Pest control in the composting toilet
"Oh, no, honey, I'd never ask
you to handle humanure," I reassured Mark when we came to the final
stages of negotiation for our composting
could tell he was seething over the term "humanure" (which he considers
sneaky), so I went on. "The system I'm thinking of is designed so
you don't touch the human waste until it's had at least one solid year
to compost. It's really totally safe!"
With some grumbling,
Mark gave in and let me have the composting toilet I'd been campaigning
for. So I expected some snide remarks when I came to him on
Friday for help revising a flaw in the system. The spaces between
the wooden slats (which Mark had said were too far apart, but which I'd
said needed distance for air flow) had allowed a raccoon to reach in
and pull out some half-rotted chicken
entrails, along with
toilet paper and, um, humanure.
There was no "I told you so,"
but only because Mark is a true gentleman (and a long-suffering
husband). I scooped up the debris to stuff back into the
composting chamber while Mark screwed hardware cloth over the offending
Word to the wise ---
lots of carbon isn't sufficient to keep vermin out of your composting
toilet chamber if you live out in the wilds. The author of The
doesn't mention this problem even though he threw all of his household
food scraps down the hole, but I think he also lived in suburbia where
pesky racoons are probably much less common.
One pest-control option
would be to line the entire chamber with hardware cloth, but that might
rust into a mess in a few years. Another option would be to use
more, smaller boards spaced closer together for the slats so you have
just as much air flow but less space between each board. We'll
wait and see if filling in the most problematic holes with hardware
cloth is sufficient, and I may go back to plan B, which keeps anything
food-like out of the compost chamber. I'll keep you posted.
Don't want to handle chicken
waste either? The Avian Aqua Miser is the POOP-free waterer for
happy backyard chickens.
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