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Sun Aug 4, 2013, 08:59 PM

I've asked this question in other threads with no success

But hope maybe someone here will know where I can find a practical, economical way to build a solar powered incinerator toilet (Incinolets cost in the thousands), mostly for disaster preparedness. I spent days searching the internet w/o any luck. I'm well versed in composting toilets but want something that would be easier for a little old lady to maintain if that's what I am when and if I need it. I no longer live in the outback but retired to a tiny MidWest town with very few restrictions, I guess partly because most lots are a quarter acre. To many from more congested areas that qualifies as 'country' from what I hear.

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Reply I've asked this question in other threads with no success (Original post)
IrishAyes Aug 2013 OP
Tuesday Afternoon Aug 2013 #1
IrishAyes Aug 2013 #2
Tuesday Afternoon Aug 2013 #3
Flaxbee Aug 2013 #4
IrishAyes Aug 2013 #5
No Vested Interest Aug 2013 #7
IrishAyes Aug 2013 #8
No Vested Interest Aug 2013 #10
IrishAyes Aug 2013 #11
ConcernedCanuk Aug 2013 #6
IrishAyes Aug 2013 #9
Starboard Tack Aug 2013 #12

Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 09:17 PM

1. a quarter acre = country ?!

news to me but, good luck on your toilet. I have no idea about it but, will give this thread a little kick.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 09:54 PM

2. Thanks

As to rural or not, a lot depends on perspective. I visited quarter acre horse 'farms' in Connecticut. A hardcore urban dweller might find that spacious, whereas I came close to marrying a man who felt a bit crowded on less than 1K acres. I myself prefer living in heavily wooded mountainous areas out of sight or sound of other 'steads. But I'm too old for that now. Couldn't afford to retire back to L.A. or NYC if I wanted to. So this suits as well as my pocketbook allowed. My first choice would've been back in Calais, ME, the closest to heaven on earth anywhere. But it's too expensive for me to live well there now. So here I am, where I snagged a classic fixer at auction for $14,500. Because it's 100 years old, the taxes are only $180 a year.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 09:56 PM

3. sounds really nice, good luck with your project. Hope you get some replies and help with

this thread.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 10:31 PM

4. wow - that sounds like quite a deal for $14.5!

I love the mountains and the beach, but I don't want to tie every waking moment of my current life and future to an astronomical mortgage, so I've been trying to find comfortable small towns with older, well-built homes just waiting to be fixed up... I grew up along the coast in southern California, and while I yearn for that kind of place, I just don't want to make the sacrifice required to live there ...

Anyway. My husband might know how to do what you're interested in - I'll have to ask. He's a very creative engineering-type person and extremely adept at unique ways of doing things... let me ask him and get back to you. Might take me a while because he's swamped, but I will cut and paste your question into an email and circle back around in a bit.

Are you looking to build one yourself, or have one built based on a schematic?

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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 10:57 PM

5. Well, if I built the thing it might explode

Unless it were very simple to make. However, I do know quite a few affordable and creative craftsmen around here who are always looking for work. My Amish contractor likes to joke that the way his people catch deer is to sneak up behind and build a barn around them.

Unfortunately economy often comes tied to less desirable aspects as well, such as what to me was a completely alien culture. After almost 8 years the locals seem to be getting a little more used to me and vice verse. You can't move to such a place as this looking to make a living either unless you have a high tech telecommuting situation. But for a retiree on a budget, possessed of more stubborness than $, it sure beats the hell out of a studio apartment in the grandest city on earth. What good are city amenities if you can't afford anything and have to live in a rabbit warren?

While you research places, I'd recommend podunk.com and Sperling's best places for all sorts of stats on every zip code in the country. Doesn't tell you much about the culture, of course. Some small towns are indeed friendly but I doubt any in the affordable areas are liberal meccas. This is pure RedNeckLand, and they don't cotton to furriners - meaning anyone not born and raised within 5 or 10 miles. My particular little flyspeck town in fact openly prides itself on vicious xenophobia, and there are 2 general factions still fighting amongst themselves like the Hatfields and McCoys. During the Civil War all the area churches shut down because gunfire didn't stop for worship services.

