is required. The Humanure Handbook
by Joseph Jenkins has an article discussing this topic [www.jenkinspublishing.com] [Envirolet has posted his
article at their website].
Shown at page top is the SunMar Excel™ composting toilet. SunMar provides low water and no-water composting toilets. Image courtesy of naturalhome.com and SunMar.
Composting Unit Size and Features vs Maintenance Needs
Smaller composting units, especially smaller units which do not use heaters and aerators,
because they risk unwanted liquid accumulation, insects, and nitrification of the waste,
will require more maintenance and care than units which provide an aerator fan, heater,
and compost mixer.
Toilet Trap/Bowl-Closure Methods
Because some folks don't want to look into the sewage/compost in a self-contained
composting toilet, and also for odor control and sanitation, all composting toilets have
some method of closing off the bottom of the bowl from the waste line or composting
Some composting toilet models use an automatic trap closing mechanism which appeals to people who
don't want to operate any unfamiliar controls on their toilet.
Other composting toilets
use a manual valve to close the bottom of the bowl. The manufacturers of composting
toilets which use a manual valve point out [Envirolet] that men who are accustomed to urinating
while standing up will have to sit to urinate on toilets which provide an automatic
Watch out: we've come across composting toilet user reviews complaining that the bowl closing door design looked great (automatic when the seat was lifted) but proved flimsy or actually broke quickly when the toilet was in service.
Note: we have not quoted specific reviews griping about shoddy products, clogs, breaks, and snafus or poor service because of uncertinty about the review source, authority, etc. But it's worth reading a few of these when sorting out composting toilet features and maintenance and repair performance.
Composting Toilet Waste Process Methods - Batch vs Continuous
Composting of sewage in a composting toilet involves
worm processing, micro-organism processing (bacteria, molds, and possibly other microorganisms)
and dehydration by the evaporation of moisture.
The toilet manufacturer may recommend or provide a specific mulching product to aid the
composting product and probably to aid in deodorizing.
Batch System Compost Toilets
A batch-system composting toilet interior contains multiple or change-out composting compartments.
When a compartment (or change-out container) is filled with waste it is sealed
and taken out of use to permit the sewage breakdown to continue.
When the composting process is complete for a given container it is emptied
(and presumably applied to soil in a legal manner)
and the container is returned to use.
Continuous Composting Toilets
A non-batch, continuous composting toilet receives waste continuously into a single container.
The composting procedure reduces the volume of the waste which is eventually (typically after 6-12 months)
removed from the bottom of the container and is considered "fully composted material" which is then
emptied (and presumably applied to soil in a legal manner).
Compost Toilet Installation Space
Be sure to review the installation requirements for the composting toilet
you're considering. Some models require that the toilet be installed directly over the composting
reservoir and others not; some models use a large reservoir below the toilet, others may be much
smaller and self-contained.
This makes a big difference if you're considering a composting toilet
in a one story building built on a slab, particularly if your toilet installation space does not include space for an along-side composting tank.
In a non-freezing climate it may be feasible to add-on a shelter against a building wall to contain the composting unit, but in freezing climates where the composter needs to be protected from freeze damage (varies by model) placing the composting tank outside the building envelope increases the installation cost as well as risks of freeze damage.
When planning for space for a central composting unit (using a composting tank that is separate from the toilet itself) remember that you're not going to just jam the composter into an inaccessible crawl area. Access needs to be easy, safe, and comfortable, as regular access will be required for cleaning, emptying, and other maintenance chores.
Compost Toilet Operating Requirements
Ordinary toilet tissue can be used in composting toilets; we read some reviews complaining of clogging in the composter: I suspect the clog issue is more around excessive tissue use, wrong bulk media (wood chips for example), or inadequate manual operation of a mulcher/rotater in the composting mulch mixture.
Electrical power: 120V electricity is required for some, not all models of composting toilets. Models of composting toilets are available that operate on no electricity at all, or that can use 240V, 120V, 12-V, or solar power. Electricity may operate a vent fan, a composting mulcher, liquid pumps, or freeze-protection heaters.
Heat & freeze protection: Ambient temperature in the room where the toilet is used (at least for some models) must
be above 64 deg F when the toilet is being used. At least some models permit the temperature to
drop (presumably below freezing?) during periods when the toilet is not in use.
unlikely to proceed at low temperatures, a condition which may affect the level of usage
allowed and the length of time for composting to complete.
Watch out: some composting toilet models may not work in freezing conditions, or may be damaged, or may require a heat source. Look for this detail in the product literature when choosing a model.
Compost disposal: periodically the composted waste is removed for disposal. It may be placed around trees
and flowers or shrubs, but the owner needs to comply with local codes in this matter.
