PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A new, self-composting toilet has been added to the Twin Lakes campground in Mt. Hood National Forest, which will reportedly reduce the amount of toilet waste by 95% compared to standard vault toilets.
The toilet’s design, the U.S. Forest Service said, will cut down on maintenance costs, reduce environmental impacts and simplify the recycling of waste into the environment as fertilizer.
The toilet’s manufacturer, Toilet Tech Solutions, said that its toilets mimic waste management in the natural world by separating urine from solid waste.
“Our toilets use a Behind-The-Wall urine diversion seat,” the company’s website states. “This seat is the critical component as it separates urine from solid waste at the source with no mixing. Urine is treated in an onsite drainfield. Solid waste is decomposed onsite by native bugs or stored in easily removed bags for infrequent and easy removal.”
This is not the first self-composting toilet to be placed in Oregon’s backcountry. The Seattle company installed a similar toilet at Smith Rock State Park in 2015.
U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Heather Ibsen told KOIN 6 News that Mt. Hood has several types of toilets throughout the forest, which differ based on what year the toilet was installed and how accessible each location is.
“Most of our toilets are concrete vault toilets that get pumped out each season, but that requires a road to reach them,” Ibsen said. “They’re nice for highly used sites, can be hosed out, and they are more resistant to human and natural damage: falling limbs, wildfires, and such. Solar-assisted composting toilets also exist, but they aren’t too great in forested areas with lots of shade. Old-style pit toilets, [like outhouses], in the middle of the woods are not used anymore, as they are more likely to leak or fill up and then require a new hole be dug.”