Testing out a new pee repellent that "pees back" to prevent public urination. pic.twitter.com/6eDJ4w9MWH— SF Public Works (@sfpublicworks) July 23, 2015
It was a lightning-fast move, given that we're talking San Francisco bureaucracy. Back in March, SF Department of Public Works chief Mohammed Nuru made it known that he was pursuing a new line of defense against those who'd pee on public buildings: a urine-repellent coating that would splash back on those relieving themselves against anything painted with the substance.
Here we are, a little more than four months later, and the splash-backs have commenced.
As previously reported, Nuru and associated saw the below report of how the anti-pee paint was being used in Hamburg, and "thought it looked interesting."
As we noted back in March, DPW asked residents to email them with suggestions on where to test the paint. And as of today, we have "nine urine-repellent walls in the Tenderloin, the Mission and South of Market," including the pee-central known as the 16th Street BART plaza, the Chron reports. Even more anti-pee walls will be painted next month, with locations still to be determined, a DPW spokesperson says.
The initial tests of the anti-pee paint went well, it appears. “The team that did the testing, they were excited because the liquid bounces back more than we thought it would," Nuru said. Now we're in the full pilot phase, in which “We will send people to see, visually, if there are any wet signs to indicate urination has happened,” Nuru tells the Chron.
“We will also use our natural nose to smell and see if urine is there. If it seems to work, we will continue it after the pilot phase ends.”
The coating is called Ultra-Ever Dry, a substance that "uses proprietary omniphobic technology to coat an object and create a surface chemistry and texture with patterns of geometric shapes that have 'peaks' or 'high points,'" according to the product's website. It doesn't just work on walls: as two of the company's product videos demonstrate, it splashed liquids back from paper, fabric, and more:
It's really kind of hypnotic, isn't it? But, before you ask, it is "FOR INDUSTRIAL USE ONLY. NOT AVAILABLE TO CONSUMERS AT THIS TIME," so sorry, you can't prep your home for Bay to Breakers with it (unless you have an in with DPW, I guess).
According to the Chron, "Paint and installation costs a couple hundred dollars for each wall," a cost that presumably includes the signage placed on most of the coated surfaces that reads “Hold it! This wall is not a public restroom. Please respect San Francisco and seek relief in an appropriate place."
That last part, the "an appropriate place" phrase, might give one pause, however, as the same areas that are now home to the pee-deflecting coating are also historically places where public and "appropriate" places to pee are hard to come by. However, according to Nuru, DPW's "Pit Stop" program should take care of that!
It's worth noting that the Tenderloin Pit Stop is only open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, as is the SoMa one. The Pit Stop at 16th and Mission is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and the 16th and Capp stop is available between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Those feeling the urge outside those time frames might find themselves in more of a bind, but before you take to the alley, better heed Nuru's words and “Watch your shoes over there, brother." You never know when the wall you're pissing on is going to fight back.