Liquid waste disposal: Watch out: a number of the composting toilet models we've reviewed may not emphasize or state clearly the liquid waste handling features of the system.
Handling urine can be a problem in some designs where storage space is limited or where excessive urine liquid waste levels have to be addressed separately.
Maybe in the backwoods you're fine with peeing on the ground behind the cabin, but in many installations simply routing excess liquid waste out through a wall won't work or may violate local codes. In a climate subject to freezing we don't want to be faced with an overflowing composter because a pee overflow line froze.
Toilet cleaning: occasionally the exposed parts of the toilet will receive normal cleaning.
Don't use bleach, which in a composting toilet would damage the composting organisms and
may stop the composting process. Because
most composting toilets are made of either plastic or fiberglass use of abrasive cleaners is probably a bad idea as well.
Service & repair of composting toilets: Watch out: we were disturbed to read that a few composting toilet distributors provided very poor service, repair advice, and even worse warranty coverage. Problems seemed worse when a single "mom and pop" business was operating as the sole importer for a brand of composting toilet made in another country.
Take a look at user reviews of the toilet brand and model you're considering buying.
Regulations and Standards for Composting Toilets
The U.S. standard for composting toilets is NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) Standard 41.
Some, probably not all, models advertised have been tested to determine if they meet this standard.
In Canada, the CSA- has adopted and also certifies composting toilets
to meet National Sanitation Standard (NSF-) Standard-41.
These units shall be installed in accordance with the
manufacturers instructions. The units shall have a label indicating
compliance with the requirements of National Sanitation Foundation (NSF)
Standard 41 or equivalent. Only units with a warranty of five years or
more shall be installed.
List of Sources for Composting Toilets and Composting Toilet Brand & Model Comparisons
Composting Toilet Product Index & Feature Guides
AF Waterless Toilet for use with the Waterless Centrex 2000 / Centrex 3000 systems [BuilderDepot, Inc., sold at Walmart & other suppliers] - see SUN MAR below.
CONTACT Us to list your product or service here - if you are
a manufacturer of composting toilets or other alternative wastewater treatment system equipment your product
may be listed at no fee. Website content critique, additions, and suggestions are also invited. InspectApedia.com has no financial nor business relationship with products or services discussed here.
Biolan Populett Composting Toilets
Biolan Oy - Biolan Oy
PL 2, 27501 KAUTTUA
puh.0600 16999, arkisin klo 9 - 12
Website: www.biolan.fi or Website-English: http://www.biolangroup.fi/english/default4.asp?active_page_id=102
The operation of the Toilet is based on separation of the solid waste and liquid in the seat part. The toilet requires neither water nor electricity supply.
Excerpts describe an example of the use of the Biolan toilet at the Nuuksio National Park in Metsähallitus
Metsähallituksen kohteissa noudatetaan kestävän luontomatkailun periaatteita. Metsähallituksen hoidossa olevassa Nuuksion kansallispuistossa käy vuosittain noin 180 000 retkeilijää. Alueella on monipuoliset palvelut.
Käymälöitä kansallispuistossa on kaikkiaan noin 30. Jokaisen telttailualueen, tulentekopaikan, keittokatoksen ja laavun yhteydessä on kuivakäymälä. Näiden lisäksi Haukkalammen luontotuvan vieressä sekä Kattilassa on kuivakäymälä.
Alueen kuivakäymälöistä kaksi on 300-litraisia Biolan Populettia ja yksi 200-litrainen Biolan Populett. Tuotekehitysvaiheessa olevat isot Populett-kuivakäymät otettiin Nuuksiossa koekäyttöön vuonna 2008. Vasta tämän jälkeen ne tuotiin kuluttajamyyntiin.
The principles of sustainable nature tourism are followed by the Forestry Authority. Approximately 180,000 hikers annually visit Nuuksio National Park in Metsähallitus. The area offers versatile services. There are altogether about 30 toilets in the national park. There is a dry closet for each tent site, campfire site, kitchen cage and lava. In addition to these there is a dry closet next to Haukkalampi Nature Reserve and Kattila.
Two of the area's dry toilets are the 300-liter Biolan Populet and one 200-liter Biolan Populett. The big Populett dry sprays in the product development phase were taken to Nuusho for trial in 2008. Only then did they bring them to consumer sales.
BioLet Toilet Systems
830 West State Street
Newcomerstown, OH 43832, Tel: 800-524-6538, Website: biolet.com
Biolet 10 Standard Waterless Toilet, $1,800. Fan, thermostatically controlled heater, and a handy manual mixing control, Rated: 3 people full time or 4 people part time use. Cottage, basement, barn, etc.
