WATERLESS COMPOSTING TOILETS What is a Waterless Composting Toilet by coold


									          WATERLESS COMPOSTING                            converted to carbon dioxide and water vapour. Air                  Regulations and Recommendations
                                                          drawn through the pile removes these gases and assists
                TOILETS                                   the micro-organisms.                                         Before a composting toilet is installed at any
In unsewered areas, the proper on-site treatment and                                                                   unsewered domestic premises or unsewered site the
reuse of human wastes and household wastewater is                                                                      owner/occupier should assess the site. Once
critical in preserving the health of the public and the                                                                satisfied that the site conditions will allow for a
environment. Waterless composting toilets have                                                                         composting toilet, an approval can be sought from
been developed as a way of achieving this.                                                                             Hawkesbury City Council. Houses may need to be
                                                                                                                       specially designed to accommodate the units.
  What is a Waterless Composting Toilet?                                                                               At present the Environmental Protection Authority
                                                                                                                       (EPA) and the NSW Department of Health
Waterless composting toilets (also known as humus                                                                      recommend that the greywater from premises with
closets or biological toilets) are systems which rely                                                                  composting toilets be managed as for the total
on the principles of composting by micro-organisms                                                                     waste stream. This means treatment and reuse
to decompose human waste, paper and other                                                                              facilities for greywater are required such as a
materials into humus.                                                                                                  greywater treatment system, septic tank, or aerated
                                                                                                                       wastewater treatment system, and land application
Systems are either continuous or batch. Continuous                                                                     area.
systems contain one chamber, whilst the batch
system contain several bins, with rotation occurring                                                                   Maintenance is the responsibility of the
after each bin is filled. In both systems, chambers or                                                                 owner/occupier and is not normally subject to a
bins are installed below floor level.                                                                                  maintenance contract. The owner/occupier needs
                                                                                                                       to be committee to the principles of composting.
Waterless composting toilets do not treat wastewater                                                                   Maintenance varies among composting toilets, and
from other sources such as showers, sinks, and                                                                         the needs of particular units should be specified
washing machines (also known as 'greywater'), so an                                                                    clearly in a manual. If maintenance is not
alternative system is required for this.                                                                               undertaken properly there is an increased risk of
                                                          The remaining material slowly moves down a sloping           disease and odour generation.
  How Does a Waterless Composting Toilet                  floor by gravity as more material is added to the pile. It   It is recommended that units be serviced annually by
                Work?                                     then moves under a dividing baffle into the humus            an approved contractor. Annual servicing should
                                                          chamber as friable compost after about a year.               include a check of the operation of the fan and
There are several types of waterless composting           Any excess liquids are drained and treated with the          amount and spread of the compost within the
toilet available, but the principles they use are         greywater. The compost produced is typically buried          composting chamber(s).
basically the same. The description and diagram           on-site.                                                     The minimum composting period should not be less
given here are for a single chamber continuous toilet.
                                                          The advantage of composting toilets is that they can be      that 12 months. Compost, including partially
Excreta (both urine and faeces) is collected in a         used on difficult sites as they do not require any water.    composted material must not be removed from the
sealed chamber beneath the toilet pedestal. Extra         National Parks and low usage camping areas with              premises unless written consent from Hawkesbury
organic matter such as woodshavings, paper, or lawn       limited water supplies are common sites. They can also       City Council is obtained. The local Council may
clippings are added to create an ideal composting         be used in single domestic premises and may be               specify removal and application requirements.
environment. Micro-organisms decompose the                installed externally or within the dwelling.                 Unless otherwise directed by either the Hawkesbury
material, with around three quarters of it being                                                                       City Council or the NSW Department of Health, the
                                                                                                                       composted humus material is to be buried within
the confines of the premises. The cover of soil over the    The toilet seat should be kept closed when not in use to
deposited humus must be at least 75mm.                      stop fly and insects entering the composting chamber.
Compost must not be buried in an area used for the
                                                                              Maintenance Tips
cultivation of crops for human consumption, unless:

                                                                                                                                    Hawkesbury City Council
                                                            The following is a guide on how to achieve the most
       Compost is placed in a separate lidded
composting bin providing aerated, for at least three        from you system through good maintenance procedures:
months with no further addition; or                               Record the commissioning date of each chamber
       Compost has seasoned underground for at least
three months.
                                                                  for multi chamber systems.                           Waterless
                                                                  Always close the toilet lid when the toilet is not
          Location of Composting Toilets
                                                                  in use to control fly breeding and ensure proper     Composting
                                                                  aeration of the pile.
Some of the toilet designs are suited to sites with a             Ensure that the material is spread evenly over the
                                                                  compost heap.
natural slope to allow access to the chamber(s) for the
required maintenance.                                             Always clean the pedestal by hand and minimal
A northern exposure is desirable for solar power                  use of water and no use of disinfectants.
generation, and free air movement above the roof is               Consult the service agent if odour and vermin
necessary for ventilation purposes.                               become excessive.
                                                                  Check moisture and temperature conditions
       Maintaining Your Composting Toilet                         regularly, to maintain optimum conditions for the
                                                                  composting process.
Householders should be aware of the stringent                     Add organic and bulking material when required.
maintenance requirements of composting toilets.
The factors of water content, temperature , air flow           HELP PROTECT YOUR HEALTH AND THE
pattens, pH, toilet usage rate, surface area of compost                    ENVIRONMENT
and oxygen penetration depth, all influence the rate and
effectiveness of the biological breakdown of the waste      Poorly maintained composting toilets can be a serious
materials.                                                  source of pollution and may present health risks, cause
Correct operation of composting toilets requires the        odours and attract vermin and insects.
addition of carbon-rich materials to the compost heap.      By looking after your composting toilets you can do your
Vegetable scraps and lawn clippings will assist the         part in helping to protect the environment and the
decomposition process through the addition of organic       health of you and your community.
matter, and reduction in moisture content. Newspaper,              If you would like more information go to
sawdust and other absorbent materials provide bulk and             www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au, or contact
spaces which allow increased aeration and ensure
appropriate conditions are maintained.                                    Administration Officer SMF
                                                                             Regulatory Services
Surface area in which the compost is spread should be                      Hawkesbury City Council
large enough to allow composting to be completed                              Ph: (02) 4560 4561
before it is buried too deeply. Also, when there are high               PO Box 146, Windsor NSW 2756
moisture levels in the compost, a very unpleasant odour
is released.                                                                  December 2006

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