Separett FAQ. Common Questions on Separett Waterless Toilets


Separett FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

This detailed post should answer most Separett FAQ regarding Separett waterless toilets. Please add your own questions, and I will answer them.

Capacity

How often should the toilet be emptied?

If four people are using the toilet on a daily basis, then a container will last about 3-6 weeks, depending on how much toilet paper is being used. The Separett Villa comes with three containers. Additional containers can be purchased if required.

How is it possible that the container with solids so rarely has to be emptied?

Separett FAQ composting toilet inner bin

removable inner bucket lined with compostable bag

Urine accounts for about 85% of the waste volume and is routed separately away from the toilet. This increases the storage capacity for solids greatly. The container is easily replaceable and if the amount of users increases one only change containers more often. The Separett Villa comes with three containers. Additional containers can be purchased if required giving the toilet virtually unlimited capacity.

 

Odor

Separett FAQ – Are there unpleasant odors indoors?

No. If the fan runs continuously the there will be no unpleasant odors in the room. When installing the toilet, make sure that the venting pipe is properly sealed with silicone. The easily accessible fan filter should be cleaned
regularly as well as the insect net at the end of ventilation pipe.

Separett FAQ – Are there unpleasant odors outdoors?

No. Because the urine and feces are not mixed, there is never any latrine-type odor from a Separett toilet. A certain amount of odor may be present outdoors, however, when and shortly after the toilet is used. If the venting can be routed to the back of the house, it is usually suffice to just route it straight through the wall. If the venting pipe must be routed through the gables or to the front of the house, it should be extended upwards or routed through the roof.

Separett FAQ – Are there unpleasant odors from the leaching bed/soak-away?

Separett FAQ composting toilet drain pit

Typical drain pit

No. It does not smell since the urine is let out under ground where it percolates harmlessly away. The drain rocks in the leaching bed are usually covered with landscape cloth, topsoil and grass. There is no way this can smell if done correctly.

Are there unpleasant odors from the Separett Ejektortank?

No. The urine odor is drawn into the toilet through the hose and then blown through the toilet ventilation system. By the time it is expelled outdoors, it has been mixed with so much air that the odor is unnoticeable.

Must the urine waste pipe contain a Ubend, water seal (otherwise known as a p- trap)?

Usually not. The faint odor that may come from urine is drawn out through the venting pipe with the aid of the fan.

Is there any odor when I spray the diluted liquid on plants?

Separett composting toilet dilute urine 10:1

mix urine 10:1 with water if using as fertilzer

Not usually. There may be a very faint, temporary odor. It depends on the extent to which it is diluted with water. If a Separett Ejektortank is used, 1 liter of urine is mixed with 10 liters of water. This may result in a faint odor, but it will soon disappear. You can speed the process by adding more water or spreading the mixture at night or when it rains. This makes exceptionally good fertilizer!

Are flies a problem with these toilets?

Problems with flies are uncommon with Separett toilets. There is a screen on the vent. Keep the fan switched on at all times just to be sure.

Ventilation

Separett FAQ – Should the fan operate continually?

Separett FAQ 3 venting options

venting options (3 are shown – you only need 1)

Yes. This keeps the housing dry and extends the lifetime of the fan. If the fan has to be switched off, place the lid on the container and remove it.

Which is the best method for routing the venting pipe, through the roof or straight through the wall?

It is always easier to go straight through the wall. When routing the venting pipe through the roof, the work is more difficult, as is ensuring good seals. Remember not to route the venting pipe to the house entrance or other
places where people gather.

How much airflow does the fan create?

There is no simple answer to this question because the airflow is very dependent on the length of the venting pipe and the number of bends it contains.

Is an additional fan needed if you have a shower in the same room?

No! All ventilation from the bathroom shall go through the toilet fan that runs continually.

Does the venting pipe need insulating?

The Separett Villa toilet has a condensation collector and does not need to be insulated.

Can the ventilation be run through a chimney stack?

No. We advise against it since moisture from the bathroom can destroy the mortar joints. Also, the plastic ventilation pipe can melt if it is run through the chimney stack.

Urine outlet

Separett FAQ – Where do I lead the urine?

You have three options for the urine outlet:

1) connect the hose to the greywater system.
2) make a simple leaching bed/soakaway.
3) use a tank such as the Separett Ejektortank.

Separett composting toilet gray water connection

gray water connection

Separett composting toilet drain pit

drain pit

Separett composting toilet urine tank

urine tank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please check local regulations.

Can I extend the urine outlet?

