Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

  • RowanBarber
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Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi.

I am relatively new to this forum.

I am interested in connecting with folks who are working on urine diversion systems in a developed world context.

My heart is in international development assistance, but the reality of my circumstances, as a father of infants, is that I am working in CAPEX procurement for an urban utility in a metropolitan area of an Australian city.

In recent years we have seen a transition from analogue radio and television to digital services.

Smarter telephone technologies including video and net based applications are complementing the traditional voice down a copper wire.

Automotive companies are starting to roll out electric vehicles to replace internal combustion engine technologies.

These processes are transitional. Perhaps similar transitions can occur with toilet technologies and behaviours.

Prototypes were developed. They begin as pilot projects, to prove the concept.

I am interested in running some local urine diversion projects in my own first world community, with a view to:


* encouraging nutrient recovery;
* reduce to costs and environmental impacts of the tradition method of sewage aggregation, transport and treatment;
* developing the supporting processes, the institutional arrangements and encourage the social acceptance of the paradigm shift;
* developing trade waste policies and charges that incentivate and support source segregation.

Rowan Barber
Australian Sustainable Business Group
Engineers Without Borders Australia
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  • Markh79
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi Rowan,

As you know the institute of chemical engineers water group is presenting a webinar with a focus on this topic.

There is a distinct advantage by applying some focus to the developed world context to assist with mainstreaming ecosan in developing communities.

I assume that developing communities will feel validated in their choices for no flush toilets if the developed world did adopt such technology? Anyone care to comment on this statement? Does anyone have evidence to support this assumption?

Happy to help where I can?

How can we on Susana help?
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  • tuhkanen
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi,

There is a group of scientist working with UDDDs in the Tampere Univerity of Technology (TUT). We have studied nutrien recovery, odor control, technical solution, rísk reduction (pharmaseuticals and hormones in urine), capacity building...

There is the 4 Dry Toilet Conference in Tampere, FINLAND in 22.-24.8. Please visit
www.drytoilet.org/dt2012/

TUT is organizing a free Pre-Conference Workshop 20-22.8 followed by a Internet based safe and Sustainable Sanitation course (equivalent of 6 academic credit points). If you are intersted, please contact Prof. Tuula Tuhkanen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Tuula Tuhkanen, Ms
University of Jyvaskyla
Department of Biology and Environmental Science
P.P.Box 35
40014 Unvierity of Jyvaskyla, Finland
+358405345120
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  • emmanuel
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi Rowan,

I am a frensh producer of diverting dry toilet and I am wondering what is realy your project. Is it to do theoretical work or implement systems to developp a community of users and collect urine to use it for exemple ?
The need is different in the 2 cases.
Can you precise you mind ?
Thank you

Emmanuel Morin
www.ecodomeo.com/english

Emanuel Morin
Ecodomeo - France
www.ecodomeo.com
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  • RowanBarber
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi Mark, Tuula and Emmanuel,

As a father of infants, I am unable to travel to international conferences or work in developing communities.

My ambitions is to utilise the resources of an Municipal water and sewage treatment utility to field test urine separation technologies at community or catchment level.

The local drivers at the utility are to reduce the cost of and the energy intensity of service delivery. This utility services a combination of high density urban populations, as well as some distributed low density, rural populations.

Last year I attended a presentation by Dr Elisabeth von Muench about the her work at GTZ.

My short term objective is to use urine separation technologies to solve first world problems. There are some local sewage treatment plants, discharging effluent to sensitive receiving waters. Some of these plants are at the limit of their hydraulic and/or nutrient removal capacities.

I hope that addressing local issues in my own community, will have benefits for increasing the social acceptance of urine separation technologies to address issues faced by up to a billion people in Asia Pacific.

Rowan Barber
Australian Sustainable Business Group
Engineers Without Borders Australia
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  • christoph
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi Rowan,
Nice to hear those ideas.
Some 15 years ago Ralf Otterpohl (I guess??) made a simulation on the behavior of the Hamburg WWTP, if instead of enlargement for nitrification and denitrification the city would introduce a consequent separation of urine. Unfortunately I only remember that it has been done and the results were interesting, but I don´t have the study-paper. I think it would be great to take this point up again in circumstances where there is need for nutrient removal in existing treatment plants and therefore large investment volumes are needed. Especially if you are able to keep out of the sewer the typical "urine producers" as: Stadiums, workplaces with lots of people, the point might be interesting.
Just to mention some economic aspects:
• The volume needed for nitrification and denitrification is bout the double of just carbon removal  less investment
• The process is much easier - stable to run without nitrification and denitrification  easier operation
• There is no need for internal backflow less energy, less operational costs
• The energy consumption of the aerobic treatment for aeration can be cut down very much.
• The sludge age can be lower and therefore the energy content of the sludge is higher possibility of energy gain in digestion
• The urine can be transformed to struvite and therefore be a source of P (larger volumes of concentrated liquor with high contents of P are already today economically possible)
As well I heard that in Sweden (again no real reference, maybe someone of Sweden could help with that) the new houses had (I think it changed, so today it is different again) to have a urine separation installed even though still the urine goes into the sewer...but in future may be not...and in this case the house (which is the most complicated part) is already ready to roll.
I know that Durban is looking into this possibility as well as they do have the problem so they might be an address for exchange. I don´t know until what point they came.
Regarding the other end (the toilet)….when we started with the UDDT in Peru our main focus was to get middle class (or more) bathroom fotos with UDDT in order to show the general applicability. Today there should be enough examples available but if you need something let me know. Didn´t even look if this category in flickr exists…middle class UDDT bathrooms.
As I realized that new people do not have the possibility to know the people who are writing since a longer time.. I´m a sanitary engineer with a sanitation company in Brazil and Peru and doing consultancy in other countries of LA.
Yours
Christoph Platzer
www.rotaria.net
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  • noe-hays
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi, Rowan. I am part of the Rich Earth Institute, which is operating a community-scale urine collection project in the northeastern United States, and conducting field trials using sanitized urine as fertilizer on fields growing hay for livestock. (I've also been following the EcoSanRes list for years, though I've seldom posted.)

