How to fix a leaking (other brand) composting toilet: Pt. 1 of 5

July 7th, 2009

Many who call us at Ecovita report they have composting toilets that aren’t keeping up with liquids. After dealing with a swampy composting toilet, these callers see the value of diverting urine from the composter.

Here, we will detail ways to deal with a too-wet composting toilet, using a real-life example:

Humus toiletEva was given an older but never-used Humus 90 composting toilet to use as a toilet for a few workers and visitors to at her gardens. For the past two years, the toilet has leaked brown liquid. (We call this leachate.)

This toilet actually worked pretty well when I first saw it in 2006. The Humus 90 was a decent model in its day: Nice and large, with a strong heater and fan. (The Humus 90 later changed designs and was ultimately renamed “Biolet”–aka “Mulltoa” in Europe and another name in Canada.)

Many of our customers replace their composting toilets with a urine-diverting composting toilet from Ecovita. However, although we at Ecovita love to sell our toilets, we hate to see a big piece of plastic wasted. 

Here’s what to do if you are in the same situation:

1. Check to see if the fan and heater are working.
If you can’t hear a fan, place a burning incense stick or smoking match in the toilet and check to see that the smoke goes up Continue reading »

How to: Avoid build-up

July 3rd, 2009

ThoseNastyRings2Villa owner Mark Tillack asks how to avoid the build-up of urine sediments around the drain. He has a 2002-era Villa. He attaches this photo. 

Answer: Pour water–preferably hot–with some vinegar down your urine drain periodically to break up any urine sludge that builds up. Urine sludge is common even in urinals. It is the minerals in your urine adhering to the walls of the pipe. 

The best way to avoid it is to:

1. Make sure your urine drain is sloped as much as possible.

2. Flush the urine drain periodically with water and vinegar. The vinegar’s acid will break the bonds of the salts and minerals. 

Continue reading »

Growaway Gardens manage urine

July 1st, 2009

Urine garden 
Wondering what to do with urine if you’re not interested in collecting it for direct application?

A Growaway Garden is a garden specially engineered to growaway urine’s nitrogen ecologically and in a contained planter, so no nitrogen discharges to the ground.  A system like this, especially if it is lined with plastic, can help you get permits for your system.

Ecovita will feature free plans here on the Web site soon.

Do-It-Yourself Privy Kit plans updated

July 1st, 2009

Pat and Privy Kit

We conducted another composting toilet workshop, so we updated our free online plans for making your own very simple composting toilet with a Privy Kit. Go to the Privy Kit page or download Privy Kit Baja Box Directions.

We call it the Baja Box, because it was designed for one of Ecowaters’ first workshops in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

The workshop was hosted by Pat Keaney (of Green Grease Monkeys), who installed a Baja Box toilet in his basement after our talk at his permaculture workshop in his home last year. Pat and his eco-toilet are shown above.

Why the basement? Many renters tell us they want a composting toilet but are unable to change their bathrooms. The basement is often a place with extra space and it has an easy way to vent the toilet: through the small windows near the ceiling.

Ecovita customer report in The Los Angeles Times!

July 1st, 2009

Ecovita customer Susan Carpenter is a reporter at The Los Angeles Times. Recently, to respond to California’s drought, she purchased a Privy Kit from Ecovita. Taking a cue from our photos of customer installations, she purchased a ready-made wooden box from Orchard Home Supply and inserted the Privy Kit, with a container inside (Susan didn’t have a photo for us…). She writes about her experience here:

THE REALIST IDEALIST: Taking the Plunge with a Composting Toilet