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Old 11-30-2014, 05:08 PM   #1
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Composting toilets in 5.0?

I've been looking through posts trying to see if anyone has tried to put a Nature's Head composting toilet in 5.0 TA. Wondering if it's possible (before looking dumb on a build/dream sheet)...
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:17 PM   #2
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What's the benefit?
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:23 PM   #3
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As has been said better elsewhere: no black tank to muck with, and presumably I'll be able to stay out boondocking longer. As always, YMMV.
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:45 PM   #4
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Composting toilets have been discussed at length over on FGRV. My recall is that they require power and that the composting action takes a long time to complete.
I think they might work in a cabin, but would be a PIA in a trailer.
You'd still have a black tank ( the toilet holding tank ).
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:56 PM   #5
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Three words come to mind from what I remember reading the thread on FiberglassRV. Big, heavy and expensive.
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:27 PM   #6
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Ah! I forgot to look at FGRV.

Yes, expensive: the online price for the white one with "spider" handle is $925. But I just loved the Gone with the Wynns video series on their experiences! It didn't sound big to me: 20 inches tall, 17 3/4 inches front to rear, and 13 inches wide at the base. (The toilet is 16 1/4 inches wide at the seat.) No black tank to empty; liquid tank is 2.2 gal, solids fit in a medium-sized garbage bag. The Wynns converted their black tank to grey (another video).
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:52 PM   #7
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I am also considering getting a composting toilet for my 15A when the time comes.

There are newer generation composting toilets that are much smaller and less costly than the old gigantic, heavy Sunmar models that you may be familiar with. They don't generally require electricity to run. They are cheaper than the older models too...the Nature's Head and Air Head will run about $1000; the C-Head is more like $500.
Nature's Head Composting Toilets: Saving Our Water for Tomorrow
https://www.airheadtoilet.com/
C-Head portable composting toilet system

The general idea of all these newer designs is that you purposely separate the solids from the liquids. The liquids go in a separate container that is emptied as needed. The solids go in their own bin that contains peat moss or coir (coconut husks) and is mixed to create a non-smelly product that only needs to be emptied after months of use.

The old giant Sunmar designs had everything mixed together and required electricity to run a fan to evaporate off all the liquid. When you deliberately separate the liquids from the solids, that is not necessary.

These newer types of composting toilets are highly thought of by folks in the boating world. There, they eliminate the need for holding tanks, blowers, and through-hull fittings. I figure there are similar benefits in an RV application: no holding tank, no dragging the trailer somewhere to drain the tank, less water needed when boondocking as the need to flush is eliminated.

Here's a short video on the use and benefits of a composting toilet installed in a Class A motorhome --
The Winns talk about a computer fan to help with evaporation and odor control, but that feature is optional.

As far as fitting in the 5.0, that is of course a question for the folks at Escape. In my case, I'm planning to put the toilet in the driver's side front dinette seat. I'm leaning towards the C-Head which requires 18 inches of height clearance -- the dinette seats in a 15A would need to be raised a couple of inches to accommodate that height. Since that area is not fiberglassed, I'm thinking that is a change that Reace could do strictly with the cabinetry and floor level there.

That way, I preserve two sleeping/dining areas, keep the front window, but still have a place to 'go' when I need it.
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:44 PM   #8
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Can anyone explain what happened on our last camping trip . We were in San Diego after we hooked up sewer gas was in whole trailer . Also could smell outside from ground near sewer connection . They did move us . Our black tank was empty as was the grey tank . Never in all our camping had this happen before. Any ideas ? It was very bad .m
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:52 PM   #9
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There was one time we lost the water in the trap in the bathroom, which meant we got grey water stink in the trailer until we figured it out and poured a little water down the drain. A well-stewed grey water tank could be mistaken for sewer smell, but if your grey was empty that's not too likely.

