San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
City Living

Don’t like public urination? There’s pee-proof paint for that

Not even the rains that have finally started in earnest this year seem to be enough to clean off the many San José sidewalks and corners that are awash in human pee.

Stained walls, that telltale smell, and sometimes the culprit unashamedly making eye contact after he finishes.

San José has so far been unable to offer any response to this bane of city life. But a group in Germany has found a way to fight back.

Instead of throwing up their hands and sighing “qué pena,” residents of the St. Pauli neighborhood in Hamburg — pissed about thoughtless (or drunk) club-goers relieving themselves in their neighborhood — decided to paint the walls there with a pee-proof paint. When a whizzer tries to pee on a public wall, the “hydrophobic paint” splashes the urine back on the pants and shoes of the peeing perpetrator.

Check out this video from the Hamburg group:

The U.S. city of San Francisco announced that it would follow St. Pauli’s lead and use the pee-proof paint on certain walls in the city, CNN reported in July.

The paint, made by the U.S. company Ultra Tech International, Inc., promises that its “superhydrophobic” paint can repel “almost any liquid.” The only thing missing is a ShamWow pitchman.

Perhaps the only way around splash-back from the special paint would be an especially wide stance or a level of desperation that would bring one to aim from the middle of the street. Because after all, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Just something to think about with municipal elections coming up next year, dear readers.

Contact Zach Dyer at

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Ken Morris

Not sure, but this may not work in Costa Rica, since in order to get the paint to stick you may have to prep the surface. I have yet to see anyone in Costa Rica bother to prep before painting.

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You should see a specific corner near La California St., it has a heat sensor and a hose attached to it (and I don’t remember if also a camera), so if someone tries to pee in that corner it will get splashed. Hilarious, also self cleaning.

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