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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 58
Author
Dealing with shit

kuu
14/08/2007
6:32:04 PM
I think an important aspect to remember here is, that just like a garden compost pile, the material added to a composting toilet may reduce in volume but it DOES NOT GO AWAY!

Irrespective of the ambient/environmental temperature at the site, brand or model of toilet installed, there is always a 'product' which needs to be dealt with periodically, and removed from site.

The composting toilets presently in use in Tasmania's National Parks have been designed so that their 'product' can be physically removed, either by vehicle or helicopter, and then appropriately treated at a waste disposal facility. I suspect this is also the case with composting toilets in the Kosciuszko National Park and almost certainly will be what happens when "Australia's highest dunny" at Rawsons Pass (above the winter snowline) becomes operational.

So I suspect the diffidence reportedly shown by Blue Mountains City Council about such toilets may be at least partly due to concerns relating to the problems of ongoing and regular maintenance required by such facilities.

It may be, that in the long run, climbers will have to be prepared to 'spend a penny' if they want to "go" in The Glen!

Emptying the 'product' from a toilet there will cost a shit load of money and we should be prepared to contribute somehow towards this (the cost, not the 'product').


Romfrantic
15/08/2007
9:31:12 AM
On 14/08/2007 kuu wrote:
>The composting toilets presently in use in Tasmania's National Parks have
>been designed so that their 'product' can be physically removed, either
>by vehicle or helicopter, and then appropriately treated at a waste disposal
>facility. I suspect this is also the case with composting toilets in the
>Kosciuszko National Park and almost certainly will be what happens when
>"Australia's highest dunny" at Rawsons Pass (above the winter snowline)
>becomes operational.

That's right....there's the management plans available online regarding the composting toilets being installed at KNP (i.e. Rawson's)...removal options were documented there...

>So I suspect the diffidence reportedly shown by Blue Mountains City Council
>about such toilets may be at least partly due to concerns relating to the
>problems of ongoing and regular maintenance required by such facilities.

I think you've hit the nail on the head there Kuu - composting toilets CAN work in cold places but are not necessarily the cheapest option with the respect to ongoing operations/maintenance etc...you do have to pay park entry fees at NPs, esp. at KNP, and waste removal is budgeted out of those funds...

Phil Box
15/08/2007
9:56:08 AM
A better option then may be the good old fashioned septic system. Use the water from one of the gullies to fill a header tank for the flush. Make it a minimal flush system. Pipe the resultant "product" down hill to a relatively flattish spot and then feed the waste water into transpiration beds preferrably on one of the ridges and not in gully. This would be extremely effective and result in almost zero ongoing maintainence issues as far as dealing with the build up of waste products.
climberman
15/08/2007
10:01:25 AM
These guys: http://www.biolytix.com/index.php reportedly do well with high temp variance, high use variance systems. The big challenges for the composting toilet are:

high variance in use - ie, not even over time;
input of inappropriate chemicals (grey nomads emptying their chemical dunnies into them);
high temp variations (the glen might go from 30+ to -3 with snow over the year).

The variations affect the composting buglets - they get swamped, dried out, killed, or otherwise rendered inoperable by these variations. Many public composting toilets still require a separate set of settlement tanks, and a de-watering/irrigations setup. That's cool for roadside paddocks but less cool for the Glen, not merely environmentally but in terms of physical space capacity. Sydney drinks water from the Glen via the Coxs, I think.

Almost all dunnies in public areas away from sight tend to get vandalised by moronic poo-wiping teenagers or our friends the needle-freaks, so need to be visited almost daily for checking and cleaning. It's a bloomin big cost.

A carpark based pit toilet with suck-truck access and capacity for a two-week period of high use would best suit the Glen. Smaller physical footprint, less chance of leaching, less maintenance, less ongoing weather issues, would tie in well with the current system on the Plateau possibly, too. With the current Blue Mts sewer upgrade programme it may even be possible to connect the thing to the sewer system. Well, that's what I think.

Romfrantic
15/08/2007
10:41:48 AM
As always, CM makes total sense and being very sensible ;-)
Connecting to the sewer system in the long term, would be a preferable option I would think too....treat it like any other public toilet block in picnic areas and lookouts where there are car parks - lockable by council stuff.
kiwijc
15/08/2007
11:21:15 AM
in regard to composting toilets, the blue mtns city council say:

"the poor performance was mainly due to cold weather and high shock loads. What I mean by that is that it would not be used for a week then get a lot of use for the weekend. The ones at the govetts leap lookout had to be removed by NPWS for this reason and peolple were putting all sorts of other rubbish down them"

And the sewer at Blackheath ends at the corner of shipley road and minyango st, and there are no plans to extend it.

