This is how we process our humanure. But first we want to introduce you to some definitions and descriptions of what humanure is. This way you don’t go into this blog confused or with the wrong ideas 🙂
1: Night soil is raw human waste spread on crops. It helps to return nutrients in your fecal matter to the earth, it can and does spread a number of human pathogens.
2: The Humanure process kills pathogens in two ways: A. by heat generated from compost and B. the amount of time (12-24 months) it is left to decompose. Pathogens are destroyed by arriving at a temperature of 62 °C (144 °F) for one hour, 50 °C (122 °F) for one day, 46 °C (115 °F) for one week or 43 °C (109 °F) for one month.
Humanure contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, carbon, and calcium. This makes it just as good or better then store bought manures.
Humanure is eco-friendly because it uses no fresh potable water. That means no water is needed for this setup. In fact when properly managed there should be no pollution created from humanure at all and no ground water contamination. This is accomplished by controlling the human fecal matter and developing it into usable manure before it ever reaches the ecosystem.
Humanure should be kept damp and in a high heat and humid environment for best results. Never leave humanure exposed to the weather such as rain or snow because that will allow to much water into the compost and could cause contamination of the surrounding area.
Now that you know and hopefully understand what it is we are about to show you…
Lets see some shit shall we 🙂
So here is our initial setup a little ways behind our cabin. Not much to look at but after all it is just poop right?
This is what our composting toilet looks like. It is the brand name “Biolet” and cost about $1000… I know it is an expensive thrown but it’s the one Addie wanted…
This toilet is completely self contained for the most part. It has a vent pipe that runs straight up through the house and outside. The top of pipe must be the highest point. This creates a draw and sucks the fumes and moisture outside. Their should be no more than two 45* turns or one 90* in this vent pipe.
The toilet is a strainer system using a bucket with holes in the bottom to hold the solids in place and drain the liquids into the bottom tray. The liquids are then heated by the compost and cabin temperature and evaporated out through the vent pipe. There is a solar powered fan that assists this process in the winter months. There is also an overflow pipe the leads to a french sump in case of over use. This composting system and everything described thus far is 100% Pennsylvania state legal and pre-approved for those wanting to use this system.
After we empty the composting toilet we take the internal bin out and replace with the second. We have two of these black bins and it takes 3 weeks for Addie and I to fill one if we are optimal poopers during that time 🙂
After the bin leaves the composting toilet it sits here for 3 weeks in the sun getting nice and hot while waiting for the replacement bin to fill. Once the 3 weeks is up this bin will be emptied into the next stage.
Just to remind you on the time line for killing off pathogens I will re-post that info here:
Pathogens are destroyed by arriving at a temperature of 62 °C (144 °F) for one hour, 50 °C (122 °F) for one day, 46 °C (115 °F) for one week or 43 °C (109 °F) for one month.
For the next stage of humanure composting this bin is emptied into one of these barrels…
We process humanure in 4 stages.
Stage 1: toilet
Stage 2: bin
Stage 3: barrels (seen above)
Stage 4: mini-green house
The barrel we currently are using will be filled over a 6 month time period. Then we date that barrel with the time we load it with the LAST black bin and count that as the FIRST OFFICIAL starting date of the 24 month composting process. Once we do that then no more fresh loads enter into that barrel.
Here is a look at the different stages of the barrels…
This barrel holds 28 month old humanure and is basically pure dirt now. It is perfectly safe to be used in any type of gardening you want. It is great for growing peppers 🙂
October 2016 this humanure will be 11 months old 🙂 and looks and feels just like dirt right now. It is safe for use in the forest or flower garden but needs another 13 months before it can go into the food garden.
This month September 2016 we stop adding to this barrel. So it is the freshest we have. Notice the mushrooms in the lower right hand picture. This humanure cannot be used for anything for the next 12 months.
We will come out and churn all of these barrels weekly to ensure they are doing well and getting aerated nicely and have enough moisture but not to wet.
From left to right: Shovel we use to empty the oldest compost barrels with. Pitch fork we use to churn the barrels with. Child’s garden hoe we use to empty the black toilet bins into the barrels with.
After having rested in the barrel for 12 months and not been added to during that time the humanure is then transferred to a pallet green house such as these.
We fill it full of hay then give it a front and make a birds nest in the hay then fill it with the 12 month old humanure. After that we put a blanket of hay on top of it. Once a week or so we remove the blanket and churn it carefully not to disturb the bird nest portion then replace the blanket. Here it will sit for the last 12 months of composting.
These pallet green houses are made of pallets and lined with plastic on the inside of 3 walls. there is a pallet floor.
The roof is made of to boards set to form a V thus giving us the ability to get in and out of bin but still providing support for the roof boards. We add pieces of plywood next or other boards across the V. Then we drape a tarp over this to keep out the weather and give it a way to trap in the heat.
As the humanure heats up it will draw in cool air from the pallet holding it off the ground. Since heat rises this will cause a convection current and create a very effective decomposition process. The plastic on the walls will allow the heat from the sun to enter but not escape to fast. Insects can enter from the bottom and from pallets to aid in the composting process. Humidity in the air is usually enough to keep it going but you do need to keep a check on it as occasionally you might need to add some water if it gets to dry. We have had ours actually smoking before but never any fires. Lots of snakes and such found in the winter though 🙂
So this is where our humanure started its long journey with us…
And this is where it ends and what we get in return from it 🙂
Hope you enjoyed our blog and learned something…