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Urine Diversion: One step towards sustainable sanitation

Kvarnström E, Emilsson K, Richert Stintzing A, Johansson M, Jönsson Håkan, af Petersens E, Schönning C, Christensen J, Hellström D, Qvarnström L, Ridderstolpe P, Drangert JO


Sweden has a strong position among countries working with development of sustainable sanitation system alternatives. The past 15 years have seen an evolution of techniques, methods ans organizational structures that are far-reaching in environmental protection and sustainability. It is of great importance to collect and disseminate the knowledve that has been generated during this period. This report presents the current state-of-the-art of urine-diverting systems, focusing on Swedich experience. The report is an important statement and a contribution to the work for global sustainability and the achievement of the Millennium Development *Goals. In 1995, Stockholm Water Company initiated a research and development project on urine diversion that ran until 2000. The results are presented in the report "Urine separation - Closing the Nutrient Cycle", available at At that time, urine diversion was a new phenomenon, mainly implemented in areas with high environmental ambition and in ecovillages. The project generated valuable information on health, agricultural reuse, social and technical aspects. Now we are seeing a shift in development, and the next step is mainstreaming and large-scale implementation. The experiences in Sweden since then have been focused mainly on organixational aspects, planning and implementation. Although we have well-functioning large-scale sanitation systems in Sweden there is a need to develop alternatives. There are situations where a traditional, large-scale system solution cannot meet sustainability goals. One example is areas where there is no sanitation coverage at all in combination with an ongoing population growth, another where there is a need for high ambition in environmental protection and resource management. Development of alternatives drives evolution, and in the case of urine-diverting systems we are forerunners. Some aspects are of specific importance when introducing new sanitation systems. Appropriate planning and early interventions, the involvement of stakeholders at an early stage and the access to technical instructions are vital for successful implementation, as is shown in the report. Urine diversion is a system solution of great potential. Closing the loop through nutrient recycling is a key sustainability challenge and this technique makes is possible without expensive treatment processes. Given the proper attention to remaining questions, such as residual pharmaceuticals and hormones, urine diversion has a large potential for sustainability

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Utgivare: SEI