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What are the brands, types, features & usefulness of incinerating toilets: electric or propane gas operated?
This article series 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.]
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 additives 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
Question: reader's troubles with the Eco John incinerating toilet
I have been trying to find information and reviews concerning the EcoJohn SR-5 propane incinerating toilet, but other than a few "sanitized' reviews on the website itself, I have had no luck.
We have a cottage up in Maine, off the grid, with no ability (nor desire) to install septic system.
Last year we used a Sun-Mar composting toilet, with the composting unit outside the house. It stank, did not work properly, and could not work in cold conditions (the plastic crank handle will freeze, rendering the unit inoperable).
This year, after researching all winter on-line, I thought I had solved the problem with the Ecojohn.
It has been nothing but a nightmare, and I have had little to no support from the rep or the company. I think it is unsafe from a heat standpoint (the vent stack gets very hot - using a thermal gun it was 130 degrees even as high as 15 feet up), and it cycled erratically.
Initially, I noticed that the cycle never ended- it went on for over 2 hours. I lifted the lid, which is supposed to halt the burn- and it did not. When I called the company they doubted my veracity!
I figured out that the lever attached to the lid was not adjusted properly and did not depress the kill switch- and subsequently that safety feature works, but I was most unhappy that the initial response from the person at EcoJohn was to doubt that it had actually happened.
Next- the endless cycling- the recommendation was to turn down the temperature a notch. I did. That did seem to make the cycles turn on and off at the appropriate lengths of time (about 13 minutes for a urine cycle and 35 minutes for a waste cycle). I know this because I have been keeping careful notes.
WHat still troubled me was the heat of the vent stack- it was much too hot to touch at the base, and although I had been assured that it was cooler as it got past the 4-foot level, unfortunately that was not the case. I measured it as it was exiting the roof (through the second story) and it was just as hot. Thinking I may just be over sensitive, I borrowed a thermal heat sensor from a local stove shop and tested it repeatedly, and it was getting up to 130 degrees both at base level and also at a height of over 15 feet. I could find no reference to the heat issue anywhere online
But it got even worse- as I went to vacuum out the "clean, sterile ash" I discovered that there was no ash to clean out. Instead, there was gobs of you- know- what and an unbelievable stench. Not even the toilet paper had incinerated.
I am at my wit's end with this, and the rep is offering no help at all. I want to return the thing. My children are all afraid to use it, and now so am I.
The only thing I have not yet tried is to raise the temperature again and see if it starts to cycle properly, and to also borrow that gauge again and see if the temperature of the vent gets hotter if the temp is raised. It is a double walled pipe and seems to be a proprietary design.
But I am back in my own (conventional) home again, which is far away from the cottage, and a little reluctant to go back just to poop-test. Luckily the cottage has an outhouse, which compared to my high-priced paperweight is the pinnacle of freshness.
Have you had any people review this product? I have searched and searched and there is no info or reviews out there that I can find. - Anonymous by private email, 2016/10/06
Good job summarizing the very disappointing issues. If you can send photos and details of your installation that will help.
The problems you describe are indeed very worrisome. It sounds as if the advice to lower the temperature setting to amend the cycling time changed the cycle time but at the cost of adequate incineration. That's an unacceptable outcome.
The issue of stack vent temperature is more manageable.
First, take a look at PYROLYSIS EXPLAINED.
You'll see that temperatures around 200 degf. and higher cause the pyrolysis effect that could eventually lead to a building fire if combustible materials are too-near to a vent or chimney operating in that temperature range.
Down at 130 degF the vent temperatures would probably be safe. But before deciding that I'd look more carefully at where and how temperatures are being measured. For example, using an IR scanner to measure surface temperature is inaccurate except to compare relative temperatures between two similarly-colored and textured surfaces. Only flat black surfaces can be measured accurately.
Options where a vent is considered too hot are to increase clearance to combustibles, add approved heat shielding, or to go to an insulated, metalbestos type flue.
If you're willing to have me publish your comments, including photos of the toilet and its components, any evidence of malfunction, along with model number and age, that may prompt helpful suggestions from other users and perhaps from the company, benefiting both Eco John users and also the company itself. To protect all parties from bias and also to maintain reader credibility, we need take care to be accurate and unbiased and to distinguish between fact an opinion - something that should be easy for the problems you describe.
About the other installation and operating problems, my opinion is that some of these incinerating toilets are probably rather good designs but were designed and are mostly installed in other countries where there are more people with experience and expertise in installation and set-up. When support for such a product in the U.S. depends on what looks like a mom and pop operation, it's hit or miss what level of expertise and support we'll find. I hope that by posting these problems the companies and distributors will be more responsive. After all, besides you as the end consumer, they have a tremendous stake in the safe and successful use of their product.
