Author Topic: Will a Berkey Filter Urine?  (Read 9984 times)

Offline Black November

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Will a Berkey Filter Urine?
« on: January 23, 2014, 03:06:17 PM »
Will a Berkey Filter Urine? (not too drink :o, but as a method of disposing liquid human waste)

I have been looking into composting toilets, and vermicomposting as an off-grid solution to dealing with human waste. Composting solids seems pretty straight forward, but disposing of liquid waste seems a bit more challenging. I know that small amounts of urine deluted with water can be good for plants, but dealing with the 138 gallons that an average person produces per year may require a mini treatment facility.

Just wondering if a berkey filter could somehow be incorporated into a mini treatment facility. Just a thought.
[Turning black water => Into grey water]


Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Will a Berkey Filter Urine?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2014, 04:10:57 PM »
first thing i thought of when reading the title:



i'm going to stick around for the answer, great question!

Offline Perfesser

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Re: Will a Berkey Filter Urine?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2014, 04:59:25 PM »
Assuming a 10:1 dilution you might get 3-5 gallons of "fortified water" per day.  If you can't use that much in your garden, you need a bigger one.
Plants, soil and microbes are probably your best way of "filtering" in this case.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Will a Berkey Filter Urine?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 05:13:29 PM »
Oh, I'm going to admit this... All winter I go out to my shed and pee on the leaves I plan to compost come spring (in a barrel). It's a cold weather thing when you can't effectively compost. Even the most hippie gardening friends look at me cross eyed when I tell them. I don't know about Berkeys but you can use urine in composting.

Offline theberkeyguy

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Re: Will a Berkey Filter Urine?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2014, 09:22:47 AM »
Will a Berkey Filter Urine? (not too drink :o, but as a method of disposing liquid human waste)

I have been looking into composting toilets, and vermicomposting as an off-grid solution to dealing with human waste. Composting solids seems pretty straight forward, but disposing of liquid waste seems a bit more challenging. I know that small amounts of urine deluted with water can be good for plants, but dealing with the 138 gallons that an average person produces per year may require a mini treatment facility.

Just wondering if a berkey filter could somehow be incorporated into a mini treatment facility. Just a thought.
[Turning black water => Into grey water]

While I am not sure how it would filter it, and from what I have heard, I do not recommend filtering your urine through the Berkey.  Usually people filter and drink urine on TV for entertainment value.

theberkeyguy

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Will a Berkey Filter Urine?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2014, 12:44:02 PM »
Why not just use the ground?  Dig a small pit and fill with sand to let it seep down.

Offline Black November

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Re: Will a Berkey Filter Urine?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2014, 03:01:16 PM »
Why not just use the ground?  Dig a small pit and fill with sand to let it seep down.

Maybe I am just naive, but would a family of 4 or more (552+ gallons per year) be harmfull to the property? Well contamination? Jeopodize surrounding plant growth? Odor control?

I suppose that livestock and dogs living in close proximity relieve themselves outside all the time without devesating the land. However, I also know that continually peeing in the same spot while camping can get funky after a few days. Also small backyard with dogs will eventually begin to smell.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 03:08:59 PM by Black November »

nelson96

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Re: Will a Berkey Filter Urine?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2014, 03:44:24 PM »
If you've got other options for poo and just need a cheap, easy, safe way to deal with pee. . . .  How about you dig a trench outside, line the bottom with river rock, lay a plastic pipe with holes in it, cover that with more river rock, cover that with fabric, and fill the trench with soil.

Offline Benbaker

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Re: Will a Berkey Filter Urine?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2020, 06:21:58 PM »
Oh, I'm going to admit this... All winter I go out to my shed and pee on the leaves I plan to compost come spring (in a barrel). It's a cold weather thing when you can't effectively compost. Even the most hippie gardening friends look at me cross eyed when I tell them. I don't know about Berkeys but you can use urine in composting.

