A University of Florida researcher and his team of students have come up with a novel approach to water conservation that turns urine into fertilizer and takes pharmaceuticals out of the environment.
The Gainesville Sun reports that Treavor Boyer, an associate professor of UF's Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, and his team have developed a source-separation technique to harvest valuable nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium from flushed water.
The team is investigating the chemistry of urine and how it changes in urinals, making sure urinals work properly to prevent clogging and odors.
Urine is responsible for 80 percent of the nitrogen, half the phosphorus, and half the pharmaceuticals in wastewater.
Their project won the American Society of Civil Engineers 2015 sustainable development award.