EPA Nutrient Management Seminar on Urine WEDS Dec 14 2-3PM EST

EPA SSWR Water Research Webinar

Wednesday, December 14 (2-3 p.m. East Coast Time)

 Systems View of Nutrient Management – Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine

Free registration link: (https://www.epa.gov/water-research/water-research-webinar-series).

Webinar Description.  Urine is the primary source of phosphorus and nitrogen in municipal wastewater.  Accordingly, it is important to consider for nutrient management. This webinar will cover new science on recovering nutrients from human urine.  This includes issues of source separation in buildings, use at the farm, review of health issues, and factors influencing the environmental sustainability of nutrient management strategies.   The webinar is an output of preliminary scientific research and demonstrations achieved from the EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Centers for Water Research on National Priorities Related to a Systems View of Nutrient Management.


  1. Introduction: Dr. Colleen Naughton provides a brief introduction.
  2. Building: Waterless urinals can serve a two-fold benefit of water conservation and implementation of urinesource separation system. However, due to urine’s composition and the presence of the urease enzyme that hydrolyzes urea, valuable nutrients readily precipitate in the urinal fixtures and pipes. This hinders both water conservation and nutrient recovery efforts because of maintenance problems. Dr. Treavor Boyer will review controlled laboratory experiments and a demonstration study that increases our understanding of the urea hydrolysis process in waterless urinals by mimicking and inhibiting urea hydrolysis so as to benefit water conservation and nutrient recovery.
  3. Environmental Sustainability:Nutrients embedded in wastewater or stormwater can be managed via different technologies at different scales.   Dr. Qiong Zhang will discuss the factors influencing environmental sustainability ofnutrient management strategies including end applications, design configurations, implementation locations, and scale of implementations.
  4. Health: Source separated urine typically contains pharmaceuticals and microorganisms.   Dr. Krista Wigginton will review the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and microorganisms in source separated urine as it is transformed into fertilizer products. Her project team has studied the impact of storage, struvite precipitation, and pasteurization on the levels and types of contaminants in urine.
  5. Farm: Source separated urine has been shown to work well as a crop fertilizer.  Mr. Abraham Noe-Hays will discuss work on applying urine-derived fertilizer products to grow crops on a research farm in Vermont. Urine was collected from public toilets (>1,000 users) and turned into fertilizer. Lettuce and carrots were grown over two seasons in test field plots amended with urine, urine spiked with additional pharmaceuticals, urine-derived struvite, and synthetic fertilizer.
  6. Questions


image001  Colleen Naughton, University of South Florida, National Center for Reinventing Aging    Infrastructure for Nutrient Management.  Dr. Naughton is a postdoctoral research associate in Civil  and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida where she also serves as the  administrative assistant for the National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient  Management.   Her research is focused around the food-water-energy nexus and coupling natural  and human systems, integrating environmental sustainability and ethnographic analyses with local  and global issues of sustainable development.




 Treavor Boyer, Arizona State University, National Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for  Nutrient Management.  Dr. Boyer is an associate professor on the School of Sustainable Engineering  and the Built Environment at Arizona State University. Before joining ASU, he was an Associate  Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida.  His research is broadly focused on water sustainability, and spans drinking water and wastewater  treatment, and natural aquatic systems.



image005 Qiong Zhang, University of South Florida, National Center for Reinventing Aging  Infrastructure  for Nutrient Management. Dr. Zhang is an associate professor of Civil and  Environmental  Engineering at the University of South Florida. Prior to joining USF, she worked  as the operations  manager for the Sustainable Futures Institute at Michigan Tech. She has  sponsored research  projects in the areas of green engineering and sustainability, life cycle  assessment, waste-based  resource recovery, system modeling of environmental technology  adoption and critical  infrastructures resiliency, and carbon footprint accounting of water and  wastewater technologies  and strategies.



image007Krista Wigginton, University of Michigan, WE&RF’s National Research Center for  Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management.  Dr. Wigginton is an assistant professor of  Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the  faculty at UM, she was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her  research focuses on applications of environmental biotechnology in drinking water and  wastewater treatment. In particular, her research group develops new methods to detect and  analyze the fate of emerging pollutants in the environment.



image009Abraham Noe-Hays, Rich Earth Institute, WE&RF’s National Research Center for Resource  Recovery and Nutrient Management.  Mr. Noe-Hays is a founder of the Rich Earth Institute and has  been working with dry sanitation systems since 1990. He holds a BA in Human Ecology with  concentrations in agroecology and compost science from the College of the Atlantic, where his  interest  in recycling human manure led to an internship at Woods End Research Laboratory and his  thesis  project, “An Experiment in Thermophilic Composting.”

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