Eco-toilets

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Eco-toilets

Postby Charli » Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:14 pm

We have many young members and families on the allotment, as well as community plots and some of our members do not live near the site, so we require toilet facilities on site. We also often have work done by the community service volunteers. The infrastructure is important is encouraging people to garden an allotment.

The allotment site has no sewerage provision and so mains water toilets are not an option. A working party was established within the committee to investigate our options, and we believe a composting toilet would be our best solution.
Composting toilets
- do not require water
- do not require vehicles for maintenance (therefore removing the associated cost, soil compaction and pollution)
- return fertility to the soil in the form of safe and odourless compost that be used on site
- do not require electricity (though we intend to install solar lights)
- would improve sanitation on the site by providing a hand-washing station (of which there currently is no provision)

Commercial composting toilet solutions are expensive (Natsol branded units start at £8000), and difficult to position on our steeply sloping site. We plan to build our own sheds and put in commercial toilet units, which is a much cheaper solution and will be custom built to our topography. Sheds will be built mostly by volunteers from our allotment community, which includes many useful trades and relevant experience.

We will build small wooden buildings (one on each side of the 6 acre allotment site). Due to the sloping nature of the site the buildings only have to be raised slightly on the entry side, whilst leaving ample space underneath for the composting units. We will then only need a short ramp to facilitate disabled access to the buildings.

The buildings will each have a sloping roof, probably made from clear polycarbonate. Foundations will be cement and breeze blocks. Each building will have a solar light (with the small panel being on the roof), a non-water handwash station, disabled access ramp and internal grab rails.

Image

More detailed design drawings and total costings available on request.

Composting toilets are odourless if used properly (which holds true for all toilets). 'Using them properly' involves being seated when using the facilities (including men- though we're planning to install separate waterless urinals in each building as well), and using a handful of sawdust to cover any deposits. The design of the toilet separates urine from an solid matter, and diverts the urine to an external soakaway. Solids and sawdust go to a waterproof container (we are planning on using wheelie-bin style containers), that once full (realistically three-quarters full, else they're too heavy to move easily) are moved to a composting area. A handful of fresh compost or soil is added (to add useful bacteria and kickstart the composting process), and the bin is left for a year. After a year the contents are tipped out (at this point the bin contents really does just resemble soil), and left to compost for a further year in contact with the ground. This is a 'mouldering toilet' design more than a 'composting' one- though obviously composting does take place, just at a different time.

We have asked the Council for funding- the request is being considered and we should know the outcome shortly.

Any questions then let me know, I'm available on this forum, on facebook, by email (big_red_dragon@msn.com) and on the allotment (plot C15).

Charli
Charli
 
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