Urine Divergent Systems

Some toilet systems separate the urine and faeces before they mix and then treat them separately. Toilets that use this method are known as urine divergent systems. For these designs the toilet is divided into two separate sections – the front section of the toilet bowl is used to collect urine and the rear end deals with the faeces. Urine divergent systems can be implemented with numerous toilet designs including both flush and non-flush toilets. Urine drains from the front section of the toilet bowl and into waterproof holding tanks (Muellegger 2005). After being treated, the urine can be used as a fertilizer for agricultural needs (Winblad 2004). It is very importation to ensure that the faeces and urine do not mix before the urine enters the holding tank. “Ventilation should be avoided in order to prevent losses of nitrogen (present as ammonium, which is a plant available nutrient) and to prevent odour problems” (Drewko 2007). After the urine is collected and the tank is filled it must be stored for a certain amount of time to ensure that any pathogens within the urine, due to cross contamination, are killed off. The amount of time that the urine must sit is determined by many different factors including temperature, pH levels, and the future use of the urine (Muellegger 2005). If the urine is used as a fertiliser, it is recommended that at least one month passes between fertilisation of the crops and harvesting, along with incorporating the urine directly into the ground only for crops where the edible parts grow above the soil surface (Muellegger 2005). Most of the past Cape Town Project Centre sanitation IQP projects have included the use of urine divergent systems in their sanitation facility designs (Kenney 2011). Urine divergent systems have been successfully implemented in numerous sanitation facilities from many geographical areas and different cultures throughout the world (Winblad, 2004).


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