EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

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Re: EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

Hello Heiner,

Interesting what you are writing - the Barnim project was actually presented at the Brattleboro conference.  The impetus in the Brattleboro region apparently stems from the pollution of groundwater resources and of lakes by nitrates due to septic tank systems.  They were giving the example of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Not so much of an issue in Germany, I believe.  But interesting, also, to hear that big and growing cities are finding an interest in urine separation and collection.  In particular those cities that see their waste water infrastructure not to cope with the growth of the city: sewers that are getting too small and waste water treatment plants that are not coping.

Regarding countries in the global South:  I have worked for many years in Uganda, and also in Jordan, and what I can tell you is that they are looking at us in the developed world for inspiration.  Not all of them, but many people, in particular in the administrations.  This is one reason why such technologies like sewage systems have spread.  So, it's up to us to make the changes...  I hope such people like the ones of the Barnim project are going to make inroads...

Cheers, H-A
Hanns-Andre Pitot
M.Eng. Environmental Pollution Control
presently in Seesen, Germany
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Re: EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

Hi Hanns-Andre,

all correct you write in your first paragraph. They strive to get it legal over all applications. Don't know how far they actually are though. And it might be important to say the district Barnim backs them to 100% and there is a little University of applied science (Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde,  HNEE) as another supporter at their side.

Technically they separate urine and process it to prevent nitrogen loss (always my topic as organic farmer!!) and  remove possible pathogenes. I am not sure if they sell two products then or add the processed urine to the compost. You will find out.

When we look at VUNA and their product Aurin we have a price level farmers will never be able to pay. So I hope the guys in Eberswalde find a more economic way for their product.

The US... I participated an online summit 2 or 3 years back (Rich Earth INstitute) and had the same reaction: oh, there is something going on and possible. Fortunately not only in sillicon valley they have obviously more freedom to do some research. When I was young (ages back) I was impressed by the Rocky Mountain Institute and Amory b. Lovins, when they picked up the lessons from "limits to growths" consequently. But on the other hand we know now, what big american oil did to keep their own research results under the table when it came to climate change.

However, all we can do is crawl on to change the direction and turn into the road of nutrient recycling. But as I mentioned I tried to discuss it in my "organic farmer scene" for a long time and scepticism was the answer then. But the young generation might give it a push!
But since we have the complete wrong sanitation infrastructure in our rich countries I have the idea the big change will come from the so called less developed countries. They can build up something new from the scratch without destroying working old infrastructure  At least I love the idea when one day the knowledge to set up a circular economy comes from the south and we, the rich ones, have to pay for it..

Have another nice day,
Heiner
Heiner, the old farmer.....
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Re: EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

Heiner,

An interesting link!  The way I understand it is that the 'Düngemittelverordung' (legislation about fertilizers) applies to 'Inverkehrbringung' - putting into circulation - of fertilizers.  So using fertilizers derived from excreta on your own plot is not covered by the legislation.  There may be other legislation pertaining to that situation concerning hygiene, in particular, but urine, especially when aged, is known to be free of pathogens...  It would be strange, anyway, it's almost like legislating peeing in your own garden...

I think there is also a big issue regarding the agribusiness lobby.  Garden fertilizers, fertilizers in general, garden chemicals, etc. is a huge business, and nobody of these people want to get competition from from free and highly effective fertilizers...

And concerning the EU and Germany being late:  I recently followed the conference on 'peecycling' in Brattleboro, Vermont (Rich Earth Summit), and it almost looks like the US is taking the lead in that field, too.  I was impressed by the variety of research that was reported about in the conference, most of it from the US.  However, there was one plus point for the EU: Apparently, in the Paris area, they are covering 80% of costs of projects that aim at making use of urine!!  Even though, apparently, there are not too many such projects so far.  But at least the financing is standing...

Nice evening to you, too,
H-A
Hanns-Andre Pitot
M.Eng. Environmental Pollution Control
presently in Seesen, Germany

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Re: EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

Funny, first time I'm on this platform since a very long time und running straight into your post..... This topic has bothered me over 15  years but due to my age I'm no longer involved.
But try here  Politische Meilensteine – finizio  . These guys are some of the frontrunners in Germany and might have up to date infos. But as every subject in EU and in Germany.....we are too slow and too late. But you can fínd little progress in different places..

Have a nice evening,

Heiner
Heiner, the old farmer.....

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Re: EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

Dear all,

It's now 10 years that this discussion has happened, and I am wondering whether there have been any changes to the legislation regarding the use of urine in agriculture or in gardening in Germany.  Would anybody know about that?

From Gerhard Dario's comments, I am gathering that it makes a fundamental difference whether you use urine or processed urine in your own garden or you have somebody else use it.  I think these two situations need to be looked at separately.  A third situation would be the one where you use urine on your own plot and sell the produce that was fertilized with the urine/processed urine.  And with processed urine, I mean urine that has been stored, was added vinegar to reduce the ammonia content (in favor of the less disturbing ammonium), etc.

I look forward to your comments!

Hanns-André
Hanns-Andre Pitot
M.Eng. Environmental Pollution Control
presently in Seesen, Germany
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Re: EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

Dear Joe,

in Germany for about one million allotment gardens ("Schrebergärten") composting toilet or chemical toilet are the only permitted toilet systems. Dependending on local regulations and/or club rules composting toilet is the only allowed toilet type on the sites. Composting of the human manure is requested and officialy announced. A detailed description (german) about the situation in Hamburg:
www.berger-biotechnik.de/downloads/toiletten_im_kleingarten.pdf

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Gerhard
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Re: EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

I think in this context the EU Sewage Sludge Directive 86/278/EEC is probably most relevant here.

