The Food Forest

Composting Toilet & Reedbed Systems

In the driest state in the World’s driest continent the average family sends more than 500 litres of water down the drain each day, half of it simply flushing the loo. Having exhausted the Murray we have still failed to adjust the way our homes run to effectively reduce the waste of our most precious resource.

However the extraordinarily simple modular domestic reedbed uses waste water from your shower, toilet, sink etc, which then flows through a septic tank, removing oils and heavy solids and then into a reedbed, a large waterproof bin set into the ground. The bin is filled with gravel and in it grow reeds which purify the water, leaving it ready to be used for irrigating fruit trees, a perennial ornamental garden or woodlot via a small submersible pump in a sump at the end of the reedbed.

A number of the systems have been installed around SA with full approval from the Environmental Health Branch and are working well.

Suppliers of Compost Toilets & Wastewater Systems

Info People

  • Consultant: Glenn Marshall - Water Ways Asia Pacific, Alice Springs | Phone: (08) 8952 4942 | Email:
  • Builder designer and installer: Chas Martin - Sellicks Beach, South Australia | Phone: (08) 8557 4192
  • Tony Farror - Dept of Health, South Australia | Phone: (08) 8226 7161


  • 'Creating an Oasis with Greywater' - Art Ludwig
  • 'Goodbye to the Flush Toilet' - Carol Hupping Stoner, Rodale Press
  • 'The Humanure Handbook' - JC Jenkins
  • 'The Sustainable House' - Michael Mobbs, 1998, Choice Books

Book Shops

These organisations produce good catalogues (most sell the books listed above):


reedbed construction

Reedbed under construction for Learning Centre at Food Forest

reedbed finished

Completed reedbed with 'loo with a view'
in the background