In the Western Hemisphere, many people might be considered fecophobes. When they go to the bathroom, they want whatever went into the toilet to be whisked away in a hurry. There are folks, however, with a different take. They believe what goes into the toilet should be turned into what's sometimes referred to as humanure. Find out how much you know about the issue in this quiz.
What percentage of disease outbreaks worldwide are caused by contaminated and polluted water supplies?
Why is fecal matter and human urine considered a health risk?
It can harbor dangerous pathogens.
It can produce toxic odors.
By the end of the 20th century, how many septic systems were in use in the United States?
About 5 million
About 20 million
About 50 million
Why are many septic systems bad for the environment?
They pollute aquifers.
They pollute the atmosphere.
What happens to the majority of the sewer sludge that's collected by wastewater treatment plants?
It goes into landfills.
It gets burned.
It is turned into fertilizer.
Why isn't all this human waste composted and used for agricultural purposes?
It's mixed with pollutants from other sources.
It's socially taboo to compost human waste.
Apart from those toxic additives and negative attitudes, what's another concern to keep in mind when discussing the prospect of composting human fecal matter?
The health of the human contributors
The time of year the process is set to take place
Using a composting toilet, how much finished compost does the average person produce in a year?
About 60 pounds
About 90 pounds
About 120 pounds
Using a composting toilet, how much water does the average person spare from contamination in a year?
More than 1,000 gallons
More than 3,000 gallons
More than 6,000 gallons
How much bacteria can the urine of a healthy person contain?
Up to 500 bacteria per milliliter
Up to 1,000 bacteria per milliliter
Up to 5,000 bacteria per milliliter
How about someone with a urinary tract infection?
More than 10,000 bacteria per milliliter
More than 50,000 bacteria per milliliter
More than 100,000 bacteria per milliliter
What transmission route that pathogens take to get to people could theoretically be eliminated if everyone used a composting toilet?
Human to soil to human
Human to animal to human
What temperature must human compost reach to kill roundworm eggs?
52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius)
94 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius)
101 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius)
How hot must the temperate of a compost pile be to kill all the pathogens it contains in a month?
100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius)
110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius)
120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius)
How hot must the temperature reach to kill all the pathogens in a single day?
114 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius)
117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius)
122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius)
How many compost bins are ideal for composting humanure?
Can kitchen scraps be thrown in the humanure compost pile, too?
What two elements are most important to the composting process?
Nitrogen and sodium
Sulfur and carbon
Carbon and nitrogen
Once a composting toilet is full, which part of the active compost pile should receive the remains?
But … But aren't composting toilets and the resulting compost piles really stinky?