Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

Hello Robert,

Interesting, indeed, the findings of Renaud. Compost definitely needs a bit of ‘acceleration’, and urine is ideal for that purpose!

About pathogens : Urine – assuming a near perfect separation – is known to transmit only very few diseases, if any at all, and these germs are known to be killed within a few days of storage of the urine. It’s, indeed, the ammonia probably responsible for this, but temperature also plays a role.

The recommendations of WHO are set such that a cross-contamination with feces does not cause diseases, so these figures are very conservative. However, on page 71 of the “Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Graywater, Volume 4: Excreta and graywater use in agriculture” (see the attachment), it is saying:
“Direct use after collection or a short storage time is acceptable at the single household level.”
Starting on page 34, you will find a description of pathogens that are found in urine. The ones that pose a risk of transmission via urine are some bacteria: Leptospira (causing leptospirosis) and Salmonella (typhus, etc.) species, and then Schistosoma haematobioum (a variety of bilharcia found in Africa). These are all Gram-negative bacteria which are reduced by 90% within one day of storage or the urine – see page 41 of the guidelines. So, after 14 days of storage as I am recommending, there is virtually nothing left of these bacteria. To control Schistosoma, I would think you would have pay attention not to allow the urine to get into a water body (aquaculture, etc.).

About odor: My experience would be that the odor nuisance peaks at about a week or so of storage, and then the odor changes to that intense odor of ammonia. As you and Renaud yourselves explained to me on the Rich Earth Summit, the addition of some vinegar will significantly reduce this type of odor. This is due to the reduction of pH, causing the ammonia (an aggressive gas) to be converted to ammonium (an ion dissolved in water). I tried the trick, and it works very well. For my purposes, using some precautions like flushing with pure water after the application, etc. (see the paper I mentioned in my previous comment), this is good enough. But I am living in a semi-rural environment where there is some tolerance to odors, it seems. In any case, I have never heard complaints. But I can imagine that in a city environment the devices you are selling can help a lot to control odor and to make the application of urine acceptable.

About earth worms: I made the sad experience that earth worms were killed when I applied too much urine. You should never apply more than one liter of urine per square meter in one application. In addition, I could imagine that the addition of some vinegar could help since it’s, again,
probability the ammonia that is causing the deaths.

So, the instruction regarding vinegar that I learnt at the Rich Earth Summit was really useful!

H-A
Hanns-Andre Pitot
M.Eng. Environmental Pollution Control
presently in Seesen, Germany

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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

Hello Hans

Yes, urine and compost are a good combination :

see Renaud De Looze presentation at the last Rich Earth Summit:


But for the smell and the pathogens control I have another experience.

Urine is initially almost odorless and It will remain odorless for about two days if collected in a initially clean container.

But the smell develops within a week and becomes stronger and stronger after a month.

After two weeks it still smells a lot.

This awful odor comes from the transformation of urea into ammonium and its release of ammonia gas.

Ammonia destroys pathogens but is a very unpleasant and irritating gas

If I remember well it takes more than a few days according to the WHO guidelines to follow this sterilization method.

And ammonia applied to the soil can also displease earthworms unlike fresh urine stil under odorless urea molecules.

Earthworms are found in quantity with my tests.

And we don't have the irritating ammonia smell when we dilute.

We can be used indoor.

See attachez picture for " la belle vie :-) "

Robert Cossette
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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

Dear all,

My preference is to use urine in combination with compost - both are easily produced in a home environment.

I think what Robert is proposing should work well in small gardens.  I rather apply diluted urine with the watering can.  Storing properly separated urine for a few days will kill all pathogens - so no need to worry if you proceed like that.  In order to reduce odors, you need to store the urine for about two weeks, depending on temperature.

You will find more tricks on odor prevention, application rates, etc... in the attached instructions.

H-A
Hanns-Andre Pitot
M.Eng. Environmental Pollution Control
presently in Seesen, Germany

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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

The use of a means of urine collection without cross contamination (ORIAZ Urinette) and the precise underground application with the Solar-Dripper allows urine to be applied throughout the crop the same day.


See the method here: 


With these two added precautions a pre-treatment is no longer necessary and safety is demonstrated because human pathogens do not climb trees.

Anaerobic pathogens in the soil are simply cooked by over-oxygenated ground competition.

Without fecal contamination from a proper collection method (urinette) the initial pathogen risk is very very low.

And the subsurface application with the Solar-Dripper further reduces this theoretical risk by another factor of 100 to 1,000,000 according to the WHO guidelines.

See attached reference.

For crops like tomatoes you can consume the same day safely as there is no splashing risks like with old urine application methods.

See:  solar-dripper.com/en/how-to-use-urine-fertilizer/


But if your urine collection does not prevent cross-contamination ( example using a diverting toilet) or if your application is less precise then it is required to wait or to treat urine.


The Solar-Dripper method is more efficient now since your urea can be applied the same day it is collected.


Using fresh urine means less odors and an efficiency gain for the roots to absorb nitrogen as ammonium (+)  and phosphate (-) more easily.

The root nutrient chemical balance is preferable compared to nitrate (-) and phosphate (-) ions absorption
 

Robert Cossette
Engineer
ORIAZ Environnemnt.
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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

Use pyrolyzed crop waste to produce charcoal (biochar). Use biochar in UDDT to control odor and splashing. Urine-inoculated biochar is easy to handle and slow releases urine nutrients. 

