Urine Storage

Compiled by:
Dorothee Spuhler (seecon international gmbh)

Executive Summary

Urine makes up less than 0.5 % of household wastewater but contains most of the essential plant nutrients N, P and K. Waterless urinals or urine diversion toilets allow collecting the urine in order to use it as a fertiliser in agriculture and to eliminate the eutrophicating discharge of nutrients into surface waters. On the household level, urine can be used directly provided that one month passes between the last fertilisation and harvest. At community level and (urban) large-scale (where the risk for cross-contamination with faeces is high), urine needs to by hygienised before reuse. Extended storage is the simplest, cheapest and most common method to treat urine with the aim of pathogen kill and nutrients recovery. Pathogen removal is achieved by a combination of the rise in pH and ammonium concentrations, high temperature and time. Recommended storage time at temperatures of 4 to 20°C varies between one to six months for large-scale systems depending on the risk for cross-contamination (e.g. user habits, maintenance) and the type of crop to be fertilised.

In Out

Urine

Fertiliser

On average, a human being discharges about 50 L of faeces, 500 L of urine and produces up to 100 000 L of greywater every year depending on diet and personal water availability and water use.
The actual amount of human excreta and the nutrient content depends on the diet and varies between countries as well as between individuals.

 K. CONRADIN (2007)

Content of major plant nutrients and volume in domestic wastewater. Source: JOHANSSON (2000); Graphics: K. CONRADIN (2007)

Excreta contain all essential micronutrients and an average amount of plant available macronutrients of 4.5 kg/person/year (kg/p/a) for nitrogen, 0.6 kg/p/a for phosphorus and 1.2 kg/p/a for potassium (SUSANA 2009). Faeces are by far the fraction that contains most of the pathogens (TETTEY-LOWOR n.y.). Urine is virtually sterile. It makes up less than 0.5 % of the household wastewater (TETTEY-LOWOR n.y.), but contains most of the essential plant nutrients, accounting for about 80 % of the nitrogen (N), 50% of the phosphorous (P) and 60% of the potassium (K) from all nutrients excreted per year per person (JOHANSSON 2000). P and K from urine are generally found as inorganic ions, which are directly plant available. N form urine is transformed into ammonium during storage. Hence, urine has properties similar to commercially available chemical fertilisers.

 

Country

 

Nitrogen (KgN/capita and year

Phosphorus (KgP/capita and year

Potassium (KgK/capita and year

China

Total

0.4

0.6

1.8

 

Urine

3.5

0.4

1.3

 

Faeces

0.5

0.2

0.5

Haiti

Total

2.1

0.3

1.2

 

Urine

1.9

0.2

0.9

 

Faeces

0.3

0.1

0.3

India

Total

2.7

0.4

1.5

 

Urine

2.3

0.3

1.1

 

Faeces

0.3

0.1

0.4

South Africa

Total

3.4

0.5

1.6

 

Urine

3.0

0.2

0.4

 

Faeces

0.4

0.2

0.4

Uganda

Total

2.5

0.4

1.4

 

Urine

2.2

0.3

1.0

 

Faeces

0.3

0.1

0.4

Fertiliser value of urine and faeces excreted per person per year in different countries (using FAO data). Source: JOENSSEN et al. 2004)

 

In conventional toilets, urine is often flushed down the pan together with the faeces and flushing water leading up to 20 000 L per person per year of severely polluted wastewater. This is based on a European average for a toilet that uses about 8 L of water per flush. However there are toilets (mainly in North America) that use up to 23 L (5 gallons) just for one flush what leads to almost 50 000 L polluted fresh water per person and year.
Treatment of wastewater, in order to prevent pollution of the environment, requires large infrastructures and investments. Phosphorus, nitrogen and other nutrients can be recovered during the treatment process, but operation requires a lot of energy and therefore remains very expensive. Most often nutrients removed during the treatment process are lost to the air (in the case of nitrogen), or end up in the excess sludge and are dumped in sanitary landfills, incinerated, etc. but usually not recycled to agriculture.