When you hooked up, did you leave the grey and blank dump valves open? That could be a problem -- you could have been getting smells from the park's whole sewer system, though again you'd need to lose the water out of one of your traps. Normally you leave the dump valves closed and only open them to empty your tanks as needed.
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Old 11-30-2014, 10:55 PM   #10
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Were you connected to sewer and had gates open?
If your tanks were empty, and if the p-traps had nothing in them and you had opened the gates, that would allow gases to enter the trailer.
You should not open the gates until your tanks are almost full. That prevents solids from settling in the bottom of the tank.
I can't explain why there was a problem with that site, but you can avoid all sorts of problems by only dumping when tanks are full.
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Old 11-30-2014, 11:17 PM   #11
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The problem with "S" traps (I've seen some in Escape under-sink photos) rather than true "P" traps is, if you run a fair quantity of water down the drain at one time, the water on the lower vertical portion can suck the water out of the trap, thus the sewer smell. In a true "P" trap, the segment just downstream of the trap is horizontal (the "trap arm") and tends to slow the water velocity enough.

Of course, that's not a problem in the A models.

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Old 12-01-2014, 12:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patandlinda View Post
Can anyone explain what happened on our last camping trip . We were in San Diego after we hooked up sewer gas was in whole trailer . Also could smell outside from ground near sewer connection . They did move us . Our black tank was empty as was the grey tank . Never in all our camping had this happen before. Any ideas ? It was very bad .m
We just had arrived . Never open black until full . We did open grey but it was clean and empty . There was other sites in that line also smelling outside . We moved across to other side of park . Is it true we really do not have P - traps which I think I saw mentioned somewhere else ? So because of these s traps never should open until they are full ? Thankyou all for helping .
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:25 AM   #13
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While true, when using a composting toilet instead of a flushing toilet one doesn't have to empty a black tank but, sooner or later something is going to have to be emptied.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:46 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Patandlinda View Post
Is it true we really do not have P - traps which I think I saw mentioned somewhere else ? So because of these s traps never should open until they are full ? Thankyou all for helping .
The Escape 19 has an S trap on the kitchen sink. Don't know about other models. While it's true an S trap isn't permitted in residential plumbing because it can siphon dry and therefore not be a trap anymore, the volume of water going down from a typical RV sink makes this less likely. I probably wouldn't have changed mine if I wasn't relocating the plumbing.

Many RV parks have septic tanks. I've often smelled odour outside caused by a less than adequate septic system.

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Old 12-01-2014, 02:24 PM   #15
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Keep us up to date, if you go with a composting toilet. You will hear different opinions here, about lots of topics. Often that's related to how the trailer is being used: RV park? NF campground? Or ...off the grid... Sounds like something I would consider as it would allow me to stay out longer...I think.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:49 PM   #16
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Thanks Ron for explanation. We did open grey back up 3rd day with no problems because do not relish having to go out late at night to dump grey after showers . Our trailer shower is a lot nicer . The side they moved us to didn't stink as the first day on other side . I think on the way down the freeway was in many places like going down a dirt road shaking us up bad . They are working on our freeways . Maybe it shook all water out .
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:33 PM   #17
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Thanks Ron for explanation. We did open grey back up 3rd day with no problems because do not relish having to go out late at night to dump grey after showers .
I believe the practice of leaving the grey valve open, while convenient, results in the campground sewer system venting through your Escape....not through the drain traps, but up through the tank vent on the roof, which is in close proximity to the ceiling fan, windows, etc.
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Old 12-01-2014, 10:42 PM   #18
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I believe the practice of leaving the grey valve open, while convenient, results in the campground sewer system venting through your Escape....not through the drain traps, but up through the tank vent on the roof, which is in close proximity to the ceiling fan, windows, etc.
I agree. I would not do that.

Also, I want water in the grey waste tank, so that after dumping the black tank I can follow it with the grey tank to flush any solids out of the sewer hose.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:55 PM   #19
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We wait and dump at home and then can clean good . Many area's in park stunk . But I guess we won't anymore -leaving grey open because that was nasty . And we will never go back to that campground again . Lessons learned . Thankyou Parker .
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:56 PM   #20
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And Ron .
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