One issue for getting a pit toilet with suck-truck access is that there are still towns in the Bluey's without a public toilet, and hence it's hard for the council to justify building another one around blackheath area when there's already one in town.


Eduardo Slabofvic
15/08/2007
11:25:52 AM
On 15/08/2007 climberman wrote:
>These guys: http://www.biolytix.com/index.php reportedly do well with high
>temp variance, high use variance systems.

At the risk of spamming, these systems rock. I would have bought one if they were available when I did
my place.

What is clear is that any decision, including the decision to do nothing, will result in management issues.
In an environment where water needs to be conserved, a dry composting toilet makes sense. Finding the
toilet system that best suits the use is the key question. It has been correctly pointed out that the
variation in load is a key issue. There are systems that can deal with this, although they require
management, but then so too does piles of poo lying around on the ground.

Septic systems are called septic for a reason, it’s because the contents goes septic due to the chemistry
of the break down. A dry composting system, that is working efficiently and to specifications, does not
require any further treatment, as the composting is the treatment needed. In a composting system where
carbon/nitrogen is in balance, where there is oxygen present to promote aerobic decomposition and
discourage anaerobic decomposition, where temperature is allowed to be regulated by thermophilic
microbial action, and where there is a small amount of moisture to ensure that living micro-organisms are
not dried out, will work.

Remember though, that it will take about 12 months after the last poo for composting to be completed and
the resultant compost to be free of pathogens. At this time, you will be fighting over who gets to take it
home and grow something in it.

kuu
15/08/2007
5:55:31 PM
On 15/08/2007 Eduardo Slabofvic wrote:
>Remember though, that it will take about 12 months after the last poo
>for composting to be completed and
>the resultant compost to be free of pathogens. At this time, you will
>be fighting over who gets to take it
>home and grow something in it.
>
Hi Eduardo,

Thank you for your informative and enthusiastic post.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my reading of your last paragraph (above) has me thinking that if it takes 12 months for the 'product' to be suitable to take home and use in a domestic garden then a composting toilet at The Glen would need either:
a) to be closed down periodically for 12 months to allow the material to compost properly, or,
b) require two (or more?) swapable collecting chambers so that one could hold 'maturing' product while the other continued to collect contributions from the climbers.

This area receives a fairly high (climber) visitation rate throughout most of the year.

Eduardo Slabofvic
15/08/2007
8:15:29 PM
On 15/08/2007 kuu wrote:
>Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my reading of your last paragraph
>(above) has me thinking that if it takes 12 months for the 'product' to
>be suitable to take home and use in a domestic garden then a composting
>toilet at The Glen would need either:
>a) to be closed down periodically for 12 months to allow the material
>to compost properly, or,
>b) require two (or more?) swapable collecting chambers so that one could
>hold 'maturing' product while the other continued to collect contributions
>from the climbers.

b) is the correct answer (in my opinion). There's a model called a roto-loo which is kind of like a wheel
with multiple buckets on it. When one is full turn the wheel until the next bucket comes around. If the
capacity fits with the load (and this is your key question) the 1st bucket has been out of service for 12
months when it turns up again. It can then be emptied.

My system at home uses 3 buckets that take about 6 months each to fill. Therefore each bucket sits out
in full sun during one summer. I’m pretty happy with the system I’ve got working.

There may be someone lurking on this forum who has been to the Falls Festival in recent years. I
understand that there are composting toilets there. Maybe someone can fill us in.

Once the pile has been composting for 12 months there is nothing left to remind you of it’s former state.
Good compost, from any source, should smell earthy and fragrant like leave litter in a forest (man).

Also, note that in Victoria, you are not allowed, by the regulations, to put this compost on a garden, you
are supposed to bury it...but then there's nothing stopping you planting a tree on it. I don’t know what
NSW regs say on the matter. There’ll be someone around who does. Try asking at a hippy…..oops…I
mean…environmental shop of some description. They should at least get you started in the right
direction.

tmarsh
15/08/2007
9:24:07 PM
On 15/08/2007 Eduardo Slabofvic wrote:
>My system at home uses 3 buckets that take about 6 months each to fill.

6 months each? I'm surprised.

But then, the majority of your sh1t ends up on Chockstone, so I guess that explains it.

vwills
16/08/2007
12:34:46 AM
I dont think a toilet in the carpark (composting or non composting) would make a huge difference to faecal loads at the crag. People will be too lazy or too desperate to make it back to the carpark.
Education and some robust carryout personal system would have to be the most practical solution. How to make it attractive- I dont know. But responsible dog owners have been trained to clean up after their dogs so there is some hope humans can be trained to clean up after themselves.

