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Old 02-22-2018, 06:13 PM   #1
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Why does everyone use composting toilets?

Why do most people want to avoid black water tanks?
Since Iíve never had one, I donít understand the aversion.
If you have say a 75-100 gallon **** tank, why would that not be better than carrying your poop in a plastic bin through the bus.
I hear arguments about wanting to stay off grid longer, etc.
But if you have a tank of the above stated size, you would have to make many poos and the like before being required to pump it.
As far as I see it the benefits are

Not having to take out your poo in a pail every couple days or so.

No sawdust or peat to throw over

Aesthetics

Less smell

Am I missing something?
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:51 PM   #2
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I understand finding places to empty your black tank can be daunting and extremely messy. Requires permanent plumbing. Chemicals required to keep it from smelling.
Compost toilet can be no more than a 5ga. bucket. If your poop is mixed with whatever media you choose it doesn't smell like it does when mixed with urine. When it's time to empty it I think you can go more than few days. If your bucket is lined with a plastic bag you just lift the bag out of the bucket, tie wrap it and drop it in any garbage receptacle legally. Dump your pee bottle in any drain.
I have a 5ga. bucket next to the kitty litter box, scoop their poop in it, it doesn't smell sitting there with no lid on it.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:58 PM   #3
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It's a lot more work to put in a black tank than a 5 gal. bucket is my guess.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:02 PM   #4
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I think water use is another reason. With each flush there is water used to relocate the deposit from said regular toilet to the black water tank.

There are any number of things that can go wrong too. Take a look.



I think these are pretty strong arguments for composting toilets.

I myself would rather not use the water and only have to empty the composting toilet every couple of weeks or so. Put a large black garbage bag over the top, flip, give a little shake, tie it, dispose of and put more peat moss in. Unless youre going to be on the road for months the extra space the peat moss takes up is minimal.

And, if you use a composter, it leaves more space under the rig for fresh water, more batteries, etc etc.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:13 PM   #5
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I prefer the tankage, but then again I work on boats. Taking on water and pumping pooh is just part of the job, i.e. no big deal.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:12 PM   #6
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I have lived full time for around eight years in RV'S equipped with both composting and regular RV toilets.

I have a strong preference for the composting.

My composter is home made and simple. Not much to break. It smells better than conventional RV toilets. It's just plain simple and easy.

When living with an RV toilet and the requisite black tank I found that in warm weather the smell could become a little bit unpleasant. Dumping the black tank was not my favorite job but was not terrible unless something went wrong.

In eight years of full time I had a few occasions that things went badly. The worst was when I had a guest go way overboard with the toilet paper. I wound up with a blockage in the black drain plumbing. It's a long story. In the end we wound up using a camping bucket toilet for a week, spending $120 to have someone attempt a fix that failed, trying myself to clear it using a shopvac and finally disassembling the black plumbing to clean it.

In the process I wound up with black tank contents all over myself and all over the bathroom. Even managed to get it on the ceiling.

I started a thread on composting toilets a while back. It kind of wandered off into the weeds but does have a lot of good discussion on the subject.
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:21 PM   #7
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I have a question. Some years back a composting toilet was not considered to be a real toilet any more than a plain 5 gallon bucket with a seat on it. Are composting toilets accepted as a real toilet now by DMV and insurance?
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:46 PM   #8
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Why do most people want to avoid black water tanks?
I will suggest that you are hearing the minority and think it is the majority because the majority is silently happy. There are thousands and thousands - tens of thousands - of RV's with holding tanks and they work just fine. Every now and then you hear of a problem - usually due to poor or no maintenance, someone doesn't understand how things work, or someone was doing something without thinking.

Holding tanks do not have to stink - mine never has in many years of full-timing. Obviously, proper installation (particularly vents) is important.

Dump sites are not hard to find or expensive.

Dumping does not have to be messy or stinky - I don't even wear gloves anymore it is so simple. Some have had a bad experience or two, I can't help but wonder why. Maybe poor equipment? Maybe not paying attention? I dunno... I hear the complaints and reasons and still wonder why...

I can understand very small holding tanks being annoying. Mine have always been large and had at least two weeks capacity.

