Events & News

CentrEau Hebd'EAU | Ten years of community-scale urine diversion: findings and lessons learned

81st webinar in the CentrEau Hebd'Eau series entitled "Ten years of community-scale urine diversion: findings and lessons learned" by Abraham Noe-Hays


Abe Noe-Hays is the Research Director at the Rich Earth Institute.


Urine contributes about 75% of the nitrogen and 50% of the phosphorus load in wastewater. Diverting urine from the wastewater stream allows those nutrients to be used for creating sustainable fertilizer, rather than causing nutrient pollution in surface waters. The Rich Earth Institute operates the first and largest community-scale urine-to-fertilizer program in the United States. Initiated in 2012 as an unfunded, grassroots project to collect urine for reuse on local farms, it has grown into a prominent center for urine recycling research and demonstration, directing collaborative projects with major research universities. Over the last ten years, the Rich Earth Institute has come to several broad conclusions about the prospects for urine diversion:

1. There is much more enthusiasm for urine diversion than initially expected.

2. A significant group of early adopters are ready to begin diverting urine now, if participation is affordable.

3. Urine diversion will be most widely adopted where it solves an urgent practical or economic need, such as:

  • Where urine meets an onsite fertilizer need, using minimal treatment and infrastructure
  • Where nutrient pollution is a problem and centralized treatment with nutrient removal is impractical or unaffordable
  • Where urine diversion can facilitate water reuse by reducing problematic dissolved solids

The presentation will be given in English