The Spokesman-Review

Flush With Success

SUNDAY, OCT. 26, 1997


Advanced Composting Systems of Whitefish, Mont., is bringing high-tech toiletry to the most remote backcountry sites.

“Each one is different because we design for the ecosystem we’re working in,” said company owner Glenn Nelson. “If we’re at Mount Shasta and we know there will be 20 feet of snow on the site during the winter, we build for that.”

Nelson’s small company is carving out an international niche for itself in the world of flushless living. Since 1974, the company has done work for dozens of state and federal agencies, bringing bacterial bathrooms to the backcountry.

Pristine lakes can be polluted by the flush of nutrients coming from a nearby septic system. Nelson’s system, on the other hand, gobbles up the waste before contaminants can reach the lake by using solar panels, fans, earthworms, bugs and microorganisms.

ACS has engineered a growing business with major agencies such as the Park Service. Grand Canyon Park, for instance, planned to have a ranger descend to the toilet on a water-laden mule to hose out the interior.

When Nelson heard that plan, he built a rain water collection system into the roof of his design, and now the remote toilet has pressurized water year-round. To cap it off, he engineered a sloping floor to allow the water to drain automatically.

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