The Most Common Problems with Waterless Toilets

The Most Common Problems with Waterless Toilets
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Waterless toilets are a great means of saving water used in disposal of human wastes.

Like any other technology, their use can result in problems, which some people can find it difficult to solve.

However, there are solutions to the problems individuals encounter with waterless toilets, and they should not deter you from having one installed in your home.

Problem 1: Odor from the urine tank and toilet

Odor from any type of waterless toilet, such as the composting toilet, signals a problem.

If you are using the electric composting toilet, it means the fan responsible for maintaining a steady flow of air circulation has malfunctioned.

Constant air circulation is intended to carry away odor from the solid waste in the toilet.

Another reason for odor in composting toilets could be inadequate amounts of bulking materials in the toilets. Bulking materials accelerate the composting process and contain odors.

  • Remedy for a smelly dry toilet

i) Increase the amount of bulking materials in your dry toilet. The odor might not go away immediately, but after about two weeks, it should clear.

ii) If your composting toilet’s fan is not working properly, find out why; it could be disconnected from the source of power or clogged.

iii) Check for blockage in the dry toilet’s ventilation system and unblock it. The ventilation can be blocked by leaves, snow, or any other debris.

iv) If you can’t find the cause of the problem, look for a competent technician to assist you counter the odor from your eco-friendly toilet.

Problem 2: Complications in cleaning the composting toilet and the urine tank

It is a major problem encountered with dry toilets, especially the composting toilets. The dilemma is that no water is to go down the toilet—even though effective cleaning requires the use of water.

The urine tank also requires cleaning after a while. Since no water is used in flushing a dry toilet, there is bound to be some caking of the urine in the tank after some time. The caking can result in blockage, if not cleaned.

Effective ways of cleaning the composting toilet and the urine tank

i) For the urine tank, you need to remove all the urine in it before cleaning.Use vinegar mixed with little rocks for shaking the urine tank. Remember to pause intermittently while shaking.

ii) For the toilet bowl, sprinkle a mixture of water and vinegar. Thereafter, wipe with some toilet tissue.The design of most dry toilets is such that there is no smear of waste in the toilets bowl—all in the spirit of sparing the use of water in disposing human waste.

Problem 3: Trouble with health officials

In some regions, you need clearance from local health officials before installing an eco-friendly toilet system.

You risk running into trouble in the event your dry toilet system does not comply with stipulated regulations on human waste disposal. You can avoid this kind of trouble, and enjoy the use of your eco-friendly toilet.

  • How to avoid trouble with health officials

i) Inquire about the dry toilet system you plan to install from the local health department.

If it does not meet the stipulated safety and sanitation standards, you can make improvements to avoid fines and other legal issues.

Problem 3: Lack of spare parts

Like any other apparatus, a waterless toilet can breakdown and require replacement. If spare parts are not readily available, it can lead to lots of discomfort.

For example, when travelling with a dry toilet to a remote location and a breakdown occurs, it might force you to resort to open defecation or dump your thing in a water body, which are unsuitable actions.

How to avoid abrupt breakdowns

i) Ensure that a technician checks your waterless toilet periodically to ensure everything is working properly.

ii) If travelling with a dry toilet, you may consider carrying some vital spare parts to assure you of uninterrupted use of the facility.


The commonest problems associated with dry toilets can be solved. These problems should not deter you from installing one in your home once you’ve decided to ditch the flush toilet.

Importantly, always stay motivated to overcome any waterless toilet problem, and the benefits accrued will be enormous.