Kailash Ecovillage has an innovative model of ecological sanitation, also called ecosan.
In Spring 2019 Portland’s Alternative Technology Review Committee approved our proposal for a specific design of a community ecological sanitation system modeled after new state of the art building codes. In Summer 2019 we received the actual permit through the city of Portland for a composting toilet and urine diversion system for all our living units. This has allowed us to process human excreta (pee, poo) into sanitized compost and urine. This helps us to build better topsoil and has allowed our gardens to become self sufficient in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other trace elements. While ours is a community system, Portland has also permitted systems for single family dwellings.
Urination Station Schematic
Here is a recently published research article on our system, putting our project in a world context and highlighting its simplicity, low cost, excellent performance, and ability to enhance emergency preparedness. This equitable ecosan solution is designed, like bicycles, for anyone and anywhere on the planet.
Eventually, we plan to transition all flush toilets to composting toilets. We are currently working out how this can best be accomplished. Once this is accomplished, all sewage from Kailash would be grey water.
One of the most frequent questions we get about excreta recycling is about potential pharmaceutical residues in plants fertilized using sanitized urine. This matter has been studied extensively by researchers at the Rich Earth Institute in Vermont.
Here is an excerpt of one of their reports addressing the pharmaceutical issue: “The question of pharmaceutical presence in urine is often raised; our research to date, (performed with urine from our program,) has shown that although pharmaceuticals are present in urine, a person would have to eat close to a million pounds of lettuce fertilized with urine to receive a single dose of any pharmaceuticals investigated (Mullen, et. al., 2015).” Here is a similar research paper to the one referenced in this report:
Mullen, R. A., Wigginton, K. R., Noe-Hays, A., Nace, K., Love, N. G., Bott, C. B., & Aga, D. S. (2017). Optimizing extraction and analysis of pharmaceuticals in human urine, struvite, food crops, soil, and lysimeter water by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Anal. Methods, 9(41), 5952–5962. doi:10.1039/c7ay01801k