Composting Toilets

Looking for a sustainable way of treating toilet waste? Look no further than composting toilets. With Irish planners looking more closely at ground and stream pollution caused by septic tank run-off, composting toilets are one way to tackle these concerns as part of your planning application.

Standard Toilets and Aquatron

Herr Ltd is the official distributor of Aquatron systems in Ireland. This system separates solids and liquids from a conventional toilet. From there, solids can be composted safely with earth worms and liquids can be diverted to a reed bed or stored for further treatment.

This separation process—unlike standard septic tanks—avoids making sewage sludge that would otherwise have to be collected and taken away by tanker. Since in this situation there will be no diesel truck required to transport sewage sludge over long distances, there will be a considerable avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions and avoids the added cost as well.

No electricity or energy is required for the toilet solids separation process or for the composting process itself.

By avoiding septic tank run off, phosphorus is prevented from entering local streams that would otherwise harm wildlife and contribute to algal blooms.

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Waterless Toilets

Porcelain waterless toilets are also available. These are hygienic, clean and odorless. These waterless system reduce mains water demand and water charges by 25%. Every month the semi-dry toilet solids are removed to an outside bin for composting with earth warms in the same way as the separation design. The urine can be used as a natural fertiliser.

This system also prevents harmful natural pollutants from domestic sewage being released into the environment, effecting our lakes and waterways. Farmers can also use the separated urine to recycle the phosphorus and grow crops in a sustainable way.

Dry Toilets and Raised Beds

Due to climate change, summer droughts may become more frequent. With efficient low water-use flushing urinals and the use of this almost waterless toilet, a relatively small rainwater harvesting system might be sufficient. If however a much larger rainwater harvesting system is installed then the extra available rainwater can be used for clothes washing.  With ultra violet lamps used to sterilize the water then the rainwater can also be used for dish washing and other uses.

Dublin’s water supply system at present is particularly vulnerable to long summer droughts. Hose pipe bans and temporary water shut off may happen over the coming summers. Significant reductions in mains water use could be achieved if everyone in Dublin installed water saving measures and had very low water-use toilets.  

Another important long term goals is the protection of  our ground water and nearby streams from pharmaceutical, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. New homes in Dublin could do their bit in reducing the overloaded Ringsend Sewage Treatment Plant.  

More Information

If you want to learn more about composting toilets, check out our case study on the WISER Life project in Ballymun, Dublin.

For more information about Aquatron systems or bespoke reed bed/composting toilet designs, get in touch.