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Outhouses

How do B.C.'s eco-friendly outhouses work? With foot pumps and feces-eating worms

Rising number of visitors to B.C.’s backcountry pushes province to look for human waste solutions

It's not exactly a savoury topic, but outhouse maintenance is a big deal in the backcountry. And in some parts of British Columbia, dealing with human waste costs tens of thousands of dollars. 

The number of visitors to B.C. nature sites and campgrounds is growing every year, prompting B.C. Parks to look for more eco-friendly and cost-efficient alternatives to the dug-out pit toilets of traditional outhouses. 

And the technology they're bringing in? Foot pumps and feces-eating worms.

The outhouses, which use urine-diversion toilets, work exactly as their name implies: they separate solid waste from fluids. This means less waste needs to be pumped out and disposed of because more than 90 per cent ends up back in the ecosystem. 

"The mixing of pee and poo is really quite new ecologically. It came about when humans put toilets into cities and castles," said Geoff Hill, director and founder of Toilet Tech Solutions.