San Francisco expands pilot program to spray walls with urine repellant

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The innovative approach San Francisco took in July to stop people from relieving themselves against walls in city neighborhoods is working so well, it's being expanded. (KGO-TV)

The innovative approach San Francisco took in July to stop people from relieving themselves against walls in city neighborhoods is working so well, it's being expanded. More of the urine repellent is being sprayed on both public and private properties.

On Wednesday, it looked like a building in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood was being spray painted. But it was actually just the latest in a pilot program that's now expanding. The wall was coated with a urine repellent. And a sign was put up that says, "Hold it! This wall is not a public restroom."


"I'm not sure the people peeing on the walls can actually read the small print," said one passerby.

Those who go ahead and relieve themselves will get a nasty surprise. If the urine hits at the right angle, it splashes back.

The Department of Public Works says that since July, nine walls have been coated. Another eight are now being added with 11 more on the list. Homeowners can also request the service.

Officials say an alley in the Mission is the one trouble spot that remains problematic. A resident says the Stockton Street Tunnel also doesn't pass the sniff test.

"I can't say that it does smell better, no," he said.


But according to public works, 95 percent of the so-called pee walls are doing the trick. And at about $200 a pop, are much less expensive than how the city usually responds.

"We have to send a steamer out," said Mohammed Nuru with the Department of Public Works. "That's quite a huge cost that's been saved. And in addition we're also saving water."

The city is also increasing public toilets and the portable Pit Stop program to give people appropriate places to go. Don Falk with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development applauds that effort, but his affordable housing development also requested the pee wall.

"We really appreciate that the city has come up with this innovative new way," he said.

The pilot program continues through December.
Related Topics:
societybizarrehealthSan FranciscoMission DistrictTenderloin
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