ECO Houses with nutrient recovery and composting system to recycle Nitrates and Phosphates

The HANAPAK human urine treatment system is a new nature based method to treat a large part of the waste water nutrients in new Eco Houses. The separation of human urine and toilet solids from domestic waste water will prevent most of the nitrates and almost half of the phosphates from polluting ground water. The protection of ground water from nutrient pollution is now a stated goal under the European Union Directive 2006/118/EC

The purpose of the European Union Directive is to protect ground water pollution from substances such as those that contribute to eutrophication and algal growth in local lakes and surface water. 

A Septic Tank is no longer regarded as a suitable waste water treatment system to prevent Nitrogen and Phosphorus pollution in ground water

It has now been established that septic tank sludge from single houses can remove less than 20% of the nitrogen and approximately only 6 to 25% of the phosphorus. Even with an additional aerobic sewage treatment system, nitrates and phosphates that can cause algal blooms in lakes in summer will not be adequately treated or removed.

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Current domestic waste water treatment systems are therefore not fit-for-purpose, because they do not remove ingested medicines and they still emit most of the nitrogen and phosphorus into the soil percolation system. Allowing nitrates and phosphates to enter the ground water is now in contradiction of the goals of EU Directive 2006/118/EC. This EU Directive now places an obligation on all member states to take steps to limit the inputs of pollutants into ground water. Irish families who are building new homes can now play their part in preventing this ground water pollution. New Irish homeowners need to be aware of the failings of septic tanks, even those followed by mechanical aeration treatment systems. Eco Homes that are being built to comply with ever more strenuous environmental and sustainable goals should have a treatment system that can remove nitrates and phosphates from human urine.

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Unlike standard domestic septic tank systems the HANAPAK urine treatment system from Herr Ltd now offers home owners the opportunity to very effectively remove and recycle about 70% of the nitrates and almost 50% of the phosphates that would otherwise be emitted in single house waste water discharges. Separating human urine to grow plants or flowers is a more sustainable practice than causing ground water pollution. With HANAPAK the nutrients in urine convert into plant biomass and if properly composted over a long period of about 4 years will become safe to use in building up the organic matter in the soil in the garden.

Growing plants on outdoor balconies

A Dublin building with green balconies

Multi story buildings such as this one in Dublin below shows the potential for growing plants on balconies. Growing these plants with dilute human urine as a fertilizer would reduce the pollution in the waste water coming from this building to the presently overloaded city waste water treatment system. Harvesting and composting the leaves would recover the nutrients and these could be used in raised beds located up on the roof garden.

HANAPAK systems for indoor flower growing environments

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For buildings with no outdoor balconies or in situations where there may not be enough space outdoors for a full urine treatment system, a smaller scaled HANAPAK system can be located inside windows. The scaling of the system and the number of plants for the daily volume of urine generated can be reduced and adjusted to fit the available space.

The HANAPAK system looks like an indoor window garden.  

A system treating only a portion of the urine was installed in the ReDiscovery Centre in Ballymun County Dublin. This is an Eco Building incorporating solar panels, rain water harvesting, hempcrete walls, and a reed bed to treat waste water. The system also incorporated the Aquatron toilet composting system that is dealing with 4 out of 6 toilets in the building. It has the HANAPAK urine pollution prevention system fed by just one urinal.

Eco Houses that have the HANAPAK system will therefore:

  • Require home owners who are interested in gardening and making compost
  • These Eco Houses will prevent nitrates, phosphates and ingested medicines from entering the ground water or polluting local streams and rivers.
  • They will instead recover and recycle nitrogen and phosphorus from human urine and make well cured compost without toxic metals or ingested pharmaceuticals.   
  • At a time when top soil is being lost from intensive commercial farming all around the world, Irish home owners can use this HANAPAK compost making system to build up the natural organic matter in the soil in their own  home gardens
  • Just like saving for the future, Eco House’s that use the HANAPAK system will have gardens that will have rich fertile soil with plenty of organic matter. This soil will therefore be better able to produce local, home produced vegetables with low food miles.
  • Supermarket food prices will inevitably become more expensive well before final phosphate rock depletion. The remaining resources of phosphorus rock will slowly become too expensive because of international market forces and the contamination of the phosphorus with toxic cadmium. Local food growing systems with less carbon inputs that use recycled bio fertilizers will eventually become the dominant way to grow and provide food. Eco Houses that invest in the HANAPAK nutrient composting system will be recycling nitrates and phosphates from urine to make their own fertilizer. In a resource depleted world, families who recycle nutrients from human excrement and make compost will be able to feed themselves sustainably by continuously enriching the organic soil structure in their own local gardens.

For further information please go to the links below