Time Magazine has an article on what may be a big surge in composting toilets. As stated in the article,

Wastewater treatment is much more energy-intensive than composting, which needs little more than time (about a year) for complete decomposition and pathogen elimination.

This statement is basically true in terms of energy use, but pathogen elimination will depend upon the types of pathogens present and how well the composting system is actually working.  If appropriate temperatures are not met, certain pathogenic microogranisms could survive.  So, I’d want to take the compost’s temperature some, to be sure.

Clearly, health officials need to be careful in approving these systems.  I don’t see them working out well for large cities with high population densities…where will the compost go? Also, vigilance is called for in terms of local diseases, endemic problems and the like. Some communities might want to do some actual field testing of a few experimental units to be certain that composting toilets are a good idea.

Some towns might want to have a central drop-off point for the resulting “humanure” these systems produce. There, composite samples of compost could be tested to be sure it is safe before it is spread on vegetable gardens, and the like.


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