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Urine Fertilizer field trial in Vermont  RSS feed

 
Posts: 288
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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http://modernfarmer.com/2014/01/human-pee-proven-fertilizer-future/

Thought everyone here would enjoy if they hadn't seen this yet.
 
Posts: 35
Location: New Hampshire, USA zone 5/6
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food preservation homestead wofati
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I was excited to attend a lecture about this very project. It was really informative. Here are some of the things I learned:

    -Other than water, nitrogen is the primary component of urine.

    -Nitrogen is very difficult/expensive to remove from urine. I heard that Portsmouth, NH is having to add a multi million dollar upgrade to remove nitrogen from the waste water because the environmental levels are getting too high.

    -Most waste water treatment plants don't bother removing it before releasing the "treated" waste water to the environment.

    -If you have a septic tank the nitrogen is generally going straight into the ground water (this means it is bypassing the nitrogen loving greenery on the surface of our earth).

    -As many of you already know, nitrogen in our waterways is becoming a BIG problem. This problem is as much from urine as it is from industrial agriculture.

    -The amount of pharmaceuticals transferred to plants through urine applied as fertilizer is extremely low (zero if you are using your own urine and you don't take pharmaceuticals). It was something like in order to get one dose of Tylenol you had to eat more than a dozen heads of lettuce (I'm pulling that number from a very fuzzy memory that only recalls the number being really high and therefore not an issue for an otherwise healthy person, so don't quote that).

    -Urine can be applied directly without being diluted. This was proven as you can see clearly at the link posted by David Miller. There was some talk about pH. Urine becomes acidic when it sits, this means applying it very fresh avoids the acidity, or conversely intentionally letting it sit, and therefore become acidic, is an effective way to sterilize if you are gathering from the general populace and so have concerns about this. Its also important to know that letting it sit is what will make urine start to stink like urine.

    -If smell is a concern putting a small amount of vinegar into the holding container before storage seems to prevent this. It was said that the acidity of the vinegar prevent the chemical degradation that results in the smelly parts of urine (This has something to do with urease and uric acid. I'm sure you could easily look this up if the chemistry interests you). That would also mean the vinegar is preventing the urine from becoming acidic on its own, which means that if you are using the acidity to sterilize through aging of the urine, the effectiveness may change with the use of vinegar. It would depend on the level of acidity of the end product in each case. Just something to keep in mind.


Attached you can see pictures of a male and female version of simple yet somewhat elegant ways to easily collect urine. **Please note that for both of these a ping pong ball should be used as a "plug" for the funnel to prevent any smells from wafting out between uses** These apparati would make it feel more comfortable and doable for the less revolutionary people in your household.


I unfortunately do not have a household that would tolerate this use of urine, so after attending the lecture I've begun discreetly diverting my own urine to water my ornamental gardens and landscape through a very simple method. As a female living on an urban lot peeing outside is not an option. Instead I pee into a quart sized jar then go outside and pour it out somewhere strategically, then rinse the jar after each use with a small amount of water from my rain barrel.



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Female urine collector with 2.5 gallon tank
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Female urine collector from top
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Handy hinge to make removal of funnel easier
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How to use it...
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Male urine collector
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Male Urine Collector
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Makes a nice plant stand when the door is closed
 
Jackie Frobese
Posts: 35
Location: New Hampshire, USA zone 5/6
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food preservation homestead wofati
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I Wanted to add that the valve sitting on top of the male urine collector is not part of the collector in itself. Its the valve that can be put onto the 2.5 gallon bottle when transporting, and to make emptying it easier and without splashing (no one wants urine splashing on them). Both systems use the same collection bottle.

It was mentioned at the lecture that the production and distribution of these collectors could be a business opportunity as no one is doing that at this time.
 
pollinator
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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books chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur urban
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Bravo!

The male urine distribution "equipment" is much easier to use directly in the garden than the female version (sorry, sisters), but never the less, everyone should be capturing and using pee whenever and wherever they can.  Every guy should have a couple of discrete spots in their garden where they can directly drain the tank and put this valuable resource directly into the root zone of the trees and plants that most need it.  Heck -- ladies as well.

Not only are we keeping this valuable nutrient out of the waste stream, but we save a couple of gallons of clean drinking water with every flush that we don't use. 

Grey water systems attached to a shower are another great way to recycle urine: just pee in the shower.
 
today's feeble attempt to support the empire
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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