Let’s be honest, nobody enjoys talking, thinking of, or smelling poop. Regardless nature calls when it calls, and it won’t stop calling if your water is turned off.
As an avid RVer, I often find myself looking for solutions for RV related issues where the same solution could be used elsewhere in our day-to-day preparedness. Most RVers will tell you that the worst part of RVing is sanitation. No, I’m not talking about washing your face, I’m talking about our human waste. In an RV, all of your number ones and twos make their way into a single holding tank. After some time, this tank needs to be emptied, and that is not a very appealing process mentally.
Often times, this is no more than a minor inconvenience, however sometimes just finding a proper dump site is a large endeavor. While researching, I’ve found a solution that allows a person to dump their RV tanks by chopping up your tanks contents into a slush and pumping it out through a garden hose. This allows you to pump the mean mixture uphill, such as to your sewage clean-out at your home, or into a toilet. This solution is called a “Macerator Pump,” or as I like to call them “Poo shooters.”
Applying this idea to preparedness is easy. Imagine your water stops flowing. How will you flush the toilet? Using a macerator pump allows you to stick the hose down through the S-curved part of your toilet, and thus requiring no water to send the duke of brown down the pipes. This is a huge advantage as now your stored water can be used for more vital things like drinking and cooking! So imagine a bucket that you do your business in, with a pump beneath it to dispense of the yuck right on down your toilet plumbing. This is extra beneficial for me, because it doubles for use emptying my RV tanks.
Of course, me being me, I don’t love the idea of dealing with human waste, but I also know that this particular activity is not an optional one. Like they say, “Everybody poops,” right?
These macerator pumps retail for far too much money, typically somewhere around $300 USD! I’m not interested in paying that, so I found an alternate way of doing it for significantly cheaper. In total I paid around $40 for the parts by taking advantage of a local yard-sale-found in-sink garbage disposal for cheap. My research showed that a garbage disposal, although not a pump, can still produce about 7 ft of head pressure, which is more than sufficient for pumping up into a toilet.
As always, with any solution there are pros and cons. The biggest con about using the in-sink garbage disposal is that it requires 120volts, so this solution would not work in a grid down scenario without alternate means to power it. I’ve also found that it gets a little warm when emptying the 40 gallon RV tank, as it was not meant to run such a long duty cycle (no pun intended.) That said, from a preparedness standpoint, it’s great, as it would only be on for a moment to empty a small bucket.
Now, if you’re still interested, and not yet running for the hills with a bottle of Purell, and a bag of wet-wipes, I’ll show you how to easily build your very own “Poo shooter” as shown below:
- PVC Fittings to adapt from the disposal outlet, to a garden hose
- PVC Primer and Glue
- Plumber’s Putty
- Garden Hose
- Bayonet RV sewage attachment similar to: This
- 3″ “Fernco” rubber coupler similar to: This
- Adjustable Wrench
- Hacksaw/PVC Cutting tool
Assembly is very straight forward.
- Cut your PVC/fittings to your desired length.
- Prime and glue the ends of the fittings together for the outlet of the pump.
- Slide the Fernco fitting over the inlet of the garbage disposal and tighten the hose clamp.
- Slide the bayonet connector into the other side of the Fernco fitting and tighten the hose clamp.
- Leak test with a hose before testing with nastier materials.
There you have it! An easy, cheap way to remove human waste from your home (or RV.) I have used this successfuly, without any drips, spills or other obscenely disgusting outcomes, numerous times with our RV.
To employ this at home, you would simply need to add an RV style bayonet sewage connector to the bottom of a bucket to connect the macerator to. You could even install the bucket semi-permanently on a riser so that the pump could stay beneath the bucket. I’ll leave that part up to you! Either way, a toilet seat for the bucket, may make things a bit more comfortable. Here is an example from Amazon: Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid
Regardless of if, or how you decide to implement this macerator pump, consider the benefit of not needing to use your water storage for flushing the toilet, or having to dig holes in your yard and manually disposing of the waste yourself. That alone is enough motivation for me to keep this idea handy.