No water and no odour! Learn why our WashHouse and Comfort Station composting toilets are NOT like any “conventional” outhouse you’ve been in (or avoided at all costs) before!
At Sally’s Brook one of our Four Pillars of Purpose is to treat our planet with respect. We aim to have as small a footprint on the land as possible, using renewable and sustainable practices. Our composting toilets do just that.
It seemed to be an easy choice to eliminate the use of scarce drinking water to flush away waste. In addition we benefit from not having the large-scale ecosystem disruption of a traditional septic system.
The average Canadian uses 335 litres of water a day! Above all using composting toilets significantly reduces our water needs. It was also possible for us to install a compact greywater septic system with less disruption of the forest. Conventional flush toilets require a much larger septic field. We pump water to our CookHouse and WashHouse from our deep well next to the parking area, up the hill. Therefore we can minimize the amount of energy used by the pump with composting toilets.
At the moment we have four different models of composting toilets at Sally’s Brook. All use no water at all; aerobic bacteria break down the waste to harmless humus just like in a garden compost heap.
One toilet is a Separett, which separates liquid and solid waste. This type of toilet consists of a well-ventilated holding container that uses a negative pressure system to vent odours away and dehydrates the solid waste and toilet paper. A solid flap keeps the contents covered until there is weight on the seat. Everyone must sit down on the toilet for it to work properly. Our greywater system collects the urine diverted from the toilet and dilutes it with soapy water from the showers and sinks. The grey water is broken down rapidly into harmless compounds before it is released into the soil. The solids finish their composting process in a separate compost bin, until all that remains is rich humus to nourish the forest trees.
One toilet is a Multoa, which uses a coir-based bark mulch and automatically mixes and composts the waste and toilet paper inside the unit. This toilet has a cover over the composting receptacle. Pressure on the toilet seat opens the receptacle. You need to sit for the entire “performance”. After you use the toilet you might hear the mechanism turning the mixing bars. This ensures that the waste material is evenly composted. It also has a negative-pressure system to vent any odours out and away, keeping the toilet room smelling surprisingly fresh. From time to time we remove the finished compost and use it to nourish the trees.
In the Comfort Station, we have a non-electric SunMar composting toilet. It uses a combination of wood shavings and peat moss, and a manually cranked rotating drum as opposed to an electric motor to mix waste and promote the composting process. The exhaust vent pipe system works by “Venturi effect” in order to disperse any odours up and out without an electrically powered fan! We remove the finished compost at regular intervals and use it to nourish the trees.
Our fourth composting toilet is the very first one that we purchased, called Nature’s Head. It is designed to be used in boats and RV’s so is very compact and self-contained. Similar to the Separett it is a urine separating toilet, but with a composting chamber design rather like the Multoa, using peat or coir mulch to aid composting inside the unit. This toilet is manually operated. It has a cover flap that you open with a lever when you use the toilet. After using the toilet you turn the crank and the mixing bars turn to help the waste compost evenly. It is very portable, so it may be located in a pop-up shelter close to the StarView glamping tents or one of the Pod cabins, depending on need.
We are anxiously awaiting the delivery of two Compo Closet Cuddy toilets that we recently purchased, ultra-small portable composting toilets designed for tiny homes and camper vans. We are planning to use them in future accommodations.