The Staight Poop On Our Dry Toilet

We installed a dry head almost a year ago. We are pretty happy with it. I’ve noticed, talking with other sailors, that most folks are using peat that is too moist, infested with bugs, doesn’t dry or desiccate the poo.  One liveaboard friend told me about her black gnat problem. Since I have not had any black gnats, odor, or issues of any kind, I thought I’d share my poo bucket recipe. :-)

Our current dry/composting/desiccating head

 

 

First off, my husband built ( for $130) our dry or desiccating head. For ease of understanding most folks call them composting heads. The big thing to remember is it separates pee from poo. The pee collected in pee tanks. The poo is collected in poo tank and is desiccated through the use of peat. Unlike composting, the dry head uses a drying process to reduces the bacteria count to a non stink level :-). No smelly head.

 

Our poo tank is a 3.5 gallon bucket. No vents, no stirring agitator. I do have a long handled SS spoon but found it is unnecessary and messy to clean up. I rotate bucket throughout the month to keep levels even. The less fuss the better, less you handle the poo bucket the better ( IMO).

 

Poo Tank. Three gallon jugs are our pee tanks.

 

The dry head.

The low down on Peat – The peat I use is CokoTek peat (http://www.amazon.com/General-Hydroponics-GH98145-COCOTEK-BAIL/dp/B004D441ZO/ref=sr_1_1) , I’ve had no bug problem, made from coconut husk, renewable, and comes in compressed bricks so I can easily store 8-12 months of peat in a small bag about the size of a shoe box. I DO NOT BUY FROM PET STORES. Peat from pet shops could be a source of bug infestation. I buy from amazon. Get about a year supply for $25.

To reconstitute the peat brick- put brick in gallon ziplock baggy, add around a 1/2 cup of water. Each brick makes about a gallon of peat. Let sit overnight. By morning, it will still be very very dry in spots, but most of brick will be broken up into smaller chunks. Swish bag around and maybe add a tablespoon of water and let sit. Be patient. Few hours later check and try to break up more of the brick. I just grab bag and crush chunks without opening the ziplock bag. The end result should be a nice coarse very dry peat.

 

Adding too much water is most common mistake when reconstituting peat brick

Item list:

bucket liner, I usually use a wag bag ( http://www.amazon.com/Cleanwaste-Toilet-Bag-Pack-Blue/dp/B009A6VM1G/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1409262960&sr=8-3&keywords=Wag+bag)  or (http://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Products-Double-Doodie-Toilet/dp/B0024O0W94/ref=pd_sbs_sg_4/178-4887923-8337124?ie=UTF8&refRID=1A75Q911YDPGASYD8SY1 ) or any compostable garbage bag

Poo powder, (http://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Products-Bio-Gel-Gelation-Ounces/dp/B000FIAPZW/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1409261551&sr=8-6&keywords=Poo+powder). Poo powder adsorbs moisture, aiding to the desiccation process. This is not necessary, but I’ve found it accelerates drying and absorbs any liquid that may find its way into the poo tank.

Cocotek peat 

Cedar Chips, cedar chips repel, kill or can inhibit insects like termites, cockroaches, cloth-eating moths, carpet beetles and certain ants such as ordorous and Argentine.

 

Preparing poo tank

1) line my bucket with black compostable trash bag, usually a “Wag Bag”

2) I lay down a scoop of Poo Powder.

3) lay down a handful of peat. Poo tank is ready to go :-)

4) after each use I pour a cup or two of peat to cover poo and then sprinkle a handful of cedar chips into the poo tank.

***If you have an upset tummy( polite way of saying loose stool), after each use of the dry toilet sprinkle poo powder on poo before the layer of peat and cedar chips.

 

I empty my poo bucket every 4 weeks or so. The end result smells like dirt and is about the size of the gallon ziplock bag I  started my peat in. Poo is 75% water, so once desiccated, there is very little waste to dispose. I like using the wag bags because they are designed especially for safe disposal of waste in dumpster and trash cans. No need to bury if you don’t have the land to do so.

Wag Bag ready for disposal

 

Hope this helps. We will be leaving this winter for Caribbean. Will update on any issues or pitfalls we may come across.

Sorry for the typos, a bit under the weather.

Peace out :-)

WE DRANK THE KOOLAID !!

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Facebook, we are now on Facebook. Actually, Brian has been on for years but I was a staunch antiFBer. But if ya can beat em, join em. So after a couple moments of outrage over the intrusive questions, I have a page :). I joined for the sole purpose of getting into some women Sailing/cruising groups. I got fatigued by the open forums on the web, too many trolls! Though I still visit a couple for research, I pretty much stick to my little bubble of a world. Let’s see how long that will last! Ok, onto better things, boat projects, all measurements and updates on compost head, some exciting updated on the broken brain page, new pics for scupper boat dog page!! May take me a day or a week but I’ll do my best to get the blog up to date.

