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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Incinerator toilets
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Chinook92
Member
# Posted: 29 Jun 2021 06:26
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I need to upgrade my outhouse at my property from the humble bag-and-bucket method to something more civilized.

When it’s just me up there for a weekend fishing or snowboarding that’s fine I guess, 2 or 3 “bags” in the main trash isn’t a biggie, but it’s an entirely different game when there’s a girl around.

I would go with a composter however I’m in the foothills of the cascade mountains on the wet side
So from October til March it’s cold rainy icy and snowy, so I hear they don’t like those conditions. I can’t afford to put in a septic and I am not willing to give up half my land for that, so I’m left with either considering an incinerator or simply just renting an outhouse and paying to have it pumped every so often (probably the most economical option) but it am very very curious about incinerator toilets specifically propane as power can be intermittent at best when the big winter storms roll through, having gone 3 weeks without in the past. I suppose an electric bill could be mitigated with a cheap generator to run an electric incinerator toilet but propane just sounds more convenient.

My outhouse is just that, a standalone, wooden traditional sized box with a seat to sit and a door and about 3x3 feet with enough headroom to stand and is occupied by a very vocal squirrel 90% of the year

Do they sell vaults, like plastic portopotty type tubs I could fit in there and fill with the blue liquid and just call and pay to have pumped out every so often?

I have a well pump house and room for a septic but zero plumbing or means to afford the work to route pipes and build a dedicated bathroom with a flush toilet and all of the associated infrastructure that’s way out of my means so I am left with the alternatives

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 29 Jun 2021 08:05
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I had a similar dilemma and I absolutely did not want to have a septic system nor deal with Blackwater. I looked at Incinerator Toilets and the good ones are not cheap but do what they are supposed to, some are "finicky" to be polite and the power consumption is what did it for me, they are energy pigs and I am offgrid solar.

I settled on a Sawdust Composting Toilet system, with a http://www.we-pee.com/ Urine diverter which allowed me to tie that into my Grey Water system, which takes the sinks, shower, Urinal & Toilet Diversion.

I used the Humanure Book as my reference.
http://humanurehandbook.com/index.html

Very easy, no smell, little to adjust but nothing serious. AND as most of us have been/are parents we really should not be afraid of it...

I put stuff on the pile through winter. just take the snow off the top to the straw (I use straw as topping) put the stuff & another layerr of straw cover, in the spring as things thaw / melt it all settles quite quickly.
NB: I also add one shovel of "SOIL" as in real dirt on top of each bucket of stuff, which really helps kick the composting into gear... No smell, no bugs/critters - no problems... actually I believe it keeps some critters like Deer away so that's a bonus... human being predator animal afterall...

The compost toilet photo's with sawdust bin.
The Urinal (30# aluminium Propane Tank modified).
The composting station - each segment = 4'x4'. Posts are PT, planks are all Eastern White Cedar.
WePee diverter setup with the HepVo waterless P-Trap which saves the issues of winter freezing potentials and better/tighter clearance space.

HepVo Link: https://hepvo.com/hepvo-waterless-valve/

Then of course comes the math... I'm all in at under <$500, including the compost station cost. Dunno what else needs saying.

Hope it helps, Good Luck.
sawdust compost toilet
sawdust compost toilet
The Urinal (30# LPG tank modded)
The Urinal (30# LPG tank modded)
The composting Station
The composting Station
WePee-HepVo-Setup
WePee-HepVo-Setup


scott100
Member
# Posted: 29 Jun 2021 09:04 - Edited by: scott100
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Steve,

Anything special about your grey water system or just a drain tile setup? Wondering if you had to do anything fancy when you tied the urine diverter in.

We also use a composter (c-head) without issues. You're right that damp and cold could be an issue, but these things do more dessicating than composting. If you actively vented it with a computer fan or solar fan you might not have an issue. We don't even bother to vent ours, but we're in the northeast.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 29 Jun 2021 10:02
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Holding tanks are available commercially. Sadly, what Ive seen in some reading of regs is the approvable ones are pretty huge for the use of only a couple of people, just like the approvable septic systems. Hey, its an occasional use cabin!
Using the same concepts/technology it is totally workable to make a scaled down version, say, scaled to use by 2. It can meet the intent for sanitation though not the letter of the law.
A heavy duty leakproof container set in ground beneath your 'little house', accessible for cleanout, used either as a holding tank or, with the small scale outflow pipe to a scaled down drain field, a mini-septic system. The principles are well documented and available.
My 1st thought is a surplus 'pickle' barrel/rain barrel.
I think a sump-pump barrel may also work, and they already have 'flats' to install bulkhead connectors on to make outflow piping. Those are available at any building supply store.
The approved distances from well, etc need to be adhered to; all that info for your locality should be available online.