Composting makes sense and if that's what a person wants, I am all for it. However; saying that holding tanks are "bad" (icky, stinky, messy, whatever...) is poor justification, in my opinion. Valid justifications would that you don't want to install a holding tank, have no room for a holding tank, don't want to use water, have a ton of peat moss/coconut fiber you need to use, etc...

Also, emptying the solids side of the composting toilet is only half the job - and not the half that has to be emptied more frequently.
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:28 PM   #9
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The Happy bus has a composting toilet and I have not used it yet or needed to trash the waste but I have had to help drain black water tanks and it is very smelly, carrying the load everywhere, and its just a lot more work to me it seems. I have only heard good things about using a composting toilet and I am very thrilled to do so! I think mostly it is just a personal choice on whatever works for you.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:00 PM   #10
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It's a lot more work to put in a black tank than a 5 gal. bucket is my guess.
If that's the case, why not go with a Luggable Loo and some trash bags? Less money, less complicated. And not much less attractive...

I'm morbidly curious how well those composting toilets work after say a bout of the stomach flu followed up by gas station burritos...

All razzing aside... I've never used a composting toilet, but have LOTS of experience with the luggable loo, which is a kind of composting type toilet, except instead of a box, that is vented outside, you are on a bucket, no vent. The bags have containment gel that helps but doesn't fully eliminate odors.

I've also used the 5 gallon flushable port o potties that pretty much everyone seems to make and sell these days, most notably the Camco. And it's fine.

Which is better, or worse? If you ask me, there are advantages for both types, The sealed bags go into the dumpster, no worries about finding a dump station or toilet to dump into. Yes you can stay out longer with the composting type, but that is based on the 5 gallon capacity models...

I think with a much larger holding tank, 30 gallons or so seems to be the average in travel trailers for instance... your staying out time can be greatly enhanced...
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:04 PM   #11
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I don't mean to hijack the thread or sound negative - I am actually trying to understand.

Statements like these are very confusing to me - I'm not sure what is meant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsySkool View Post
I have had to help drain black water tanks
What do you mean "help"?

I'm asking because when I dump my tanks, it is barely a one person job - I certainly do not need help. I pull a hose out, take the caps off of it, connect it, and pull a lever. Very simple. As soon as the tank is empty, I disconnect the hose from the coach, spray a bit of water down it to rinse it out, replace the caps, and drop it back in the storage bin.

Were you using the proper ends on the hose - both ends? Was it well seated in the sewer pipe? I don't understand how a person could smell anything more than a hint unless doing it incorrectly.

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and its just a lot more work to me it seems.
Again, I'm really not trying to be smart (I know.. it sounds like I am). Hauling, by hand, numerous gallons of urine -
somewhere? Where is it hauled? The nearest sewer pipe, I hope - or maybe to the campground toilet?? And also occasionally hauling a bag of poo - by hand - is easier than what I described above?

Trust me, I'm all for the composting toilet concept and I'm not in love with holding tanks. I'm just having a difficult time understanding the comparisons that are made - especially when people that have no experience read them and form conclusions.

If I had more bandwidth to play with, I would try to find a video on YouTube that shows how tanks are suppose to be dumped. I suspect if people could see the correct process - and how simple and clean it is - there would be far less discussion about it.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:07 PM   #12
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If that's the case, why not go with a Luggable Loo and some trash bags? Less money, less complicated. And not much less attractive...

I'm morbidly curious how well those composting toilets work after say a bout of the stomach flu followed up by gas station burritos...
Common sense would dictate that you clean it more often if your sick. Luggable Loo is a composting toilet if you put compost in it.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:18 PM   #13
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I don't mean to hijack the thread or sound negative - I am actually trying to understand.

Statements like these are very confusing to me - I'm not sure what is meant.



What do you mean "help"?

I'm asking because when I dump my tanks, it is barely a one person job - I certainly do not need help. I pull a hose out, take the caps off of it, connect it, and pull a lever. Very simple. As soon as the tank is empty, I disconnect the hose from the coach, spray a bit of water down it to rinse it out, replace the caps, and drop it back in the storage bin.

