Public composting toilet installation on the rise
Installation of composting toilets in public facilities is catching on. In New York City, The Bronx Zoo and Queens Botanical Garden have been operating restrooms with composting toilets, with no need for sewer lines, for the last few years. The technology in both facilities is made by Clivus Multrum and resembles a conventional toilet, except that it uses only 3-6 ounces of water, in combination with a bio-compostable foam, for flushing. And the toilets are odorless. Seriously–we’ve used them, and we will vouch for the odorlessness. The waste travels into a composting compartment, where it is mixed with woodchips and digested by microbes. A below-ground exhaust system is in place to deal with smells as well. Both sets of restrooms have a multitude of other well-designed ecologically sensitive features; the video below details the features of which the Bronx Zoo is rightfully proud.
There have been a few unsuccessful attempts over the years to operate restrooms with composting toilets in New York City parks. But extending from these recent successes, we’ll be trying them out again at Freshkills Park. The first set of composting toilets will be installed at North Park, the 20-acre segment of Freshkills Park that will be developed over the next two years. Our ability to expand the presence of composting toilets throughout the park–and the rest of the City’s parks–is going to rely on our abilities to educate the public about how the toilets work and to train operations staff how to properly maintain them.