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Human Manure....your thoughts

Posted by greenthumbzdude (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 12, 13 at 14:31

I have seen a couple of videos on Youtube and read some articles on organic and permaculture forums on the human manure subject. Apparently its safe if placed in the center of the compost pile mixed in with lots of sawdust and leaves. I would like to use it on my flower beds rather than my veg garden. I am considering buying the Humanmanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins. Has anyone every done this?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

g'day,

we've used it when we had a composting toilet, nature-loo brand very good and versatile, simple by design. the composting occurred in the container using composting worms(worms our choice) they have an enzyme you can use.

actually our best bin was when soldier flies got in under the lid(design change stopped that sadly) and their maggots did the best work.

read up on the "humanure" book that is also a good way, the saw dust bucket.

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

  • Posted by pt03 2b Southern Manitob (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 12, 13 at 18:02

I've read the on-line version, it's a great book. We have a setup based on Joe's book in the laundry/wash-up shed over at the shop. The compost from this is eventually used on the grain fields.

Lloyd


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

If you can process it and gaurantee that it is free of pathogens and 100% free of diseases, I would be okay with it. I think that non-meat-eaters manure is best over-all though.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

I have been cycling my waste into food production for 15 years. I am not sick.

Further, if we generally do not start capturing our effluent for food production civilization will unravel fairly quickly.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

When properly composted human manure is like any other manure, safe and effective in the garden.


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poaky1,

no guarantees in life i'm afraid, the composting deals with the pathogens, we or anyone else never got sick eating from our garden. many places drinking recycled water from sewerage process, no guarantees there either and no parameters so they can detect issues or failures.

we need to recycle to help our planet it is all we have

len


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Now to those who responded, is human manure better than other animal manure (horse, chicken, goat, cow, etc.) or about the same


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Human manure will be about the same as any other animal manure.


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Humanure (from a fish eater) is far superior than any other animal manure imho. Human food is arguably the most diverse and that a FISH (preferably from deep sea) eater's humanure will most likely give to your soil all types of micro- and -micro nutrient needed by plants in varying amount, according to the human diet. But there's the heavy metal problem, which may or may not be an issue to different people.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

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Humanure from a composting toilet or the bucket method is one thing. The municipal waste stream is quite another.

Done right, the former is OK, the latter I'd stay away from.

If you know what goes in, you know what comes out.

to sense
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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 16, 13 at 15:59

What! Chickens and pigs eat more fish than most humans through menhaden meal. And they are given all sorts of mineral supplements, in particular iodine and selenium. Surely their manure will be as good as those high quality humans, right?


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

I'd rather supply the sea-minerals to my microbes and plants than eat fish. Also a heck of a lot better for the oceans than the current massive de-population of sea-life.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Chances are very good the raw chicken you buy in the grocery store is contaminated with fecal bacteria from the chickens, and people worry about human manure placed into a compost pile!

Consumer Reports did a study in 2009 and found that 71% of 1000 chickens purchased from a variety of stores were contaminated with campylobacter and/or salmonella. The bacteria is then spread throughout the kitchen, to the sink, sponge, counter, and cutting board, which are the germiest places in the entire house! The uninformed always think it's the toilet because poop is icky, right? FALSE - the toilet isn't even in the top 10.

I would propose that this is an example of the human species' poor ability to assess risk. Personally I wouldn't hesitate to use my composted manure on ornamental gardens, not sure about veggies. Btw, I am a vegetarian - aint no raw chicken blood in my house.

Here is a link that might be useful: Consumer Reports: Most Store-Bought Chicken Contains Harmful Bacteria


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

terrence.

That sir is the most truthfull post ive seen in a while. You sir live in the REAL WORLD . Its funny how people have cat crap in thier basments where the furnace destributes the bacteria throughout thier house and jump all over people who for thousands of years have put steer manure on thier garden.

Spelling correction

This post was edited by Oil_Robb on Sun, Feb 17, 13 at 22:36


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

"Chances are very good the raw chicken you buy in the grocery store is contaminated with fecal bacteria from the chickens,"

There is in very low amounts.


