Can you put human waste in a worm farm?

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sealander
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So, much of our city is currently without running water and sewage at present. (And yet we still have internet, go figure Smile We've been using plastic bags for our waste, and urine goes into a bucket which goes on the garden. Just wondering if compost worms can handle human faeces if you include a fair amount of high carbon material, or would it kill all my slimy little friends?

The recommendation is that we bury it in the garden, but so much of the yard is currently growing vegetables, or fruit trees (too many roots to dig a good sized hole) or covered in chicken pens, and I don't want to have a whole bunch of spots that I need to avoid for a while.

The future has arrived - it's just not evenly distributed yet.......

Cherokee
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Hey sealander, Yes, you

Hey sealander,

Yes, you can use worm farms to treat human waste - quite effectively too. Make sure that the worm farm has plenty of air getting into it. I use a worm farm here to process our poo, black and grey water. The worm farm itself has no smell other than a faint earthy smell, unlike composting toilets which are a bit smelly - despite peoples claims. Also make sure that rodents and flies can't get into the worm farm - perhaps use some fly wire? You'll find that the worm farm will work much better if it is sitting on the ground too and the worm tea and vermicast leaches into the soil around your fruit trees and vegie patch - you will see the difference to their growth within a few days - I ran a test between tomatoes grown against the worm farm and some a couple of metres away and the worm farm one's won hands down.

If you don't have a worm farm, you could make one quickly by obtaining a timber fruit box - which have timber slats on their sides but also open gaps for the air to get in. Line it with fly wire to stop rats and mice getting into it, but it still allows the air to get in. Sit the box on the ground so the worm tea and vermicast can exit the worm farm without further thought on your part.  It also allows the worms to get in and out of the worm farm when it gets either too cold or too hot.  Don't stress they always come back. Before you add worms to the system, put some mulch (ie. wood chips large to fine particles) and maybe a bit of compost too if you have it on the bottom of the worm farm as this will work like a biological filter and provide startup bacteria for your worms to eat. If it smells at all, give the contents a bit of a stir to get air into the mixture. Don't worry about the vinegar flies as they are mostly harmless. I dare you to try and fill this box - you won't be able to! This is an awesome toilet processing facility in an emergency and will also work for the long term.

As for your sewerage system, well an earthquake will either break the local treatment plant or the pipes connecting your residence to the system - at some point in the system. Any sewage going into your pipes will basically be entering your waterways and ground water table without any treatment. I hope they don't obtain drinking water from groundwater sources in your area? Most people don't understand that in a heavy rain event or flood too raw sewage is often dumped in creeks, rivers and oceans. I can't even begin to imagine the trouble an earthquake would cause.

Regards

Chris

Glenn
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Humanure Worm Bin

We use the humanure method, and below the most recent additions that are still "hot composting", we have plenty of worms.  Add plenty of carbon.  We use sawdust, planer shavings and straw.  Leaves (if low nitrogen, varies with species) and paper work well.

Glenn

Glenn, Marrowstone Island

sealander
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Why no sewage

Actually Featherstick a series of major earthquakes have taken out much of our city's infrastructure.

The future has arrived - it's just not evenly distributed yet.......

sealander
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Thanks for that Yes, we

Thanks for that Smile

Yes, we do already have a compost heap, but it's been a dry summer so it may not have a lot of worm activity in it. Kitchen scraps go to the worms and the chickens for faster breakdown.

Anyway, we got some low pressure mains water back after 5 days so we can afford the occasional toilet flush now. Where it actually goes, I don't know, going to take years to fix this mess.

The future has arrived - it's just not evenly distributed yet.......

featherstick
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Yep.  We take water from

Yep.  We take water from river systems that are under stress, purify it to potable standards using chemicals and energy, push it around the country using energy from non-renewable fossil fuels, then defecate and urinate in it and flush it out to sea to pollute the shellfish.

 

And in the field down the road, the farmer is putting fossil-fuel-based fertilisers on his crops....

"Tea's a good drink, keeps you going."

featherstick
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If you have an existing

If you have an existing compost heap, you can put it on that, so long as you add plenty of browns - shredded paper, untreated sawdust, leaves, store-bought compost/peat and so on.  This will balance it out and kill smells.  Worms already in the compost pile will simply migrate away from the human waste layer for a while, and then move back.  We use this successfully on our allotments (completely unofficially and without management knowledge or sanction).

If you don't have a compost heap, you should do.

And download a copy of the Humanure Handbook next time you're online

Best of luck

Featherstick

"Tea's a good drink, keeps you going."

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Autonomy Acres
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I think  fresh human manure

I think  fresh human manure may be a little to hot for the worms to eat right away.  If you have access to carbon (saw dust, wood chips, dried leaves, or straw) you could build a temporary composting system first so everything can cool down a bit, and then give it to the worms to finish it up.  Good Luck!

Barn's burnt down, now I can see the moon. - Masahide - http://autonomyacres.com/