Urine Diversion

Urine diversion is the practice of separating urine from feces through the use of urinals or urine diverting toilets or latrines (see Sanitation Health in Transition). The technology is both low cost and low technology implementable in urban and rural communities in developing and developed regions and countries (GIZ, 2011; Graves, 2019).

The impact is two-fold. First, it acts as a fertilizer recovery mechanism. Urine contains 80-85% of the nitrogen and 66% of the phosphorus in human waste. Annually, this equates to approximately 9 pounds of nitrogen and 0.8 pounds of phosphorus recoverable from the urine of one adult (Rich Earth Institute). These essential plant nutrients make it the source of an excellent liquid fertilizer for agricultural use. And, because urine is nearly sterile, it can be handled easily, usually with little risk, and subsequently stored in containers and later transported to fields in the same way as bulk water or sludge. Secondly, urine diversion prevents these nutrients from contributing to ocean wastewater pollution in which these nutrients result in algal growth overwhelming coastal waters and devastating healthy marine life.