"71% of 1000 chickens purchased from a variety of stores were contaminated with campylobacter and/or salmonella"

So? This is cooked off.....

"The bacteria is then spread throughout the kitchen, to the sink, sponge, counter, and cutting board, which are the germiest places in the entire house!"

Soap?

This post was edited by TheMasterGardener1 on Sun, Feb 17, 13 at 23:57


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Oil Robb, I have no idea how real the world I live in is, but I try to assess risk in a rational way. The only point I was making is that people freak out about fecal bacteria in human poop because of a phobia, and yet many don't realize that they bring the fecal bacteria of other animals into their house on a regular basis, usually from raw meat juices, and don't have a phobia about it. (Btw, I am well aware that produce can contain fecal bacteria, however it always cross-contaminated from an animal source.)

I would compare this poor assessment of risk to the fear of flying vs. driving - EXTREMELY unlikely you will die on a commercial flight, much more likely you'll die in an auto crash. But relatively few people have "fear of driving".

MasterGardener, your point is?? Of course the risks of poisoning from fecal bacteria in food can be managed. In your household, maybe pretty well, in a restaurant, a cookout, etc? Maybe not so much. Chances are, even then you will get a case of mild food poisoning from time to time (I have).

Btw, according to Dr. Weil's website, there are some strains of Salmonella that it only requires 10 bacteria to make a person sick. Some strains of E coli, only 100 bacteria can kill you. For children, it requires relatively fewer and the results are much more serious.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 11:27

Surely we have all gotten mild food poisoning at some point. I have not used manure in years in the garden (lately, I have done everything with leaves, chips, and kitchen scraps), but just from earthworms I estimate my garden to have about 2 new tons of excrement a year. Mice, birds, bugs, roly-poly, centipedes all contribute to various extents.

I grow a lot of root vegetables which I eat after a cursory washing. What is so bad about large animal manures, compared to mice or bugs? If you have ever seen an indoor cricket farm, you will know that insect manure stinks as much or even more than regular (stink=an approximate metric for bacterial population).


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

"MasterGardener, your point is??"

You cant see? Your making trace amounts of something look dangerous. Dose is the only characteristic that makes any compound poisonous or not. Soap kills these right away, so why would you say they "spread"

These bacteria are a part of life. I dont mind eating them if they are there in safe amounts, being chicken is FULL of nutrition.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Go ahead and nitpick about fecal bacteria in chicken all you want, it was not the point of my posts, and was simply an example of the human tendency to assess risk poorly. Other raw meat juices have them too! So does produce occasionally. Besides, trace amount of some pathogens are dangerous, even for healthy people.

Why do I say they are spread around? Because they are! Quoting an article at University of Arizona's website about Professor Charles Gerba aka Dr. Germ:

And while the toilet stall was the beginning of Gerba’s distinguished hygiene studies, even he was astonished to find out that bathrooms aren’t the germiest of places. Your kitchen is...The worst offender in the kitchen? The kitchen sponge or dishcloth, where fecal bacteria from raw meat festers in the damp, nurturing environment. The next worst offender is your kitchen sink. This is where vegetarians have a definite advantage since they don’t bring raw meat into their homes. There’s less chance of E. coli and salmonella spreading, but they still have to be on the lookout for viruses and parasites.

Here is a link that might be useful: Information for the News Media: Dr. Germ


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PS. Please cite the source that tells you how much salmonella and campylobacter is in raw chicken? I am curious, and the Consumer reports article only mentions that E. coli was present on almost all chickens, but the quantity was low.


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" and was simply an example of the human tendency to assess risk poorly."

I think it can be just the opposite sometimes. We tend to get scared when we hear about something we quite dont understand or how much it really even effects us from a scientific standpoint.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Well that's a good reason why scientists should do studies, and people should educate themselves. Reading the link above about Dr. Germ is a great start.

