Getting back to (composting) toilets ...

We get into toilet discussions about once a year here on NL. All too often they turn into excuses why someone must have a flush toilet and little to do with reality in Nicaragua. Let's see if we can do better this time.

There is an organization called Toilets For People that has a solution that they are promoting for India, Peru and Nicaragua. They point out why a composting toilet is a good thing, particularly for places that may flood, but also point out that the typical cost is $1500.

Their project is to produce, install and support a $200 alternative. It's call the CRAPPER, the Compact Rotating Aerobic Pollution Prevention Excreta Reducer. There are some short, entertaining and right-on videos about the project.

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How Does That

tie in with Susan's bidet?

As they used to say during Jerry Brown's first governorship: If it's Brown, .. flush it! That was a great slogan, now and then.

How about a simple flush toilet, that could be flushed with a bucket, and a multi chamber plastic septic tank that more efficiently processes the waste into a usable effluent ? That way the-germ laden fecal matter doesn't flow down the ditch in front of Juana's home but the neutralized effluent could . . still stinky, but harmless.

The tank will have to be pumped every couple of years, but that's pretty low tech. We have a "honey wagon" in Condega that makes the rounds ..

I see flush toilets for $35. That leaves $165 for the tank and the minimal pluming required. Price of the Home Depot Homer bucket has dropped to $2.99, probably less in quantity.

I want to make it clear that I was NOT the one who hacked the site yesterday!


We at NL take our composting toilet discussions *very* seriously so leave your bidet out of it! :-)

Watch the videos

It will answer most of your questions. And there is a big difference between a $35 thing and a $200 installed and managed for a year CRAPPER.


let's stick to the local vernacular we should not use words like CRAPPER, we should use cacadora.

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

I'll Make One More

post to this thread and leave it.

Many of you know about Yaritsa, a campo girl I started helping some time back. She's in the equivalent of her Junior year in high school, and has a robust course of study (for Nicaragua) at the Marista school she is currently attending. Physics and chemistry are two subjects she is struggling with this term. If Yari has trouble, I hire a tutor for her, which is invariably the teacher who is teaching the troublesome subject. I pay $10 for two hours, which is a bit more than DO pays them for the day. It's been very effective. I don't know if the money affects her grades, but I imagine there is an incentive to demonstrate that my money is not wasted. It also gives me an opportunity to meet her teachers.

She boards with a teacher at the school, at 14 she is simply too young to stay at my house even though I would have a bedroom for her. Yari works an hour or two daily, depending on her homework load. She arrives at 2PM, and while I have a daily set of chores for her, the chore list does vary a bit. This being Nicaragua, there is a lot of spitting and hocking (anyone who has been here will testify to that). Yari used to spit, campo girls do, but we early on convinced her of the un-lady like aspect of this habit and she quit. A lot of people have put a lot of effort in both getting Yari out of the campo, and the campo out of Yari.

So, I like to interact with Yari for a couple of minutes when she arrives, ask about the school day, get a bit of protein and juice into her. I know her diet at Eddy's is mostly rice and beans, and that she is a profit center for Eddy. Just the way it is; it's still the best solution, and a lot better than it used to be.

. Sometimes the car needs washing, Henry does this, it's his rice bowl, but I get a much better result if Yari supervises. The aforementioned hocking often results in a deposit on my exterior wall, my street is the unfortunate travel route from a barrio of Marijuaneros and other low lifes. I like to point this out to Yari so she gets the wall, as well as the sidewalk and street clean. Sometimes my shoes need shining, another of Yari's tasks. The maid does all the heavy work, but if there are dishes to wash, Yari jumps in and does them. She has a great attitude.

I started to notice that Yari would consistently disappear for a few minutes shortly after she arrived at 2PM. I eventually noticed that she habitually headed for the toilet (flush). Now, Eddy and his mother, where she boards, have a latrine, or pit toilet, whichever name you prefer. They are very common in Condega. I would next see her as she walked to the pila to wash her hands. She is meticulous about washing her hands.

So Yari was voting with her butt, so to speak, for a flush toilet and against the latrine. Now, Yari might be an exception to the rule, and most people might prefer the bees and flies buzzing around their hinter parts. It does make it interesting, and Nicaragua IS after all the land of lead and cork. One person is a poor sample.

Somehow, I just don't believe it . . .My only experience with composting toilets was a rest area built and maintained by the Nevada DOT at the corner of US 95 and I 80 that I used to pass on my way from Idaho.. Due to the scarcity of water there, they had installed composting toilets. They were NASTY. People would walk up to the unit, open the door, and turn around with their hand over their face, a disgusting exclamation on their faces.

The nuns taught me to equate dirt with communism,, so this might explain more fully my resistance to composting toilets and latrines when the flush alternative makes such good sense.

Thanks for the promise

to post no more here. You have been the biggest offender in not addressing what composting toilets are about.

My guess is that if it was possible (for the world) most people would pick a flush toilet over a composting toilet. That's fine but, as one of the videos points out, 2.5 billion people don't have a flush toilet. The infrastructure to change that is not going to happen any time soon and that is not just buying toilets. You need a lot of water (even a low-flush toilet would mean about 4 billion gallons of water a day to support one flush per person per day), a lot of dealing with a much higher volume of waste and the possible contamination issues if flooding occurs.

So, poop where you want but realize that it is going to take a lot more than personal preference to get everyone a flush toilet.

My dad and his wife lived

My dad and his wife lived for several years on an island in lake Ontario, where my step mother was born. We always had a cottage there when I was a kid so an outhouse was acceptable. When they retired and we built a year round house there they wanted a proper bathroom. Because the island was all limestone with thin topsoil, mostly clay, enormous amounts of fill would have had to be ferried in to get an acceptable septic bed. Dad decided to go with the composting toilet below. It worked great for all the years they lived there and to my knowledge is still in service 20 years on. They actually did utilize the compost for their large garden. The unit produced no smell that I ever witnessed. I would like to point out that my parents are far from being environmentalist or even particularly educated/interested in environmental concerns. This was simply the most cost effective solution.

They work fine

The issue, of course, is what they cost. The main reason I am commenting here is that they have a relatively new central system. They can use no-flush is tiny-flush marine toilets. That gives you the preference of a flush toilet that doesn't need a black water system. For those who can afford it and don't feel comfortable with a box of poop under you like with a traditional composter (or need multiple toilets), it seems like an alternative.

I have a 1971 RV toilet in

I have a 1971 RV toilet in my 1977 camper. I switched this older toilet with the newer one because this one is china in the business portion and the newer "improved" model was plastic. Toilets can be nasty and plastic doesn't slean as easily as china. Originally, this toilet had a flush system similar to a standard flush toilet where the water was allowed to flow when one stepped on the lever that opened the ball valve. The system was relatively good compared to a standard toilet in that it used about 1/4 of the water and the ball valve seals the stink out. At some point a couple of years ago, I was taking the toilet apart for thourough cleaning and I took the valve section apart. I spent close to a day trying to put it back together with no success. I then elliminated the spring closure and installed a weighted arm to close the ball valve (actually a hemisphere). In order to flush the toilet, I installed a sink sprayer that I had changed from a spray to a stream that would squirt 20' - 30'. This set up uses even less water, Usually less than a cup. I would think that a hand pump could be installed if there was no pressurized system.