To increase sustainability (recycle nutrients, decrease wastewater effluents etc.), alternatives to conventional wastewater treatment have been suggested and the aim is often to reuse the plant nutrients from excreta (urine and faeces) as a fertiliser (SCHOENNING n.y.). One concept is source-separating sanitation systems which include blackwater systems, where the wastewater from toilets is treated separately from the greywater produced in the kitchen, bathroom, etc.), urine-diverting systems with separate handling of urine and different types of dry systems where human excreta is handled without the use of flush water (SCHOENNING n.y.). The aim of urine diversion is to collect urine for use as a fertiliser in agriculture and eliminate the eutrophicating discharge of nutrients into surface waters (WHO 2006 Vol. IV). Urine diversion may be practised using both composting and dehydration toilets. When flush water is used, the remaining brownwater can be mixed with organic household waste and treated by liquid composting or digestion (TETTEY-LOWOR n.y.). In dry systems, faeces can be composted or dehydrated (see also anaerobic digestion, biogas digester, biogas settler, composting small and large scale, storage and dehydration of faeces).

 D. SPUHLER (2007) (left) and SuSanA on FLICKR, (2010) (right)

Low-cost dry urinal (“eco-lilly” or “bidur”) used for the collection of urine. Source: D. SPUHLER (2007) (left) and SuSanA on Flickr 2010) (right)

  D. SPUHLER (2007)

Public toilets collecting urine in Lomé, Togo. The collected urine is transported in jerry cans to an experimental agricultural site where it is stored and reused. Source: D. SPUHLER (2007) 

Virtually every toilet system can be adapted for urine diversion using a urine diversion toilet pan (see also urine diversion components) and separate collection and handling (see also urine diversion dehydration toilets, urine diversion flush toilet, terra preta toilet, etc). An easy way to collect the urine is also to install urinals (see also urinals). Urine can be collected “dry” (without flushing water), but there are also water-reliant systems (using flushing water for the urine). Flushing urine results in a dilution of the urine with water leading to enhanced precipitation and clogging of collection pipes due to reaction of the minerals contained in the water with the urine (see below). Furthermore, the treatment is more difficult: Not only are nutrients more diluted, but also pathogen die-off is reduced due to a lower rise in pH and ammonium formation (see below).

 SuSanA on FLICKR, 2010).

Large-scale urine storage tanks. Left: Urine is collected in jerry cans from household UDDTs and stored on municipality level before it is resold as fertiliser (Source: SuSanA on Flickr 2010). Right: Underground Urine storage tanks from a multi-storey housing in Northern Europe (Source: SuSanA on Flickr 2010).

 Alternative ways of handling/using urine diverted from toilets. Source: ESREY et al. (1998)

Alternative ways of handling/using urine diverted from toilets. Source: ESREY et al. (1998)

Once collected, the urine can either be used directly in the garden or on the field, infiltrated into an evapotranspiration bed, stored on-site or off-site for later use as a liquid fertiliser or further processed into a dry powder fertiliser (WINBLAD & SIMPSON-HERBERT 2004) (see also urine desiccation, struvite precipitation). See use of urine (small-scale and large-scale) to learn more about the application to crops.

For single households, the urine can be used without storage for all types of crops, provided that the crop is intended for the household’s own consumption and that one month passes between fertilising and harvesting, i.e. time between last urine application and consumption (SCHOENNING & STENSTROEM, 2004). Direct use or short storage periods are also applicable for small domestic systems in developing countries, where in addition higher ambient temperature will also increase inactivation rates and safety (SCHOENNING & STENSTROEM, 2004). If urine is contaminated (i.e. by cross contamination), it needs to be treated. For urine coming from larger systems (community level), cross contamination with faeces cannot be ruled out and treatment is thus obligatory (see also DAGERSKOG (2010) and KASSA (2010) in ECOSAN CLUB (2010)).

Treatment Process and Basic Design Principles

Human urine does not generally contain pathogens that will be transmitted through the environment (HOEGLUND 2001). The hygiene risks associated with diverted urine are mainly a result of contamination by faeces (JOENSSON et al. 2004). The simplest, cheapest and most common method to treat urine with the aim of killing pathogens and preserving nutrients is extended storage in storage tanks (GTZ 2009).

The pathogen removal is based on a combination of increased pH, ammonia concentrations, temperature and time.

During storage, pH raises form around 6 to 9 due to the decomposition of urea into ammonia/ammonium (NH4+/NH3) and hydrocarbonate. This is facilitated by the natural enzyme urease present in the urine. At this high pH (which means that the solution is alkaline) bacteria, protozoa, viruses and intestinal helminths die off over time (GTZ 2009). An environment with high temperature enhances this effect. Time itself also leads to pathogen kill (GTZ 2009). And further inactivation of pathogens is expected in the soil after application (e.g. by predation, solar radiation) and the risk for infection by ingestion of crop will be reduced during the time between fertilisation and consumption (HOEGLUND 2001).