Biolet 20 Deluxe Waterless Toilet, $2000. Fully automatic composting toilet. Thermostat, fan, automatic mixer, automated liquid controls. Rated 3 people full time, 4 people part time.
* Biolet Swedish composting toilets ranging from fully automatic
electric composting BioLet 60 XL (4 people full time use) Composting toilet prices: $2000. U.S. to a non-electric BioLet 30 NE model
(3 people full time use) $1400. U.S. Smallest model: $1000.
* BioLet XL composting toilets available from BioLet (link above)
and from EcoTech (link at left - EcoTech is a supplier of
composting toilets including the BioLet series)
are intended for cottages, extra rooms, and remote buildings. The unit includes a mixing motor, heater, and fan. BioLet toilets are
available from the manufacturer and from various composting toilet suppliers.
EcoTech also offers a urine-diverting toilet to expand the capacity of a composting toilet system, construct a drying toilet, and to provide
source denitrification of sewage waste.
With over 30 years of Swedish engineering experience, BioLet has released the 5th generation of their self-contained composting toilets. Constant advancements in their products have resulted in BioLet being the most advanced, easiest to use, easiest to install, self-contained composting toilet system in the world.
Designed for locations where reliable electricity is not available, the BioLet 30 NE is the perfect choice for the rustic cabin, hunting camp, or house off the grid. The BioLet 30 NE is also the perfect choice for applications supplied by solar power where the additional load of the electric models may be too much for your system.
Rated at 3 people full-time use and 4 people part-time use, the 30 NE's capacity can be increased to 4 people full-time use and 6 people part-time use by adding the auxiliary 12VDC fan.
Equipped with a convenient drain tube, the 30 NE drains off the excess liquids to an auxiliary container, French drain or leach field. Since liquids are not a limiting factor, the 30 NE will allow for applications where a larger capacity may be needed. When the compost bin fills, just transfer the humus to an auxiliary compost container outside for further composting.
As with all BioLets the 30 NE is easy to install by anyone with basic handyman knowledge in just a couple hours with common household tools.
BioLet 30 NE Non-Electric Waterless Solution Biological Toilet Features:; 3 people full-time use (4 people with auxiliary fan), 4 people part-time use (6 people with auxiliary fan); Installed: Height - 25", Seat height 19.5", Width - 15.75", Depth - 29"; Completely sealed casing of ABS - plastic.
Mixing arms and other important metal components of stainless steel.; Box Includes: o 1 - BioLet 30 NE Composting Toilet o 1 - 8 gallon bag Starter Mulch o 1 - Auxiliary compost bin o 1 - Winterizing plug o 1 - Manual mixing rake o 5 - 2' sections
Centrex Composting Toilets
Centrex central flush composting system (images just above) Available in three batch unit sizes & 1 continuous-use unit used with 1-pint flush toilets. Available in electric (120V or 12V) and non-electric models.
Liquid output is drained separately and needs to be directed to an approved facility.
The Centrex line is available from Sun-Mar Products,
(requires under-floor space for the composting unit)
BuyGreen - http://www.buygreen.com/ (retailer)
600 Main St.
Tonawanda, NY 14150, USA, Tel: 1-888-341-0782, Tel, International: 905-332-1314, Email: email@example.com
5370 South Service Rd.
Burlington, ON, L7L 5L1 Canada
Clivis Multrum Composting Toilets
Clivus Multrum composting toilets have been around long enough to be
famous. (The Clivus Multrum composting toilet was invented by the Swede Richard Lindstrom in 1938.)
Toilet models include a central composting system design, a waterless design and a foam flush design.
The foam flush model does not have to be directly over the composter. The low water system automatically
adds water to the composter.
Clivis describes an integrated outbuilding restroom design too. The company
offers factory technician maintenance service for the composter (which appears larger than some competing units, but
CM may have other smaller models).
This system uses a lower-temperature decomposition process known as moldering, which takes place slowly over several years and for this reason involves a comparatively
large composting unit, manual liquid removal, and steps to address persistent pathogens or pests that may develop in the
Prices: $2500 - $5000. Clivus Multrum offers other wastewater disposal systems and products such as a greywater
system which we discuss at our greywater information article.
CTS also distributes Sun-Mar. Compost Toilet Prices
$4600. to $5300. plus additional charges for support kit, solar-operated vents, fire suppression system.
Eco Toilets - New Zealand composting toilets
Eco Toilets (New Zealand) Composting toilets for permanent dwellings as well as for holiday homes.
Flushable Toilets, Non-flushable Toilets - Composting and Electric Toilets. EcoToilets Toatrone (shown here) is a non-flush
waterless toilet which also performs urine separation.
The composting reservoir is placed directly below the toilet.
EcoToilets informs us that this composting toilet design is derived from the earlier Clivus Multrum composting toilet design.
