Product Review

Urine Separation: The Next Wave of Ecological Wastewater Treatment

The Villa composting toilet from Separett is the most widely available urine-separating model, while the Eco-Flush from Wostman Ecology is a low-flush option designed to work with septic systems and sewers. Both the Villa and the Eco-Flush are made in Sweden and molded with a compartment in front to gather urine and a larger compartment in back for fecal matter. The Villa uses a plastic view guard to cover the composting solid matter below; the guard moves back when the user sits down. The Eco-Flush holds water in the bowl (waterspot), more like a conventional toilet.

Generally, users find that a urine-separating toilet takes some time to master. Peter Harper wrote of his experiences with two models of urine-separating toilets in 1998 in Clean Slate, the magazine of the U.K.-based Centre for Alternative Technology, noting that his male guests didn’t want to sit down to use the toilet (an issue solved by putting a can in the corner for them to use before pouring urine down the toilet). Of his female guests, he wrote, “The difficulty of cleanly separating urine and feces made many female users feel uncomfortable, not knowing quite where to sit to achieve the best results.” Designs of the toilet bowls have generally improved since Harper wrote his article, but most models still require a learning curve.

Published August 28, 2009