Parameter

Fresh Urine

Stored urine

pH

6.2

9.1

Total nitrogen, TN (mg/L)

8830

9200

Ammonium/Ammonia, NH4+/NH3 (mgN/L)

460

8100

Nitrate and nitrite, NO3 and NO2

0.06

0

Chemical oxygen demand, COD (mg/L)

6,000

10,000

Total phosphorus, TP (mg/L)

800 - 2000

540

Potassium, K (mg/L)

2740

2200

Sulphate, SO4 (mgSO4/L)

1500

1500

Sodium, Na (mg/L)

3450

2600

Magnesium, Mg (mg/L)

120

0

Chloride, Cl (mg/L)

4970

3800

Calcium, Ca (mg/L)

230

0

Average chemical composition of fresh urine (literature values) and stored urine (simulation). Source: GTZ (2009)

 

The high pH of the stored urine not only influences the pathogen die-off, but also induces precipitation (the formation of a bottom sludge). The main precipitate from urine with high pH is struvite (MgNH4PO4) and calcium phosphate (Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) crystals (GTZ 2009). They are formed because at high pH, the initial concentrations of phosphate, magnesium, calcium and ammonium are no longer soluble (JOENSSEN et al. 2004). In additions, skin cells, hair and excreted organic complexes will also settle (GTZ 2009). The end result may be hard precipitates or soft, viscous, past-like precipitates. Incrustations tend to occur on the inner walls of pipes and pipe bends. Soft deposits occur in storage tanks (where they form a sludge at the bottom of the tank) and in near horizontal urine pipes. Precipitation in urine pipes and storage tanks occurs in both water-flushed and waterless systems. In waterless systems, more soft deposits tend to occur (GTZ 2009), while in flushed systems, more hard deposits tend to occur due to the mineral (magnesium) contained in the water. In waterless systems, up to 30% of the phosphorus contained in urine can be transformed into sludge, which forms as a bottom layer in the collection tank provided the collection pipes have a slope of at least 1 % and are wide enough (> 75 mm) (JOENSSON et al. 2004). The sludge can be used for crops with high P demands or handled with the rest of the urine (JOENSSON et al. 2004). In the latter case, the sludge should be mixed before spreading to get an even dosage (JOESSON et al. 2004).

The high pH of the urine coupled with its high ammonium concentration also means that there is a risk of losing N in the form of ammonia with the ventilated air (JOENSSEN et al. 2004), because at high pH ammonium (NH4+) transforms into ammonia (NH3), which is highly volatile. However, these losses are easily eliminated by designing the system in such a way that the tank and pipes are not ventilated, but just pressure equalised with the air (JOENSSEN et al. 2004). This also eliminates the risk of bad odours from the urine system (JOENSSEN et al. 2004).

Health Aspects

Safety recommendations for urine storage are mainly aimed at reducing the risks from consuming urine-fertilised crops. It will also reduce the risk for the persons handling and applying urine (SCHOENING & STENSTROEM 2004).

Urine from community level and larger (urban) systems always needs to be sanitised (stored) because cross-contamination can never be ruled out. A larger system means that crops are not consumed by the households from which urine has been collected (WHO 2006 Vol. IV), i.e., there is a risk that they are exposed to pathogens to which they have not been exposed before. For these systems, the recommended storage time at 4 to 20°C is between one and six months, depending on the type of crop to be fertilised (SCHOENNING & STENSTROEM 2004). Generally, the WHO guidelines (table below) can be adopted for larger (urban) systems in developing countries if the withholding time of one month between fertilisation and harvest is adhered to (SCHOENNING & STENSTROEM 2004). For urine that is significantly contaminated, a longer storage time and/or a higher temperature is recommended and specific recommendations for large-scale systems may need to be adapted based on local conditions, accounting for behavioural factors and the technical systems selected (e.g. mismanagement) (WHO 2006 Vol. IV).

If a family uses its own urine, the risk of disease transmission via fertilisation and crops is very low — the risk that diseases are transmitted directly, e.g. by handshaking, coughing or by improper hygiene behaviours is much higher.