The local situation with regulators may well depend on the scale and the situation. So an isolated composting toilet is a different thing to a large industrial co-composting site. Local regulations are likely to be more stringent than the EU Regulation.

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Re: EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

Dear Mike,
dear Elisabeth,
dear all,

I am not specialized, but I try to explain this topic as simple as possible:

European Community
The regulation 2003/2003 regulates only mineral fertilizers. Organic fertilizers, organic-mineral fertilizers and organic soil amendments are not covered here. The provisions on organic fertilizers are fixed by the Member States.

Revision of the European Fertilizer Regulation is pending and shall happen very soon. The "Green Paper" is not yet published. The aim of the revision is to create a harmonized law on mineral fertilizers, organic fertilizers, soil amendments, growing media and plant tonics.

Germany
As mentioned above: European Fertilizer Regulation is valid for agricultural production in Germany, but regulating now only mineral fertilizers.
To place a fertilizer or soil amendment on market or provide/store it for another economic entity („Inverkehrbringen“), the product must comply with an approved type of fertilizer. Marketing and use of fertilizers and soil amendments are regulated in „Düngegesetz (DüG)“. Relations about permission, marketing, labeling and the specified lists of fertilizer types are provided in „Düngemittelverordnung (DüMV)“.
Legal Definition in DüG §2 (5): „ist Jauche: Gemisch aus Harn und ausgeschwemmten feinen Bestandteilen des Kotes oder der Einstreu sowie von Wasser; Jauche kann in geringem Umfang Futterreste sowie Reinigungs- und Niederschlagswasser enthalten“. (Animal- ?) Urine is specified here under omission of the restriction that the urine must be from animal origin. Have a look at DüG §2, you will understand what I mean. The paragraph was inserted by Bundesrat 2008 (to have a more precise definition) and should become checked by an expert. I expect, that a check would lead to changing the wording here.

Monitoring of compliance with the specifications is task of the federal states eg. North Rhine-Westphalia or Saxony. Each federal state („Bundesland“) has its own control authority („Düngemittelverkehrkontrolle“).
HUMAN urine is not listed as approved fertilizer in DüMVs appendix. The approval of a new fertilizer is applied at the Federal Agricural Ministry „Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz (BMELV)“ based on the technical evaluation and recommendation of a scientific advisory board. The scientific advisory board regularly will request a permanent field trial of minimum 10 years, better 20 years, to give a positive vote for the extension of fertilizer types listet in DüMV.
Responsible to elaborate changes of DüMV (Federal Law) is the „Bundesrat“, composed of the federal states governments. Formal confirmation by „Bundestag“ must follow.
Human urine allready has been discussed by scientific advisory board some years ago. The discussion was initialized by a not official request (NN SuSanA friends). The request was inofficially denied. The topic presently is remembered as assessed without any chance (by a board member this week – my phonecall).
To use human excrement in Germany as fertilizer, the excrement first has to pass sewage treatment plant. Afterwards (sewage sludge) it can be used for fertilizing issues.

Germany as part of EC Common Market
BUT: EC-Regulation 764/08 regulates the free movement of goods in the internal market. Fertilizers and soil amendments that are approved in other EC countries must must become allowed in Germany too, if pollution loads (DüMV, Anlage 2, Tabelle 1,4) and hygiene regulations (DüMV, § 5) are not exceeded.

Example: In Sweden sanitized and concentrated human urine from swedish UDTs is approved fertilizer in Sweden and marketed under immaginary brand „SwePee 10-2“ may become merchandized and used in all EC countries if national pollution loads and hygiene regulations are resolved.

On farm assembled human urine
„Inverkehrbringen“ does not apply, hence DüMV is not applicable, but some other aspects might become respected. Ask your fertilizing consultant.

More informations
The recent position of scientific advisory board on restrictions to antagonize overfertilization (german):
www.bmelv.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/Minist...blob=publicationFile
The members of scientific advisory board (german):
www.bmelv.de/SharedDocs/Standardartikel/...DuengMitglieder.html

Best regards,
Gerhard
Gerhard Pelzer
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Re: EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

Dear Mike,

I am glad that you took my advice to post on the forum (we spoke on the phone today, didn't we?). However... In order to inrease your chances of a reply and to make it nicer for potential people who might reply, please:
a) do introduce yourself; and
b) do provide more context to your question: why do you ask, what is it all about, what have you searched already and so forth.


If you do that, then I am certain that you will receive some good answers.

By the way, have you already read the final report from the SANIRESCH project? You should find some information there. The report is in German (www.susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbktypeitem&type=2&id=1705) but you also find English publications when you put SANIRESCH in the search field:
www.susana.org/library?search=SANIRESCH

E.g. this factsheet on the legal situation of urine reuse in agriculture in Germany:
www.susana.org/lang-en/library?view=ccbktypeitem&type=2&id=1628

Actually it's very short but this is the gist of it:

3.4 Legal Situation
To apply urine or urine based products as a fertiliser in Germany,
it needs to be approved in the “positive list” of the
German Düngemittel Verordnung (DüMV, 2000) which it is not
right now. For being accepted in that list, a request has to be
made to the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer
Protection (BMEVL). The application needs to give details
on origin, nutrient concentrations and has to prove that the
product is non-hazardous. Regarding the appraisal, experts of
the Düngemittelbeirat are supporting the ministry.




And there was also a similar discussion here on the forum:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/17-fer...-different-countries

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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EU/German legislation on urine use in agriculture?

Hello everyone,
Are there any existing legislation in Germany or the
EU in general on the use of human excreta in agriculture?
Please, kindly share.

Mike

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