Emptying worm tank?
I love the vermicomposting toilet design - it looks like just what I need!
I currently have an outhouse with a humanure bucket system and it seems like our humanure compost heap fills up pretty quickly... So I'm wondering, doesn't the worm tank need emptying? How quickly does it fill up? And if you don't need to empty it because the worms use up the organic material to make wonderful worm soil - don't you want to empty and use that? I didn't read anything about how you get stuff out of the tank...
Thanks a lot for the insights!
Hi Carrla. No the worm tank never needs emptied - well, not in 20 years of use which is the accumulated experience with the more complex original variant of this design created by Anna Edey. This doesn't stop you using the compost though. To do so, just stop using the toilet for a week, then encourage the worms into one corner with some vegetable scraps. Once they've all moved over to the new food supply, you can scoop compost out from the other parts of the tank. Although personally I don't bother doing this as my soil is short on worms so every so often I just take out a few buckets' full of compost and worms and add them to my vegetable beds. If you do this at the same time as you're applying manure or composted manure, the worms will happily go forth and multiply. At least, that's my experience.
I don't know of any case studies with this particular system as yet but we're installing some at the moment. It should work fine. Do you have a bath or is it just a shower? A bath would present the biggest challenge as it's a large volume of water all at once, but provided the organic material is course enough, it should drain through quick enough not to be a problem for the worms.
Thanks for the reply! We have a bathtub, but we use it so infrequently that we're considering getting rid of it to get more useful bathroom space. So that wouldn't be a problem.
I was also thinking that - just to be sure - I could run the worm tank outlet through a couple greywater plant beds to clean the water further.
I think the hardest part will be to get an official permit, but I think together with the case studies to show, and letting it run here with testing the water regularly should work.
I'll send a report for your website when it's set up! 🙂