"Although each [septic] system can make an insignificant
contribution to ground-water contamination, the sheer number of such systems and their widespread use in every area
that does not have a public sewage treatment system makes them serious contamination sources." (EPA Citizen's Guide
to Ground Water Protection, 1990)
Linda Ochs of Homestead, NY
Excel NE installed 1996
One of the features I like about the Sun-Mar non-electric unit is the fact that it uses no electricity or water which saves hundreds of thousands of gallons of water as well as no additional electrical loads.
Our house runs on solar power for electricity so this is an important feature.
Mother Nature composts naturally and this product follows along this guideline. Our society has a crazy system of dirtying clean water with our waste, shipping it to a treatment plant, adding potentially deadly chemicals to "clean it up", and then put it back into our waterways again. This system is not an effective or efficient way to deal with our wastes. If we could get the idea of composting as THE way to deal with waste disposal we could save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water from going through the "business as usual" system.
I also wouldn't mind my photo that I am sending with this letter being used in your catalog. I tell all my friends about my system and give tours of my home so people can see the environmentally friendly items that do exist and can be incorporated into their homes.
I put cedar closet boards behind the unit to help control possible odors/insect problems and decorated the stack air vent with a silk ivy garland to make it blend in better with the decor.
There are two full-time residents at our house so this unit works pretty well for our needs. Visiting friends and relatives are surprised there is no big odor problem and how simple the composting idea is.
The problem I see with most "new" or "different" environmentally friendly products is that society does not like change. We are used to the status quo and don't want to have to do things differently. Nor do we want to know what happens to our waste. A flush takes care of everything, we think. I urge people to take a tour of the sewer plants in their area and really see what happens to our resources. I try to encourage people to take some kind of responsibility for their wastes and this is one way they can do that. I haven't had anyone actually purchase one to date, and the most common answer is that they are very expensive compared to a standard system. Maybe if they had to pay their sewer bills out of their pocket instead of being hidden in their tax bill, they might see the true cost and change their minds. That's what I hope for.
-Linda S. Ochs
3 Types Of Composting Toilets
- Which Is Best For You?
Composting Toilets for residential use are available in either self-contained units or central composting systems.
Self-contained Composting Toilets
Self-contained composting toilets are installed directly in the bathroom. They are available in both electric and non-electric versions.
Electric units plug into a regular 3-prong outlet to power a fan and a thermostatically-controlled heating element in the base of the unit. Usually you unplug the unit if it is not going to be used for a few days. Depending on the size of the unit, power usage varies between 80-150 watts.
Composting capacity varies with the size of the Bio-drum. Electric units normally have more capacity than non-electric units because they have extra warmth and air movement to enhance bacterial activity.
Although stated composting capacities can be doubled for short periods, Sun-Mar recommends a margin of safety, so choose a unit with more capacity than you think you need.
Advantages of Self-contained Units
- No plumbing required. Being waterless, no plumbing or water connection is necessary. This means the units are quick and easy to install since the only major task is to assemble the vent stack which comes with the unit.
- Economical. There is no need to purchase a separate toilet, so they are more economical than central units.
- Better suited to winter operation. Depending on your situation, it may be easier to keep the bathroom warm in winter than to warm the space that houses a central composting unit.
- Approvals not normally required. Most units evaporate all liquids during seasonal operation. Since the whole waste stream is recycled, approvals are not normally required.
- Easy to clean. All self-contained units have a bowl liner beneath the seat, which can be removed for cleaning whenever necessary.
- Attractive high-gloss finish. The high quality, high-gloss fibreglass finish is attractive and clean-looking and carries a 25 year guarantee.
Electrical Requirements for Self-contained Composting Toilets
Do you have...
- A continuous 110 volt power supply?
Choose from our Excel, Compact, and SpaceSaver models.
- No 110 volt power supply?
Choose our Excel NE (non-electric) model.
- An intermittent 110 volt power supply (e.g. generator running at least 8 hours per day), or have no power right now but are planning to in the future?
Choose our Excel AC/DC model.
See Rough-in Specs For Self-contained Composting Toilets here.
Central Composting Toilet Systems
A central composting toilet system is a two-piece system that offers the best of both worlds -- a traditional-looking toilet in the bathroom connected to an environmentally-friendly central composting unit located in the basement or outside the building.
Choose From 2 Central Systems
Sun-Mar has two different types of central composting toilet systems:
- 1 Pint Flush. The most popular type is the 1 Pint Flush. Because of the flushing liquid and the toilet's water seal, many view this arrangement as being most like a traditional toilet.
A handsome Sealand 1 pint toilet in the bathroom is connected to a Centrex composting unit which should be placed below and within 15 to 20 feet of the toilet. A regular 3" plumbing pipe is used to connect the toilet to the composter.
Rough-in Specs For 1 Pint Flush Central Composting Toilet Systems
- Waterless. The other type of central composting toilet system requires no water. The Air Flow version features a Sun-Mar dry toilet in the bathroom connected by a 10" diameter pipe to a Centrex A/F composting unit directly beneath the toilet.
To ensure odourless operation, the A/F (air flow) unit is designed so that there is a partial vacuum on the toilet, and air is being drawn down into it continuously.
Centrex A/F units are particularly popular where there is a water shortage, or where it is preferable to minimize liquid output.
Rough-in Specs For Waterless Central Composting Toilet Systems