Rich Earth Institute

The Rich Earth Institute in Brattleboro, working with the Windham Regional Commission, used its $1,500 small grant for a pilot project implementing its Nutrient Reclamation Project, the nation’s first community-scale urine recycling program to transform waste into legally-approved fertilizer for agricultural use.

With so many villages throughout Vermont facing failing septic systems and other wastewater challenges, this project helped explore a model that could ultimately be used more widely across the state.

Rich Earth received a second Small Grant for Smart Growth from VNRC in 2019 for a continuation of its Village Sanitation Pilot project, which, in collaboration with the Windham Regional Commission, is helping two unsewered villages in Windham County look at ways to reduce pressure on their septic systems.

This grant funded site visits to additional homes to help assess how those homes could integrate urine diversion systems, which allow urine to be collected, sanitized, and turned into legally-approved agricultural fertilizer.

Photo: Abraham Noe-Hayes, Kim Nace, and Arthur Davis of the Rich Earth Institute stand beside a tank of concentrated and pasteurized urine ready to be applied to hay fields. Taken by Kate McCarthy.