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Use of urine

Ecosan Club (ed.) (2010)

Published in: 2010

Sustainable Sanitation Practice (SSP), Issue 3. EcoSan Club, Austria

Ecosan Club (ed.)

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EcoSan Club


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"Use of urine" is the thematic topic of the third issue of Sustainable Sanitation Practice (SSP). If urine is collected separately, treated and converted to agricultural usage, the biggest step towards nutrient reuse and highly efficient water protection is taken.

Issue 3 contains the following articles:

Opening minds and closing loops – productive sanitation initiatives in Burkina Faso and Niger
Dagerskog, L., Bonzi, M.

The link between food production and sanitation is at the centre of two agriculture funded sanitation projects in Burkina Faso and Niger. Productive sanitation is used to increase food security, based on the fact that urine and faeces from a family of ten contain nutrients equivalent to approximately 100 kg of chemical fertilizer, locally worth ~80 US$. Urine contains the main part of these nutrients and is relatively easy to collect and reuse. The agriculture extension officers have a key role in supervising participative tests with urine as a fertilizer that help create demand for sanitation. Farmers are trained on how to produce liquid and solid fertilizers from urine and faeces, by eliminating the dangers and capturing the resources via the good use of simple urinals and “productive toilets”. The article describes the arguments and methodology used in the projects and perspectives for up scaling in Burkina Faso and Niger.
Experiences from use of urine in Arba Minch, Ethiopia
Kassa, K., Meinzinger, F., Zewdie, W.

In this paper an overview of practical experiences with the collection and the use of urine from urine diversion dry toilets in Arba Minch is discussed. At two crop trial sites maize was fertilized with urine and the maize yield and the effect on soil was studied. At one site, the yield of urine fertilized maize was increased seven times compared to unfertilized soil. Analyses of the soil fertilized with urine showed that Kjeldahl nitrogen and salinity was increased while pH was decreased at higher rates of urine application. Urine contains important nutrients for the plants and increases the quality of soil; however precautions against the development of salinity in the roots of plants are required. The urine crop trial sites have changed the attitude of many people who had a chance to visit.
Pharmaceutical Residues in Urine as Fertiliser
Winker, M.

Urine is an excellent, complete plant fertiliser (containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), but also contains certain amounts of pharmaceutical residues even after prolonged storage as a treatment step. If those substances are polar and hardly biodegradable they can be taken up by plants and thereby possibly enter the human food chain. Research has shown that the low pharmaceutical concentrations provided with urine are unlikely to affect plant development and growth. A full evaluation of the potential toxic effects of pharmaceuticals ingested by humans via urine?fertilised crops is very difficult and has not yet been done. Perceptions of societies towards urine reuse vary widely and can work as a driver or a constraint for reuse.
Backyard urine recycling in the United States of America
Allen, L., Conant, J.

In the United States of America awareness and practice of ecological sanitation is in its infancy. In this article we briefly assess the urine harvesting practices of a small group of individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, Portland, Oregon, and coastal Massachusetts. Though there are no coordinated or sponsored urine harvesting projects, a few Americans, learning primarily from the international urine harvesting community, as well as from historic practices, are beginning to implement individual?scale, “backyard” urine harvesting projects. We found that urine reuse is gaining in popularity, is accepted in certain social groups, and that urine harvesters have seen exceptionally beneficial results from using the urine fertilizer. Urine harvesting seems a good first step towards ecological sanitation practices because it is legal in the United States, whereas other practices are not. Some U.S. regulations are now changing around ecological sanitation practices, which bodes well for a trend toward greater acceptance of urine recycling and other ecological sanitation practices.
Food Security and Productive Sanitation - practical guidelines on the use of urine
Richert, A., Gensch, R., Jönsson, H., Dagerdkop, L., Stenström, T., Bonzi, M.

The publication “Practical Guideline on the Use of Urine in Crop Production”, is a collaborative effort of several international organisations and institutions active in the field of sustainable sanitation and agriculture under the aegis of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) working group on Food Security and Productive Sanitation with Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) as the lead. It will be launched during 2010.
The Guideline is directed towards decision makers, professionals and extension workers in the sectors of agriculture, water & sanitation, planning and environment as well as the donor community. The main target group is professionals in the sector of agriculture. The text gives practical guidance on the use of urine in crop production as a vital component of sustainable crop production and sanitation systems. It covers key aspects of how to use urine as a fertiliser in productive sanitation systems and also includes guidance on how to initiate activities that will facilitate the introduction of new fertilisers to the agricultural community. The handbook should help in establishing links between research and professionals interested in implementation of sustainable sanitation systems. It is easy to read and informative, with examples from case studies and tips on further reading for those interested.

Bibliographic information

Ecosan Club (ed.) (2010). Use of urine. Sustainable Sanitation Practice (SSP), Issue 3. EcoSan Club, Austria

Filter tags

English Food security and productive sanitation (WG5) North America Peri-urban Rural Sub-Saharan Africa


Sustainable Sanitation Practice - Issue 3

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Size: 1.4 MB

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