Seemed like half of them wanted to run me out of town on a rail the minute I got here, but I bite back when my Irish is up, which it frequently was then. I never saw a more ignorant, nosey bunch of people in my life! But I told them I didn't need their permission or blessing to live where I pleased and that they'd find me a tough nut to crack if they ever tried. Considering that I came here with 2 giant chows that scared the hell out of most people just by staring at them, I managed to settle in eventually and now there are several people who can be counted on to be rather nice when they see me coming. You'd think none of them had ever seen a real live damnYankee before. Especially not one who went where and did what she pleased without asking permission, so long as it was legal.

What I'm trying to say is that it's worth doing, but don't walk into it blind. You might find Mayberry or you might find a version of hell on earth, so you'd better be tough as nails. But if you are, you can carve out your own little pocket of paradise come rain or shine. I was an Army brat, and let me assure you half these 'hawks' around here would wash out of boot camp the first day. That's why they're such gun humpers playing soldier in the woods on weekends.

Other than such matters, I like it fine.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #5)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 03:09 AM

7. If I planned to move for retirement, which I don't plan to do,

I'd be looking for a smallish college town, preferably one with a teaching hospital. I'd also be looking for a church that would fill my needs. I do realize that there may be cultural differences, but, for that matter, my views more often than not, do not synch with my neighbors as it is, so I'm used to that. (That's why I relish time on DU, which gives me time to be my unvarnished self, and to formulate my thoughts re all things political and social.)

I've spent a good amount of time visiting Durham, NC, over the last 17 years and would find it a pleasant place to retire. Duke University and Medical Center, and many cultural and academic events open to the public, some at little or no cost. Also a good Franciscan-run church which recognizes the problems in the greater area, including immigration, poverty in all its forms, and, I'm sure, some remnants of racism. Also a mix of people from all over, owing to the university.

Didn't mean to highjack the subject, and won't any further, but, just wanted to throw that in. I believe one could live relatively frugally there, as the housing stock that I'm familiar with is not new. Most were built when tobacco was inits prime.

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Response to No Vested Interest (Reply #7)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 11:13 AM

8. It's a lovely wish and plan you have there.

However, I did not have the time or even quite enough $ to do that. My Arizona ranch was off grid and banks wouldn't lend on it as a result, plus an ungodly distance from the nearest fire station, so even before the housing bubble burst I had to wait for a decent cash buyer. When one finally appeared, I had to let him close escrow within 30 days, so I had to move fast and I didn't intend to move twice. Fortunately this house came up for auction in a suitable area, and so this is where I landed. Tiny and shrinking as the town is, it's the county seat although it's so small it doesn't even appear on many maps! There's an excellent and expanding county hospital and a grocery store though you couldn't call it a supermarket in your wildest dreams. A few other bodegas - not very many. But most other things I need can be grown at home or ordered on the internet. Well, the county library's here but you could fit most of it inside my house - once again less of a problem in the electronic age.

And you're not hijacking anything. I appreciate your input and wish you the very best. Like I said, I'd have gone back to Calais ME but it just wasn't feasible for me.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #8)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 01:09 PM

10. From what you have told us re your home

you've made it quite comfortable and attractive, and, besides, it fulfills your needs. And your neighbors should be grateful that you've rescued and improved the property so that it didn't further deteriorate as happens so often in older towns where the kids so often leave to better their lot.

It also sounds as though you have many opportunities to enlighten your fellow townsfolk, through letters to the editors and enriching their conversations with ideas that would have never come their way otherwise. You could consider it a work of mercy or charity when they annoy you enough to "get your goat." Or just look at their goings-on humorously, as folks who just don't know better.

Thank goodness for the internet. What did isolated people do for knowledge and stimulation the internet came their way? I guess they wrote read and wrote letters, as I did as well at one time.

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Response to No Vested Interest (Reply #10)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 03:36 PM

11. After 8 years and over $40K more plowed into it,

The outside looks pretty good at last. Twenty-one new custom-sized high E windows, etc. And the mechanics have been completely redone. A very small part of the inside has been renovated, basically where I live most and only some of that. But I see exactly what it can be with a lot more time and $, so that keeps me happy. Every detail has been planned out. A good imagination helps. Even though another chunk of plaster fell from the upstairs bathroom ceiling recently and nearly knocked me out. What a way to go that would be!

Since a lot of what I want for the place is hard to find, when I had a little play money I'd periodically search the internet until now I actually have most of the unusual materials collected. What remains is affording the labor. So if I can even do one room a year, that will have to suffice. At least it will be progress.