In this Eco Toilets composting model, a special "air staircase" allows air to penetrate through the composting
sewage waste from below, a detail which the designer says makes the process of decomposition very efficient.
Usage level: designed for permanent living.
A normal household would remove waste as compost once a year.
Eco Toilets also offers Aquatron flush composting toilets which
use urine separation, flushing, and a composting container. Eco Toilets is located in Hamilton, New Zealand
Carousel Composting Toilets - EcoTech
* Carousel batch composting toilets from EcoTech
include self-contained and under-floor models. Composting waste is kept separate from in-use toilet.
Similar to the Norwegian Vera (TM).
Prices: $2200. to $3400. U.S.
Eco John Composting Toilets - U.S.
Eco John EcoJohn Basic - A waterless separating composting toilet, which is perfect where an ecologically sensitive toilet facility is desired.
Few product details were at the Eco John toilet website. This is a California company not the New Zealand listing just above.
Eco-San, low density polyethylene, waterless urinal, wind-turbine vent system, outside composter attached
to the toilet. Composting toilet price $3000.
Eco Toilets, Composting Toilets, New Zealand
EcoToilets (New Zealand), Ecotoilets, PO Box 7257, Te Ngae,
Rotorua 3042 New Zealand
57 - 77 Wahanga-a-Rangi Cres,
Eastgate Industrial Park,
Te Ngae Rotorua
Phone: +64 (7) 349 4940. Composting toilets with urine separation.
Website: http://www.ecotoilets.co.nz/ [Swedish technology] The below-floor composter in this design feeds liquid waste into gray water tanks that feed a leach field.
The company also provides an Aquatron low-flush toilet and composter system and a Toatrone waterless toilet developed from the original Clivus Multrum 1938 design.
A smaller eco-solution re-locatable toilet uses a smaller composter that is emptied on 6-month intervals and can be equipped with a solar-powered vent fan.
No prices are quoted but a fully operational system target is $10,000. NZ.
Ekolet Dry Composting Toilets
Phone +35 810 666 2690; The Ekolet company provides composting toilets for outdoor use (outhouses), holiday homes, and indoor use to replace a standard WC.
Excerpt: Composting Ekolet Dry Toilets are completely odorless. Inside the container the waste is composted into fertilizing soil, and the extracted liquid is biologically cleaned. The compositing toilets for home are suitable for regular, year-round use. You can replace an ordinary water closet with an Ekolet toilet.
Dry toilets are in wide use in Finland, with usage increasing after a 2004 passage of a wastewater treatment regulation # 542/2003 and an update to the regulation in 2011, Finland rgulation # 209/2011 that address handling of wastewater in buildings that are not connected to a public sewer.
Envirolet Low Water & Waterless Toilets & Composting Toilets
The Envirolet Waterless Remote System (120VAC Electric) is ideal when you have space directly below your bathroom either in a basement or outside. The Waterless Toilet goes in your bathroom and is connected to the Waterless Remote System (shown above).
The highest capacity Envirolet System available. This System was feature in the Field & Stream "Dream Cabin" magazine! Included with system purchase:
The Envirolet Low Water Remote (120VAC Electric) Composting System has the highest capacity of all the Low Water Remote Systems and allows for up to three toilets to be connected to the composting unit.
Each Low Water Toilet flushes with as little as one pint. Included with system purchase:
1. Envirolet Low Water Remote (120VAC Electric) Composting Unit,
2. Premix Starter Kit,
3. Envirolet Compost Accelerator (8oz),
4. 4" Wind Turbine,
5. 2-Stage Pre-Sediment Filter Drain Kit (Filter Tray, 5' Nylon Drain Line Quick Connect Breather "T"),
6. Luxury Low Water Toilet (White),
7. Vent/ Drain Kit (3' x 3" Flex Drain Duct, 4' x 4" Flex Vent Duct, Gear Clamps, Water Supply, Floor Flange, Coupling, Silicone, and Rubber Roof Flashing)
Used with Envirolet Waterless Remote Composting Toilet Systems, but can also be used with existing outhouse or other composting toilets -- not that anyone would choose anything other than an Envirolet! This toilet is 16.5" W x 22.5" L x 20.5" H (15" height to seat). Waterless toilet (black granite), toilet seat (oak), rubber floor gasket and hardware included
Excerpts: L&T Duomatic needs
no electricity or water and it is odour-free and easy to empty when correctly installed and properly used.
The L&T Duomatic composting toilet has two 80 litre containers, one of which is in use while the other
one is composting its contents in the rear of the toilet.
The toilet has a capacity of some 70 usage days /
4 persons / container. In the L&T Duomatic toilet, liquids filter through the substance and the evaporation
screen into the container below and keep the composting substance suitably moist.