And getting back on topic, I really don't know what the actual risks of using humanure are from a scientific standpoint.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Yes. Your right, I dont want to get off topic. Oops! ;)


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

If Monsanto was selling human manure composted the way the average home gardener does it, half the planet would be screaming about it.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

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>The worst offender in the kitchen? The kitchen sponge or dishcloth,< Let's hear it for happy hygienic paper towels. They maybe ecologically unsound but they're hygienic. When you look around at all the plastic packaging lots of us complain about, how much is that about hygiene? We just went through a rather paranoid flu season. What price hygiene?

Speaking of fecal bacteria, in order to kill all the fecal bacteria on your toilet you need to light it on fire with laboratory alcohol which looks pretty cool with the lights out. Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/24/861087/housecleaning-tip-dont.html

Humanure in compost? Just do everyone a favor and take it seriously. Don't take it likely. Do your homework and do it right so no one gets sick. Thanks in advance for that.

to sense
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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

which would be better in your opinion; a composting outhouse or an indoor composting toilet?
Right now I am leaning towards a composting outhouse because it will take longer to for the manure to fill up and thus allowing more time for the manure to break down. Plus I could perhaps add some red wiggler worms in there to get a better quality compost.
Could I feed some of the worms to my chickens though? If the worms have human feces in their digestive tracts and the chickens eat it...could the I get contaminated via bioaccumulation of heavy metals if I eat the chicken?

This post was edited by greenthumbzdude on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 11:51


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

I have the same feelings about humanure as I do about cannibalism. If I had to eat somebody, I would only choose a Vegan Christian Scientist who had been practicing both for approximately 10 years. Since I am far from both beliefs, my poop is going down the toilet.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

@doowad: What you just said sounded so wrong(politically and scientifically) that it is almost funny. I'm yet to see a more irrelevant and discriminating post about someone's poop going down the toilet.


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You sound like someone who takes things so seriously, though I do sincerely feel that way about potential cannibalism. USDA organic human is hard to come by.


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lololol....Whats the difference between a German shephard and a well marbled young Itallian woman? if we are beeing really scientific,..... but then again Im sure some one would ask if she had chicken pox shots and that would taint the meat and her compost.....Its all about preceptions and cultural norms, some people eat gophers some eat snakes ever eaten a smoked eel?..Europe loves em, the French eat tons of horse meat. Ever seen a hot dog made? now thats gross. Like anything its all about what your folks and society have taught you.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Best way, IME, if there is space and privacy and year-round frost-free ground, is dig a little hole daily in the landscape.

if not, shelter a cardboard box from the elements, use sawdust or biochar, when the box is full pick it up with a snow shovel and bury in the garden or leaf pile.


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A composting toilet would be the way to go if I wanted to use the crap for soil addition.


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There must be something in our DNA that makes so many of us averse to coming in contact, at the very least, with poop. Think of this, when faced with death by starvation folks have turn to cannibalism rather than eating feces laying around.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

michael, it is people in the USA that seem to have a major aversion to animal manures since it is common in many parts of the word to use manures for fertilizer and cooking, There is nothing in our DNA that causes that but is related to our upbringing.


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Kimm: the aversion seems to be to human manure far more than some others. No doubt there are many who would find driving past the smell of a large confined cattle or hog operation or just the sight of a semi-size manure spreader at work in a field pretty nasty, many may not. I for one am happy not to live down wind from a municipal sewage de-watering lagoon.

Just saw a program last night that included a section on thee Cholera epidemic in London in, I think, the 1800s somewhere. It seems folks were dumping their raw sewage (chamber pots I guess) into a trough very close to a well where many people drew their water from. The well was only about 5' deep and the sewage and it's nasty Cholera critters quickly migrated through fissures in the rock into the ground water, oops, thousands dead.

I think if you know exactly what the hell you're doing and can absolutely keep everybody and all mammals out of your outdoor humanure then go for it otherwise, don't subject anyone to your genie getting out of it's bottle.