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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

Make sure the urine is inserted into the ground and not sprayed on the plants.  In addition do not use any urine within 4 weeks of harvesting.
Sanitation & water consultant in developing countries

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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

Robert,

Up to about 10 years ago, I was promoting sanitation in a country town and district capital in Northern Uganda, called Adjumani.  We called the approach a 'two track approach', one of the tracks was the promotion of ecological sanitation toilets, the other track consisted of a proper disposal (using wetlands) of the sludge coming from regular pit latrines:
Sanitation approach of GIZ in Adjumani town
Privately built ecosan toilets (UDDTs) in Adjumani
Utilization of UDDT fertilizers in Adjumani



In the ecosan approach, urine separating toilets were constructed, and the urine could be used locally on people's private plots.  For the solids, we constructed a small hand-operated composting facility, even though these could also be dug into the fields after a storage time of 6 months in the toilets.

More than 100 people decided to build an ecosan toilet using there own personal money. The town was only contributing some special plastic parts for urine diversion, which were brought from the capital Kampala.  This shows that some people were quite enthusiastic constructing such toilets.  Apart from the fertilizers, one main promoter of the ecosan toilets was that the maintenance was a lot cheaper than the one of pit latrines.  For the latter, you needed to have a tanker truck to come every few years to empty the pit, which was very expensive in the local context, whereas for the ecosan toilets, emptying could be done manually.  Of course, the ecosan toilets will only work well if properly constructed and properly maintained (possibly the two main drawbacks).

The attitudes of the population were generally positive, especially among the more traditional folks.  But it's really a personal choice of each and every resident.

Hanns-André
Hanns-Andre Pitot
M.Eng. Environmental Pollution Control
presently in Seesen, Germany
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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

Yes, you're right, people are bemused about fertilizing urine.

But after explanation and demonstration they are enthusiastic.

It may be too early to also talk about feces also  but with a special process of 9 months I obtain a magnificent compost.

My visitors handle it without discomfort :-)

odorless, pathogen-free and very fertile.

It's much safer than the sewer system.Pathogens are eliminated without risk of propagation as in our sewers.

No danger in the garden also.

But for the moment I am content with the valorization of urine which provides 80% of the solution with minimal cost and savings.

One step at a time :-)

See pictures.

Robert
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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

PS: Let's say people tend to be bemused and amused about the use of urine as fertilizer, sorry for the confusion...
Hanns-Andre Pitot
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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

My experience would be that people tend to be bemused if I tell them that I am using urine to fertilize the fruits in my garden.  That doesn't prevent them to pick the fruits, like currants, strawberries or apples.

In fact, I am using both stored urine and compost that I am also producing myself.  The compost does not include feces, which are flushed into the drain.  If I was including feces into the input of my compost, the reaction of visitors would possibly come out differently, depending, may-be, on how I would explain the process.  But urine doesn't seem to be too much of an issue.

Best regards from my side,
Hanns-Andre Pitot
M.Eng. Environmental Pollution Control
presently in Seesen, Germany

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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

I seem to recall seeing a neighbour's dog pee on their tomato plant. Is dog pee okay if human pee is not? Should I have told my neighbor?\

Should Bangladeshis be encouraged to drink the treated water of the Brahmaputra?
(Context explainer for people who don't know about the drinking water situation in Bangladesh: Having had the opportunity of two years in Bangladesh I came to wonder why their people prefer ground water to the water of the Brahmaputra.  I could be wrong, but I was variously told that people won't drink Brahmaputra water because animals defecate in it.  Many Bangladeshis drink, instead, arsenic-contaminated groundwater. I don't find it right, that people are getting arsenicosis while they could be getting treated surface water.)

All the best
Reid
All the best, Reid
Anthony Reid Harvey, ceramic industrial designer
Africa Prosperity Inc.
Niagara Falls, NY USA
Here is a video presentation that gives an overview of ceramic WASH and development interventions:
Harvey, Anthony Reid (2021): Sanitary stoneware toilets: production closer to the need. Loughborough University. Conference contribution. hdl.handle.net/2134/16941193.v1

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Re: Would you buy tomatoes fertilized with urine?

Hello Paresh.

Very funny this video of the Big Bang Theory  :-)

I have the same results without TV drama faces.

The test made in Geneva during the Alternatiba event in September are all in French.

It is an eco festival with generally open minded people.


Basically I offered visitors the opportunity to taste tomatoes knowing that they were fertilized with urine.

I did the same type of tests at the WWW in Stockholm in 2019, in Swiss garden centers and during many events.

Then I offered them a second tomato and I asked them if they would buy these tomatoes at the supermarket.

100% of the opinions were favorable and quite impressed with the superior flavor.

It is a lot of fun to break the ice and do it a first time.


The people expressions are very easy to translate and the video also explains the precautions and my method of application.

My urine collection method with the ORIAZ Urinette avoids any risk of cross-contamination with faeces.

The Solar-Dripper ensures 100% application in the soil without contact with edible parts.


You can see another video translated in english :



This is an efficient and safe method to use in your home garden with you urine and for agriculture.

Farmer just have to be a bit more carefull ( ex: use glove) with collected urine to protech them from self exposure or splashing during handling.

More than 400 people have test my tomatoes so far and we have 0 % drama.

Handling your urine is 100 safe.

I encourage every ressearch groups to do it with at least 12 tomato plants.

Robert

+33 6 76 94 27 97 in France

solar-dripper.com/en/how-to-use-urine-fertilizer/
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