 

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New Hatches For Rain Dog, Maybe

We ordered new Bomar Hatches for Rain Dog. The original hatches are falling apart. The new hatches are beautiful, and we got them at a great price, $400 off each hatch!!

After removing the forward hatch and attempting to install the new hatch, we realized the new hatch does not fit…

 

So I will, sniff sniff, return new hatches and we will simply rebuild the old hatches..sigh.

Here are some pics of the forward hatch removal. It took an hour or two. We used sharp putty knives to cut the bedding which seemed to be 5200. We then pried up at all four corners.

 

 

We sharpen the putty knives and came in at an angle to cut the bedding

 

Got all corners free

 

 

 

Old hatch is out!

 

Some rot in the port aft corner

Steps For Rebuilding Bomar Series 100 Hatches

Step 1) remove old hatches~~done

Step 2) clean Fiberglass surface of all old bedding material, looks like a mixture of butyl and 5200. Epoxy core, filler where needed.

Step 3) strip hatch of all removable Parts, including hinges, to prepare for sandblast and new powder coat finish.~~~done 

Step 4) sandblast and powder coat hatch~~~done 

Step 5) have new lexan cut, and re glaze.~~~done 

Step 6) install new Harware, dogs and risers with Tef-gel coating

 Step 7) rebed hatches with Butyl. ~~Done

Step 8) install hardwood trim ring around interior hatch opening~still in progress! I need to epoxy and paint the trim Brian fit for the fwd hatch. I may have to patch the headliner too. 

 

We have the hatches back from the powder coating company, $40 per hatch ( done by Protective Powder Coatings in Corpus Christi) looks beautiful!!!! The first set of lexan we had cut came out terrible, poorly cut and some scratches in the lexan($80 done by Austin Plastics and supply). So, second pair of lexan was done by Regal Plastics in Houston, great job, no scratches :-) ($102). 

 

   Bomar Arms, 2 per hatch

 

All bomar parts were bought at iboats.com ($485). This includes 4 (part# p100-00) arms, 4  (part# p100-09) dogs, and 2rolls of Gasket material ( several part# for same product p100-53, p100-51, p100-52, p3000-20, p3000-21, p3000-22)

**Don’t forget the Tef-gel. It helps decrease the corrosive reaction between the stainless and aluminium parts

 

Bomar Hatch Gasket


Bomar Hatch Dogs

 

I have the newly painted hatch all taped up, almost ready to glaze. The lexan is just taped in place to get a feel for what kind of edge gap we are looking at.

Bomar Series 100 Hatch Restore

 Here is the hatch after glazing, still wet. Hubby helped me caulk as I faired and then we removed tape. Came out kinda clean, have some goofs here and there but comsmetic. Pay no attention to the acetone can in the picture I used isopropyl alcohol for prep. I used gloves whenever I handled the newly painted hatch or lexan, so the surface was fairly clean. 

 

Glazing the new lexan, in Bomar Series 100 port

Riser installation 

 

Riser installation


New hatch parts installed with a coating of Tef-Gel to help decrease corrosion between the different metals ( aluminium, stainless steel), gasket installed, bedded with butyl :-)

 

 

Bedded with Butyl, dry as a bone down below :-)

Still need to patch headliner and install a trim ring around the forward rebuilt Hatch. So far, and we have had a lot of rain, everything is dry.

 

Forward hatch. Headliner needs patch and hatch trim ring installed


The Chain Scrubber

THE CHAIN SCRUBBER

I made this for my husband, he gets so muddy when he brings up the anchor :-).
Found the design on another blog. Basically, it is three scrub brushes fixed in a triangular shape to capture and scrub the chain as it comes to the surface. We will also have a saltwater wash down. 

 

 

 

 

I got the scrub brushes on amazon for about 4 bucks a piece. I drilled 8 holes in the center brush and 4 holes on the outer brush to accommodate the line for the soft hinges. 

The hinges are 1/8th Dacron tied with a square not and three half hitches on each side of the knot. I then finished it off by whipping the knots for extra security. I’m trying Dacron instead of metal hinges to avoid corrosion.

 

 

 

The soft hinges allow us to reverse the bend to create an anchor scrubber.

 

 

 

 

The chain scrubber works by capturing the chain. With a weight on one end and a messenger line to a bow cleat, the scrubber should sit below the water, scrubbing the chain as we weigh anchor. I attached a line to encircle the whole scrubber to secure it closed, but I may add a Velcro strip or a positive latch. We will see how this hold together and how quick it is to deploy and remove.

