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How to Prepare Yourself with a Portable Composting Toilet You Can Build Yourself

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There are many ways you can prepare yourself and your family to be ready for a natural disaster that causes the power grid to go down. For example, in 1859 a solar storm on the sun sent out a burst of energy that was strong enough to knock out telegraph communication equipment all around the world. With today's technology, a similar solar storm would affect power grids, GPS systems, and knock out power around the world, leaving basic home systems, including running water, out of service. Without a proper waste-disposal system in your home, where would you put your human waste? Here are instructions for you to put together a portable composting toilet system and prepare yourself for a similar situation.

Build the Toilet

Because a portable composting toilet is so basic, you don't need to worry about gluing and constructing a PVC pipe system. A composting toilet consists of a five-gallon bucket and lid, a length of pipe insulation, and a composting medium. You may want to keep several buckets on hand so you always have a free bucket to use for waste while the other full buckets "age." 

For composting medium, you can use newspaper shredded into strips, straw, hay, pine or other wood shavings, peat moss, grass clippings, or coconut coir, which is recycled coconut fibers. You will sprinkle the composting medium inside your compost bucket to cover each layer of waste as you use your composting toilet. 

The pipe insulation is inserted over the edge top of the bucket to create padding for you while you do your business on the bucket. Then, after each use or when you need to move the toilet, remove the insulation and seal the lid over the bucket to help control the odors and make the system mobile.

Compost the Waste

Start off an empty composting toilet by spreading a three-inch layer of composting medium on the bottom of the bucket. Then, each time you use the bucket, sprinkle another layer over the waste, approximately one inch in thickness. When your bucket is full, place the lid on it and set the bucket in a sunny area outside. For the next 11 months, the waste in the bucket will heat up in the sun and kill any bacteria and pathogens, making it safe to compost. 

Next, empty the bucket contents into a compost bin or compost pile directly on the soil. Cover the compost with a layer of grass clippings, straw, hay, or other medium, and after one year, your compost will be ready to add directly to the soil to provide nutrients to vegetation. This is especially helpful if you want to grow a garden.

Have Separate Collection of Urine and Feces

Combining urine and feces in one bucket can make it necessary to empty your composting toilet more often. To help reduce this need, you can use two separate composting toilets, one for urine and one for feces. This does require you to use two different buckets for specific needs, but the composting process of each need, when separated, is more simple. 

As you collect urine in your toilet bucket without feces, you can immediately use it as a fertilizer in the soil. Urine becomes virtually sterile when it leaves your body and does not carry bacteria like feces does. Pour urine directly into the soil, and the potassium and nitrogen can benefit the growth of plants. If you want to pour urine directly onto the soil around plants, be sure to dilute the urine with ten parts water, otherwise the urine can cause burns to the plant. For your feces bucket, follow the instructions for "Compost the Waste."

Now you can be prepared for a natural disaster that may destroy the power grid or for a camping and hunting trip during which you don't have access to a restroom. 

Talk to a company such as AAA Pumping Service for more information about portable toilets.