Efficient ventilation system
The L&T Duomatic composting toilet has a ventilation system which allows some of the liquids to
evaporate from the evaporation chamber below the compartments during the composting process.
of the liquids can be drained through a hose from the evaporation chamber to the seepage canister.
package includes a separate seepage canister and hose. It is recommended to dig the canister into the
ground, and the seepage hose should be installed to the canister, because in an overflow situation the
seepage will drain from the evaporation chamber through the hose into the canister.
In case of possible
odour problems, the seepage should be drained directly from the evaporation plate into the canister.
LetsGoGreen - SunMar Canada
LetsgoGreen is not a toilet manufacturer but rather a Canadian supplier of SunMar and other electric and non-electric versions of composting
toilets (Ontario, Canada).
The toilet shown here is the Centrex 2000 A/F central-flush waterless air flow composting toilet which uses
a below-floor composting drum (110V, Composting Capacity: 4-6 Residential, 6-8 Weekend/Vacation Use, cost $1,795.00).
Other self-contained composting toilet models are available.
Liberty Pumps composting toilets
Liberty Pumps, 7000 Apple Tree Avenue
Bergen, NY 14416 USA
Phone: (800) 543-2550
Liberty ASCENTII-RSW, Complete Macerating Toilet System, Round, 1/2 HP, 115V
The Liberty Pumps ASCENTII-RSW is a complete Macerating Toilet System with round front style. It is perfect for bathroom additions and remodeling without breaking concrete floors. It can pump up to 25’ vertically and 150’ horizontally through a 1" discharge pipe.
The ASCENTII-RSW features advanced RazorCut technology for improved maceration of waste and a removable service panel that provides quick access to the cutter area without disconnecting the plumbing. Other features include IST solid state switching, a built-in alarm and LED lights with external touchpad for alarm silence and manual override.
The high quality toilets, available in round front and elongated, have improved flush performance and carry the WaterSense mark. Both models feature insulated tanks to eliminate sweating.
Nature's Head is a U.S. made stainless-steel composting toilet, designed originally for the marine environment (use on boats). This is a portable, self contained, urine separating dry toilet that can be used where electricity is not available.
The liquid waste compartment can store 2.2 U.S. gal. which the manufacturer recommends disposing of in a public restroom.
Liquid urine waste is automatically separated from the solids. Solid waste that has composted (decomposed) for 3 months or more can be used as plant fertilizer; solid waste that has not composted that long can be bagged and disposed-of in a dumpster.
The base product cost is about $850.00 U.S.
The manufacturer notes that the toilet system does not produce the odors associated with holding tank toilet systems. It is suitable for cabins, cabanas, boat houses, hunting camps, RVs, basements, semi-trucks, and even pick-up trucks.
The unit is vented to outside a venting kit chosen depending on the installation requirements. A 12-V fan is used to operate the ventilation system, powered by battery or a solar vent with backup solar-charged battery pack.
The composting system is primed with damp, crumbly peat moss. Telephone: 251-295-3043 email: Sales@NaturesHead.net
3/7/2014 Alan Morton said: Nature's Head Composting Toilets are now available ex-stock in New Zealand from the sole importing agent - The Outdoor Shop, 2 Cobham Road, Kerikeri, Bay of Islands. Phone: 64-(0)9 - 4077641 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.outdoorshop.co.nz or www.natureshead.co.nz
Nature Loo Composting Toilets, Australia
Nature-Loo composting toilet is an Australian product includes ceramic and plastic models. Available in both full time & part time use models & models for mobile homes & boats. For homes & extensions, available in split systems for non-slab-floor installations & self-contained systems for slab floor installation.
Phoenix Composting Toilets
Phoenix Composting Toilet from Advanced Composting Systems (195 Meadows Road, Whitefish, MT 59937),
requires 5 watts of electric power. Hand pump to remove excess liquid; rotating tines to move compost to the removal
area. DC fan; can run on photovoltaics.
Composting Toilet Prices: $4100. to $6100.Email: email@example.com, Website: Internet: http://www.compostingtoilet.com
Also available from Sunergy Systems Ltd., Box 70 • Cremona, AB T0M 0R0
Operating Manual: http://www.compostingtoilet.com/LITRACK/manual.pdf
Separett Urine Diverting Composting Toilet
Separett Villa 9210 AC/DC Urine Diverting Toilet using compostable waste bag liners.
PO Box 226
Barrington NH, 03825 USA Tel: 800.682.8619 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sold at shoptinyhouses.com and other outlets.
Excerpts: The Separett Villa waterless toilet, is a urine diverting design which redefines the approach
required for remote cottage, tiny home, boat, RV and residential sanitation requirements, providing a system equal
to a modern water based toilet in every way.
