Hey, Hill Folks, This Is for You: Waterless Toilets Questions


Gotta Pee [Image by hirotomo t via Wikimedia Commons]

Press release:

The County of Humboldt is seeking input from the community on waterless toilet regulations. Waterless toilets are also known as composting toilets or, as defined in the Humboldt County General Plan, alternative systems.

The majority of the current Humboldt County Code governing the use of waterless toilets was adopted in 1984 and community members have asked that the code be updated.

The Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Environmental Health (DEH) is encouraging interested community members to read the current code and submit comments, questions, research references and other information helpful to a broad review, as well as information about public health implications of the use of these types of toilets.

Those with experience using, building or studying waterless toilets are encouraged to join the dialogue. Please submit comments and preferred contact information to ENVHEALTH@co.humboldt.ca.us. Please place “Waterless Toilet” in the subject line.

Humboldt County codes that apply to compost and incinerating toilets can be found at http://www.humboldtgov.org/DocumentCenter/View/1261,
Title VI Division1 Chapter 5: Experimental System Disposal Program. Portions of the code relative to pit privies can be found in Chapter 3: Prohibitions.

DEH staff has tentatively scheduled community meetings in September in the northern and southern parts of the county. More information will be issued once dates have been finalized



  • It’s the pits but someone has to do it!

  • I’m experienced I pooped in one like 1000 times, they work fine smell gross and if you drop you phone in one i would just recommend getting a new one, what else would they like to know?

  • Second my emotion

    Keeping a compost toilet is relatively easy with a little planning, a few gross days a year when it comes to inspecting turning, and processing your poop, but otherwise straightforward. We’ve had some of our finished three year old compost tested with 0 fecal bacteria etc. It really makes you think hiw wasteful we really are with water to carry our poop around. Plumbing in cities was a great innovation, but in any kind of rural setting you can compost your own poop, and if anything, turn your poop into humus, which is what builds a forest. Or rather, what a forest builds, or both! A little education goes a long way and we as humans waste a lot of resources on our poop. Everything rots… however, the one Downside to naturally co.posting your ow. Waste is if your diet is full of antibiotics and pesticides and crap, well you need to do a little more research o. How to break that stuff down. As a precaution, we also innoculating our older poop boxes with mycelium and also red wigglers… nature’s head is genius.

    • Huam waste contains more than organic matter. The inorganic matter is problematic. We as humans consume and excrete a whole lot of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, cadmium etc. and pharmacuticals. These wastes bio accumulate. Human waste is legally allowed to be used in non-food agricultural products such as flowers and hay. To use it on food stuff would be at your own risk.

      • True that all “waste” disposal requires thought. Using red-wigglers to take down bacteria, using an anaerobic middle-stage to take out most virus activity, and I’m pretty sure a handshake transfers more disease than what is left with properly “finished” compost privy material.
        Check out: “The Big Necessity” by Rose George, and “The Origin of Feces” by David Waltner-Toews. af

  • Yes, if everyone would take a coffee can of lime and use it after taking a drump everything would be fine! Men, boys find a tree or gopher hole and let fly! People are getting dumber every second!🙄

  • How do you factor-in Hep-C and other diseases that may, or may not, be known to those using the water-less toilets?

    • Using a middle-stage anaerobic process (tight lid) addresses viral activity best. No system is perfect in this respect, but it certainly is better than allowing viral threats to enter the water supply.
      Viruses are tough. In Greece, farmers often release Anthrax by ploughing over the fields used millennia ago to bury diseased cattle.
      One does what one can. Washing your hands and teaching your children (and guests) are two very proactive measures available. af

  • Testing.

  • Second My Emotion, what kind of system do you use? A Van Der Ryn-type home built, a purchased kit? No one I know is happy with the Sun Mar kits, but that’s a handful of people. I’m looking to build something but really hate the idea of being forced into a water system. I’ve been looking at VanDer Ryn’s various plans:

  • Liz, Sim’s book was written in the early 70s, and we’ve come a long way in the simplification of the process. “Store-bought” systems are unnecessary, and some, like the Clivus Mulstrom system is ridiculous and well as ridiculously expensive.
    Check out: “The Big Necessity” by Rose George, and “The Origin of Feces” by David Waltner-Toews. There’s a lot of information out there, and one can learn a lot by observing your own composting practices and applying it to this “waste” as well. af

  • KYM: The e-mail address for Composting Privy input doesn’t work. Is there another, or a correction available? I’ve spent 45 years in State and Local education on Cps, and want to volunteer what I’ve learned. Thanks in advance, af

  • Does anyone know if this would allow people to build on there un perkable shelter cove lots?

  • Basically going back to using an outhouse….lol

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