Green Business Bureau Blog
Reduce Water Costs with Flushless Urinals
Since the times of the Romans and perhaps before, humans have recognized the need to take sanitary measures to remove waste from our living spaces. Today, toilets and urinals are found in every building, every consumer area, and often even simply free standing outside. This trend helps keep our world clean and promotes sanitary behaviors. Unfortunately, most of these waste disposal systems use a lot of water. Consider the urinal, used by males to dispose of, well, urine. This human by product of metabolism is made up of 95% water; it seems to make little sense to use water to flush away this water. Thus, the waterless urinal, also called the flushless urinal, was born as an economical way to remove waste without the unnecessary use of fresh water.
The Benefit Older urinals used to use up to 2.5 gallons of water per flush. That means that if you work in an old office, with older plumbing, a single day of drinking coffee while you work could add up to 7.5 to 9 gallons of water flushed away into the water treatment system. Of course using water like this for little reason is wasteful. The problem is that water takes energy to treat it to become potable and be shipped into buildings. It also takes energy and money to treat it as waste water before releasing it into nearby oceans or rivers. In a world where water is becoming increasingly valuable, using water in such way makes little sense.
Modern urinals often use just 1.5 gallons per flush, with some exceptionally low-flow models using even less. But even at this rate that means that a school full of children can use as much as 700,000 gallons of water in a year. Multiply that times all the public restrooms in the United States and that is a lot of water being used simply to flush water down a drain.
Flushless urinals are a modern option for removing waste water without using water in the process. These urinals use no water in day to day use, conserving water and saving money.
The Design Flushless urinals are basically urinal shaped drains. They have no flush valve, no handle and no water supply. Generally, they have a large bowl, properly sloped to encourage liquid to flow down into the drain. Most waterless urinals today are equipped with vandal proof caps to prevent solids from entering and clogging the pipe. They also use some type of self-sealing diaphragm or rubber tube to close off the urinal when not actively draining to prevent sewer gasses from escaping (a function normally carried out by standing water in an elbow trap on standard urinals).
Many flushless urinals do include a cartridge which filters the incoming urine, separating out non-water materials and substances, passing the water into the drain. Such systems require that the cartridges be replaced regularly, which can be a maintenance concern. Furthermore, there have been some concerns that copper piping drain lines may be subject to corrosion from non-diluted urine. However, few drain lines use copper; it is generally reserved for supply lines.
The Savings Waterless urinals save the environment and a buildings bank account by eliminating the need to use any water for urinal flushing. In addition, these units tend to cost less than traditional units because they do not have to be manufactured with flushing mechanisms. Finally, they are low maintenance; flushless urinals have no flushing mechanism to break down resulting in a reduction of broken valves or loss of function. You won’t even need so many “out of order” signs! Installing even more easily than a traditional urinal, waterless models are cost effective to purchase, install and operate, making flushless urinals an excellent choice for any building, business or application.