 

Storage temperature (°C)

Storage time

Possible pathogens in the urine mixture after storage

Recommended crops

4

1 month

Viruses, protozoa

Food and fodder crops that are to be processed

4

6 months

Viruses

Food crops that are to be processed, fodder crops (but not grassland for the production of fodder)

20

1 month

Viruses

Food crops that are to be processed, fodder crops (but not grassland for the production of fodder)

20

6 months

Probably none

All crops (if the crops are consumed raw, there must be at least one month before harvesting and last application and urine application should be done by incorporation into the soil)

Recommenced storage times for urine mixture (urine and water, a pH of at least 8.8 and a nitrogen concentration of at least 1 g/L is assumed) based on estimated pathogen content (gram-positive bacteria and spore-forming bacteria are not included in the underlying risk assessments, but are not normally recognised as causing any of the infections of concern) and recommended crop for larger systems (where crops will be consumed by individuals other than members of the household from which the urine was collected). Source: WHO (2006 Vol. IV)

 

Operation and Maintenance

During storage the urine should be contained in a sealed tank or container. This prevents humans and animals coming into contact with the urine and hinders evaporation of ammonia, thus decreasing the risk of odour and loss of plant-available nitrogen (SCHOENNING & STENSTROEM 2004).

To avoid faecal contamination, special precautions must be taken during instances of diarrhoea and when children or unaccustomed adults use the toilet (HOEGLUND 2001).

Protection (e.g. wearing gloves) and awareness of risks is important, especially for those handling un-stored urine at the household level (HOEGLUND 2001). Using suitable fertilising techniques and working the urine into the soil (see also use of hygienised urine in agriculture, small scale and large scale), as well as letting some time (at best one month) pass between fertilisation and harvesting will decrease the exposure of humans and animals to potential pathogens (HOEGLUND 2001).

For storage, urine should preferably not be diluted. Concentrated urine provides a harsher environment for microorganisms, increases the die-off rate of pathogens and prevents breeding of mosquitoes (SCHOENNING & STENSTROEM 2004). Thus, the less water that dilutes the urine the better (SCHOENNING & STENSTROEM 2004).

Urine is very corrosive and therefore tanks should be made of resistant material, e.g. plastic or high quality concrete, while metals should be avoided (JOENSSEN et al. 2004).

Costs considerations

Urine storage is the cheapest option of urine treatment. However, the costs for land and storage tanks can be significant.

At a Glance

Working Principle

Storage is the simplest and cheapest methods sanitise urine. During storage, urea is transformed to ammonium resulting in a rise of ammonium concentration and pH. Under these conditions, pathogens cannot survive. The pathogen removal is enhanced by temperature and time.

Capacity/Adequacy

Urine needs to be collected. Almost every toilet can be adapted for urine diversion. Otherwise, any recipient can be used to pee in for separate urine collection.

Performance

Pathogens are effectively removed (and storage time can be adapted for higher removal); nutrients are preserved

Costs

Virtually no costs if storage tanks and space are available

Self-help Compatibility

Urine storage can be implemented by every adult

O&M

Urine collection pipes need to be checked for precipitates and bottom sludge needs either to be used separately or mixed with the urine before reuse. It should be regularly checked that the urine tanks are not ventilated.

Reliability

If storage time is respected, pathogens are effectively removed and nutrients will be preserved, provided the tanks are not ventilated (risk of nitrogen loss in form of ammonia)

Main strength

Simple to implement and cheap

Main weakness

Natural hormones and pharmaceutical residues are not removed

Applicability

Long-term storage is the simplest and cheapest way to sanitise urine by preserving nutrients without the addition of chemicals or mechanical processes (TILLEY et al. 2008). Urine storage can be done in virtually every environment, provided that storage tanks and land is available. Though at high temperature, pathogen removal in stored urine is enhanced. Natural hormones and pharmaceutical residues (e.g. hormones fro contraceptive pill) are not removed (GTZ 2009).

Advantages

  • Simple and low-cost
  • No energy required
  • High pathogen removal
  • The end-product can be used as liquid fertiliser

Disadvantages

  • Requires large volumes of storage tanks and space
  • As a liquid and due to large volumes transport can be difficult for large-scale systems
  • Natural hormones and pharmaceutical residues are not removed

References Library

DAGERSKOG, L.; BONZI, M. (2010): Opening minds and closing loops – productive sanitation initiatives in Burkina Faso and Niger. In: (): . . URL [Accessed: 28.07.2010].

ESF (Editor) (2009): Urine Diversion Dehydration Toilet (UDDT) - Construction Manual. Pune: Ecosan Services Foundation (ESF). URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

FEACHEM, R.G.; BRADLEY, D.J.; GARELICK, H.; MARA, D.D. (1983): Sanitation and disease. Health aspects of excreta and wastewater management. Chichester, New York, Brisbane, Toronto, Singapore: John Wiley & Sons..

