Process of Composting

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Humanure & the Composting Toilets

What is “humanure”?Humanure (human manure) is human fecal material and urine. It is a major source of environmental pollution around the world. It is also a source of disease organisms. When discarded into the environment as a waste material, it creates pollution and threatens public health. When recycled, the pollution and health threats can be eliminated. Humanure also contains valuable soil nutrients that can enhance plant growth. For these reasons, humanure should be recycled whenever possible.

What is compost?

compost is a mixture of decomposing vegetable refuse, manure, etc. for fertilizing and conditioning the soil.
It’s high in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, all valuable nutrients for most garden plants. The composting process is the feeding of organic material, such as humanure, to small organisms such as bacteria, fungi and worms. By some estimates, humanure contains up to 1 trillion bacteria per gram.

Four Stages in Composting Process

after the excrement and organic matter are added, the compost moves through the following four stages on its way to becoming usable fertilizer:
Mesophilic phase

  • When the pile of organic refuse begins to undergo the composting process, the temperature of the composting mass up to 44 degrees Celsius.

Thermophilic phase

  • The thermophilic bacteria take over in the transition temperature range of 44-52 degrees, and the mesophilic organisms become inhibited. Once active, these microorganisms produce a lot of heat, sometimes raising the temperature to 70 degrees Celsius. The heating stage takes place rather quickly and may last only a few days, weeks, or months. It tends to take place in the upper portion of the composting bin where fresh humanure is being added.
Cooling Phase
  • after the humanure has been for the most part digested, the cooling phase takes place. The mesophilic bacteria and microorganisms (worms and fungi) return and begin digesting the tougher organic material (straw, hay, wood chips, etc).
curing phase

  • This is the longest and most important phase in the composting process. The longer the curing phase (ideally one year after the thermophilic stage), the more likely that al the pathogens will be killed. The set time for the pathogens to be killed, and for all the organic matter to be digested, will vary depending on the composting method.

What are organic materials?

Organic materials are those materials that came from recently living things such as plants and animals. Common organic materials include animal manures, including humanure, sawdust, food scraps, weeds, leaves, grasses, wool, hay, straw, agricultural byproducts such as wheat chaff or residues from beer-making or food production.
How does one feed these materials to compost organisms?Organic materials are fed to compost organisms by creating a compost pile. A compost pile allows us to combine various organic materials above ground where air can reach the pile and provide oxygen to the aerobic microorganisms inside it. It also allows us to keep the organic materials quarantined inside an enclosed area away from people, dogs, goats, chickens and other creatures that should not be disturbing the compost pile.Compost microorganisms will digest and convert humanure into a safe and pleasant soil-like material when the humanure is combined with other organic materials, especially ones that include materials such as grass, leaves, sawdust, hay, straw, and other animal manures. Compost organisms do not like raw humanure because it is too wet and too high in nitrogen. When combined with drier materials that are higher in carbon, such as the materials listed above, the compost organisms love to eat humanure.

Destroying Pathogens

The temperature increase that results from the composing process kills harmful pathogens, rendering the compost safe to use as fertilizer.
The threatening pathogens present in human excrement may include:

  • Viruses: Hepatitis A, Poliovirus, Rotavirus (causes diarrhea), etc
  • Bacteria: E. coli, Salmonella typhi (typhoid fever), shigella (dysentery), etc
  • protozoa: Balantidium coli (diarrhea), Giardia lamblia (diarrhea), etc
  • Worms: Hookworm, Roundworm, Whipworm, etc

all of which will be destroyed during a properly controlled composing process. temperatures must reach 55-60 degrees celsius for a sustained period for this to occur.
Composting Toilets
A composting toilet system is composed of a container for feces, and urine collection and a composting bin for the compiling of the humanure and organic matter—a simple and effective design. The composting process can take anywhere from a few months to two years, depending on the composting unit. For the purposes of our project, the composting process will take 9 months.

Bucket toilet cycle.png
Bucket toilet cycle.png

for more in for visit the humanure website
information above was taken from this website and The Humanure Hanbook
Jenkins, Joseph C. The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure. Grove City, PA: Jenkins Pub., 1999. Print.