This is our first year in operation, and although we are conducting a small controlled field trial, our main goal is to complete the process of urine collection and land application (anticipated application date within the next month,) so that we can work out the various regulatory, social, and technical issues.

To our knowledge, this is the first legally authorized community-scale collection/reuse project in the United States. This year we have collected about 2400 liters of urine from about 80 individuals. Our goal is to enlarge the scale of the project over the next several years, and to conduct more rigorous experiments.

One area where we would especially benefit from the knowledge of other forum users is in pharmaceutical issues. If we receive the grant funding we're pursuing, we intend to collect urine from hundreds of users at public events, use it to grow a variety of crops, and test the edible tissues for traces of selected pharmaceuticals. Electrodialysis is something we would like to learn more about--is anyone from Eawag on this forum, or does anyone else have experience with this technology?

Our website has more information on our activities and goals: www.RichEarthInstitute.org . We are a new organization with a small budget, and we are moving forward as quickly as we can; but we recognize that we are just beginning to identify the important questions to be asking and to discover the relevant work on this topic. Therefore, we welcome any suggestions forum users may have for us!
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  • tmsinnovation
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi Noe-hays

Two links that could be useful for you.
The first is from the SANIRESCH research project.

The aim of SANIRESCH (SANItaryRecycling ESCHborn) is the treatment and recycling of the urine, brown- and greywater collected at the main building of the headquarters of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Eschborn, Germany.

www.saniresch.de/en/publications-a-downloads/results

The second link is to the SuSanA library where if you put in the search term Pharmaceuticals 10 relevant results come up.

www.susana.org/lang-en/library

Here is for example the link to the first of the ten results "Are pharmaceutical residues a problem for urine reuse in agriculture?"

www.susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbktypeitem&type=2&id=1006

I hope these links are helpful.
Rgds
Trevor

Trevor Surridge
Sanitation Advisor
GIZ Water and Sanitation Program
German Development Cooperation

GIZ Water Programme office
Chaholi Rd. No 5, Rhodes Park
Private Bag RW 37x
Lusaka, Zambia
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  • MRonteltap
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Dear Noe-hays: that sounds great! Sounds like a substantial initiative - looking forward to read more on your progress here on the platform!

You may want to write directly to Kai Udert (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) as he was producing "Urevit" through electrodialysis at Eawag, and has been Eawag's urine treatment expert for many years now. I don't think he reads this forum regularly.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Mariska.
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  • noe-hays
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Dear Trevor and Mariska,

Thanks so much for the tips. I have strarted reading the documents and will contact Kai Udert shortly. We will definitely post our progress on this forum, and hopefully find ways to collaborate with and learn from others who are working on this topic. So far we have been focused on getting ourselves up and running, but now we are are entering the phase where we will be looking for underexplored areas of urine reuse--perhaps forum members will have suggestions for useful lines of inquiry...

Thanks,
Abe Noe-Hays
Putney, Vermont, USA
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  • RowanBarber
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Queensland Urban Utilities is a statutory body to be a distributor retailer of water and sewerage services for municipalities in Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, and Somerset regions in South East Queensland, Australia.

It is one of the largest water distributor-retailers in Australia.

Queensland Urban Utilities is seeking to have its Environmental Protection Act licence for the Beaudesert Sewage Treatment Plant varied to increase its annual nitrogen discharge limit by 7 tonnes per year.

The national Coastal Catchments Initiative by the Australian and Queensland Governments may enable nutrient trading options between sources in Moreton Bay catchments to obtain water quality targets cost-effectively.

Queensland Urban Utilities has commenced a water quality offsets program help reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering one of South East Queensland’s most impacted rivers.

I am wondering if the same logic and economics could be used to separate sources of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium at their source of generation through urine separation toilet technologies.

A report in November 2007, proposed a methodology for developing environmental equivalency for water quality offsets through an application in the Logan/Albert River catchments.

Queensland Urban Utilities is spending ~$1 million in a pilot water quality offsets scheme to repair approximately 500 metres of severely eroded riparian corridor near the Beaudesert Sewage Treatment Plant in the Logan River catchment. This ‘green infrastructure’ project was chosen over a traditional sewage treatment plant upgrade which would have cost $8.0m and focused only on reducing nitrogen emissions.Other benefits for the Logan River will include reduced local turbidity, reduced total phosphorus mass load transfer and establishment of permanent native vegetation to improve biodiversity.

Healthy Waterways, through its ongoing Report Card, will monitor the improvements in waterway health resulting from this vital program as Queensland Urban Utilities manage the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the Logan River.

The Healthy Waterways 2013 Ecosystem Health Report Card provides an insight into the health of South East Queensland’s waterways and Moreton Bay.

The 2013 Report Card results show the mud and nutrients deposited into Moreton Bay during the 2011 and 2013 floods continues to reduce water clarity and stimulate the growth of algae.

Rowan Barber
Australian Sustainable Business Group
Engineers Without Borders Australia
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  • muench
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Dear Rowan,
I don't really understand your post, it seems a bit like bits and pieces copied from elsewhere and a bit disjointed with no clear structure? What is actually your point exactly?

The main bit is probably this part, but could you please clarify what you are getting at? I am curious:

I am wondering if the same logic and economics could be used to separate sources of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium at their source of generation through urine separation toilet technologies.


Thanks a lot.

Regards,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum via SEI project ( www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant in Frankfurt, Germany
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