MUENCH, E., v.; WINKER, M.; GTZ (Editor) (2009): Urine diversion components. Overview of Urine Diversion Components such as Waterless Urinals, Urine Diversion Toilets, Urine Storage and Reuse Systems. (= Technology Review). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

HOEGLUND, C. (2001): Evaluation of microbial health risks associated with the reuse of source-separated human urine. PhD Thesis. (= PhD Thesis). Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology. URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

JOENSSON, H.; RICHERT, A.; VINNERAAS, B.; SALOMON, E. (2004): Guidelines on the Use of Urine and Faeces in Crop Production. (= EcoSanRes Publications Series, 2004). Stockholm: EcoSanRes. URL [Accessed: 17.04.2012]. PDF

JOHANSSON, M. (2000): Urine Separation - Closing the Nutrient Cycle. Final Report of the R&D Project: Source-Separated Human Urine - A Future Source of Fertilizer for Agriculture in the Stockholm Region. Stockholm: Stockholm Vatten, Stockholmshem & HSB National Federation. URL [Accessed: 06.09.2012]. PDF

KASSA, K.; MEINZINGER, F.; ZEWDIE, W. (2010): Experiences from the use of urine in Arba Minch, Ethiopia. In: ECOSANCLUB. URL [Accessed: 28.07.2010]. PDF

SCHOENNING, C.; STENSTROEM, T.A. (2004): Guidelines on the Safe Use of Urine and Faeces in Ecological Sanitation Systems. (= EcoSanRes Publication Series). Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). PDF

SCHOENNING (n.y.): Urine Diversion - Hygienic Risks and Microbial Guidelines for Reuse. Solna: Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI). URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

ECOSAN CLUB (Editor) (2010): Use of Urine. (= Sustainable Sanitation Pracice, 3). Vienna: Ecosan Club. URL [Accessed: 05.08.2010]. PDF

TETTEY-LOWOR, F. (n.y.): Closing the Loop between Sanitation and Agriculture in Accra, Ghana. (= Master Thesis). Wageningen: Wageningen University. URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

TILLEY, E.; LUETHI, C.; MOREL, A.; ZURBRUEGG, C.; SCHERTENLEIB, R. (2008): Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies. Duebendorf, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG) and. URL [Accessed: 15.02.2010]. PDF

See document in FRENCH

WHO (Editor) (2006): Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater excreta and greywater. Volume III. Wastewater and Excreta Use in Aquaculture. Geneva: World Health Organisation. URL [Accessed: 26.02.2010]. PDF

WINBLAD, U.; SIMPSON-HERBERT, M. (2004): Ecological Sanitation - revised and enlarged edition. (pdf presentation). Sweden: Stockholm Environment Institute. URL [Accessed: 04.08.2010]. PDF

SCHOENNING, C. (2002): Evaluation of Microbial Health Risks associated with the reuse of source-separated human urine. Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute EcoSanRes Programme. URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

SUSANA (Editor) (2009): Food security and productive sanitation systems. (= SuSanA fact sheet 05/2009). Eschborn: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). URL [Accessed: 17.04.2012]. PDF

Further Readings Library

Reference icon

RIECK, C. ; MUENCH, E. ; HOFFMANN, H. (2012): Technology Review of Urine-Diverting Dry Toilets (UDDTs). Overview on Design, Management, Maintenance and Costs. (= Technology Review). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 01.07.2013]. PDF

This publication offers a complete overview of UDDT functions, design considerations, common operation and maintenance issues and generalised installation costs. Its focus is on applications in developing countries and countries in transition, although UDDTs are also applicable in developed countries.


Reference icon

GENSCH, R. ; MISO, A.; ITSCHON, G. (2011): Urine as Liquid Fertilizer in Agricultural Production in the Philippines. Cagayan de Oro: Sustainable Sanitation Center Xavier University (XU), the Philippine Sustainable Sanitation Knowledge Node, the Philippine Ecosan Network, and the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). URL [Accessed: 04.05.2011]. PDF

This field guide has been developed to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for more detailed and scientifically backed information on how to use urine in agricultural production. It is intended primarily for practitioners and experts in the water, sanitation, planning, and agriculture sectors, as well as local and national government officials from the various sectors, NGO and individuals interested and working in the field of agriculture and sustainable sanitation in the Philippines and the wider Southeast Asian region.


Reference icon

JOENSSON, H.; RICHERT, A.; VINNERAAS, B.; SALOMON, E. (2004): Guidelines on the Use of Urine and Faeces in Crop Production. (= EcoSanRes Publications Series, 2004). Stockholm: EcoSanRes. URL [Accessed: 17.04.2012]. PDF

These guidelines provide a thorough background on the use of urine (and faeces) for agricultural purposes. Aspects discussed are requirements for plant growth, nutrients in excreta, hygiene aspects, and recommendations for cultivation. It provides detailed guidance on the use of urine for purposes.