I cant help but chime in on this post that has not had activity since 2014. this is my first post here, hopefully the first  of many.  I have much experience dealing in human waste and really want others to know what I know.
back to quoted about composting with leaves.
this sounds like an excellent way to deal with urine, as a hippie I approve. the one soaks up the other, adding nitrogen and potassium and who knows whatever else, benefitting from the urine and giving it a chance to speed composition of those leaves. , there are many materials you could use in the same manner such as rotten wood, biochar, hay, straw and  even paper waste.  these make a great house and food souce for fungi which make composting a dream, and i reccommend them in any compost, as for the urine, it has a chance to soak into something else instead of going into the ground and will eventually be eliminated by the fungus that eats the other stuff. its a win win, if your friends are looking at you funny for this, they just do not understand on the same level. ,,, you can deal with poop the same way, lots of high carbon material such as the ones mentioned, makes for quick fungal composition, keep the urine out of the poop compost and keep the poop out of the urine compost and youll have clean compost both ways..... having alot more of these materials than actual poop or actual urine will be a major plus. adding layers of it as you go. this will decompose at a rate much faster than not.

I agree with berkey guy. I also own a berkey and think it is a waste of a good berkey. I was however wondering the answer to this exact question which is how I found your thread here.

I can attest to the wonders of using a diluted urine in the water for your garden, and if you want it to really kick some butt, add a bit of mollasses into it as well.... us for the ratio, this is up in the air, in a five gallon bucket of water, I`ll do a minimum of one or two pees , to an absolute maximum of one gallon of pee to four more gallons of water, and that is strong, so only do that once in the spring and then switch to a 10-1 ratio thereafter. as for the mollases, 5 tablespoons , melted into a cup of hot water and added to the five gallon pail of solution while mixing is great, you can put more, but you do not need to. the plants love this stuff.

it really would be cool to see how good of a job the berkey does at filtering urine. would the end product have a smell of urine, would it have the colour or as much, what kind of ppm would it be in the end... all i know is I can guarentee the top of the berkey will stink, and that youll have a hard time convincing anyone to drink any of it. hilarious youtube videos to ensue.

I own a crown berkey  with all 8 black filters installed., I find it does a really great job at removing chlorine from city water, and it does a good job at filtering well water making it taste better. i find the well water ends up good to drink, and the stuff left at the top of the filter afterwards is kind of slimey and bubbly which is really wierd, so wierd that i do not trust the well water where I am at all. and have since been filtering reverse osmosis and distilled water through my berkey instead, which should not be necessary, but if there is a chance that the berkey removes a bit of plastic from such I am going to take it.

one thing i did notice with my berkey, is there is not much of a ppm reduction , which is disconcerting, but, the taste is clearly better no matter what i put through it... after plenty of research I found out that berkey filters have some silver particles in them, which kills any pathogen that passes through.  pathogens suffocate in the presence of silver, or more specifically they become unable to metabolize oxygen.   I have also read that berkey lets calcium pass through it, which is odd, you might think a calcium particle is large enough to be stopped by such a filter, but the internet says otherwise..... thus, when I put reverse osmosis or distilled through, it might pick up a bit of calcium from previous filtration runs of well water or spring water, making it safer to drink according to those who go against RO or distilled due to lack of calcium, magnesium etc....


personally, i would not piss in the same spot over and over, I have seen what two or three pees does to a tomatoe plant when not diluted , it is not good.   by diluting it or composting it first, you can spread this out and reap its benefits.    but also, option c, concentrating urine. why not, you can buy pure urea fertiliser on the internet and spread it out as a granular feed to get the same benefits as someone who dilutes it in water for their garden. the plans in my head tell me to use a big giant pot and point some mirrors at it for added sunshine, something tells me boiling urine or even heating it a bit will stink though...

spreading diluted, or composted, far and wide, will give the ground and the plants a chance to take it up and not burn anything... where as if you were to dig a hole and put it in there, all it has is a bit of sand to filter through before it gets into your water, and the sand is not going to use it like the plants up on the ground will...    the same goes for outhouses, i hate those things, the only good way to have an outhouse is to prime the hole with plenty of rotten wood, and continue to do so as you make your jobs in there, this pre-innoculates it with fungus turning it into an active compost, and a fast one that can benefit from the nutrients, gives something to soak it all up before it can go anywhere and puts it to good use, as well as eliminating any odours..... I have had people argue with me about this added material that it fills the hole faster but these people do not understand at all, that this method makes it shrink rather than grow, and that all those arguers have absolutely disgusting outhouses, just the worst. where in mine when had, has no smell, and I would trust my ground water sooner than theirs.


a fungal compost is your friend.

cheers
Ben