Romfrantic
16/08/2007
10:39:38 AM
On 15/08/2007 kuu wrote:
>b) require two (or more?) swapable collecting chambers so that one could
>hold 'maturing' product while the other continued to collect contributions
>from the climbers.

I think this is what's being done at Cathedral Campsite on Mt Wilson....two pit toilets, one which is locked while the other is being used....and council also put port-a-loos there to ease the burden on that one pit toilet (esp. over summer) ....but in the end, I think Ness is right, people are lazy!...shouldn't deter from finding solutions though...

IdratherbeclimbingM9
16/08/2007
10:41:29 AM
In my opinion for every responsible dog owner there are at least the same number of irresponsible ones.
I guess the same would apply to bush-boggers?

MrKyle
16/08/2007
10:57:40 AM
Clearly pit/composting toilets are appropriate and proven in some situations. Burial is effective in others, but not in high traffic areas like the Glen. In this situation climbers will have to learn to pack-out their waste. There are some systems available in the US and are available at a discount through the access fund. Simpler systems are free at some parks (from memory).

In any case, climbers should attempt to abide by the regulations at play, and use the guidelines of Leave No Trace (http://www.lnt.org.au/section02/climbing&abseiling.html) where in doubt.

What about if we made some simple "pack-out" kits, that were subsidised by the government/councils and/or sponsored by outdoor retailers? It's possible we could make them free of charge so that every climber has one on hand. ??



Eduardo Slabofvic
16/08/2007
11:59:11 AM
On 15/08/2007 tmarsh wrote:
>But then, the majority of your sh1t ends up on Chockstone, so I guess
>that explains it.

That may be so, tmarsh, but as I keep a pile of my own poo in my house, and there is no bad smells or
any other problem with it (and this can be confirmed by numerous other people who have visited my
place) it is clear that my sh1t doesn't stink.

I also don't waste precious drinking water by pooing in it.

anthonyk
16/08/2007
12:28:28 PM
yes i think thats the sticking point here- placing a dunny at the glen is too hard to access to pump out, the alternative is having one at the car park but if thats not going to solve the problem then you're gonna have to get people to change what they do and cart it out manually from the crag.

some parks in the city have a little plakky bag dispenser for owners to use to pick up their pets waste. maybe there's an option like that but for people, bc i think you'll only ever get a handful of people who are responsible enough to think of bringing poop disposal equipment in advance.

oh and a specific bin or something at the carpark would help, because i'm sure the locals there won't be too enthused by their bins getting filled with crap from the local riff-raff.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
16/08/2007
12:36:10 PM
On 16/08/2007 anthonyk wrote:
>the locals there won't be too enthused by their bins getting filled
>with crap from the local riff-raff.

Albeit environmentally responsible riff-raff?
... but what about the climbers!
(Heh, heh, heh).
:)
trappers
16/08/2007
2:46:29 PM
Oh thats so smelly, what a downer man...
Soren
16/08/2007
3:26:33 PM
Thats right, Installing any type of toilet at the car park is unlikly to solve the problem, with up to a 30 min walk out from the furthest climbing site I expect it will not get a lot of use. Installing any toilet in the Glenn is extremely difficult from an environmental perspective as has been discussed( Steep slopes, shallow soil, water ways). Additionally, I can't think of a site to locate a toilet where it would be easily accessed from all the climbing sites.

And Yes Council is averse to bearing the cost. Installation could possibly be covered by a grant, but that is the cheap part, even for a top of the range toilet. The maintenance cost are the killer (for Councils). NPWS in Blackheath has a very simple pit ( or bucket) toilet in the Blue Gum, costing about $5,000 to install but the maintenance cost are huge, as they fly out the bucket about 3-4 times a year.

Any remote toilet in the Glen would have to be carried or flown out. There is the possibility of a pump out system, but that would put the toilet back near the car park.

I'm inclined to agree with Vwills that education and a parsonal carry out system is the go. However, how to deal with the carried out product, and prevent it from going into the neighbours bins need to be worked out. There is the possibility that it could be disposed of on a standard bin system.








wyt91t
16/08/2007
3:27:00 PM
toilets are for sure the way to go at the glen and shipley i think three would do the job considering how much traffic that place sees.
one toilet where the track splits to go both ways. And one at each end of shipley and the glen problem solved.
i think if this was tried for a month the out come would be much better ten seeing shit paper everywhere.

also dont forget that the glen is used alot by tourists for climbing and its bushwalking as they would add to this paper trail.

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 58
There are 58 messages in this topic.

 

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