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An Outhouse Alternative for Cottage Living

I wonder if any of us ever outgrow the giggles over bathroom matters? Yesterday’s guilty chuckle came to me in an email from Stevarino of the highly irreverent Your Takeoff Hat, adding to the alternative toilet discussion:

I saw your recent post about peeing. Have you ever heard of a gas fired toilet? It has a gas valve, pilot, and burner ports just like a gas furnace. It disposes of waste by incinerating it. Gas fired toilets are sometimes used in remote places where there is no municipal water supply. They are subject to national gas code standards.

Now, I don’t know if they are an environmentally friendly and economically sustainable alternative to standard sewage systems, but hey, come on, gas fired toilets! How cool is that?

“Gas-fired toilet” snorfsnorf! Cool indeed, if only for the bathroom humour! So, of course, I went and looked it up.

The Wilderness Comfort Station

Retire that smelly old outhouse! Storburn offers a “pollution-free” propane gas-powered incinerating toilet for a modest $3000, which they say is designed for rugged use in remote areas. (You know, like party night in cottage country!)

Apparently it stores up the waste for 40 – 60 uses, then you fire it up and it “reduces untreated human waste to sterile mineral ash and harmless water vapor. Because each incinerator cycle sterilizes the entire storage chamber destroying all odor causing bacteria, the chamber never requires washing.”

The unit is entirely self-contained with no plumbing or water supply required, no electricity, no holding tanks, no moving parts so little to break and nothing to freeze up if winter comes on quickly at the cottage.

And I’m absolutely delighted — you might even say, relieved —to learn that it’s designed so that no one can accidentally fire up the propane burner while the toilet is in use!

 

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3 comments… add one

  • lara 2008/03/30, 4:15 pm

    Not very practical or safe, if it ever gets a fault it could result in more than red cheeks! Not environmentally friendly either. Innovative but terrible idea. When in remote areas expect to go in the bush! Not crash and burn! Could cause disasters if these let rip on surrounding plants and wildlife.

  • domestika 2008/03/30, 4:23 pm

    @Lara, I couldn’t agree more – Yes, of course, it would be far better to have a waste disposal system that doesn’t use water, and that doesn’t use electricity or fuel of any kind. That said, something tells me that urbanites who’ve invested a big chunk of cash in getaway vacation homes aren’t going to be thrilled with their neighbours rushing outdoors with pants around ankles every morning to dig a discreet hole at lakeside! I myself tend to favour a composting toilet with a hand-cranked aerator, but that’s not an option for everyone… Maybe we should just design a waste-reduced human! ;)

  • Mel 2013/06/08, 10:09 pm

    What is more environmentally safe, a propane toilet or outhouses too close to lakes or rivers or people dumping sewage directly into a lake? Where our lake cabin is, it is illegal to replace an outhouse. You can’t just go dig a new hole and it isn’t quite “out in the bush”. You have to put in drain fields and get running water to the sites. That is not an option for a lot of people whether it is due to money or there is no room on the property. This toilet makes sense. Sure, you would like everything to be perfectly “green” but there are some things you just can’t avoid and there are laws too. I would gladly have this toilet compared to the rotting outhouse behind our cabin. I fear I will fall through any day.

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