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Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby freestone » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:21 am


I suspect a lot of human waste is dug up by animals.


A good project for myth busters. I have my doubts about Sierra critters being interested in poop as a food source.



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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:03 am

They could not keep the marmots from digging under the pit toilet up on Whitney... marmots absolutely adore human waste as a snack.
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby oldranger » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:06 am

Freestone

I have no idea why they dig it up. But when a bc ranger I frequently encountered places where poop had obviously been burried but subsequently dug up with tp now on the surface.

m
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby lensman137 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:10 pm

There are vegetable starch based replacements for plastic bags and packaging that very quickly break down in landfill. I'd be willing to pay extra bucks for an environmentally friendly TP created specifically for camping and backpacking. If they can do it for bags and packaging, then it can certainly be done for TP, couldn't it?
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby jimmeans » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:58 pm

freestone wrote:

I suspect a lot of human waste is dug up by animals.


A good project for myth busters. I have my doubts about Sierra critters being interested in poop as a food source.


Have you ever been on a farm? I've seen plenty of domestic animals eating poop, and they aren't lacking for food. Sierra critters are fighting for survival and don't overlook any food sources. Most poop still has a lot of nutritional value in it. To humans it smells bad and seems disgusting, but animals don't have those sensibilities.
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby Rockchucker » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:05 pm

Most animals eat poop. We have an aversion to eating crap for good reason but overall most animals eat s?!$. I have been inspired by these resent threads and the last two trips have used natural materials to wipe and finished off with a very small amount of tp. It works very good and I feel better about my contributions to the environment. Thanks to this site my views have adapted yet again.
I'm no suture for my future.
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby freestone » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:33 pm

Have you ever been on a farm?


I have been on a farm and have witnessed plenty of animals, mostly dogs, eating each others poop, but the High Sierra is not the farm.
Digging 6 inches into fragile alpine soil is not going to stop a determined sierra mammal with claws to dip up a midnight snack. Why bother?
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby Scouter9 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:26 am

Freestone, I have returned a year later to campsite areas where we've dug cathole trenches and marked them with rocks lined up over the top and found the rocks undisturbed. I've also seen an area near a packer's camp on the River Trail with a literal field that appeared to be growing ten TP plants. We haul out our TP and, frankly, eschew backpacking where we'd need to haul out the waste.

I think the "why bother" answer is that it's the responsible thing to do.
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:21 pm

I do not have control over animals digging up my droppings, but I DO have control over TP being dug up- I always carry it out. I however will not carry a trowel, as suggested by the authorities! Rocks and sticks serve the purpose just fine.
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby Tom_H » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:11 pm

LOL, somehow Mother Nature doesn't give me much advance notice when she calls. I have to dig that hole in a hurry. I've been trying to cut down my base weight and keep cost analyzing what's worth new investment. I finally broke down and bought a titanium trowel that's under a half ounce. It will flex torsionally and seems like it could buckle forward. The way the guy designed it though, it doesn't seem like it's going to bend at all when I lever back on the handle. It's made of 1 piece of sheet Ti, is short, thin, and so full of holes and crease lines that it looks like it was designed by aeronautical engineer. I'll let you gals and guys know how well it works after my next trip.
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby longri » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:48 pm

For trips of just a few days the solution is simple. Do as the Russian cosmonauts used to do to avoid the much more difficult issues involved in zero-gravity elimination and accept a pre-trip enema. For longer trips you might consider creating an attachment to your Camelback or Platypus.

Or not.
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Re: Human Waste Disposal - current thinking

Postby Ken M » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:16 pm

Ken Murray, here. You can imagine my surprise when I saw myself cited.

Thanks for the memories!

To the issue, there are several interlocking complex things:

First, one has to consider the impacts of alternatives. Once can't simply say "don't do this", without an understanding of what the alternative entails.

Human waste, and human waste contaminated toilet paper is a very significant bio-hazard. "Pack it out" is not the end of the process---one must consider where it is going to be disposed of when you carry it out. Disposal of a bio-hazard in a simple waste container is probably a federal crime, and potentially exposes may people to disease. You throw it in the dumpster, and you have contaminated the dumpster, and dumpsters leak.

I have been very impressed by the postings by Ron Moak, owner of 6 moons designs, which I'll post in a separate window. This represents an opinion by a professional in forestry with professional experience in a waste treatment plant.

I've also been impressed by the data posted on TP decomposition:

http://hikethru.com/hiking-information/ ... omposition

Basically, irrespective of type, it is gone in a month.......IF you wet it.

I think the spreading method is reasonable.....IF you are truly in a spot where no one will reliably be by for some time.....perhaps Sierra High Route? Most recreationists are NOT in such places, so it has limited usefulness, or unless you make some significant effort to get far off trail.

For most, the 6-8 in deep disposal, WITH WATER, or Moak's 3 P method, seems reasonable. I've also burned personally for many decades without a problem----but one must always be mindful of conditions to avoid a fire. Unless one is committed to being careful, one should avoid burning------and of course avoiding it when it is prohibited.
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