Oh, I do write letters to the editor of our local weekly with the multi-state circulation, and he always prints them even though he's a RW himself. And during campaign season I'm often out and about in political gear. But forget reasoning with these people; some of them start to literally scream when they see me, no matter what kind of friendly, silly grin is plastered on my face. There's no reasoning with people in a frenzy. Surprisingly, I have received 3 messages of approval for my letters from parties far and wide, and you know what? They were unsigned. The writers too terrified their identities might become public, because they know as well as I do what happens to anyone who swims against the tide in this 'land of the free and home of the brave'. There was a gigantic rotten oak tree in my front yard that had to come down, and the first tree trimmer I called for a bid made it clear my $ wasn't good enough for him. Called me a g-d commie to my face, and he isn't alone.

Yet the good to come out of all this is greater strength on my part and an even fiercer loyalty for those who are at least decent to me, knowing what it can cost them. And the few real friends I've made here? I'd risk my life for them and count it a privilege. Plenty of the Amish and Mennonites would be perfectly glad to have me, but I'd have to change what they consider worldliness, and I don't have one speck of obedience in my DNA. So with the best of intentions, you can guess how that would turn out!

Keeping in touch with old real-life friends from the past and making new ones on the internet has been the only thing that has kept me halfway sane, I'll admit. It cuts into my book reading time severely, but it's still a necessary part of survival in my circumstances. I need frequent reassurance that the whole damned world hasn't gone stark raving bonkers.

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 12:10 AM

6. Can't be done, that's why you can't find one.



You'd have to have one heck of a solar array, as well as one huge storage system (batteries) to be able to have enough electricity to heat it.

One of my closest friends have 1000 watts in panels which they are able to turn frequently during the day to catch the sun.

They also have a $3500 battery for storage and would never dream of using an electric heater for anything, consumption is too high.

Even then, they have to use a generator now and then to keep their fridges running in the seasons/weather where there is not enough sun to keep that huge battery charged (battery is about 1/2 the size of a refrigerator and takes 4 strong men to move it).

There are however composting/solar toilets where your "stuff" goes out the wall(facing south so it gets the sun) into what looks like a mini greenhouse - literally "bakes" ur shit, and makes excellent compost for gardens, even inside plants - once it's baked, no odor at all.

so when you flush, out it goes into the passive solar "greenhouse" - and from what I've read, only requires being emptied every month or so.

I had to change computers recently, so no longer have the bookmarks for it - but they are out there.

google solar toilets, find a forum just for that, they are out there also.


these solar toilets require only a tiny bit of water to flush.

happy hunting


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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #6)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 11:19 AM

9. Thank you very much

Every bit of information helps. And I don't intend to give up until I find what I need.

Actually, late last night I stumbled upon a Gates-contest prize winner for a solar type toilet that also captures methane to use as a power source. I haven't yet tried to find out if it ever went into production and if it did, sticker shock might kill me.

Since the humanure subject comes up so often in this sort of quest, I'd like to let everyone know that some alleged authorities - for what it's worth - urge composting our own waste for 2 years instead of one to insure safety before it's used on food plants.

The regular solar composting toilets you mentioned would not be create a problem with permits since you need those for so very little around here. But I would still be very discreet and use the Amish to install one because they wouldn't go ratting me out in the first place. Maybe I grouse a little too often about many of the adults around here, but believe me the 'regular folks' mostly resent and hate the Amish and Mennonites almost worse than many do myself. But I respect and admire those Amish and Mennonites a great deal, and they're as socially accomodating to me as their culture allows.

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Wed Aug 28, 2013, 08:00 PM

12. You might want to keep an eye on this from the Gates Foundation

California Institute of Technology in the United States received the $100,000 first prize for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity. Loughborough University in the United Kingdom won the $60,000 second place prize for a toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals, and clean water. University of Toronto in Canada won the third place prize of $40,000 for a toilet that sanitizes feces and urine and recovers resources and clean water. Special recognition and $40,000 went to Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) and EOOS for their outstanding design of a toilet user interface.
...more at link...http://www.gatesfoundation.org/media-center/press-releases/2012/08/bill-gates-names-winners-of-the-reinvent-the-toilet-challenge

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