I’ve always been fairly serious about my composting. Katie, well, let’s just say she’s supported my habit and happily come along for the ride. Up until now.
She has now willingly entered the world of extreme composting, a place where all organic matter is treated with respect and dignity, and is seen for what it is: a valuable natural resource. In our quest for sustainability, we have made a substantial investment in a simple tool that will turn our ‘pollution’ on the sailboat into a beneficial product. Last week, upon our doorstep, we found our brand new composting head.
(Warning: from here on out, there will be some detailed scatalogical discussion).
Selkie, our Pearson Triton 28, currently has a traditional Lavac marine head, but there is no holding tank, meaning we can flush, but whatever we flush will immediately exit the hull and enter the sea. The same sea where we will be doing our snorkeling, fishing, and dishwashing. Offshore this is not a problem, but when we’ve been laying at anchor in a pristine, emerald watered cove for two weeks, this probably would not suffice.
We could have installed a holding tank, but the cost would have been comparable to the cost of the composting head, and then we’d lose that much more storage space. And then there’s the smell. The holding tank, and specifically the hoses, are renowned for their malodorous assaults on a sailor’s olfactory organs. How about the smell of the composting head, though, it can’t be much better right? Well, according to everybody that has one, the odor of the composting head is very minimal at the worst times, and non-existent the rest of the time.
The composting head works its magic by providing a means to separate the liquids from the solids. As long as the solids tank remains fairly dry, ventilated, agitated, and aerobic, the composting process proceeds in an odorless fashion. The liquid tank, when full of sterile urine, can simply be dumped overboard. We’ll provide updates on installation and how well it really works in July.
Anybody have tips on installation, use or maintenance for one of these contraptions?…
(Ed. note: Here’s where we expect some good smartass remarks from everybody)
Great Idea…the less holes in your hull the better. It’s plumbing that’s the number one cause of boats sinking. On that note, you might look into creating a manifold system for your boat so there is only one inlet and one outlet through-hull…instead of an array of petcocks to remember, there are only two. This seems to be becoming the modern method and makes sense. I’ve seen a few boats riddled with through-hulls…scary. Also the composting toilet really works and they don’t stink…only hassle is carrying out the compost on rare occasions which is a small one compared to a regular head’s perpetual issues…
scatalogical a real word? If so i’m gonna use it as my secret wepon in scrabble. Great post Alan 🙂
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