The Villa 9210 is designed to accept 12V DC power from a battery or solar resource, or the AC converter - on standard AC power. It's the perfect unit if you may be changing from on grid to off or vice versa.
For installation in locations where the unit is not used for a period of time, and power is not continual, we recommend that when closing your location, you place the lid on storage container to eliminate the need for ventilation. Upon return, remove the lid and restart the fan for proper ventilation.
Using the Villa 9210 AC/DS unit allows solid waste to be stored for disposal while liquid waste is safely diverted into a drain pit, storage tank, or waste water system.
Site-Built Composting Toilets
Shown below is a composting toilet system in use above Akaroa at the Hinewai Reserve (Maurice White Native Forest Trust) on the Banks Peninsula in New Zealand.
Using a combination of purchased and site built components this composting toilet serves hikers and visitors to the preserve.
Separate toilet facilities or latrines for urine are provided for use if the liquid level in the composting toilet becomes too high but at the time we visited this facility a note from the management encouraged peeing into the composting toilet as the mixture was too dry.
At above left is the box of dry plant material, of which a small handful is tossed into the composting loo after each use. At above right we see that this composting loo includes a ventilating fan that can be switched on if the composting toilet is a bit smelly.
Sun Frost Human Humus Composting Toilets
Sun Frost "Human Humus Machine" Composting Toilet, Sun Frost, Sun Frost
824 “L” Street
Arcata, CA 95521, Tel: 707-822-9095, Email: email@example.com, Website: http://www.sunfrost.com. Pricing not found at website. Quoting:
The Human Humus Machine is available in a relatively low-cost kit form. The kit consists of all the parts necessary to convert two 55-gallon drums into a state-of-the-art composting toilet. The drums have a plastic liner to eliminate rusting. The kits are easy to assemble and can be completed in less than 2 hours. The installer would obtain the drums locally. We can also offer fully assembled units.
The Human Humus Machine is a batch-type CT. After the drum is full, the contents of the drum are allowed to sit for a number of months to complete the composting process. In non-batch type composters, newly deposited material can contaminate compost ready to be removed.
SunMar Composting Toilets
* SunMar provides low water and no-water composting toilets, and
stand alone toilets as well as equipment to provide central composting supporting multiple toilets.
(Their website says there are 20 models of low water or no water toilets.)
SunMar uses a rotating drum to mix the compost. Sun-Mar is described by some vendors as not a true composting
toilet but as a "dry toilet", smaller than true composting toilets, and using supplemental heat, air, and
mixing to assure waste decomposition.
Waste is kept on an outside compost pile for six months before
spreading on soils.
More frequent emptying and smaller capacity than "true composters" this toilet may be
a best fit for a low-use remote cabin.
SunMar offers a variety of composting toilets including a self-contained
composting marine toilet model, the SunMar Mobile, certified by the U.S. Coast Guard ($1,489.00).
Shown here is the SunMar Excel ne composting toilet [Click image for larger photo].
Sunmar produces an elongated base dry toilet, non-electric, ADA-compliant, also sold as the AF Waterless Toilet for use with the Waterless Centrex 2000 / Centrex 3000 systems [BuilderDepot, Inc., sold at Walmart & other suppliers] shown below.
Thetford Composting Toilets
Thetford Corporation 7101 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103, Phone: 1-800-543-1219, 734-769-6000, Fax: 734-769-2023; Thetford produces a wide range of permanent and portable alternative toilet designs. Quoting:
Our [toilet] products are easy to use at bedside and indispensable for the physically challenged, the aged, and small children.
Thetford's list of toilet products suitable for home or bedside health care are listed at
* - units that were recommended by RealGoods and which look good to us.
Thetford produces also the Bravura low profile RV toilet.
Table of Composting Toilet Operating Costs, Choices, Supplies - do we really need to buy mulch or sawdust or other stuff?
Reader Question: What are the operating costs & choices for composting toilets? Are consumables really required for composting toilets?
Your web site has been very useful indeed but we remain uncertain about our choice.
Are you aware of a composting toilet that uses water and standard house electricity for which there are no consumables necessary?
if not is there a way of comparing the on-going costs of additives for these toilets?
Thanks very much
- A.D. - Canada
Reply: List of Composting Toilet Supplies, Costs, Features, Functions
I am not aware of any composting toilet design for which the manufacturer recommends no consumables whatsoever. The minimum consumable required is a bulking material. Sun-Mar and some others also offer enzymes, deodorants, and compost activators that may be optional.