Reference icon

SCHOENNING, C.; STENSTROEM, T.A. (2004): Guidelines on the Safe Use of Urine and Faeces in Ecological Sanitation Systems. (= EcoSanRes Publication Series). Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). PDF

These guidelines provide a thorough background on the safe use of urine and faeces for agricultural purposes. Aspects like the health risk associated we the use of human excreta in agriculture and how to limit them are discussed.


Reference icon

ESREY, S. A. (Editor); GOUGH, J. (Editor); RAPAPORT, D. (Editor); SAWYER, R. (Editor); MAYLING, S.H. (Editor); VARGAS, J. (Editor); WINBLAD, U. (Editor) (1998): Ecological Sanitation. Stockholm: Novum Grafiska AB. URL [Accessed: 22.07.2010]. PDF

This book puts forward ecological sanitation as an alternative to conventional sanitation, and was one of the very first of its kind. It documents different options of ecosan based on dehydrating and composting toilets in use around the world. The book has been reviewed and enlarged since then.


Reference icon

HOEGLUND, C. (2001): Evaluation of microbial health risks associated with the reuse of source-separated human urine. PhD Thesis. (= PhD Thesis). Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology. URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

This PhD assess with different methods to assess the fate of pathogens in human urine depending on pH, temperature and time. Based on a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA), the risks for bacterial and protozoan infections related to handling and reuse of urine were calculated and recommendation for storage and reuse, which are dependent on the type of crop to be fertilised, are given.


Reference icon

SCHOENNING, C. (2001): Hygienic aspects on the reuse of source-separated human urine. (= NJF Seminar no. 327). Solna: Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI). URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

Paper discussing the hygienic aspects on the reuse of source-separated human urine.


Reference icon

SCHOENNING, C. (2002): Evaluation of Microbial Health Risks associated with the reuse of source-separated human urine. Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute EcoSanRes Programme. URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

Short summary of a PhD on the evaluation of microbial health risks associated with the reuse of source-separated human urine and main conclusions.


Reference icon

SCHOENNING (n.y.): Urine Diversion - Hygienic Risks and Microbial Guidelines for Reuse. Solna: Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI). URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

This document gives an introduction about why and how urine can be used in agriculture. It summarises a PhD studies which has been carried out on the evaluation of microbial health risks associated with the reuse of source separated human urine and gives some practical guidelines for urine reuse.


Reference icon

WINBLAD, U.; SIMPSON-HERBERT, M. (2004): Ecological Sanitation - revised and enlarged edition. (pdf presentation). Sweden: Stockholm Environment Institute. URL [Accessed: 04.08.2010]. PDF

This book is one of the most fundamental and important books that defined the concept of ecological sanitation. The first version came out in 1998 - this version presents the findings of over ten years of research and development in ecological sanitation supported by SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency).


Case Studies Library

Reference icon

DEEGENER, S.; SAMWEL, M.; ANAKHASYAN, E. (2009): UDD Toilets in Rural School Hayanist, Armenia. (= SuSanA - Case Studies). Eschborn: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

This case study reports the establishment of a sustainable, affordable and safe school sanitation system in a rural area in Armenia. A total number of 7 Double-Vault UDDTs serve ca. 350 students (females and males) and 26 staff members. Urine is stored for 6 months before application.


Reference icon

ECOSAN CLUB (Editor) (2010): Use of Urine. (= Sustainable Sanitation Pracice, 3). Vienna: Ecosan Club. URL [Accessed: 05.08.2010]. PDF

A "Sustainable Sanitation Practice" journal by Ecosan Club, focussing on the use of urine and presenting some case studies.


Reference icon

FALL, A. (2009): Urban Urine Diversion Dehydration Toilets and Reuse Ouagadougou Burkina Faso - Draft. (= SuSanA - Case Studies). Eschborn: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

This case studies reports form the implementation of ecosan toilets in the peri-urban area of Ouagadougou financed by the European Union. The aim of the project was to demonstrate ecosan on an urban level with a centralised collection and treatment facilities and commercialisation of hygienised urine and faeces.


Reference icon

KASSA, K.; MEINZINGER, F.; ZEWDIE, W. (2010): Experiences from the use of urine in Arba Minch, Ethiopia. In: ECOSANCLUB. URL [Accessed: 28.07.2010]. PDF

Case study from urine crop trials in Arba Minch, Ethiopia, showing the possibility for improving soil fertility and increasing crop yield.