Yes. If you need to extend the included 2 meter (6,56 feet) hose; a pipe is preferable. With a hose it is difficult to ensure a drop for the entire length. Indoors, we recommend waste water pipes with a diameter of 32-40 mm (1 ¼” -1 ½”) and outdoors pipes with a diameter of 50-75 mm (2″ -3″).

Does the urine waste freeze in the winter?

Not under normal circumstances. Urine freezes at about -5ºC (23ºF). Ensure that the urine waste pipe has a drop along its entire length and use at least 50 mm (2″) pipe outdoors. It may also be a good idea to insulate the piping sections that run outdoors.

How can I make a simple leaching bed/soak-away? (Also called a French Drain)

Separett composting toilet drain pit option

drain pit

Dig a small hole in the ground, measuring about 2′ X 2′ X 2′ deep. Fill it with rocks. Before covering the leaching bed with soil, put landscaping cloth over the stones to prevent clogging. The urine outlet can be led through or under the plastic film. Please a check with local authorities if in doubt.

Am I allowed to connect the urine waste hose to the greywater system?

Urine is sterile and does not pose a health risk. However, the regulations vary. Please ask local authorities.

How steep a drop must the urine waste pipe have?

It is important that the urine waste pipe drops along its entire length, so gravity can drain all liquids. A steeper downward drop lessens the risk for deposit build-up of urine salts or ice.

Is it possible to reduce the risk of urine salt deposit build-up in the urine outlet?

Yes. We recommend rinsing the urine basin with a small cup of water after each visit. You can also place the Separett Bio Drain Cleaner in the urine basin. This tablet contains enzymes that prevent urine salt deposits in the urine pipe. However, if you still get blocks in the urine outlet use a liquid drain un-blocker.

Is it possible to lengthen the hose on the Separett Ejektortank?

Yes, the included 10 meter (33-feet) emptying hose can be lengthened up to a maximum of 20 meters (66-feet) and only with a ¾” hose. Do not use a normal garden hose adapter as a connector, as it clamps too tightly around the hose. Before you can lengthen the hose, remove the spray nozzle by heating the hose and the handle with, for example, warm water or a hot air gun. Use a piece of pipe and two clamps to make the joint. As a suggestion cut about 5 cm (2″) of the Ejektortank nozzle and use it as the pipe for the joint.

Maintenance and care

Separett FAQ –  Do I ever have to add anything?

In the container inside the toilet, the contents should be left to dry and lose volume. Some people use a Separett Absorb in the bag inside the container, since it keeps the contents dry and thereby odorless.

Separett composting toilet urine drain forward

urine flows down forward hole

Does the toilet function well for women?

Yes. The urine bowl has been tried and tested by both older and younger women to ensure that the urine is separated into the right place.

Does the toilet function well for small children?

Yes. A smaller urine separating child seat is available as an option.

 

Separett composting toilet child's seat

Optional Child Seat

Which type of toilet paper should I use?

You can use normal toilet paper.

Should I throw toilet paper in the container?

Yes, toilet paper helps keeping the contents of the container dry and divided which facilitates the handling after the storage period.

Does the toilet function in cold rooms?

Yes. Separett toilets are not room temperature dependent. Cool temperatures may slow down or stop the composting process, but it will resume when things warm up. Much of the composting actually takes place later, when you have removed the inner bin and set it aside as instructed.

Can I use bags in the container?

Yes. All our toilets are supplied with bags in order to simplify cleaning the container.

Can I use compostable waste bags?

Yes. You can use Separett Compostable waste bags, since it designed to endure the conditions inside the toilet and during the storage period. It will slowly disintegrate in the ground or in a composter. I have also had excellent results with Glad Tall compostable bags, which are much cheaper!

How long time does it take until the Separett Compostable waste bag disintegrates?

There is no simple answer to this question because the disintegration is depending of the biological activity in the ground or composter and to the exposure of sunlight. Since the bag is designed to endure the conditions inside the container, it will also disintegrate slowly in the ground or in a composter.

Can the toilet tolerate freezing temperatures?

Yes. Composting may be delayed.

What do I do when the container is full?

Put the lid over the container, tilt the container towards you and use the sliding surfaces to remove the container from the toilet. Once removed, open the lid, and put a shovel full of dirt or compost on top. Replace the lid. Leave a slight opening for air circulation. Place the container in a suitable location outdoors.  Let it sit for six months, then put it on non-edible plants.

Separett composting toilet emptying

put lid on inner bin and remove

What happens with the solids inside the container during the 6 month storage period?

The bacteria in the soil “consume” the fecal pathogens, thereby rendering the contents harmless. It is then ready to be placed in a composting bin for use on non-edible plants or buried.

