You’ve probably heard the phrase: You are what you eat. Well, that’s doubly true in the sanitation world. Everything we consume makes its way to the sewage treatment plant. And some things go all the way through to our rivers and streams. That’s especially a problem with phosphorus, nitrogen, and pharmaceuticals - the antibiotics, anti-depressants, and other chemicals many of us take on a daily basis.
The Rich Earth Institute in Brattleboro has been studying urine as a potential fertilizer. And they just received a grant from the EPA to test whether the pharmaceuticals in urine make it through to the groundwater and to the crops they grow.
Abe Noe-Hays is the research director and co-founder of the institute. She spoke with Vermont Edition about what the institute has found it its analysis.