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Water Res. 2006 Oct;40(17):3151-66. Epub 2006 Sep 1.

Treatment processes for source-separated urine.

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Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.


The separate collection and treatment of urine has attracted considerable attention in the engineering community in the last few years and is seen as a viable option for enhancing the flexibility of wastewater treatment systems. This comprehensive review focuses on the status of current urine treatment processes and summarises the properties of collected urine. We distinguish between seven main purposes of urine-treatment processes: hygienisation (storage), volume reduction (evaporation, freeze-thaw, reverse osmosis), stabilisation (acidification, nitrification), P-recovery (struvite formation), N-recovery (ion-exchange, ammonia stripping, isobutylaldehyde-diurea (IBDU) precipitation), nutrient removal (anammox) and handling of micropollutants (electrodialysis, nanofiltration, ozonation). The review shows clearly that a wide range of technical options is available to treat collected urine effectively, but that none of these single options can accomplish all seven purposes. Depending on the overall goal of the treatment process, a specific technical solution or a combination of solutions can be found to meet the requirements. Such combinations are not discussed in this paper unless they are explicitly presented in the literature. Except for 'evaporation' and 'storage', none of the processes described have so far advanced beyond the laboratory stage. Considerable development work remains to be done to optimise urine-processing techniques in order to create marketable products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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