Quoting from the Phoenix Composting Toilet System Instructions for Operation and Maintenance, and noting that opinions vary among manufacturers about the best and most easily biodegraded bulking material to use in a composting toilet:
Bulking material is necessary to improve drainage and aeration, and to
provide extra carbon, thus creating conditions essential for composting. The
right amount of bulking material gives the compost pile a crumbly, porous
An inadequate amount results in a wet, pudding-like texture, puddling
liquid, and anaerobic conditions that generate an unpleasant odor. 
"Anaerobic conditions" means more than just an unpleasant odor. It also means the system will lack aerobic bacterial action and biodegradation will not proceed properly nor adequately.
Keep in mind that the operating cost for a composting toilet depends not only on the cost of supplies but on the type of toilet selected (non-electric vs. electric, for example) and upon the level of usage and perhaps maintenance. That said, below we have begun a table of composting & waterless & low-water toilet system supplies, uses, & costs.
Table of Toilet Supplies for Composting, Low-Water & Waterless Toilets
The toilet supplies listed in the table below are available from the manufacturers listed in a product directory found in the article above, as well as from additional distributors located online.
Composting Toilet Brand & Supply Item
Biolet Compost Starter Mix
8 gal. bag
A specialized compost mix of peat and other natural organic materials help keep your BioLet composting toilet at its peak efficiency.
Formulated by soil scientists, this mixture provides the optimum balance for efficient composting.
1 bag will last 2 people using a BioLet full time for about 3-4 months.
add 1/2 cup of this compost mix after each fecal use
Envirolet® Starter Mix Kit
2 for $59.
1 bag of premix starter material and 1 paper mat
activates the composting process. Recommended for seasonal start up of your Envirolet® composting toilet system or any other type of composting toilet system.
Envirolet Compost Accelerator
1 x 16 oz jar
Applied to Envirolet® composting unit once every two weeks with a small amount of warm water.
Helps accelerate the composting process in your system. Take advantage of the quantity discount!
Can even be added to your home or backyard composter.
16oz jar will last approximately 9-12 months when using 1 tablespoon every 2 weeks with a warm cup of water.
Envirolet Daily Mix Reusable Pail
56 Cups Daily Mix in Reusable Pail
Daily Mix is specially formulated for daily use with Envirolet® Composting Toilet Systems.
Improves composting and is recommended instead of peat moss. All natural material.
1/4 cup per user of Daily Mix every day evenly over compost
Envirolet Daily Mix Refill Pak for above item
6 bags. 168 cups
Envirolet Air Solution Kit
3 gel cassettes per kit
Cassette is placed inside system between Aeration Basket and shell of body.
Helps ensure a fresh outside scent. Particularily helpful in low lying areas or areas where trees may result in a downdraft.
Each cassette will last approximately 30-60 days
Nature Flush Enzymes
$32 AUD 1L
$140 AUD 5L
1L or 5L of concentrate, dilute 20 parts water to 1 part enzyme concentrate .
Enzyme Concentrate –
To speed up the composting process and provide a fresh fragrance with the push of a button, enzymes can be sprayed into the chamber.
In the case of the Compact toilet you can either add these manually using a hand held domestic spray flask or by purchasing our micro dosing pump kit, which produces an evenly distributed spray directly onto the contents of the chamber.
Kits contain a micro flush foot pump, storage container, pipes, nozzles and enough enzyme concentrate for 4000 flushes.
Phoenix composting toilet bulking mix
see note at right
The best bulking material is dry planer shavings from a white softwood
such as pine.
Do not use shavings from decay resistant woods such as cedar
or redwood: this material will reduce the composting rate.
The bulking agent
must have a physical structure that resists compaction so that air voids will
Do not use large wood chips, wood waste from treated lumber,
or materials that form a mat, such as long grass or leaves.
Dry pine shavings
often are sold as bales of animal bedding.
Add one to two gallons of bulking material
through the toilet or upper access door for every 100 uses.
Add one to two gallons of bulking material
through the toilet or upper access door for every 100 uses.
Sun-Mar® Compost Sure - BULK
One Bulk package = 5 boxes of 8-gallon (30L) bags
Comprised of peat moss & chopped hemp stalk. Quoting: Compost Sure consists of coarse peat moss and chopped hemp stalk.
Compost Sure has an added advantage over homemade bulking material - hemp.
Hemp will decompose where wood shavings and peat moss do not - giving your compost a longer residency time!
More importantly, it saves you the time of making your own mix.
1 cup of compost mix per person per day or 1 cup of compost mix for every bowel movement.
Sun-Mar Compost Sure Blue - BULK
One Bulk package = 5 boxes of 8-gallon (30L) bags
Bulking material containing 100% hemp stalk.
Designed especially for central systems with low-flush toilets in addition to garden composters.