Reference icon

LIPKOW, U. (2009): Urine-Diversion Dehydration Toilets in Rural Areas, Bayawan City, Philippines. (= SuSanA - Case Studies). Eschborn: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) . URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

In Bayawan City (Philippines), UDDTs were installed on household and public level. Vegetable growers and small-scale farmers use the fertilising products.


Reference icon

TETTEY-LOWOR, F. (n.y.): Closing the Loop between Sanitation and Agriculture in Accra, Ghana. (= Master Thesis). Wageningen: Wageningen University. URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

Case study assessing the drivers and barriers for scaling-up the use of urine and faeces as an alternative fertilizer in urban agriculture in Accra.


Reference icon

WATERAID (Editor) (2008): Assessment of Urine Diverting Ecosan Toilets in Nepal. Kathmandu: WaterAid Nepal. URL [Accessed: 22.07.2010]. PDF

This study assesses ecosan toilets and their implementation in different areas of Nepal from an n social, technical and financial point of view. It gives recommendations in the view of scaling-up ecosan in Nepal.


Reference icon

MORGAN, P.; SHANGWA, A. (2009): Using Urine to Increase Maize Production in Schools. The Chisungu Primary School Water and Sanitation project. Stockholm : Ecological Sanitation Research (EcoSanRes), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). URL [Accessed: 20.06.2013]. PDF

This presentation exemplifies on how to increase maize production through the application of urine fertiliser.


Reference icon

MORGAN, P. (2010): Ecological Sanitation in Malawi. Stockholm : Ecological Sanitation Research (EcoSanRes), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). URL [Accessed: 20.06.2013]. PDF

This illustrative presentation on ecological sanitation in Malawi, focuses on the concept of ecological sanitation, types of eco-toilets and basic methods of recycling nutrient from human excreta.


Awareness Raising Material Library

Reference icon

GRUNBAUM, M. (2010): Gee Whiz: Human urine is shown to be an effective agricultural fertilizer. In: Scientific American 30. URL [Accessed: 17.04.2012]. PDF

The Scientific American is a popular science magazine in the US. This article, written for laymen, states that urine not only promotes plant growth as well as industrial mineral fertilizers, but also saves energy.


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GEORGE, R. (2009): Yellow is the new Green. In: The New Your Times, 27. URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

This opinion contribution from Rose George published in the New York Times emphasises the enormous potential urine as a sustainable fertiliser source.


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KVARNSTROEM, E.; EMILSSON, K.; RICHERT STINTZING A.; JOHANSSON, M.; JOENSSON, H.; PETERSENS, E.; SCHOENNING, C.; CHRISTENSEN, J.; HELLSTROEM, D.; QVARNSTROEM, L.; RIDDERSTOLPE, P.; DRANGERT, J.O. (2006): Urine Diversion - One Step Towards Sustainable Sanitation. (= EcoSanRes Publication Series). Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). URL [Accessed: 27.07.2010]. PDF

This report of Stockholm environment institute (SEI) presents the current state-of-the-art (2006) of urine-diverting systems, focusing on the Swedish experience and what can be learned from that experience. The intention is to inspire decision- and policy-makers to consider urine diversion for sanitation interventions aimed at meeting the sanitation target of the Millennium Development Goals.


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SUSANA (Editor) (2009): Food security and productive sanitation systems. (= SuSanA fact sheet 05/2009). Eschborn: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). URL [Accessed: 17.04.2012]. PDF

The factsheet describes the food security situation especially in light of limited global resources, the role of sustainable sanitation in closing the nutrient loop and increasing productivity, and challenges in implementing productive sanitation systems.


Training Material Library

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ECOSANRES (Editor) (2008): Guidelines on the Safe Use of Urine and Faeces in Crop Production. Factsheet N0. 6. Harare (Zimbabwe): Stockholm Environment Institute EcoSanRes Programme. URL [Accessed: 20.07.2010]. PDF

This factsheet is a short version of the guidelines for the safe use of urine and faeces for agricultural purposes providing information about requirements for plant growth, nutrients in excreta, hygiene aspects, and recommendations and guidance for cultivation.


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ECOSANRES (Editor) (2008): Guidelines on the Safe Use of Urine and Faeces in Ecological Sanitation Systems. Factsheet No. 5. (= EcoSanRes Factsheet, No. 5). Harare (Zimbabwe): Stockholm Environment Institute EcoSanRes Programme. URL [Accessed: 20.07.2010]. PDF

This factsheet is a short version of the guidelines for the safe use of urine and faeces for agricultural purposes providing information on the health risk associated we the use of human excreta in agriculture and how to limit these.


