Within the controversial World of Composted Toilets

Alternative sanitation systems are using creatures that find houses in human condition.

(Indoor Science) – Things like big black objects that live in your toilet may be more like a horror scene than a sanitary solution. It is definitely what people thought in rural Louisiana in the summer of 1930, when the black soldiers' flies departed from a newly installed suite.

"[C]There was often a conclusive controversy when a person took a compassionate cover and when he was welcomed by insect-like insects, or when he was leaving the intruder there was a strange sensation and diarrhea caused by flies being restricted to his clothes. , ”Researchers wrote in an account published in 1930 in the Journal of Economic Entomology. To make matters worse, local hungry chickens lie down foundations of surprise in search of throwing larvae in the surrounding dirt.

Now, almost a century later, a black flies soldier is being nominated as potential allies in the effort to clean up the human feces. They are part of a move towards dry or composting sanitation, a series of controversial approaches that could help manage body waste in sewer areas or septic tanks. Some researchers think that dry sanitation could replace the water-based sewerage system in cities.


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The need for sanitary alternatives

Most organisms living in the human stomach are harmless or worthwhile, and die quickly after leaving the body. However, fecal matter has been caused by parasites and disease-causing microbes that have emerged to live outside the stomach, increasing their chances of being referred to a new host, said Joan Rose, microbiologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing .

For example, 99% of adenovirus could cause almost two months of non-infectious particles caused by gastroenteritis. The parasitic prostotype called Cryptosporidium has an egglike life stage which can live more than six months at 41 degrees Fahrenheit – just above the fridge temperature – and ascaris foot eggs can remain viable in sewage sludge for several years, hatching when ingested host.

Many of the sanitation systems deal with these hazards by separating waste from food and fingers until it can be transported to treatment plants. Most ports of these routes also operate; the blue stuff in the tank intends to conceal the look and smell of waste, it does not need to be placed in safe order, said Karleen Kos, executive director of the International Symitation Sanitation Association in Bloomington, Minnesota.

I think you should really understand people that it is stupid with clean water.

Conditions can vary across the world, but many cities rely on wastewater treatment plants to process sewage. Such plants are usually sufficient to remove parasites, said Rose. However, around 800 cities in the United States have combined sewerage systems. They are designed to over flow in heavy rain. When this happens, they spill some raw sewage into lakes and rivers at least.

Many US cities are working to reduce such sewage flows, which led to some of the December 2000 amendment to the Clean Water Act requiring cities to comply with specific sewerage system guidelines. But at the same time, climate change is exacerbated by increasing the number of heavy rainfall events that cause overflow, said Rose.

Even when sewage goes to the treatment plant, it takes a lot of money and energy to clean all of this wastewater, and the process has to be repeated gradually as the water is returned through the toilets. people, said Cecilia Lalander, a researcher in environmental engineering at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala. In her view, the process is so unsatisfactory that societies should operate to move away from all water-based sanitation systems.

"I think you should really understand people that it is stupid with clean water," she said.

Of course, the current city sewerage systems are even better than anything – and not anything that many people around the world have. In many short-term and long-term settlements, people often have no choice but to throw out their waste wherever they can, which means that diseases can occur. The World Health Organization estimates that 2.3 billion people do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or toilets.

Even in the US, it is not uncommon for rural people to rely on illegal "direct pipes" that drain untreated waste from their homes. They often do so because there are no sewerage systems available, and the soil is so derelict that traditional septic systems are back in people's yards when it rains, said Mark Elliott, environmental engineer. University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

In recent years, the need for free, environmentally friendly sanitation has been given widespread attention, which has prompted some of the “sustainable development targets” set by the United Nations in 2015. Its target number is clean water and sanitation, and the list sets out a set of targets and indicators to be achieved by 2030. Private companies, NGOs and academic institutions are working to shape and improve sanitation technologies, including systems that use little or no water.

Some waterless sanitation systems work by drying and burning waste, and sometimes using it as a source of energy. But processing waste does not necessarily mean killing everything. Living organisms can be used to break down the waste.

Organisms that use aerobic waste are often referred to as "composted toilets" – organisms that break waste with the help of oxygen – although Geoff Hill, director of Tech Toilets in Seattle, Washington, claims that this term is misleading. These toilets are generally not designed to produce a real compost that you can use in your garden, said Hill. Real composting kills parasites by raising the temperature, but if you are not using giant industrial composters and only keeping the right conditions, human waste will not be hot enough to do everything possible. dangerous to kill reliably.

