If I could afford a doomsday bunker, I would probably have one. If for no other reason than the fun of it. I am, nonetheless, an unabashed prepper. Not on the scale of many, but I think that, at a minimum, knowing how to grow your own food is prudent. Ergo the BoonJon gardening system, a gardening system that I have been working on for the past seven years that is firmly based in permaculture and one that recycles everything that is recyclable on a quarter-acre residential lot including your waste. But for people who live in areas that are near significant tactical or strategic targets in the event of a nuclear war, or if you live on the hurricane prone East coast, or the earthquake prone West coast, or the tornado prone Mid-west, or the Zombie Apocalypse prone major urban centers . . . (you get the idea) having a place to hang out in safety for a while could make sense. And while a lot of thought is given to the accumulation and storage of food and water, little is given to what to do with all that food when it comes out the other end. Your bunker bombs could well become real bunker busters!
The cheapest solution to providing a toilet in most cases is to simply use a 5 gallon bucket and add sawdust after each use, but that produces a slop that has to be discarded someplace. If you cannot safely go outside, you have a huge problem. The same goes for cassette Porta-potties which produce pure sewage. Pouring the contents down some kind of drain is not even a serious option in such confined quarters. Imagine the smell. A large built-in flushing household type toilet invites all kinds of failure issues not to mention the cost. To move that much wastewater with any trouble-free consistency is unlikely and you are definitely inviting disaster. The same goes for large composting toilet systems with respect to cost and complexity.
So what is the answer? Some time back I created a C-Head package called the Bunker BoonJon. It consisted of a C-Head toilet with normal attachments and a special accessory lid designed to fit on a 5-gal bucket for the purposes of transferring and storing your solid waste. I have since discontinued the lid to the disappointment of many, because it didn’t seem necessary and it cost too much to make. To use a C-Head in a bunker situation, you need the following described below. It will give you a low cost system that will last two people for six months, or four people for three months, etc. The system is very suitable for both basic and high-end bunkers.
If your bunker is below ground, you need to develop a system of positive pressure for the interior atmosphere. This is pretty much standard to keep fresh air flowing into the space and removing any buildup of harmful gasses inside the bunker. If you are in the design stage, put a gravel drain field below the bunker and run a single pipe into the drain field. Have the pipe come up out of the floor near the toilet for convenience. Have the opening fitted with an air tight cap mechanism. The C-Head toilet will collect concentrated urine in a jug. With the simplest installation, you can manually pour your urine into the pipe to empty it. If your bunker is installed on a hillside, you can simply pipe the urine out of the ground on the hillside downhill and away from the bunker. If your bunker is above ground, so much the better. A slightly more complex but better method is to use a standard toilet flange on the floor where the toilet is to go and pipe it to either the drain field or running downhill if on a hillside. Don’t use an uphill pump system in a bunker. It is guaranteed to fail and defies plumbing rule number one ($#!+ flows down hill). If you were in a situation where you could repair the pump easily, then it makes sense. With the toilet flange, you can use what we call the bottom exit kit to direct the urine down the flange. The BEX kit will seal the flange and a p-trap that comes with it will control gasses from coming back up into the toilet.
In addition to the C-Head toilet with the BEX kit, you will need six bales of Alfapet Aspen Bedding, available at Walmart; eight to ten 5-gal buckets with snap-on lids which can be used in a food storage capacity until needed. It would be prudent to include some Sevin dust in the unlikely event you get a pest problem. A cup of Sevin added to the refill will do the trick. This will give you approximately 240 uses, so divide that by the number of occupants and allow one #2 usage per occupant per day and you can calculate the time it will take to fill all the buckets. Approximately. It is safe to say that only in the direst apocalyptic scenario would storing this amount of medium be necessary so smaller quantities are probably more realistic.
You may opt to attach the ventilation hose that comes with the toilet and it may or may not need a vent fan depending on if you have effective positive pressure ventilation. The C-Head’s waste processing method does an amazing job of removing any sewage smell from the solid waste so you may not need ventilation at all. You will need to test the system beforehand to see whether you want to ventilate the toilet or not.
All of these items together will give you a complete waste management system for as little as $700- $800. No other system is as trouble free or easy to install or use. You should have stored household cleaners and sterilizing agents like chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to keep sickness and disease under control in any event. Use them to clean your C-Head. If you are considering building an underground bunker, be sure to consult an expert and give this system some consideration.
Please feel free to make constructive comments and suggestions.
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