[permaculture] human urine as fertilizer

Gasper Family Farm farmer1 at gasperfarm.com
Fri Mar 6 15:12:40 EST 2009


The issue of contraceptives and other medications passing into the
sewage system and into our US waterways is a significant problem that
many scientists are studying and very alarmed at. Unfortunately the
matter has been kept very quiet as it threatens the revenue streams (no
pun intended) of some very powerful interests.

Some info for starters:
http://www.vaildaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20041111/NEWS/111110013

Woodling JD, Lopez EM, Maldonado TA, Norris DO, Vajda AM. Intersex and
other reproductive disruption of fish in wastewater effluent dominated
Colorado streams. /Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology C, Toxicology
and Pharamcology/ 144: 10-15, 2006.


Steve Read wrote:
> Hello, Dick Pierce,
>
> Great info and thanks for the feedback on booklet and site,                             
>
> I was wondering if Carol Steinfeld or others had much/anything to say on the diff between using male or female derived human urine? There are often quoted but rarley referenced refenrences by ppeople to hormone content etc in XX urine esp when  using contraceptive pill. When this is added to the oestrogenic  homonal input into XY's thru diet/breakdown products of pesticides/others there's apparently a problem (?) Another quoted thing is a real or perceived problem with pharmaceuticals  excreted in the urine flow, perhaps someone has some good references/facts?
>
> SteveR
> ====== At 2009-03-06, 19:03:22 you wrote: =======
>
>   
>> Hello, Marjory - so glad you asked. I can [almost ] answer your question. My
>> bible on the subject is "Liquid Gold - The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to
>> Grow Plants" by my Guru on the subject, Carol Steinfeld. This wonderful book
>> tells [almost] all in an hour or two of reading. Carol has other books on
>> urine and other "excreta", is a great speaker, consultant, and distributor
>> of urine-diverting toilets.
>>
>> She has 2 simple great quotes in her TOC that say it all for me: "A Resource
>> in the Wrong Place Pollutes" and "FromPollutant to Fertilizer {Gold]."  Some
>> stats that almost answer your question: "Every day Americans excrete about
>> 90 million gallons of urine. That day's urine contains an estimated 7
>> million pounds of nitrogen. By some estimates, that's enough to fertilize up
>> to 32,000 acres of corn for an entire year. And, over one year, Americans
>> piss away enough nitrogen to fertilize 12 million acres of corn - about
>> twice the corn grown in Indiana." She points out that the above urine can
>> vary widely with the amount of excess protein consumed and the variety and
>> soil used for the corn.
>>
>> On pp. 39, she writes: "In a year, the average N. European produces 116
>> gallons of urine. Many studies put the average daily nitrogen output for a
>> healthy adult at about 11 grams. The more protein, the more nitrogen
>> excreted (Ralf Otterpohl, 1998). Two Swedish University studies report that
>> one N. European adult produces enough nitrogen fertilizer in its urine to
>> grow 50-100 percent of the food requirement of another adult (Sundberg,
>> 1995, Drangert, 1997." I quote these statistics, so that you will visit
>> Carol's website, read her books, and attend her classes.
>>
>> Note the Swedish influence in the above. They seem to have made urine,
>> urine-diversion [from the waste stream], and urine as fertilizer a national
>> priority/focus. They are the source of the best simplest urine-diverting
>> toilets and gadgets. And, without the urine, a composting toilet is a small,
>> low volume appliance and the waste is easy to handle, compact, with little
>> odor and stuff to dispose of. Carol has a catalogue on her web site.
>>
>> The other Guru, who we both know and respect, PC-Teacher Patricia Allison of
>> Earthaven, NC, always maintained that she used diluted urine as her only
>> fertilizer on her garden year after year. Her statement, I believe, was that
>> our urine contains 80% of the mineral value of the food we eat.
>>
>> I became a real disciple of urine-diverting to fertilizer and compost piles
>> while teaching on Martha's Vineyard this summer. Their Island Report and now
>> Comprehensive Island Environmental Plan reports that 80-90% of the nitrate
>> pollution that severely reduces and threatens their shellfish in their ponds
>> and tidal pools comes from human urine via island-wide septic systems. (I
>> was ready to blame industry, but alas, they have none.  I would also blame
>> the golf courses, but the report exonerates them. It's human pee that's
>> ruining an industry and threatening species, and septic and sewage systems
>> do not, or do not do an effective job of, removing nitrates.
>> I'm now on one of the committees and lobbying for incentives for urine
>> diverting toilets.
>>
>> Urine diluted 5-10:1 applied on the garden is great for nitrogen, green
>> leaves, and vigorous plants. Urine as-is, undiluted is great pured into a
>> compost pile. The carbon and microbes in the pile or in the ground quickly
>> takes away any urine odor.
>>
>> I made an inexpensive, highly functional composting toilet with a diverter.
>> It's a plywood box with a seat/lid and a vent pipe, with a 6 gal.square
>> bucket inside - just like most "field or PC-class" composting toilets. But I
>> found a rectangular-shaped gas-can funnel at the hardware store - attached
>> it to the front of the square bucket; pushed a 1" plastic hose on to the
>> exit of the funnel; and ran the hose to a 5 gal plastic jug/gas can, which
>> was *downhill *from the funnel. The urine and the smell go into the gas can,
>> and only the poop and a small amount of sawdust go into the bucket. It, the
>> poop, is a small amount and gets smaller as it drys/cakes, building up very
>> slowly, almost odorless, and is easy/not sloppy to dispose of. I'll send you
>> the plan if you'll send me an email, but I'd rather you check out Carol's
>> website first.
>>
>> Again, thanks for the question, and the excuse. We have a national and
>> world-wide human problem in "civilized" societies - urine as a huge nitrate
>> polluter that we concentrate and force into our ground water. It is
>> simultaneously a great resource as a nitrogen fertilizer if we can get it to
>> the right place, in the right way. The above are also waterless toilets - we
>> are down to 1.6 gal/flush, but wouldn't zero gpf be better? It appears that
>> municipal sewage plants do not remove [much] nitrogen - thus its entry into
>> groundwater at high/toxic levels. As in so many PC situations - the problem
>> is an opportunity.
>>
>> Another other solution is, of course, aerobic (vs septic and anaerobic)
>> systems like the Watson Wick that allow plants to take up and transpire the
>> water and use the nitrates  (vs forcing it into water table). See Tom
>> Watson, Watson Wick, on Google - and Kirby Fry here in C-TX.
>>
>> Happy spring and best to you all
>>
>> Dick Pierce
>>
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 1:23 PM, Marjory <forestgarden at gvtc.com> wrote:
>>
>>     
>>> Hello Everyone,
>>>
>>> A while back I saw a reference to a study that showed that the urine
>>> produced by one person contained enough nitrogen to fertilize the
>>> vegetable plants necessary to feed that person.
>>>
>>> Does anyone have a copy of that study?
>>>
>>> Thanks
>>>
>>> marjory
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>>>       
>> -- 
>> DickPierceDesigns at gmail.com
>> SE-NE (summer) & Austin, TX (winter) cell- 512-992-8858
>>
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>
> = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
> 			
>
> Best regards.				 
> Steve Read
> steveread at free.fr
> 2009-03-06
>
>
>
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