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The Blue Whales Present: Operation Porta Potty

Posted by richearth on December 1, 2017

Blue Whales

Hello! We are the Blue Whales (Eliza, Bria, Bailey, Lily, Anthony, Dominic, Grayson and Drew) from Clarke County, VA.  We are a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics team and our team has  4th, 5th, 7th and 8th graders. The FLL challenge for this season was Hydrodynamics – how we find, transport, use, or dispose of water. We decided to focus on the disposal phase of water. We learned about how some areas of the world are separating their urine from solid waste and then applying the urine on their crop fields as fertilizer due to limited resources and necessity.

Our team researched the agricultural benefits of urine and found it is composed of the same nutrients as synthetic fertilizers. It is also 96% water. We also discovered our regional plant treats on average 450,000 gallons of portable toilet waste yearly.  If a third of the urine could be separated that could potentially save up to 150,000 gallons of urine that could be used as fertilizer and reduce that amount of additional waste going to the plant. We wanted to see the simplest way to separate urine from solid waste so it could be recycled as fertilizer, help the environment and reduce the amount of waste going to treatment plants.

Then came the idea of the Plant Producing Porta Potty. The hope is some simple portable toilet modifications can divert male urine from the urinal to its own separate tank and then be recycled as fertilizer.

We are so glad to find out about the Rich Earth Institute’s mission, research, partners and goals with urine diversion. Kim, thanks for taking time to allow our team to share our idea with you

We hope you enjoy our video.

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