Incinerating toilets can, it appears, be made to work, but their installation, set-up, and operation require some care. Incinerating toilets, either electric or propane powered, are used for example in Arctic stations where conventional sewage disposal systems either cannot work or are impractical. They're also discussed in NASA research, EPA research, various water saving technology research, in works on railroad systems and for other circumstances where conventional waste treatment is not available such as areas of South Africa.
Research on incinerating toilet designs, effectiveness, success, problems, repairs:
Niwagaba, C., M. Nalubega, B. Vinnerås, and H. Jönsson. "Incineration of faecal matter for treatment and sanitation." Water Practice and Technology 1, no. 2 (2006): wpt2006042.
Abstract Incineration of faeces offers a treatment method that is useful in reducing the final quantities of faeces and toilet paper. It is also useful as a sanitation method for faeces. The aim of this work was to increase the knowledge about incineration as a treatment and sanitation method for faeces. The faecal matter used in this study contained ash used as additive material during the collection phase. The incinerated faeces/ash mixture had an ash content of 86%. It caught fire when the temperatures reached 800°C and beyond and after this, temperatures in the range of 800 to 1000 °C were recorded. The mass reduction was 15 - 36% and the organic matter was reduced by 78 - 99%. The plant nutrient content was reduced, total nitrogen by 90 - 94% and available phosphorus by 70 - 94%. Incinerating material with a dry matter (DM) of less than 90% resulted in a strong smell. When the DM was higher, the smell lessened. The reduction in mass of excreta and the possibility to re-use ashes as additives in toilets can be advantages of incineration of faeces.
Excerpt: ... Incinerating faecal material with more than 10% moisture content resulted into a strong bad ... At even higher moisture levels (>30%), it was not possible to successfully incinerate the faeces. Moisture content for the faecal material incinerated was decreased by sun-drying them in ...
BCDHE, "Incinerating Toilets", [PDF] Barnstable County Department of Health & Environment, 3195 Main Street, PO Box 427, Barnstable, MA 02630, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 508-375-6613, http://www.barnstablecountyhealth.org/resources/publications/compendium-of-information-on-alternative-onsite-septic-system-technology/incinerating-toilets
Excerpt: If installed in accordance with appropriate codes (gas-fitting, plumbing, electric, building), both gas-fired and electric toilets are permitted in Massachusetts. It is not clear, however, if their use fulfills the requirement of a water closet under the plumbing code. Many of you may remember that the issue of a water- closet requirement prevented the use of composting toilets for years.
Boards of Health in Barnstable County and most areas of the state should only consider permitting the use of incinerator toilets as a replacement for a subsurface sewage system after careful consideration and after all other feasible alternatives have been explored. These units are not specifically referenced in Title 5, and hence there are no specific guidelines for their application. In general, they have been permitted in remedial situations where the living units are seasonal with limited use, and where there is a means for gray water disposal. Most often, graywater disposal in those situations is permitted to an existing facility in similar fashion as has been allowed under 310CMR 15.289(3)(a)
Incinerating toilets find their most ideal application at sites where it is impractical to extend water service or sites which receive very limited use. In the case of gas-fired incinerator toilets, even electrical service is not required. Applications include camps, cabins, fishing shacks, dune shacks, accessory buildings etc. Applications in Falmouth included beach cabanas along Shore Rd. that were heavily damaged during a hurricane.
Dickey, Elbert C., Robert P. Pharris, Phillip W. Harlan, and Gary Hosek. "Home Sewage Treatment Systems." (1980).
Green, W., and G. Ho. "Small scale sanitation technologies." Water Science and Technology 51, no. 10 (2005): 29-38.
Hughes, Kevin A., and Simon J. Nobbs. "Long-term survival of human faecal microorganisms on the Antarctic Peninsula." Antarctic Science 16, no. 03 (2004): 293-297.
Memon, Fayyaz Ali, and David Butler. "In-house Water Saving Technologies." [PDF] Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, Workshop on Water Demand Management,
6 - 18 September, 2003,
Power and Water Institute of Technology, Tehran.
Note: the authors include among their conclusions an observation that for the purposes they were discussing, the operating costs of incinerating toilets exceed the benefits in water savings, but IMO this is not the only consideration - Ed.
Muñiz, Edwin. "A Proposed Sustainable Sanitation System for the Zwelitsha section of Langrug Informal Settlement in Stellenbosch Municipality South Africa." PhD diss., Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2013.
