Pee-ople for Great Bay
Pee On Great Plants
by Steve Diamond
Permaculture teaches us to “transform problems into solutions.” From serving on the Barrington Planning Board and attending workshops with UNH scientists, I’ve learned that increasing nitrogen pollution is destabilizing the Great Bay ecosystem. While some of these nutrients damaging our estuary of national significance come from burning fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers and animal waste, much of it comes from a growing rural population which must urinate somewhere. Typical septic systems are not very successful at preventing these nutrients from damaging the environment.
Many people want deep green lawns and huge vegetables, and have been told that chemical fertilizers are the way. Yet the true consequences of reduced health for soil and people are tremendous.
There is a synergistic solution that deals with both of these issues: Urine Diversion. Years of scientific studies and real-world trials have proven that diverting urine to fertilize plants can be safe and even profitable. The Rich Earth Institute in Vermont has extensively investigated potential concerns around disease and pharmaceutical persistence and found few issues, especially when urine from few people is used to fertilize perennial plants.
Participating in this movement has been difficult, especially for women, due to the lack of availability of reasonably priced urine diverting options in the US. Until now!
This is my 4th version of the “rustic sitzpee,” adjusted according to feedback from several test users. We hope you will think of this as a hands-on pilot project where each participant will share feedback on the design and information on the volumes of urine diverted for us to track. Any other reports on successful watering routines or issues experienced would be quite helpful. The simple, sanitary design of the rustic sitzpee uses a ping-pong ball to contain smells and has a tray with pour spout to avoid spills. While some cleanup might be necessary occasionally if you don’t notice soon enough that the tank is full, the secondary containment tray should keep the process quick and easy.
The rustic sitzpee is rugged, adjustable and repairable, assembled using screws. Whenever possible I use scavenged lumber scraps and slab wood with interesting and unique bark patterns. You can opt for a seat of either smooth unpainted wood, or painted light-blue using environmentally-friendly milk paint. I also have urine diversion systems for men available.
3 BASIC OPTIONS: (all jugs are 2.5 gallon; first two options will need to be picked up in Barrington NH)
Basic rustic sitzpee for women: $90 (includes two jugs – add $10 for a painted seat)
Basic system for men: $60 (includes two jugs and a 5-gallon bucket for stability and secondary containment)
Full-service setup for a couple: $210
One system for a women and one for a man, plus one 50-gallon plastic barrel for winter storage, 3 concrete blocks to support the barrel, delivery within 20 miles of Barrington NH, and on-site consulting to get you started.
These items come fully assembled and require no plumbing, only a smooth floor. Users with workshops or a bedroom far from a bathroom find these units particularly convenient.
All systems include simple spigots for easy emptying. The 20 pounds a full jug weighs can be handled by most adults for spreading, or you can empty the jug before it’s full. On lawn, shrubs and trees I apply straight and water in well. To ensure plants don’t get burned, remove jugs when half-full with urine and top off with water before gently pouring onto the roots of annuals. As an added precaution, I apply this away from the edible portions of leaves/roots/berries.
I hope you will join us in protecting the environment while speeding the growth and productivity of your garden and orchard plants!