Waterless urinal sheds in the inner city Hamburg, Germany - Case study of sustainable sanitation projects

Winker, M., Grönwall, P. (2010)

Published in: 2010

Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)

Winker, M., Grönwall, P.

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Content - Summary

This case study is about a large-scale urban public sanitation system project in the inner city of Hamburg, Germany. Waterless urinal sheds were introduced to cover approx. 2000 male users per day for all 11 public urinal sheds.

The main objective of the project was to optimise the quality of the public toilets in Hamburg and their surrounding areas while minimising the financial burden for the City of Hamburg at the same time. The aim was to achieve this goal while also minimising water and energy needs and protecting the environment.

In certain areas it was not possible to establish a public toilet as nobody was willing to run it, because the area was a social hot spot where abuse and vandalism would be a problem, or due to high frequencies in short times (such as close to the main soccer stadium). For those locations, the BSU developed the concept of public “urinal sheds” with a high transparency of the inside activities. The first pilot urinal shed was built at Hansaplatz (a social hot spot) in 2003.

All urinals installed in Hamburg’s public toilets are waterless urinals. They have the Keramag flat rubber tube system for odour control. At these 11 urinal sheds, there are also urine storage tanks. In total about 20-30 m³ of urine is collected per month (from all the 11 urinal sheds). The tanks are equipped with a floating device measuring the urine level in the tank. The urine storage tanks are strictly speaking not necessary, as all the urinal sheds are connected to a sewer and centralised wastewater treatment plant. It was decided to install them anyway for three reasons:
1. There was a fear that the pure urine from the urinal shed may cause damage (corrosion) to the local sewer pipe.
2. It is possible that in the future agricultural reuse of urine may become economically feasible.
3. Also in the future, the urine may be treated separately for nitrogen removal or struvite production.

There are no handwashing facilities at these urinal sheds, which is a drawback from a hygiene point of view, but is due to fear of vandalism and abuse (such as letting the water flow uncontrolled) – as the urinal sheds are not manned. The above ground construction as well as the daily maintenance, cleaning, checking and replacement of broken equipment was/is carried out by the company Decaux. With the implementation of its new management concept for public toilets (which includes the public urinal sheds), the BSU could reduce its annual costs by half (compared to their costs before which were EUR 1.4 Mio in 1994).

Bibliographic information

Winker, M., Grönwall, P. (2010). Waterless urinal sheds in the inner city Hamburg, Germany - Case study of sustainable sanitation projects. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)

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Case studies in SuSanA template English Europe, Caucasus & Central Asia Urban (entire city) Urine diversion dehydration toilets (UDDTs)


Waterless urinal sheds in the inner city Hamburg, Germany

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