Aklogcabin
Member
# Posted: 29 Jun 2021 10:07 - Edited by: Aklogcabin
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Yes. We have an incinerator toilet. 30 amp electric. Run by generator. Works well. Takes a half hour or so to burn with no odor. Uses 4" plastic abs pipe for the exhaust.
1711A0B1DF6344DCA.jpeg
1711A0B1DF6344DCA.jpeg


Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 29 Jun 2021 10:36
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None of my pipes are in-wall or in-floor, all surface mounted inside but not visible in general.

Drainpipes from sinks, tub/shower, urinal & WePee diverter are 1-1/2" ABS. This goes through the wall into the insulated "filter catch tank" outside. That in-turn goes with 3" approximately 12' to a 50 Gallon Dry Well (50gal. olive barrel). There are two 50' long runs of Corrugated O-Pipe with filter. They are 10' deep and decreasing elevation from the tank (I have a slope that works to this benefit), laid on a 1' deep bed of drainage gravel (with commercial GeoTextile under the gravel & over it) and 1' of gravel over the pipe before the GeoTex.

The soil here is Sandy Loam averaging 10-15 feet deep, so it drains really well. It is actually a Septic System dream soil.....

I have tested the water absorption test by literally hard dumping 100 gallons of water in and watching it all vanish super quick down the system. I have tried to "flood" the dry well in an attempt to see if it backs up a bit, I could only manage to get it 3" above the 3" pipe holes at the bottom. I had two hoses & was pouring 20L buckets in at the same time, no problem.

I did put a Computer Fan (12V/80cfm) in the "seat" you can see the 3" pipe stack back right. I've only used it when making extra stinky, but after it's covered in sawdust no more stinky. Use is quite mimimal.

RULE 1 Of Sawdust Toilet DO NOT USE CEDAR ! Pine and other softwoods are great because the decompose fast, NOT so with cedar. The finer the sawdust the quicker it clumps, so use not too fine or too coarse.

See attached photo's for more details
External Filter Box
External Filter Box
exposed view of filter box
exposed view of filter box
Filter box to DryWell tank
Filter box to DryWell tank
DryWell tank with drain pipes
DryWell tank with drain pipes


Chinook92
Member
# Posted: 29 Jun 2021 18:28 - Edited by: Chinook92
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How come propane incinerators are so uncommon? I can only find one in the market now and it’s close to 4500$

I mean that’s a lot of dough but still significantly cheaper than septic.

Unfortunately the bulk of use at my property is in the snowy months as it’s 14 minutes from the ski area and I would like to get something set up so I can work at the winter.

We did build a grey water pit, roughly 8x8x4ft backfilled with cobble and smashed concrete chunks with a 4” flexi pipe going the whole length, but didn’t even consider having pee in it.... I was going to build a washroom (literally) with a rain-catchment shower and maybe a small Japanese size washer with spin cycle unit (hang wet laundry in front of wood stove) and kinda just make a wet closet, maybe a small tiny wood stove in there to take chill off, but... something with a diverter sounds cool but what about the hardened frozen mass of #2? I’d make the pressurized water system solar with a propane insta hot and a bypass to drain lines after use to prevent freeze up

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 29 Jun 2021 18:47
Reply 


Well, I guess ya got no problem in the snowy months saving it all frozen for disposal. Might sound a bit off-putting to some.....but it is practical, effective and CHEAP.

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 30 Jun 2021 07:35
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With a sawdust bucket toilet, the buckets have lids, take em out dump them on the composting pile, and toss the cover on it... In the spring when it thaws it also breaks up a bit more due to freeze/thaw. By tossing a shovelfull of soil on each compost pile deposit it accelerates the decomp as well.

I put thermometer probes into the Grey Water Filter box & even the Dry Well and even in mid-winter -30C/-22F they never went below 10C/50F so I never had issues with the greywater... The drain lines are 6' deep +/- at their highest level, which is the bottom of the dry well tank, so they never get frost and the warmth from the soil keeps it all warm actually.

Chinook92
Member
# Posted: 23 Jul 2021 20:40
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Yeaaaa……. I’m not going to mess around with frozen lumps of crap or shovel my own shit for any reason…. I’m pretty much sold on getting a propane incinerator.

Without reliable running water up there I’d rather just have it burnt and keep things as sanitary as possible. I think going propane all the way is the best route…. Propane Insta hot for the rain water collection shower and a propane turd burner

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 24 Jul 2021 06:41
Reply 


There IS a reason why you do not see many LPG Burner composters. You MAY want to ask an open question related to Propane Fueled ones from people who have actually bought/used them BEFORE dropping any cash on them.

I love the extreme "frozen lumps" comment, too funny. I'm a spelunker, everything going in must come out... and a parent of several kids so... that did away with "Poo-Phobia's"... you just become immune to it. LOL

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 24 Jul 2021 11:34
Reply 


Poo Happens
Grow up on or spend any time working on a farm and you 'get over it' pretty quick.
Or have a cat(s) in house and a cat-box to clean.
I dont have to pay a lot to take care of it; got better, more important things to use my money on.
But, as always, everybody makes their own choices.

