Friday, January 06, 2012

Continuous composting toilet

After moving in, we began using a Joseph Jenkins-style batch composting toilet system, but soon found that it wasn't the right fit for us, especially as it would not be safe to build a large, open compost pile (with human waste) in an area located in a vast floodplain. We were not inundated in the late-2011 floods that washed across Thailand, but we do have torrential rains during the monsoon, so having a compost + toilet waste pile in such an environment doesn't work. 

We looked through many, many plans online and in a book called the Barefoot Architect, and drew up plans to build a continuous composting system instead. This is the view of the outdoor space below our bathroom. When we built the house, we asked the builders to put a hole in the bathroom floor, which can be seen in the ceiling in the image above. 

An engineer neighbor/friend helped us start the walls so they would stand strong.

Landry drilling holes to put in a ramp for the initial droppings.

And a few half-pipes below to maintain air in a pile if it is compacted.

Above, the ramp is in, and part of the front wall is in. We recruited our construction-savvy neighbor, Uncle Preecha -- who was one of the main guys on the team that built our house by hand -- to finish the masonry and stucco for a clean look.

The door is attached, walls stuccoed and painted, and a vent pipe above, to keep air flow throughout the system. The vent pipe is painted black to heat the air, lifting the air up the pipe and creating a vacuum to pull air in through a lower vent on the side. It gives the needed oxygen to the composting waste and also keeps the system odor-free.


Lee Euler said...

It looks as if you're not in Kabul anymore. Me neither. I was there, however, four years before your 2008 post about the "Taste of Home Bakery" in Kabul, which, BTW, was NOT started by any TWO women, but by a group of women, mostly very poor widows. For their sakes, would like to provide you with the beginning of the story. Hopefully, you can update me with events more recent. Thank you. P.S. I have photos.

wulan said... you went to Indonesia. That's my home country. Nice pictures!