Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Town and Village

Recycled urine fertilizes hay at local farm

For more information, visit www.richearthinstitute.com.

BRATTLEBORO—The Rich Earth Institute has completed its first season of scientifically controlled field trials using sanitized human urine to fertilize hay on a Brattleboro farm.

Sixty enthusiastic community members have already donated 600 gallons of urine for this ground-breaking project.

The state-approved experiment is a United States first, according to the institute. Preliminary results reportedly are “impressive.” Researchers said they found that an experimental urine-treated area produced an approximately three times greater yield than the unfertilized control area.

Further analysis of soil, urine, and hay samples is under way to determine nutrient levels and microbial activities, the institute reports.

The Rich Earth Institute, founded in 2011, is dedicated to advancing and promoting the use of human manure as a resource. Through research, demonstration, and education projects, it works “to illustrate the positive effect of this approach in important areas including water quality, food security, energy use, soil health, economic sustainability, carbon footprint, public health, and emergency preparedness,” according to its website.

Urine is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. When urine is flushed, these nutrients find their way into rivers and lakes, polluting them and harming important aquatic habitats.

According to the institute, recycling urine into fertilizer prevents pollution from reaching waterways, and turns liquid human waste into a resource, returning nutrients to farmland as an affordable, yield-boosting fertilizer. Urine that is collected locally, sanitized and transported to farm fields reportedly is an effective and sustainable alternative to synthetic fertilizer.

Rich Earth Institute co-founders Abe Noe-Hays and Kim Nace said they have been working closely with Environmental Protection Agency researchers, scientists at UVM, the University of Michigan, and leaders at the Water Environment Research Foundation to continue and expand their research.

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

What do you think? Leave us a comment

Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.

Add Comment

* Required information
1000
Enter the third word of this sentence.
Captcha Image
Powered by Commentics

Comments (0)

No comments yet. Be the first!

Originally published in The Commons issue #185 (Wednesday, January 9, 2013).

Related stories