When San Francisco’s public works director Mohammed Nuru talks about “hotspots,” the multitude of locations where you can connect to free Internet is the last thing on his mind. Instead, he’s referring to particular places where people like to pee. Public places, that is.
Nuru told SF Gate recently that he and his team are now taking steps to “discourage people from peeing at many of our hotspots,” though their methods may surprise some. Those who feel the need to empty their bladder on the city’s streets from this week may well watch in horror as their urine deflects off the wall and sprays straight back onto their pants and shoes.
City officials are so fed up with some people peeing in public – and the resulting stench – that they’ve decided to paint a number of walls with “super-hydrophobic” paint that repels the liquid, a property which has the effect of throwing the issue straight back in the perpetrator’s face, so to speak.
The pee-resistant paint, called Ultra-Ever Dry, is the creation of Ultra Tech, a Florida-based chemical cleanup and waste management company, SF Gate reports. Ten walls in areas where pee is particularly problematic have been coated in the special paint, with signs on each one reminding potential pee-ers that the wall is not a public restroom so they should “seek relief in an appropriate place.”
It doesn’t, however, warn them that should they ignore the notice, much of their pungent yellow liquid will be landing right back on themselves, meaning they’ll have to go about the rest of their day wondering why people are giving them a wide berth.
Indeed, this seems to be the main downside to the plan: that urine-repellant walls could end up making even more of the city smell, though officials are of course hoping publicity around its new initiative will help to highlight the issue and make people think twice about taking a leak outside. Commenting on the effort to clean up the city’s streets, Nuru said, “Nobody wants to smell urine,” adding that the pee-resistant paint plan is part of ongoing efforts to make the city “smell nice and look beautiful.”