The Poo Blog

I dedicate my blog today to my nephews: Patrick, Dominic and Ciaran, to Charley and to Poppy and to all the pupils at Great Moor School.

The Poo Blog – What happens to all the poo on a ship? It is what is asked of the astronauts on the International Space Station too. I leave that response to Tim Peake.

So what does happen when the toilet flushes on a ship like the James Cook? And what happens to the poo of 52 people?


The toilets are vacuum powered – with each flush 60 litres of air and 1.2 litres of water are used. It takes 5 secs of flush then 2 seconds to discharge the waste.

The system is designed to have up to 120 flushes per hour. And  no I have not tested this out as I really want the toilets to keep working.


Afterwards the waste goes through a macerator (which chops up the waste) before continuing to the sewage tank – see the picture above. (The picture above is a diagram of the photo below).


There is a window (to the left in the picture above) to see that the system is working properly (see picture), bubbles will appear if the wrong type of cleaning fluid is put down the toilets. This  can affect the ‘bugs’ in the tank.

In the sewage tanks there are ‘bugs’ – good bugs- a mix of aerobic micro-organisms officially called: Gamazyme Digestor – Rob the Chief Engineer refers to them collectively as Dave. This ‘culture of bugs’ brand breaks down the waste products (the poo). Once the waste has been processed it is drinking water quality. Chlorine is added to for extra safety and the resulting water is put into the sea.

The RRS James Cook has to follow many rules and regulations on waste disposal depending on which country’s waters they are in and all safety and environmental guidelines recommended by NERC are strictly adhered to.

Other waste is either incinerated or crushed, Brian is incinerating waste in the picture below (left) the can crusher is on the right.

Update on Nigel:


Dean, Ian and Will have been looking after Nigel. They give him a shower with the hose and have been feeding him whitebait. He eats about 7 a day. Nigel enjoyed a tin of pilchards. He prefers to run rather than fly. He ran off with a fishing lure (a rubber fish) earlier today and Dean, Ian and Will had to chase him to get the lure back. Nigel enjoys helping Andy with fishing.





Angela 🙂


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