Published in: 2010
Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
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This case study is about pilot research study of the reuse of human urine from a community-based sanitation facility in carp farming in West Bengal, India. Urine is collected from about 250 inhabitants. The total investment in Euros was of 6,000 for research equipment and labour. The project was planned and executed by the International Centre for Ecological Engineering, University of Kalyani, Kalyani with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via the former Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), current Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
The study used groundwater stored in 4500 L holding tanks. Fish growth in such farm ponds is dependent upon the input of macro and micro nutrients in the form of either chemical fertilisers or manure. Optimum levels of major nutrients such as phosphate, nitrogen and carbon, and water quality parameters, such as pH, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, etc play a vital role in fish production. It is thought that human urine, containing all the essential nutrients for phytoplankton production, can play an important role at the base of the grazing food chain for farmed fish.
In order to collect the urine at the university, where the experiments took place, separate plastic pipes were installed at the water-flushed urinals used by the male students. Through these pipes urine was directed into 10°L plastic containers. The urine was applied diluted, as high dosages of urine caused severe fish mortality in pilot studies. Fresh urine without storage and 8 month old stored urine was applied to the culture tanks in two different dilutions: 0.01% and 0.02%1. The dilution occurred directly in the 4500°L tanks after adding the urine. The 0.01% dilution was applied every week, whereas the 0.02% dilution was applied every two weeks.
Further research is required to investigate any pathogenic microbial hazards to human beings and the health impact on fish due to antibiotics, pharmaceutical drugs and other hormonal residues that may be present in human urine especially from people receiving medical treatment.
A very basic cost-benefit analysis was based on per tank unit. The costs involved are fish, labour and manure/urine, and the profits are calculated on the basis of market price of harvested fish from each tank. Considering environmental economics and aesthetic view as well, it can be postulated that the use of human urine is cost effective, that it can protect the environment and can support employment opportunities.
Jana, B. (2010). Reuse of human urine in aquaculture Kalyani, West Bengal, India - Case study of sustainable sanitation projects. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
Asia & Pacific Case studies in SuSanA template English Peri-urban Urine
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