Nagy, J., and A. Zseni. "Swot analysis of dry toilets." WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment 203 (2016): 257-268.
NSF, "NSF International Onsite Wastewater Inspector Accreditation Program Applicant’s Guide", http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.676.7783&rep=rep1&type=pdf
USEPA Water Efficiency Technology Fact Sheet: Incinerating Toilets (EPA 832-F-99-072) [PDF] Retrieved 2016/10/09, original source: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/incinera.pdf
Excerpt: The Storburn was found to effectively reduce human wastes to ash, even at low ambient temperatures. On the coldest day tested, the exhaust temperature was measured going from - 11°C to 100°C (the boiling point of water) only one minute after ignition. On average, the ash remaining after incineration amounted to 2.23 percent of the total weight of waste treated in the Storburn. Moreover, microbiological examination of the resulting ash revealed no fecal contamination. The coldest temperatures tested did adversely impact incineration, however, because the contents of the propane tank could not vaporize properly. To maintain an optimal fuel supply to the toilet, the authors of the study recommend keeping propane tanks sheltered or heated when used in sub-zero conditions.
Wadhwa, K. C. "Report on Fire studies in Maitri station and summer huts at Antarctica." (2006).
Excerpt: BLOCK "C" : Accommodates 5 Nos. incenerator toilets. Most ... manifold. v. Incinerators:
Garbage & toilet incinerator can cause fire due to malfunctioning and threatens the
adjoining fuel dumps and LPG cylinders in the vicinity.
The Incinolet Electric Incinerating Toilet
[Click to enlarge any image]
Discussion of the Incinolet electyric incinerating toilet has moved to INCINOLET TOILET.
The Destroilet Incinerating Toilet from LaMere Industries
The Destroilet was invented by Frank J. La Mere and was the first commercially successful incinerating toilet that saw widespread use as according to its inventor, Frank La Mere, earlier efforts were costly or otherwise difficult to keep working.
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). Cost: about $4000. plus shipping and taxes.
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.
Note: in North America Storburn International distributes this incinerating toilet.
Quoting from the company's website:
STORBURN introduced the "store and burn" incinerator in 1976. The new model 60K builds upon that concept with a completely new control system that is simpler to operate and a new burner designed for increased combustion efficiency.
Under ideal operating conditions a full 100 lb. propane cylinder will burn 16 maximum capacity loads (approximately 960 uses). Because of ambient temperatures, ratio of solids to liquid and other variable factors that affect fuel consumption, it is more reasonable to expect 100 lbs. of propane to burn approximately 600 uses. lt is also more efficient to burn full loads rather than partial loads since it takes virtually the same amount of fuel to preheat the combustion chamber under all load conditions.
The STORBURN toilet can be installed in virtually any heated or unheated building or enclosure. Installation is similar to a vented free-standing space heater.
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
* 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.
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(Mar 23, 2015) Michael J schmitz said:
What's the cost of the first & second one shown on this web site & what's the weight of each? contact me at email@example.com Mike
For latest costs, Michael, we give the manufacturer's contact information for each toilet alternative.
Question: does Maryland prohibit use of incinerating toilets?
Neil Crowner said:
looks like MD does NOT allow them.CAN THIS BE?
From reading the source I cite below it seems to me that in Maryland in the U.S. Incinerating, waterless, composting toilets are not disapproved per-se but rather are subject to conflicting guidelines, "approved" where written into the land use covenant but at least for composting toilets, "disapproved" or "not recommended" as posing a health risk.
As of 2015 the Maryland state DOE has taken an administrative position as documented in this letter
Flatley, Joshua, BRF/BAT Technical Lead, "BAT Classification for Waterless Toilet Systems", [PDF] 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
You'll see that not just incinerating (broadly falling under waterless toilets) but other waterless toilets are not necessarily considered "BAT" or Best Available Technology (that is permitted in some circumstances). Mr. Flatley, from Maryland DOE and writing to Environmental Health Directors, notes that the "compost" from composting toilets does not meet the state's definition for legally marketable "compost" (surely no homeowner is considering selling their toilet waste) and he adds a raised concern for increased levels of pathogens on the private site where such compost may be disposed, calling it "not safe for human contact".
The letter makes clear that waterless toilets are not excluded Per Se. and in fact might benefit from some elaboration since the writer's opinion that composting toilets are in effect unsafe seems to contradict the same letter's citation of Maryland code on the topic that allows a wastewater reduction % where the Maryland DOE has written a requirment for BAT approved incinerating/composting/waterless toilets.
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Questions, answers, FAQs, and reader comments about incinerating toilets.
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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,
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
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
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.
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.
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