Strange Urinal


Harder than Ronnie Pickering
Meanwood, Leeds
I took a couple of pals to Sedburgh Folk Festival this weekend and all three of us were intrigued by their experimental straw bale urinal.

Basically the menfolk were invited to urinate on straw bales that were situated inside a tented structure.

Despite the hot weather, the anticipated foul smell did not develop only a sweetish strawy smell. The bales are distined to be incorporated into a farmer's midden where the bales will break down befo0re being used as a top dressing on the fields.

This morning there was evidence that suggested that someone had toppled through from the outside into the urinals.....

Anyone au fait with how straw bale urinals work?


New Member
As I understand it, the straw bale is cut ends uppermost, and by peeing into the middle, the straw soaks up the urine and the composting starts from the middle outwards over the course of a few months.


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
I don't know the mechanics of it, but we have a permanent one at St Nicks where I work - well, the bale has to be changed everyso often, but the wickerwork shielding is permanent.


We have one in our compost bin at home. Damned handy when you get caught short whilst fettling in the garage. :wacko:

Don't get the ladies to use it, though, their hormones are all different.


Straw bales are well known in water treatment. It's common to chuck them in a lagoon system if it goes sick.

The key to their operation is a huge surface area so they will soak up fluid. In the case of dirty water or urine this then allows natural bacteria to get stuck in, munching away at the straw and any solid material while using the water to live. The presence of air allows oxygen in so the majority of processes are aerobic. Aerobic activity does not generally smell foul and results in total breakdown of natural products. The reactions are varied, essentially there is a mixed culture of asll sorts of microorganisms and they will each munch away on whatever's there until there is nothing left. You can do the same thing with sand, earth or stone but it's not so easy to dispose of afterwards.

Lagoon and ditch systems work in a similar way but are less compact. In addition you can get some foul smelling anaerobic sludges at the bottom of the ditch.

I once worked at a meat processing factory with a lagoon and ditch system, some days the lagoon was black and smelt foul, but after it had trickled through thte reed bed and a few ditches it was OK. We were helped in this by being next to an old gravel works and the water disappeared into the sandy soil.


Harder than Ronnie Pickering
Meanwood, Leeds
Aperitif said:
You should have held a straw poll as to who the culprit might have been vern...
(S)he probably wore a baleful expression after the mishap.
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