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the aversion to all manures is part of a fear campaign driven by vested interest then it snowballs.

all stems from the yuk factor, why modern people like push button toilets without seeing it they can pass it on to someone else to take care of it.

don't really understand what is driving michael when he says "I think if you know exactly what the hell you're doing and can absolutely keep everybody and all mammals out of your outdoor humanure then go for it otherwise, don't subject anyone to your genie getting out of it's bottle."

there is no pandora's box and no gene in the bottle that is all myth, what happened in england and all over europe way back then was not only raw sewerage running down the gutters where dogs and kids played but a total lack of hygiene along with poor health because there was no fresh fruit 7 veg's available and no refridgeration so meat was off when it was cooked hence the need for the spice trail to alter the flavour and smell.

need care when things are taken out of context.

the odour of something won't make anyone ill, the thought of something won't either, in this polluted world we all need to take responsibility for our own waste, in rural and suburbia where homes are modest and the land is enough for gardens and kids to play, then we should all be encouraged to recycle all our wastes.

never had any critter dig up where we have buried poop.

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

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If you spend your days in manures all day and don't clean yourself, prepare to get sick. The aversion is healthy. Maybe that's why you never had a critter dig it up.

The 19th century cholera epidemic was famous because the doctor who traced it back to the one well did something no one ever did before - he tracked all the cases of cholera on a map. He determined the well was the common link and when the well was capped, people stopped getting sick. The episode marked the birth of epidemiology. It also led to that great 19th century marvel of engineering, the London Sewer System. Still in use today.

Having said that, it is possible to compost manures safely. Manure from herbivores generally don't carry the same pathogens as carnivores and omnivores and is a bit easier to deal with. Once you get into carnivore and omnivore manures you need to be more careful.

Do your homework and do it right and no one gets sick. Don't take it lightly. It took more work on my part but I composted the gift of the dogs for years. I did it in bins - a la Humanure Handbook - on 18 month to 24 month cycles because that was something I really didn't want to turn. Worm city. The worms were quite helpful. No one got sick.

And after having said all that, I worry more about the stuff I might step in while walking in a parking lot a lot more than something a dog left behind on the lawn.

to sense
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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Greenthumbz wrote:

"Right now I am leaning towards a composting outhouse because it will take longer to for the manure to fill up and thus allowing more time for the manure to break down. Plus I could perhaps add some red wiggler worms in there to get a better quality compost.
Could I feed some of the worms to my chickens though? If the worms have human feces in their digestive tracts and the chickens eat it...could the I get contaminated via bioaccumulation of heavy metals if I eat the chicken? "

I didn't read the entire thread so maybe this is answered somewhere, but where are these heavy metals coming from in the first place? There are trace amounts naturally occurring, but recycling waste within your yard - whether it's grass clippings, kitchen scraps or manure - should not increase the amounts.

The other day in another thread someone posted how important molybdenum was to the garden, and how composting yard and garden waste would increase it, but it wouldn't, since mainly you're just recirculating the same stuff.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Hey Rot: thanks for writing about the points that program included but I was too tired to write.

Some other thoughts:

1) why introduce into the environment a substance of unknown content, microbiologically speaking, when it is a known fact that we can "pass" pathogenic microorganisms that are very durable in the environment? It would be like grabbing a bottle with no label, no idea what's in it but the smell and casting it about the garden.

2) the genie is the unknown pathogenic microorganism in your castings that might get transported off where you intend it to stay by a means you are unaware. We aren't talking nuclear waste here but potentially serious stuff nonetheless.

3) who really knows the microbiological species in their feces on a day to day basis? A friend of mine travels the world very often for work including regions where the sewage is more like London's during the aforementioned epidemic, he could pick something up and not know it before his castings were, "out of the bottle".

4) anybody ever see a mineral analysis for human poop, no doubt there is fairly wide range?

5) If one is planning to use their poop to increase the O.M. content of their soil, consider the following - on a dry weight basis it would require appx. 4.6 lb./sq. ft., incorporated to a depth of about 6 1/2" to raise the soil's % O.M. by 1%. That's 46 lb. for a 10 x 10 garden plot of dry poop. Anybody seen any data on how much an adult human produces /day on a dry weight basis?