However, if done correctly, the approach can significantly reduce the amount of waste and take it into account as it looks and smells with wet, healthy soil. The sources interviewed for this article agreed very much – although they did not agree with how toilets should be designed and where they should be used.

Problem pee

Complex toilets have been installed at many back-back sites in national parks and other recreational areas in the US since the 70's, and they have a longer history in Europe, according to Hill. Most of the traditional designs of urine and feces do lodge in the same room, with users applying for a bulking agent as wood lungs on top of their waste.

The Phoenix Composting Toilet is one common model which follows this approach. There is a sealed tank which is divided into three sections arranged on another. One must remove the oldest waste in the lower room periodically, then rotate the lines separating the chambers to allow waste to fall into the other room.

By the time waste is removed from such toilets and transported to a treatment plant, it should have failed something that was relatively non-resident. But when Hill studied how Phoenix toilets and similar toilets operated as part of his postgraduate research, he was dissatisfied with what he had received.

"It was, you know, pee packed and poo in wood chips… sometimes, polished, and sometimes dry type, but still, recognized dolls and large smell of ammonia in all cases," said Hill. He published his results in the Journal of Environmental Management in 2013.

Hill and Lalander, who collaborated on research projects, say there is a fundamental problem in many of these composted toilets: A combination of feces and urine does not break down in a reasonable period. This is how the urea present in the urine degrades into ammonia. Not only is it smelly; it kills the microbes that break waste.

Hill runs a company that sells another type of toilet, adding direct competition to the companies that sell more traditional designs. But he argues that, when he did the research, he hoped that the existing composted toilets would work and he did not intend to do business.

Ried Nelson, co-owner of the Advanced Composting system, criticized the company that produced the Phoenix Composting Toilet, Hill methodology and disputed it to claim that the Phoenix and similar toilets are ineffective to break down waste. According to Nelson, most of the toilets with problems are under-used. It should not be necessary to empty toilets more than once a year unless they are used more frequently than expected, Nelson said. Some toilets are also kept inappropriately, he said, or installed in cold climates without the appropriate heating facilities, which Nelson also sells.

Rick Chitwood, a mechanical engineer based in the city of Mount Shasta, California, said he was completely satisfied with the Phoenix Composting Toilet which keeps him on a property called Horse Camp. His wife Linda Chitwood manages the property for the Sierra Club Foundation, and Rick takes care of the free toilet, describing it as his "hobby."

If you put together a sign that men must sit to kiss in a public toilet, people are going on the sign.

It is not a hobby that many people would like. Once a week, it makes the fresh waste in the upper room turns up with a rack, wearing respiratory to protect itself from the strongest ammonia fumes.

"When I took it about 14 years ago, our toilet, because of a lack of maintenance, was blocked every other day. However, even one day, you might unexpectedly," he said.

Hill and Lalander say that the traditional composting toilets are not over-used and difficult to maintain. Many ammonia have mixed human waste to slow decomposition, but it is not enough to kill parasites, Lalander said.

To solve this problem, they say, you must divert solid and liquid waste in separate chambers. Ammonia is much less than urine, so decomposers can break it down quickly. The urine is sterile, so it can be dried or allowed to pour through the soil in a drain park. Urine fertilizer also leaves soil good because of its high nitrogen content, Lalander said.

Toilets have been designed by some companies that refer urine from solid waste. Separate ways forward and back are the simplest and cheapest designs, but these need to be used carefully to operate properly, said Hill. It is important to focus on people, and men must sit. This may be good for a dedicated person who has urine referral toilets at home, but it is unrealistic to expect that everyone will change their behavior when using a public toilet, Cnoc said.

"If you put up a sign that says men must sit with pens in a public toilet, people are going on the sign," he said.

A French company called Ecodomeo has a different solution. With the toilets, the user protects a conveyor belt which clears up towards the rear part of the seat, then “cargo” using a leg leg which moves the waste up the conveyor belt before it enters a room behind the seat. Urine flows in the opposite direction, down and on. These transport zone systems are imported into the US by Hill company Toilet Tech and sold to clients as national parks as well as their own customized waste chambers.