The hemp stalk breaks down quickly while offering good porousity and keeps the compost supplied with carbon.
?? - copy from above 1 cup of compost mix per person per day or 1 cup of compost mix for every bowel movement.
Sun-Mar Compost Quick Spray
12/ 16oz. bottles of spray enzyme.
Enzyme liquid accelerates the composting action, leaving you with a perfect finished compost every time. It can also be used as a cleaner for either your bowl liner (for self-contained models) or your toilet (for Low Flush systems).
3-4 squirts of nozzle before rotating drum. We estimate that translates into 200+ squirts/bottle or 25 drum rotations.
Sun-Mar Microbe Mix
16 oz jar
Super-biologically active bacteria which will recharge your compost.
1. Prices are rounded to nearest dollar
2. Fast dissolving toilet tissue & other supplies are excluded from this list unless specified as required by the toilet manufacturer.
3. Bulk additive for composting: reading reviews of what works and doesn't work for people we note that
- Sun-mar advised an unhappy owner of a Centrex composting toilet that their soggy waste mixture was caused by failing to use the proper mix of sawdust and peat moss - (retrieved 2/24/2014 treehugger.com 2014)
- Watch out: do not use home-made bulk composting remedies like wood shavings or wood chips; you're likely to clog and possibly damage the composting mixer as well as to see poor results in the field.
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(Apr 4, 2014) Colleen Oliver said:
Is there a system that can take more than one toilet bowl - for a camp ground
Yes Colleen, some of the composting toilet manufacturers provide a system that uses a common composting toilet tank with multiple toilets.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Questions & answers or comments about buying, using, & maintaining a composting toilet
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Flatley, Joshua, BRF/BAT Technical Lead, "BAT Classification for Waterless Toilet Systems", Maryland Department of the Environment (Maryand DOE), 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore MD 21230, Tel: 410-537-3000, Tel: 800-633-6101, Website:www.mde.maryland.gov, Memorandum, 10 March 2015 to Environmental Health Directors, THRU: Jay Prager, Wastewater Permits Program, Deputy Program Director,
 Phoenix Composting Toilet from Advanced Composting Systems (195 Meadows Road, Whitefish, MT 59937),
requires 5 watts of electric power. Hand pump to remove excess liquid; rotating tines to move compost to the removal
area. DC fan; can run on photovoltaics. Composting Toilet Prices: $4100. to $6100.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: Internet: http://www.compostingtoilet.com
Also from Sunergy Systems Ltd., Box 70 • Cremona, AB T0M 0R0
Web search 5/3/12, original source:
Operating Manual: http://www.compostingtoilet.com/LITRACK/manual.pdf
 "Composting Toilets: Alleviating Regulatory Barriers to an Integrated Green Solution", Tara Franey,
Land Use Institute, Vermont Law School, 164 Chelsea St , P.O. Box 96, South Royalton, VT 05068 email@example.com, Web search 5/3/12, original source:
 Envirolet's name is on "Composting Toilet World" website: Watch out: avoid this website, all advertisements, no information, very annoying website with flashing advertisements at http://www.compostingtoilet.org/news/
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.
How to Build a Compost Toilet(The Debt Killer), Dan Martin, Kindle Edition, ASIN: B003BVJBTQ, [Quoting]
Also known as “waterless toilets”, “dry toilets” and “biological toilets”, the composting toilet is actually a toilet with the main goal of breaking down human waste into humus, a substance that resembles soil, rather than flushing it down the sewer system where vast amounts of chemicals and water are used to do what nature does naturally.
My first compost toilet was one of these fancy shmancy $2000 units. It lasted 3 months. Before purchasing a different style I decided to take what I know of Anaerobic decomposition of organic matter and put it to the test building my own compost toilet. That was over 10 years ago and I still have the same toilet. That’s longer than most people own conventional toilets for.
I’ll show you step by step how to make 2 very simple styles of home composting toilets, which operate better, cleaner and will last longer than any model on the market today for a tenth of the price
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
"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.
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.
Pennsylvania State Fact Sheets relating to domestic wastewater treatment systems include:
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-161, Septic System Failure: Diagnosis and Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-162, The Soil Media and the Percolation Test
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-l64, Mound Systems for Wastewater Treatment
Pennsylvania State Wastewater Treatment Fact Sheet SW-165, Septic Tank-Soil Absorption Systems
Document Sources used for this web page include but are not limited to: Agricultural Fact Sheet #SW-161 "Septic Tank Pumping," by Paul D. Robillard and
Kelli S. Martin. Penn State College of Agriculture - Cooperative Extension, edited and annotated by
Dan Friedman (Thanks: to Bob Mackey for proofreading the original source material.)
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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.
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.
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, 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.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones