composting toilets

Lawrence F. London, Jr. london at
Sun Oct 31 18:40:26 EST 1999

"Lawrence F. London, Jr." wrote:

Here's a reply from alt.permaculture; it mentions
the system Dan referred to.

> Mark Lomas:
> This thread was posted to the permaculture mailing list
> and has aroused my curiousity about something I have been meaning to ask
> about, namely:
> Regarding reed bed wastewater tratment systems:
> 1) are they used exclusively for treating grey water,
> i.e. from laundry, bath and dish washing
> or
> 2) for all household sewage, including toilet
> If not used for 2) what modifications would be needed to
> adapt them for that purpose
> 3) if 1) is the case, could reed beds be coupled in serial
> with a conventional concrete, below ground (though in this case probably
> would need to be above ground) septic tank, the kind usually connected
> a leach field using perforated drain pipe?
> The septic tank would anaerobically digest the solids so that a reedbed
> system could handle such input; OR would the concrete septic tank need
> be replaced by system of partitioned open tanks, possibly some portion
> which or all of which would have to exist in a greenhouse or sunspace -
> unit that would contain a variety of lifeforms in an aquaculture or
> aquaponic system to predigest the solids prior to final purification by
> reedbed system connected in serial with it?


> Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 08:34:58 EST
> From: Permacltur at
> To: permaculture <permaculture at>
> Subject: Re: composting toilets
> In a message dated 10/31/99 5:26:54 AM, rnbpaine at writes:
> <<Hello,
> Beverley from South Australia here - new to this list. I am researching
> composting toilets at the moment. We already have a clivus multrum we
> been using successfully for years, but have two small buildings our
> adolescents are using that we'd like to put facilities in for them. Any
> experience out there with low cost appropriate technology composting
> toilets? Or flush toilet systems where the water is used several times?
> Looking forward to some info and discussion.

Dan replies:
>     the best system for a family is the double vault toilet.   Almost
> on this list can describe it to you.  There is an awful design out of
> Hampshire with bells, whistles and more moving parts than a carnival,
> actually they are very simple to design and requre no moving parts
except two
> tightly fitting doors on hinges.

From: "Heather" <hkthomas at>
Newsgroups: alt.permaculture
Subject: Re: composting toilets
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 22:51:21 -0000

Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote in message ...
>Regarding reed bed wastewater treatment systems:
>1) are they used exclusively for treating grey water,

No, grey and black water from domestic systems. Also agricultural waste,
slurry and residue from dairying and food processing. They've also been
to treat heavily polluted toxic waste, John Todds' - Living Machines are
worth a look  in this respect.

The RBTS we design must include a septic tank. Like you say this partially
digests the solids and presents the reed bed with a liquid to treat. No
for the S/T to be above ground, pumps can be included. Once treated the
effluent from the reed bed easily reaches 20/30 standard.

Re; composting toilets, we'll have a 'normal' flush loo in the house
conected of course to a R/B. However for the past 3-4 years we've been
a twin vault compost toilet as mentioned in the added post. It is a
brilliant! Low cost to build, no running costs. not too wierd for the
visiting mothers!! can look really pretty. For more details try to find a
copy of Fertile Waste published by The Alternative Technology Centre

Lawrence F. London, Jr.  Venaura Farm /intergarden/orgfarm
/intergarden /permaculture /ecolandtech
lflondon at  london at

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