So what do you do with these feces and the toilet paper when the urine is released and drained into a drain park? In some cases, it is sensible to transport the solid waste to a water treatment plant, even if it has no opportunity for decomposition. That's what they do at Mount Rainier National Park, said Richard Lechleitner, a maintenance worker who manages a number of urine conveyor belt at the height of the park. Due to increased usage, cold temperatures and some other factors the area is not practical to compost the waste, he said. The waste does less without urine, according to Lechleitner, and the reduced weight and volume makes it easier to pack.

But when possible, the Hill recommends letting non-human organisms do most of the work before giving the remains to a treatment plant. It sells a device where the waste comes into the open clay of wood, allowing worms, beetles and other small allies to shrink up from the soil and eat the waste. Someone has to turn the fresh waste periodically on the side, spray it with water, and cover with a plastic sheet. Hill requires that such a toilet can go 15-20 years without emptying it. This has not yet been tested; The first was installed five years ago at Smith Rocks State Park in Oregon.

Files and worms

If you don't like the idea of ​​leaving feces accumulations on the ground to attract wild decomposers, you can try adding your own inland dissolved organisms. One promising species is the black soldier flight. Flies do not eat black soldiers as adults, so they will not spread disease by landing food. On the other hand, the larvae eat a potato and use it to build a body rich in fat and protein. When they grow to Tootsie Rolls size rabbits, they can be harvested and fed for livestock, although they need some processing to remove the remaining feces in their crab, Lalander said. It has also found evidence that their effluents could save waste, kill certain types of pathogens such as salmonella.

The challenge is that the larvae disappear in their flues if left on their own devices. It is certain that a flock of black soldiers played for Louisiana adults as they swept their surprises in 1930.

Due to the nuisance of raising batches following a batch of black soldiers' flight larvae, Lalander considers that the flies are more sensible as a waste management strategy at central treatment facilities, rather than in isolated public toilets or in people's homes.

"You need to be very enthusiastic if you have to be it as your fecal treatment," she said.

For those without enthusiasm, there is a simpler choice: earthworms. Certain types of earthworms are ideal composting assistants because they can spend a full life cycle in fecal sludge.

Worms were used to compost toilets for many years, although there was little peer-reviewed research that guided practice for most of the time, Claire Furlong, a self-reported toilet scientist at IHE Delft Institute of Water Education in the Netherlands, said. Most of the available literature was provided by companies selling worm toilets, so academic researchers remained suspicious.

"There is a kind of long and quiet history of worms based sanitation," said Furlong. "But there was nothing to say that the worms ate the shit that went in."

Over the past few years Furlong and his colleagues have published a series of studies showing how well fecal sludge worms break. In one study published in the. T Journal of Water, Sanitation & Hygiene for Development in 2014, worms helped reduce the 76% fecal sludge over 30 days, compared to 17% without worms. Furlong is currently studying the worm toilet or "vermicomposting" can be an effective sanitation strategy for people in Myanmar.

Advantage to society?

Could dry toilets and composting scale be up to solve large-scale sanitation problems? Joan Rose Michigan State University is suspicious. Efforts to introduce composted toilets in urban areas of high poverty, from collection trucks that cannot adapt narrow streets to the difficulty of providing adequate toilets for residents, have presented many challenges. And if you can't resolve these issues, others emerge.

"When are you talking about one million people in a congregation and if you are trying to waste all that composting, who is going to pull out?" said Rose. "In some places, the poorest are the poor who do all the behavior. And it is women."

Mark Elliott from the University of Alabama believes that it would be difficult to sell toilets in the US rural areas, where people can use toilets to use merit even if sewage is dumped behind their homes in some cases. And then there is the question of maintenance.

"With composted toilets you have to do some raking or unrest, and you have to do some kind of empty," Elliott said. "When your own waste is treated, even if you say, 'Oh, don't worry, it's to be a compost at that point, it's not going to pour,' people don't want to do it. "

Whether in cities or rural areas, Lalander agrees that it must be simple for people to use any large-scale sanitation system, to empty centralized services that care for things like compost. But she sees no reason why these services could not be provided for waterless toilets, as they are in the case of conventional septic tanks.

And when the daily experience of using composting toilets comes in, she said that the design can make a difference. The conveyor belt toilets operated by Ecodomeo are highly constructed.

"In my own house, my dream is that urine is diverting, taking the toilet," Lalander said. "And I would have one of those pedals."

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