ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is launching its first project under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funded National Research Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management by awarding the University of Michigan with a contract to explore nutrient recovery through urine separation, according to a press release.

This project assumes that with proper treatment, source-separated urine can be a safe, effective and sustainable source for agricultural fertilizer in the United States, the release reported.

According to the release, the four key objectives of this project are to: Provide design and permitting guidelines to address practical issues related to the implementation of urine separation and collection systems in a high-occupancy building, understand how urine pre-treatments impact pharmaceutical and biological contaminant concentrations, compare the effectiveness of using natural urine and urine-derived products as agricultural fertilizers and evaluate the fate of nutrients, pharmaceuticals and biological contaminants once urine products are land applied.

Results derived from this research will propel U.S.-based research and innovation in the field of source separation, noted the release.

The research team, continued the release, will also incorporate the first two North American full-scale demonstrations of this emerging technology at the Rich Earth Institute (Vermont) and Hampton Roads Sanitation District (Virginia).

Read the full release here.