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     Inside this issue:
How Sweet it is
Setting the Bar High
Tradeshows/Conferences March 15, 2007 | Vol. 1, Issue 2

National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association Conference, Baltimore, MD

March 10-15, 2007

12:00pm, March 15 - Tour of Bar-T and discussion of waste treatment systems

Greenprints Conference, Atlanta, GA

March 22-23, 2007

9:45am, March 22 - Tour of Eco-Office and discussion of composting toilet system


Desert Thirst

“The Southwest [United States] receives only 6 percent of the country’s available water as rainfall, but its large irrigated farms and growing urban areas account for 36% of the nation’s water use.”

source: Dale Allen Pfeiffer, Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture

Also of Interest

Extra! Extra!

Two of our latest projects have recently been featured in industry trade magazines. The February issues of Architectural Products and Recreation Management feature case studies of the Sweetwater Creek State Park Visitor Center, and the March issue of eco-structure features the new Bronx Zoo Comfort Station. Both buildings use Clivus composting toilets exclusively.

Maintenance Services

Did you know that Clivus can arrange to provide your facility with composting system maintenance services? Clivus offers a variety of maintenance options to meet your needs. No matter where your facility is located, we’ll come to you or work with local subcontractors to ensure that the job is done right. Call us at 800-425-4887 for more information.

Greetings from Clivus!

In every issue of Natural Solution News, we strive to keep you informed about the places we’ll be, the types of projects we do, and the challenges that we help our customers overcome. We welcome your comments.

How Sweet it is

The Sweetwater Creek State Park Visitor Center

Sweetwater Creek State Park is a 2,500-acre conservation area in Lithia Springs, Georgia, a half an hour outside Atlanta. In addition to great fishing, canoeing, and hikes around the ruins of a pre-Civil War era textile mill, the park now has a new $2 million LEED Platinum certified Visitor Center.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with LEED, it’s the U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system, and Platinum is as green as it gets.  In fact, the Visitor Center is the first LEED Platinum certified building in the Southeast United States. 

The most successful examples of the built environment recognize their place within the natural order, working in harmony with the environment.

Completed in the spring of 2006, the 8,000-square-foot Visitor Center showcases numerous sustainable technologies.  In addition to Clivus Multrum composting toilets, the building also uses greywater irrigation technology, a rainwater harvesting system, a “green” roof, and various energy-saving technologies.  In addition to their energy saving effects, these technologies influence the experience of occupants and visitors to the Center.  Project architect Dan Gerding, of Atlanta’s Gerding Collaborative says, “The most successful examples of the built environment recognize their place within the natural order, working in harmony with the environment. ‘Eco-effective’ buildings that save water, materials and energy, while providing superior interior environments that promote occupant comfort and productivity, are by-products of good design.”

While conventional low-flow toilets were originally considered for the Visitor Center, they would have necessitated the installation of a larger water main at considerable expense.  Instead, the design team opted to save the water and the expense by using composting toilets.  The visitor center has four composters, 6 dry toilet fixtures, and one foam-flush fixture.  As the name suggests, the dry fixtures use no water for flushing.  The foam-flush fixture uses just 3 ounces of water and a drop of soap to flush waste to the composter below, via a conventional 4 inch pipe.  The composting toilets, which are recommended in the LEED rating system, earned points toward certification, but more importantly, when combined with other water-saving strategies, reduce potable water use at the Visitor Center by 77%.

To put that in context, Park Manager Vince Taylor says, “A recently installed flow meter for the Center has been consistently recording ½ to 1 gallon a day of [potable] water use for an 8000 plus square foot facility.”  All hand-washing and cleaning is done using recycled rainwater, and the composting systems themselves are capable of saving up to around 400,000 gallons of water per year.  This pleases not only Taylor but visitors as well.  Taylor says, “Overall, visitor comments have been overwhelmingly positive. Everybody likes the water conservation angle.”

Setting the Bar High

The Bar-T Mountainside Camp Showerhouse

Who says learning can’t be fun?  At Bar-T Mountainside, in Urbana, Maryland, campers and students learn about the natural environment and have a great time too.  Just opened in 2006, Bar-T Mountainside serves 350 campers per day during the summer months and hosts private-school students for outdoor education programs during the spring and fall.  Campers and students gain an appreciation for the natural environment while exploring the camp’s 150 acres, which includes streams, ponds, woodlands, wetlands, and agricultural areas.  While the spring and fall programs are more purely focused on environmental education, the camp program also includes typical summer camp activities like field games, ropes courses, and arts and crafts.  But regardless of which program they’re in, owner and director Joe Richardson says, “All of our students and campers are introduced to environmental stewardship as part of the experience of coming to Mountainside.” 

All of our students and campers are introduced to environmental stewardship as part of the experience of coming to Mountainside.

Of course, before Bar-T opened its acres to guests, Richardson had to consider what would become of their waste.  He first considered installing a drip irrigation and septic system, but when he realized it would consume five acres of land and come with a price tag of $1.2 million, he thought twice.  Later, Clivus representative John Hanson convinced Richardson that by using Clivus Multrum composting toilets with a greywater system, Bar-T could cut the cost of waste treatment in half, protect the environment, use less land, and avoid putting in a new septic system.  By the summer of 2006, Bar-T had installed 6 composting systems and a custom greywater irrigation system. 

The 6 composting toilet systems at Bar-T use a total of 10 fixtures—9 toilets and one urinal—and are located in a showerhouse, an office building, and a remote facility.   None of these fixtures use water for flushing.  Instead, waste drops into the composters below where it is transformed, through natural decomposition, into solid compost and a liquid fertilizer.  In addition to turning waste into fertilizer, the composting systems are capable of saving over 300,000 gallons of water per year, as compared to 1.6 gpf toilets.   

The greywater system uses a conventional gravity drain to pipe wastewater from showers, sinks, and a water fountain in the showerhouse and office, to dosing basins below.  In the dosing basin, greywater is collected until a flooding dose accumulates.  At that point, the flooding dose is automatically released into the root zone distribution system in the 8000 square foot wildflower meadow, providing water and nutrients for the native plants therein.  Original designs called for the waste treatment system to be sized to accommodate 5250 gallons of wastewater per day. However, because much of the camp’s wastewater is handled by the composting toilet systems, the design flow requirements were reduced by 50%, and actual flow has been less than 10% of capacity.  

The compost liquid from the composting systems is used on the camp’s agricultural area as fertilizer.  The composting toilets and greywater systems satisfy the goals of a nutrient management plan developed in collaboration with Maryland’s Water Management Administration and with consultation from the Department of Agriculture.  Through the use of these systems the nutrients in waste are recycled into the local ecosystem as opposed to being dumped into a septic system where they would inevitably pollute water supplies.  

The systems demonstrate Bar-T’s commitment to environmental stewardship.  And after seeing the systems in action, Richardson is encouraged, saying, “I believe that the camping industry and composting toilets are destined to be partners.  Most camps teach campers to take care of the environment.  Many camps are in remote locations and composting toilets using solar panels are cost effective, easy to install, and are very consistent with the mission.”