[permaculture] Shit

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Sun Jun 17 23:09:49 EDT 2007

Tommy Tolson wrote:

> In the US, 30% of total power consumption goes to facilitate citizens 
> continuing to shit in their drinking water.
> We clear-cut forests in order to make paper with which to wipe our butts.  
> Doesn't this indicate a serious problem with shitting somewhat ethically?
> I consider this to be the sort of energy problem that has potential to 
> encourage a just, sacred, and sustainable society.
> Virtually no one is willing to be responsible for their own shit, 
> literally (and figuratively, too). 
> What would Permaculture do?
> In California, composting toilets are against state law as the only 
> means of handling shit. A house must have a water toilet.
> Where I lived, in southern Santa Rosa, California, the ground water on 
> the Santa Rosa Plain was all sewer water from local septic systems.
> To whom is this acceptable?
> Built wetlands have, as a by-product, septage that has to be transported 
> off-site ever so often.
> /The Humanure Handbook/ does not show up in searches on BN.com or 
> alibris.com.  Joseph Jenkins has shit figured out but no one likes his 
> solution, apparently.
> How shall we shit so we can live with the results?

I have it all figured out.

Recycled bytes:
What we need to be doing is:

1) keep drinking water pure and unpolluted
2) recycle solid waste:
- metals
- toxic metals
- plastics
- wood products
3) recycle clean compostable solid waste products
- food waste
- wood products waste
- biomass: certain clean industrial and manufacturing byproducts, landscape waste & paper products
- humanure
4) Use the output of 3) to grow trees, ornamental landscapes, more biomass, wood products and
     plants that can be turned into paper
5) Use the output of 3)
- to grow perennial and tree food crops, grains, hay forage
- for forest farming
- to create pastures for free-range, pastured and grass fed livestock
- use the cleanest to grow food crops

Society needs to adjust to efficient recycling of humanure, preferably through onsite, residential
biological systems that work through all seasons. I have some ideas on the drawing board for
a family-sized system that is connected to a residential structure. It uses concrete, concrete block,
AAC insulating block (Aercon) or rigid foamboard, glass or clear polycarbonate, nontoxic pressure treated lumber,
recycled composite plastic lumber offering options, with provision for squat or elevated conventional position
and standing. Simple, durable, indestructible, sanitary and reliable.

Every home could have an attached, two chamber, solar illuminated, solar heated climate-controlled room into which 
humanure, urine and food scraps are collected & composted and used to grow grasses that are harvested, dried and used
as bedding into which wastes are put. Picture a deep bed of dried hay placed on top of a mixture of good, friable, 
permeable native soil mixed with rock quarry dusts plus a little rock phosphate. Wastes are put onto the pile, liquified 
with a jet of water (rainwater collected off the roof, pumped with a solar powered 12vdc electric pump) and allowed to 
seep into the depths of the pile. Eventually the top layers of hay begin to break down reducing hay particle size. At 
that point a small rotary aerator (motor powered by same photovoltaic unit) is used to turn new wastes into the pile as 
a water jet dissolves all solids (except food scraps which can be left on top). Again the slurry soaks into the hay 
bedding. Liquids seeping out of the bottom of the collection unit are gravity fed to the chamber where grasses are 
grown. The entire unit would be two chambers, enclosed in small greenhouses; concrete floor and footing, superinsulated 
concrete block walls with glass or polycarbonate glazing with adequate venting so it will be warm enough in winter and 
cool enough in summer and with adequate solar illumination to keep the compost alive and aerobic and grow the grass to 
feed the composting chamber. A feature of the composting chamber would be a side door to allow removal of finished 
compost, just above the soil-rock dust layer - this would be easy to do. This compost would be the primary fertilizer 
and compost use to grow the grasses as the liquid seeping out through the soil layer would be very minimal.
A pedestial with seat and squatting foorests would be positioned a few feet above the composting chamber. The 
horticultural chamber and this chamber would not be isolated. Odors would be minimal or nonexistant. As hundreds of 
gallons of rainwater could be collected and stored (or in arid zones filled with well water) there would be adequate
water to completely liquify solids in the compost pile after each use. Lacking solar or grid power to operate a pump and 
compost aerator these processes could be done with a lever operated high pressure water pump and a hand crank aerator
- maybe a bicycle connected by chain to a drive shaft powering the compost turner (both stainless steel). There are many 
excellent design, materials, construction and fabrication options available for building a system such as this.

Any suggestions for improvements or variations in this design. Its tempting to build one of these.


 > How shall we shit so we can live with the results?

I'll let you figure out the how part; squatting is done by most of the world and is far healthier.
The system described above is _where_ you can do it.

Lawrence F. London, Jr.
Venaura Farm
lfl at intrex.net

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