 

 

 

Weather Cloths For The Cockpit, Hurray!

I have wanted Spray cloths for quite a while. I distinctly remember designing the spray cloths in my head after being soaked for the umpteen time during the Harvest Moon Regatta  :). It was such a wet ride, our friends auto inflate lifejacket went off when he was manning the helm.

So finally I am getting to the weather cloth project! I’m using sunbrella from an old awning. I first made a template, using thick plastic drop cloth material.

My mom directed much of it, but I was determined to do the actual work myself :). I used basting tape to make a 1″ seam.

I then folded over again, making three layers, and ran a seam twice. My machine was having a hard time with tension, one side pretty, other side kinda uneven. I tried for over an hour to adjust it but could not get a perfect stitch. That is why I ran two stitches.

I then placed 3/8 grommets on all corners and roughly every 12″ along the border. I used 1/8 bungee to install. I rigged it to draw back like a curtain to the aft stanchion before the stern rail. I need to tweak the fit. Here is a shot of the port weather cloth up. The forward and aft attachments are quick release bungee. The whole spray cloth runs on the top life line and a Dacron lifeline I installed to support the bottom.

 

The spray cloth has a high clearance to dump water in case we are swamped, it also stays clear of the spinnaker and jib sheets.

I will take it all down and add a few pockets to the inside, I need to figure out how to make pockets :). Plus I need to tighten the lifelines to remove the sag.

 

Help Us Obi-Wan, You Are Our Last Hope! Yes, We Are Going To Talk Poo!

Well, where to begin…hmm, I guess it’s best just to lay out the facts.

Fact number 1, our current, though fairly new sanitation system stinks( literally).
Fact number 2, it is unlikely to get better unless we rearrange our holding tank set up, replacing all hoses and gadgets associated with, still leaving us with a fairly unsupportable long term system.

Current head

20131107-210019.jpg

So, we are now desperate enough to try marine composting toilet systems. The marine composting head ( MDS Type III ) doesn’t really compost, but it does reduce and kill pathogens in a simple and stink free manner called Desiccating. Thereby, allowing us to dispose #2 in a safe manner( via flower garden compost pile or in a compostable trash bag in a dumpster). The number#1 gets pumped out at a pump out facility, poured in a land toilet, or poured over the side when we are not in a no discharge zone ( within 3 miles of land).

Here is an article about the virtues of a Marine composting toilet…http://ecovita.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/NaturesheadOnBoat2.pdf

I’ve decided to experiment with a camping toilet before spending a lot of money on something that may not work for us. I’ve uh er made a deposit, and noticed zero smell. I used peat moss and cedar shavings. For our permanent head, we will use coconut peat ( cocotek), a renewable resource.


We will be off boat for a week. Will let you know what greets us when we come back to the boat. I’m calling the head Obi Wan ( Kanobi) because it is our last hope….

image

Two Weeks Later:

Back on the boat. Head doesn’t stink! If there is a smell, it is an earthy smell with a whiff of cedar :-). So we are sold on the dry composting marine head. Brian is ripping out the wet head tomorrow and will begin the design and construction on a custom head. We are building our own because we cannot fit any of the manufactured composting heads in the tight little space. We ordered the urine separator ( keeps #1 and #2 separate) from Sanford Graves at C-Head. He has been really great with input too. I also ordered a nice strong solid wood toilet seat from amazon, the oval shape as I think it will work better with the urine separator.

Two More Weeks Later

Brian and our friend Joe constructed the custom head. After showing me the basic template Brian will revamp it to be much smaller, hopefully that is the right thing to do. Will update when I can.

 

**Added a page to this blog dedicated to the head—http://raindogps34.wordpress.com/head-project/

Tool Time

I recently stumbled across two new tools that I cannot recommend highly enough.

First is a alternator belt tensioner. I have planned on getting one of these for a while, but never seemed to get around to it. A post on another blog finally prompted me to order it. Despite the purchase of a giant screwdriver to use as a lever, I could never get the proper tension on my alternator belt before purchasing this tensioner. Huge mistake to not do it earlier. One of the best tool purchases ever.

The second is a set of flare nut wrenches. I have had a major problem trying to loosen nuts on my 25 year-old boat. I have often stripped them trying to loosen them. These wrenches make putting serious torque on a nut much safer since they grip all 6 sides at once (instead of the two sides a normal wrench grips). If you have a diesel engine on your boat, these are a must have item. They will be my first choice wrench from now on for almost all applications where a socket is not an option.