I want your pee!

We have all been there. Trapped on the window seat. Pilot turns on the seat belt sign and then you are struck with the urge to pee. All you can do is stare out the window or read the horrible in flight magazine to try and distract yourself for what seems to be a flight to Mumbai as the plane makes its decent from 35,000 feet.

This happened to me the other day on my way to Detroit for Citizen Effect’s Detroit4Detroit campaign. As I exited the skybridge, I saw the white man silhouette on the far wall and made a b-line toward relief.

As I stared at the top of the urinal, I began to wonder how many people pee at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport? Well, a quick Google search says over 30 million people pass through a year. That is 82,192 people a day.

But wait, I am not interested in this because I have a pee fetish. Turns out human urine is a great fertilizer. So why are we flushing it all away?! How can I collect all this urine at Detroit Airport and make it available to farmers to grow vegetables?

The first issue is that it can only be pee, no poop. We have to exclude anyone who sits – women and men taking a dump. So that means we are going to have to only focus on men, and only men that use the urinal.

How many people that go through the airport use the bathroom? I am going to make a gross estimate and say half. More assumptions – half are men and three-fourths of the men use the urinal. [If you have any real data on this, please send it my way]. So that means of the 82,182 passengers who pass through DTW, 15,410 take a piss in the urinal.

The average person produces 1.5 liters of urine a day. That is .375 liters of pee per piss. So that equals 5,779 liters of pee, or 1,527 gallons coming out of men at the urinal at DTW. That is a lot of pee. But there is a problem. the pee gets flushed with water. I’m sunk, I just want the pee. But actually I don’t. Putting pee directly on plants will burn the roots, too much nitrogen. You need to add about an 8:1 water to urine ratio. The typical urinal uses a gallon of water. So, an average day at Detroit Airport produces about 3,000 gallons on a urine-water mix.

If I can divert all the urinals at the airport to a dedicated pipe, I could back up a oil tanker truck to collect it. As it turns out, tank trucks have capacities around 5,500 to 9,000 gallons. Perfect! All I need to do is buy two tanker trucks, hook one up to the pipe at the airport, let it fill up for the day, and then come by the next morning, swap out the trucks, and drive the full one around to local farms and distribute the pee.

Introducing Dan’s Pee Emporium, I Want Your Pee!


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