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 25 Jul 2021 10:27 - Edited by: Steve_S
Reply 


I suppose I should have mentioned it. In winter I still take it out to the composter, knock the snow cover off, dump the bucket in, add staw cover & walk away from it. So it freezes up pretty good.

Come spring thaw, the frozen stuff actually breaks up while thawing and the entire pile shrinks. During summer, everytime I make a bucket deposit on the pile, I add one shovel of soil on top before putting the straw cover on it. There is never a smell, no critters go near it or bother it, not even flies which you would expect, most certainly in a forest like I am, which was a surprise bonus I hadn't expected. One thing that does get into it are worms and similar which are the right critters to have to break it down quickly.

As the picture I posted above, the centre section is for the straw (NOT Hay) and some other stuff. The two sides get the rain-snow fall off the centre roof which helps it work quicker. That could be redirected to a Rainwater holding tank for washing the buckets out but I have running water down there.

PS, dunno if you ever smelled Burning Poop, but it don't smell like Roses ! If you're not prepared for that oh boy.

scott100
Member
# Posted: 26 Jul 2021 21:23
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Back in the 80's, our friends had a "Destroylet" branded incinerating propane toilet. When you closed the lid and hit flush the magic happened. It sounded like a SpaceX rocket launch. You could have incinerated a cat in that thing. They loved it. It kinda scared me. Always sat there wondering "what if" while my nads were hanging in there.

beulahfarkward
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2022 11:09 - Edited by: beulahfarkward
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what brand incinerating toilet did you all buy? Any problems at all?

Aklogcabin
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2022 12:36
Reply 


We have an Incinolet brand. Works well. 30amp electric. We fire up the generator and charge up batteries n such at the same time. Just picked up a duel fuel champion 2500w generator so it should work well n not cost a heap.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2022 14:09 - Edited by: gcrank1
Reply 


Well, it is finalized at our place.
The basic Humanure bucket system with sawdust from a woodworker friend to top 'after do'
No smell
No bugs or flys
No human waste into ground or ground water
For us 2 it looks like I will need to dump the bucket in the 'bin' once, maybe 2x a season. It could take years to fill that bin before I need to get bin 2.
Too easy.
Thus far Ive used recycled stuff, out of pocket cost is -0- and setting this up was Waayyy easier than digging and building a mini septic that wouldnt meet code anyway.
Imo, and fwiw, this is the only way to 'go'.

jsahara24
Member
# Posted: 31 May 2022 08:29
Reply 


gcrank, how do you deal with the fluids (#1)? Do you divert it ?

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 31 May 2022 09:38 - Edited by: gcrank1
Reply 


Not diverting, if we had it indoors and more than the 2 of us we would perhaps need to reconsider?
As Im understanding the Humanure Book a certain amount of moisture is required, diverting would slow/delay the process. Urine is supposed to be the smell most object to (the methane disperses) but most respondents Ive read to such objections say to use more sawdust. If you find you would rather divert you can add grey water to keep the sawdust 'topping' moist. The diverters Ive seen online are rather pricey, a suitable one may be made from various plastic fluid jugs; lots of info online. Or use a surplus hospital pee bottle if male to reduce the urine containment.
Ours does not smell. And I do well know that an unflushed home toilet Will!
Btw, the bottom of the bucket needs a layer, a 'bed', of organic material (straw, grass clipping, leaves, etc). I made it like a big nest with material going a bit up the sides to make a pocket.
Again, the I-Net is your friend. This process has proven effective for some 40ish years now, and there is a plethora of info. After my research a main take-away was 'dont over complicate this', KISS, it is a natural process taking place every second; we just harness it properly for our needs.
Btw, if you like/need the taller 'stool', there are 6gal versions of the 5gal bucket available. Just remember that you dont want either 'too full/heavy' to haul to the bin.

Houska
Member
# Posted: 31 May 2022 13:04
Reply 


An intermediate solution (between humanure and incinerator, etc.) is a urine-diverting composting toilet like Nature's Head or Separett. They're around $1000 or so, or can be DIYed more cheaply.

They use a 12V fan to evaporate water from the solids and semi-compost them. You then get rid of the remains every few weeks or months. No smell, no problems, we have 2.

They work quite well if you have electricity (or with a solar-powered fan) during spring-fall. They don't work that well in winter when things freeze and don't decompose, that's when incineration has its advantages.

Portage99
Member
# Posted: 30 Jun 2022 20:35
Reply 


Steve S, I am not sure if you are still on this site. So..I am totally new to all of this. Did you build your composting toilet? If so, what did you use for the "Bowl" underneath? Where do people get their sawdust?

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 2 Jul 2022 20:48
Reply 


Ya just gotta 'google up'
diy 5gal bucket compost toilet
And study up on it a bit. It aint rocket science and it Really Works Well!

spencerin
Member
# Posted: 3 Jul 2022 10:38 - Edited by: spencerin
Reply 


ECOJOHN TinyJohn is less than $3,400, made in America, and has a propane model. If you're set on an incinerating toilet, check it out.....

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