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ESF (Editor) (2009): Urine Diversion Dehydration Toilet (UDDT) - Construction Manual. Pune: Ecosan Services Foundation (ESF). URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

Design and construction manual on that also provides information on the nutrient value of human urine and faecal matter, general hygiene aspects, the reuse of sanitized urine and faecal matter, and costs of various Indian UDDT designs.


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GTZ (Editor) (2006): Dehydration Toilets. Dehydration Toilet with movable containers . (= Technical Data Sheets for Ecosan Components, 02-B4). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

Short general and technical description on single-vault UDDTs with movable containers.


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GTZ (Editor) (2006): Dehydration Toilets. Dehydration toilets Construction Plans – selected examples. (= Technical Data Sheets for Ecosan Components, 02-C1). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

Description of some examples of construction plans for dehydration toilets.


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SCHOENNING, C.; STENSTROEM, T.A. (2004): Guidelines on the Safe Use of Urine and Faeces in Ecological Sanitation Systems. (= EcoSanRes Publication Series). Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). PDF

These guidelines provide a thorough background on the safe use of urine and faeces for agricultural purposes. Aspects like the health risk associated we the use of human excreta in agriculture and how to limit them are discussed.


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GTZ (Editor) (2006): Dehydration Toilets. Dehydration toilets. Dehydration Toilets without Urine-diversion. (= Technical Data Sheets for Ecosan Components, 02-B3). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

Short general and technical description on dehydration toilets without urine diversion.


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GTZ (Editor) (2006): Dehydration Toilets. Double-vault Dehydration Toilets with Urine-diversion . (= Technical Data Sheets for Ecosan Components, 02-B1). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

Short general and technical description on double-vault UDDTs.


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GTZ (Editor) (2006): Dehydration Toilets. General Description . (= Technical Data Sheets for Ecosan Components, 02-A). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

Short general description on dehydration toilets.


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GTZ (Editor) (2006): Dehydration Toilets. Single-vault Dehydration Toilets with Urine-diversion . (= Technical Data Sheets for Ecosan Components, 02-B2). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

Short general and technical description on single-vault UDDTs.


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GTZ (Editor) (2006): Dehydration Toilets. User Instructions for Dehydration Toilets . (= Technical Data Sheets for Ecosan Components, 02-C2). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 07.07.2010]. PDF

Selected examples of graphical user instruction for dehydration toilets.


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RIECK, C. ; MUENCH, E. ; HOFFMANN, H. (2012): Technology Review of Urine-Diverting Dry Toilets (UDDTs). Overview on Design, Management, Maintenance and Costs. (= Technology Review). Eschborn: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) GmbH. URL [Accessed: 01.07.2013]. PDF

This publication offers a complete overview of UDDT functions, design considerations, common operation and maintenance issues and generalised installation costs. Its focus is on applications in developing countries and countries in transition, although UDDTs are also applicable in developed countries.


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JOENSSON, H.; RICHERT, A.; VINNERAAS, B.; SALOMON, E. (2004): Guidelines on the Use of Urine and Faeces in Crop Production. (= EcoSanRes Publications Series, 2004). Stockholm: EcoSanRes. URL [Accessed: 17.04.2012]. PDF

These guidelines provide a thorough background on the use of urine (and faeces) for agricultural purposes. Aspects discussed are requirements for plant growth, nutrients in excreta, hygiene aspects, and recommendations for cultivation. It provides detailed guidance on the use of urine for purposes.


Important Weblinks

http://www.ecosanres.org [Accessed: 06.05.2010]

Official web page of the Ecological Sanitation Research Programme (EcoSanRes). The EcosanRes Programme aims to develop and promote sustainable sanitation in the developing world through capacity development and knowledge management as a contribution to equity, health, poverty alleviation, and improved environmental quality. It contains numerous helpful publications, and also allows you to gain access to the ecosanres discussion forum, currently the most active discussion forum on ecological sanitation.

http://www.who.int/ [Accessed: 21.07.2010]

This web link informs ondifferent program and research activities carried by the World Health Organisation on household water treatment options along with some information on ceramic filters.

http://www.ecosan.at [Accessed: 05.08.2010]

The Ecosan Club was funded as a non-profit association in 2002. It aims at closing material cycles in settlements, at promoting ecological approaches to sanitation, and offers consultancy, information services, and support in regards to specific information on ecological and sustainable sanitation. It publishes the magazine “SSP”, sustainable sanitation in practice, four times a year.