Pilot ecological dry toilet on the South shore of the Gulf of Finland contribute to reduction of nutrient load from the gardening communities to the Baltic Sea

Dry toilet can be considered as the most ecological way of  waste water treatment (WWT) for individual househоlds, because it is not only protects the environment, but allows completely transform the waste into a valuable resource – organic fertilizer.

In the Leningrad region there are 3.5 thousand gardening and more than 2 million gardeners. Over the three summer months, they produce more than 2,300 tons of nitrogen, 300 tons of phosphorus and more than 700 tons of potassium.

The "Baltic Sea Action Plan" adopted by Russia, as well as by all Baltic coastal countries, participants of the International Helsinki Convention for the Protection of the Baltic Sea (HELCOM), says about the need to equip all settlements with treatment facilities by 2020. But gardening and dacha communities stay outside of these plans, as they most often do not have the status of settlements. Therefore, the problem of toilets in gardening and dacha communities is decided by each in its own way.

More and more residents of individual houses even in gardening communities  establish a warm toilet and individual treatment facilities inside their houses. This is a good way, although not a cheap solution. Different types of individual wastewater treatment facilities provide different quality of treatment - both very high-quality facilities, and not very good either. Rare types of WWT facilities secure 100%  degree of wastewater treatment.

Someone builds filtration wells-sedimentation tanks (and few make them hermetic underneath, isolated from the soil), and someone in the old manner uses cesspools (as the cheapest solution) and "gives" drains that leak through the surface layers of the soil into our watercourses-rivers and a sea. This leads to bacterial contamination of reservoirs and wells, to supersaturation of nature water bodies with nitrogen and phosphorus, causing them to overgrow, the living conditions of fish and other aquatic organisms  are deteriorate, and the recreational attractiveness of many nature water bodies is lost. After all, only one person per year produces 550 kg of liquid waste (urine) - which contain 4 kg of nitrogen, 0.37 kg of phosphorus and 1 kg of potassium, and 60 kg of solid waste (feces with toilet paper) - in which 0.55 kg of nitrogen , 0.18 kg of phosphorus and 0.36 kg of potassium.

Environmentalists not only in Russia, but also in Belarus, Germany, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Finland develop dry toilets and disseminate the experience of its use. This is not only an example of a responsible attitude towards nature, but, most importantly, it is a model of a closed wasteless cycle: toilet-waste-compost-fertilizer-harvest-food-toilet.

The toilet, launched September 9 in the gardening community Fauna, is intended for mass visits, it is located at the community Board area where two times a week gardeners come to pay their dues, meet with the chairman, solve various problems. In total, more than 1000 people come here during the year.

The toilet has a typical design: it is a toilet bowl and a tank made of a solid chemically resistant polymer. But the toilet is designed so that the solid fraction (feces) enter a special storage tank, and as the capacity is filled, they are transferred to the compost. After each use, the container is sprinkled with peat mixture from the tank (by simply pressing the rod, almost like in a city toilet). Liquid fraction - urine, by a special tube is diverted to another storage tank. Compost is aged for 2-3 years, and then used to fertilize and improve the structure of the soil. Urine is kept in sealed containers for at least 6 months, as a result is completely disinfected and can be used as a fertilizer, at a value not yield to cow dung.

The demonstration complex besides of the toilet itself includes a garden composter, as well as a flower garden, which will be fertilized with toilet waste.

The Demonstration complex launching ceremony gathered not only gardeners, but also representatives of public environmental organizations that contribute to improving the environmental situation in rural areas, promoting ecological agriculture and sustainable development of rural settlements, manufacturers of domestic and foreign dry toilets, enthusiastic volunteers who promote ecological lifestyle.

At the launching the demonstration complex, information/cognitive stations were opened, where visitors could get information about different types of dry toilets; learn about how to deal with plastic waste, and how to make plastic waste less; to get acquainted with simple ways to determine the content of nitrates in wells and other water reservoirs. Many gardeners have decided to conduct such studies on their sites and neighboring water bodies. The exhibition "Ecological dry toilets" was launched: banners about the demonstration complex, the advantages of dry toilets, composting rules.

As a result of the event the more supporters of dry toilets appeared. The installation of such toilet is interesting not only for ordinary gardeners, but also for the organization Biodynamics, engaged in the development of organic farming. Perhaps, the similar toilet will appear next year in Biodynamics  in the Luga district of the Leningrad region.

The installation and presentation of the demonstration toilet was supported by Fauna gardening community, Ecocentrum Ltd, the Baltic Sea Conservation Fund in the framework of the Small Scale Solutions for Reducing Nutrient Load into the Baltic Sea, and the Nature and People Program of the Coalition Clean Baltic and the Friends of the Baltic NGO.