Prospect Park wants to change the way you “go” at the park with a new system that will compost human waste. NYC has plans to build a $1.8 million composting green latrine in the park’s historic Well House building that will look much like a regular bathroom except it will use “eco-friendly foam” and very little water. Luckily, visitors won’t be subject to the smelly side of the new system as waste will be stored in the depths of the composting compartment in the bathroom’s basement, keeping it out of treatment plants and the Gowanus Canal.
Life in the basement will consist of a slowly degrading mix of wood chips and microbes to help digest the waste. “The containers with the finished so-called “humanure” will be dumped out once every five years,” said Christian Zimmerman, the park’s lead landscape architect, to the Daily News. To keep the smell at bay, the basement composting system will feature an underground exhaust system to help circulate the air.
It’s against the law to use human waste on plants, but Zimmerman hopes that by the time the low-maintenance bathroom basement composting system is ready for emptying into a landfill, the laws will have changed. With the increase in the number of visitors to the park each year, park officials are hopeful that the new bathroom will provide some much needed relief. Last year, 10 million people visited the park – a number that has drastically increased from the mere two million in 1987.
The Well House building is situated deep inside of the park with no connection to the city’s sewage system and was in serious need of a design solution that would also be earth-friendly. The project is expected to be completed by September 2015. Other NYC public parks are already up on the bathroom composting system and include The Bronx Zoo, the Queens Botanical Garden, and the Hollenback Community Garden in Brooklyn, and plans to create a similar system at the Fresh Kills Park in Staten Island are in the works.
Via Daily News