If I use the Separett Ejektortank only in the summer, what should I do in the winter?

Before winter you should empty the Ejektortank, since urine freezes at -5ºC (23ºF) and can cause the container and its pipes to break. If you still use the toilet wintertime one can choose to collect the urine in suitable containers for use in springtime or you can pipe the urine to a leaching bed, soak-away or to the greywater system.

Miscellaneous Separett FAQ

Do I need to obtain permission from the authorities before installing the toilet?

Most areas now approve of and support the use of composting toilets. However, regulations may vary. Please check carefully.

Can I install the toilet myself?

Yes. There are not usually any problems for the competent handy-person. Its a simple job that could also be done by a professional at low cost.

What tools do I need?

The tools you need depend on the installation choices you make for the urine outlet and the ventilation pipe. This is a list of the most probably tools that may come handy: Screwdriver, hacksaw – to cut the ventilation pipe knife – to cut the urine hose, hole saws for the urine outlet and the ventilation pipe, carpenter’s level, a power drill and tape. Your installation may involve specific challenges, and additional tools. Call us, or check with a local handyman or carpenter if in doubt.

What about extra vent pipe?

The pipe that comes with the Separett is 16″ of metric white PVC. It is not a standard North American size. There are transition couplings in the box which allow you to use standard 3″ schedule 40 PVC, which can be purchased anywhere. You transition once at the toilet, then you transition again at the end of the vent pipe, so you can use the supplied metric vent cap. Note: in some areas you may be able to buy 3″ thin walled drain pipe. This is also suitable, and there are transition couplings in the box for that pipe as well. The advantage is it is cheaper and lighter. But it can be hard to find. Lowes was carrying it online, last time I checked, as was Maynards.

Where can I buy one?

Visit my order page here: Separett. Or call 1 888 361 0014 – toll free in North America.

If you have other questions not covered on Separett FAQ please ask below or call me.

 


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10 thoughts on “Separett FAQ. Common Questions on Separett Waterless Toilets

  • E

    Does the place when solids go open every time someone sits down? or can you make it when it is only when you need it. I’m worried about when my children would use it or guest.

  • Tones

    What is the bag material made of? What do stores call them? Can the whole bag be tossed into a shared compost heap? Does it need to be ripped open in order to mix with an existing compost pile? What effect will rain have on the toilet material? Will it generate odors? Does each bucket come with a lid? I assume men must be seated to use the ‘Separett’ as a urinal? Do menstruations waste in urine present disposal issues?What warranties does the Separett offer? How and when will an order ship?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      The bags are made of cornstarch. The stores call the compostable bags, or biodegradable bags. You turn the bucket upside down and dump the bag and contents into a bin, not a heap. It can’t be exposed to rain, and it has to be protected from animals, and it cannot leach. I suggest a sealed bin that cannot leach. Generally there is no odor, but if someone just used the toilet before you emptied it, there could be a temporary odor from that. Men should sit, to avoid splatter. That said, some stand. Menstruation in waste is no problem. It has a 5 year warranty. It ships the next day.

  • Tita Deacon

    I’m confused about ‘the container’ and the bag. You get 3 containers, right? and you remove the bag from it, and put the full bag into compost? or do you have to put the whole container outdoors? And is there a price on your bags? What’s the typical annual cost?

    • richardbrunt Post author

      Yes, you get 3 containers. But you have options. Some people will leave the material in the bucket, put a scoop of soil on the top, put the lid back on, and let it sit. But most people will dump the contents in a composter. Bags can now be bought at most hardware or grocery stores. The last bags I bought were $4.95 for 50. If they are thin bags, you may wish to double up. They should be about 6 gallons in size. Annual costs are virtually nil, other than about 12 bags and a very small amount of electricity (2.5 watts-5 watts). This is in sharp contrast to some other composting toilets that require you to buy their expensive additives, and have heaters that use 250 watts.

      • Dave Robinson

        I have a workshop with water installed plus it was plumbed under the cement slab for a septic system that was never built. Since the drain is already there, I will connect the urine to the existing pipes which will run out to a soaking field. I will mainly be working in the shop by myself but will occasionally have much larger groups. Sometimes up to a dozen woodturners and sometimes a dozen children and their parents for a few hours. How will the Separett handle this surge of usage? I haven’t read of anyone installing a stand up urinal for the guys who don’t want to change their stand up habits. Seems like a good solution for my workshop.

        • richardbrunt Post author

          If you have a dozen or more people for a few hours, there will be no problem. Most of those people will not poop in the toilet of course. And it can handle an unlimited amount of urine. If you want a stand up urinal, I think I can source one for you.