Re: Composting Toilets & Septic Systems
From: Joanie Connors (
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2013 06:49:13 -0800 (PST)
I know nothing about Cob Hill's composting system, but I have visited with
a Buddhist community that uses a system from Clivus Multrum  www.clivus
*multrum*.com . They say it was very expensive, but they've had it 10 years
and it has been virtually maintenance free. It does require electricity,
but they use solar panels.

There is a small building with 2 toilet rooms over the huge clivus
aparatus. They told me that the compost is not unpleasant to remove, then
they put it on their apple trees (which are very prolific!).

The community has 10-16 members who live there full time, and has probably
16 retreats yearly with 40-60 people. It has managed well for all those
people, even during a week-long retreat with 70 participants.

I've visited homes with small composting toilets, and they were smelly. I
visited one home that used seats over buckets of worms for toilets that
were cleaner smelling than those (not that I like the idea of sitting over
worms). Of course the technology for the commercial ones may be improving.

I've known quite a few homes with well-functioning septic systems using
natural bacteria. The problem is the water usage. I'm not sure how little
water is absolutely needed for flush toilets, but it's still quite a bit.

On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 5:59 AM, Tracy Gayton <tracygayton [at]> 

> I'd be interested in any specific details on Cob Hill's composting toilet
> experience. I am surprised Liz Ryan's outfit found them very expensive, and
> would be interested in hearing details about that also.
> It seems like a legitimate topic for a public forum to me.
> Tracy Gayton
> Piscataquis Village Project, Maine.
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