Were you using the proper ends on the hose - both ends? Was it well seated in the sewer pipe? I don't understand how a person could smell anything more than a hint unless doing it incorrectly.



Again, I'm really not trying to be smart (I know.. it sounds like I am). Hauling, by hand, numerous gallons of urine -
somewhere? Where is it hauled? The nearest sewer pipe, I hope - or maybe to the campground toilet?? And also occasionally hauling a bag of poo - by hand - is easier than what I described above?

Trust me, I'm all for the composting toilet concept and I'm not in love with holding tanks. I'm just having a difficult time understanding the comparisons that are made - especially when people that have no experience read them and form conclusions.

If I had more bandwidth to play with, I would try to find a video on YouTube that shows how tanks are suppose to be dumped. I suspect if people could see the correct process - and how simple and clean it is - there would be far less discussion about it.
My father in law uses an external tank and he has to lugg it to his vehicle, I help so I had knowledge of how to do it and so he doesn't break his back. But yes it really is a one person job. I was really there for moral support and learning how to dump tanks.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:31 PM   #14
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My father in law uses an external tank and he has to lugg it to his vehicle, I help so I had knowledge of how to do it and so he doesn't break his back. But yes it really is a one person job. I was really there for moral support and learning how to dump tanks.
Ahhh!!! Interesting. This is something I would not considering "dumping" but more like "transferring" or "transferring and dumping." Probably a distinction worth noting for those who are trying to decide what approach to take. I can imagine that is NOT a fun process - I've never done it so have no experience.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:41 PM   #15
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JD, you are smart so don't worry if it shows.....


JD makes a number of good points. This is a very subjective item. Personal preference is what it comes down to.

I have lived for multiple years, full time, with both. For a rig that is used occasionally I would tolerate a black tank. For full time I strongly prefer the composting.

Part of my dislike for the black tank comes from dealing with them when they break. And they do break. Especially if you have occasional visitors that use the toilet.....

I have had:

Toilets break
Drain lines plugged
Valve seals wear out & leak
Valve handles fail
Macerator pump damaged by FOD (3 times)

On the last one, imagine my JOY at having to remove a broken macerator pump that died mid dump. Full of poo. I got to disassemble and repair it on three different occasions.

Honestly, the very worst poo disasters were caused by visitors who failed to follow directions. One that was notable. My macerator pump made a horrible noise then quit. Upon washing the poo away I found a 9mm shell casing jammed in the pump.... I don't own a 9mm. I did, however, want to shoot somebody that day.

A thought,

One of my neighbors was curious about composting toilets bus was not sure. So he built a simple one and put it in his garage and used it for several months. That may be an option or you.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:51 PM   #16
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Read up, watch the videos, make a choice, install it.

Is there a problem here?
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:56 PM   #17
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Read up, watch the videos, make a choice, install it.

Is there a problem here?
Lots of videos out there. Also a couple of threads here and even more over on Permies.com.

Watch, read and decide.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:15 PM   #18
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Macerator pump damaged by FOD (3 times)
Most RV's do not have macerator pumps. I know some do as they have to pump uphill or into a small line but the NORM is a simple, gravity feed system with big 3" or 4" hose (I'm not sure which it is). Small items do not easy get jammed in that size hose. In my opinion, failed macerator pump stories are an excellent argument to NOT use a macerator pump - not one to abandon holding tanks and typical dump operations.

Dump valves require maintenance like any other system component. The o-ring/rubber seal should be lubricated every now and then. I do it once per year but am not sure of the manufacturer recommendations.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:17 PM   #19
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To the OP (Rberriz): I need to dump mine in the next week or so. If you are somewhere near Truth or Consequences, NM, come on out and you can observe the process and judge for yourself.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:27 PM   #20
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Ahhh!!! Interesting. This is something I would not considering "dumping" but more like "transferring" or "transferring and dumping." Probably a distinction worth noting for those who are trying to decide what approach to take. I can imagine that is NOT a fun process - I've never done it so have no experience.
He transfers all the water from all tanks into his external tank, and then dumps the external tank so he does not have to move his single slide trailer. (He isn't Skoolie folks like us yet). So yeah it can be exhausting especially when you have to lift the tank to get all the water out.
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