Rich Earth Institute Needs You
We are poised at an exciting point.
After four years of developing and testing processes for urine recycling, we have demonstrated that community-scale peecycling is a viable reality. In the process we have engineered a suite of methods and technologies that can be extended to other communities. Our goal now is to expand our operations across the Northeast, using our methods to keep excess nutrients out of sensitive waterways. Help us make the leap to take our small-scale operation beyond southern Vermont and make a difference in our broader region.
2015 has been a productive year for the Rich Earth Institute. In addition to garnering increased media attention, nationally and internationally, and generating a record number of requests from researchers for new collaborations, we’ve completed the following:
- Diverted more than 4,000 gallons of urine from the waste stream
- Kept over 200 pounds of polluting nitrogen out of the Connecticut River ecosystem
- Launched a new website with research results and project updates
- Developed a method to concentrate urine for more efficient storage and transport
- Completed field trials for an EPA study on pharmaceuticals in urine
- Secured a 10-year Vermont permit to produce and distribute urine-derived fertilizer
- Built and tested a mobile urine pasteurizing unit, available for use on farms throughout Vermont
- Presented our work at industry conferences in Boston and Chicago
- Traveled to international conferences in Finland and Sweden, and met with colleagues working on urine recycling in Switzerland and Kenya
- Held the first national urine diversion summit, to be repeated in 2016
Residents and community leaders in impacted watersheds have been reaching out to the Rich Earth Institute with the ambition of setting up their own urine recycling programs. With our experience running the nation's first (and currently only) community-scale urine recycling program, we are in a unique position to help others to initiate new programs and make them successful.
In the long term, we foresee supporting much of our work through contracting our services to communities whose nutrient pollution problems can be solved by recycling urine. But urine diversion is a very new idea in this country. We have a lot of outreach to do before decision-makers will be comfortable investing in it. And we need to continue developing and refining our equipment so we have porcelain urine-diverting toilets, nitrification reactors, and reverse osmosis concentrators ready to go when the next community commits to urine diversion.
Our next move is to step up our operations and form our first long distance partnership.
YOUR SUPPORT will help the Rich Earth Institute push peecycling into the mainstream by bringing it to the places where it is desperately needed to protect the environment, and where conventional solutions are simply unaffordable. We need to boost our annual budget to make this growth possible. You can help.
Please consider making a donation to take this innovative, visionary, and transformative project to the next level!
We need your support!
The first $3,000 of donations will be matched through a generous contribution by avid supporters in Florence, MA.
ECOSYSTEMS IN NEED
All along the Northeast coast, many bays, estuaries, and coastal ponds are severely impacted by algae blooms generated by excess nutrients from upstream human activity. These blooms deplete the oxygen levels and kill fish and other aquatic creatures, creating dead zones that harm the environment and coastal economies.
Although large treatment plants can remove these nutrients from wastewater, there is no affordable way to reduce damaging emissions from small community treatment plants and septic systems. On Cape Cod, where 85% of sewage flows into septic systems, new regulations mandate reduced emissions. But conventional methods will cost at least $4,000 per year for each household, creating a critical need for innovative solutions.
This is where urine recycling comes in.
Human urine is the source of most of the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution found in wastewater. By using urine-diverting toilets to keep urine from mixing with wastewater in the first place, communities could control nutrient pollution at only 10% of the cost of conventional treatment, while saving water and producing a sustainable fertilizer.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Marion Abell, CHAIR
Peter Abell, SECRETARY
Konrad Scheltema, TREASURER