Building a toilet – a new biogas unit

Some time ago our biogas collector tank… burst. It was a smelly and distressing event. The tank had developed a small hole in the corner and the leak burst in a rush one afternoon. The smell was unbelievable, for an hour or so. The miracle of anaerobic digestion means that the digested material left in the tank, really didn’t smell once it was exposed to the air. Our lawn was very green for a long time too.

We hosed the liquid in to the lawn well and avoided the entire area for a week or so. We had to drag the old unit out of the yard using the farm ute, and bury it in a hole in the bush. I emailed the company and reported the incident and they emailed back with an explanation; apparently some of the tanks were stitched with a non-UV resistant thread, which would give out over time. They replaced the unit (for free) and we decided to upgrade the toilet situation.

My tired and reluctant partner built a toilet shed from scraps of metal and tin we had laying around. It took three days to build and is a lovely addition to the humpy (although it is square and has no lopsided walls, so it looks out of place).

We then dug out a level pad for the biogas unit, a piece of carpet supplied by a friend was laid out as a base and the tank was assembled and filled.

Then came the long and tedious wait for the unit to activate. I added horse manure and cow manure to the water and… waited. After a month or so, the biogas began to do it’s thing and we now have an active unit.

You may ask what we were doing for a toilet while this building was going on. We used the toilet as usual, but it fed into a bucket that was emptied every few days into a hole in the bush (then covered in soil). We soon grew tired of carting a bucket of poop into the bush and waited for the unit to activate eagerly.

Now it is time to upgrade the transpiration pit.

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