Management & Operations

San Francisco pilots 'pee-repellent' paint to stop public urination

Posted on July 28, 2015

Signage posted on the walls with the urine-repellant paint. Courtesy San Francisco Public Works
Signage posted on the walls with the urine-repellant paint. Courtesy San Francisco Public Works

SAN FRANCISCO — Public Works crews have finished painting nine city walls with pee-repellent paint, which sprays urine right back onto the shoes and pants of unsuspecting relief-seekers, SFGate reported.

Paint and installation, which costs a couple hundred dollars for each wall, proved to be effective in Germany where it was applied to walls in Hamburg’s St. Pauli quarter, where beer drinkers often can’t be bothered to find a bathroom, according to the report. 

Public urination has long been a problem in San Francisco. Legislation banning it in 2002 but has seen little success, despite a $50-to-$500 fine, SFGate reported. Since January, there have been 375 requests to steam clean urine. For the full story, click here.

Check out this TED Talk video of Mark Shaw demoing Ultra-Ever Dry, the paint used by San Francisco's Public Works department. It is a liquid-repellent coating that acts as a shield against water and water-based materials. At the nano level, the spray covers a surface with an umbrella of air so that water bounces right off. 

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