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

michael, is working the scare monger field it seems, he has unrealistic phobia about what we need to do to help the planet, we do not live in those old time in england where hygiene was the issue and poor health due to poor food regime, the poor scavenged out of bins, the rich ate rotting meat heavily spiced.

we had a composting loo and also a bucket system we buried the bucket contents weekly and grew food trees over it, the composting toilet went to gardens etc.,. we shared much food within our extended family and with friends and neighbours.

no complaints ever no one got sick let alone deceased like is being suggested, yet you support sewerage being recycled and returned to you and others as drinking water, the humus from the sewerage farm (where all waste goes eg.,. hospital, industrial teh list could go on and on).

the humus gets mixed into the composted stuff that people grab from refuse collection points, it gets added into potting mixes and garden supplements, in that stuff from the tip they pour in liquid waste from all sorts of medium industries.

so move on hey you are beating a worn out drum, think of the planet that is being raped by gov' and wealthy manipulators do your bit.

this fear factor thing has been going for at least 15 years, i have said these words way back then. and guess what we are still here as healthy as ever. and whilst we don't have a composting toilet(would love to have one) i wee in a bucket and we use all our second hand water.

the genie is in your thoughts. old england is past history.

we have a life.


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Been so darned busy living life I only have one short comment though much more is due, I'll hopefully get back to that when life permits. Milorganite. Sorry if my comment frightened anyone, it was not my intention.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Personal attacks, I'm outta here Len,

Hope you get yourself a new composting potty again, soon.

God bless you.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

sorry nothing personal in it.

lets stick to supportable facts, there is not world wide one shred of evidence of anyone getting sick let alone worse because a gardener used humanure.

this thread should be a learning thread for those who need it.

but anyway what you do is your call

len


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

So getting back to Humanmanure.......can some of you post pictures of your finished product? I am very curious about the texture and color.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

Composted human waste is sold by municipalities all over the US and the world.

The most restrictive/bad thing about it tends to be the heavy metal content of human waste. Through various foods/exposure/medications (especially eating other animals with the way we feed/medicate them) we accumulate a good amount of metals that we pass.

The pathogen danger potential is extremely low in commercial scale municipal composting systems.

A lot of this stuff is used heavily by turf growers, nurseries, and even bagged/sold as soil mixtures. Technically/legally it cannot be labeled as "organic" though.

Baltimore has a system that distributes all over the Eastern US, especially the North-East sold under a variety of names (ORGRO, the major one).

This post was edited by nc-crn on Thu, Feb 28, 13 at 20:47


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

I will bet the metals in sewage sludge are NOT coming from human waste but from all the other stuff that gets poured down the drain. Everything from paint to battery acid. I have not seen data on this but I might just look it up.


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

  • Posted by pt03 2b Southern Manitob (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 11:26

I recall reading that some of the waste was 'processed', not specifically aerobically composted and the resulting sludge was "blended" with yard waste compost. The impression I got was that it was not really "compost" as we know it.

Lloyd


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

greenthumb,

can't post pics as we no longer have that wonderful composting toilet, but you have seen very similar when you open a bag of potting mix or soil improver for the garden. when you see composted manures.

it is humus dark earth no smell absolutely no resemblance to the raw product, no bits of toilet paper evident.

and yes as another poster said about the heavy metals some do come from us, but light to medium industrial waste gets poured down the toilets including hospital waste, then when the humus from the sewerage farm gets added to that garden type waste recycled at the refuse station, they add in higher grades of liquid waste, hence not just heavy metals.

have i used the stuff from the dump? yes when i buy potting mix and soil improver, potting mix heaps of no choice at times, but i do so with knowledge.

maybe they will come along and test gardens one day and condemn them because the gardener used these products?

still no one has suffered or worse from using their own waste, legionnaires has increased with use of potting mix, that is why there is specific handling warning on the bags.

you have far worse things in your environ.

len


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RE: Human Manure....your thoughts

The 'processing' usually involves the following steps:

1. Aerobic digestion (a foaming tank with lots of air bubbled through it

2. Sludge settling followed by re-digestion of the sludge in an anaerobic reactor (this produces methane which can be used to heat the reactors).

3. Dewatering of the sludge which makes it into a viscous liquid like pudding.

I'm not sure off the top of my head whether additional composting is required or frequently done when creating soil amendments. If so, the final aerobic step should knock down e coli and such the same way that composting fresh manure would.


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