Waterless Urinals: How They Save You Money and Water



white and powder blue colour publick restroom

Did you know that the average person in New Zealand uses 227 litres of water a day?

Specifically, 86 litres per day is used for flushing, 68 litres for bathing and hygiene purposes and another 73 litres for laundry and kitchen purposes.

More than 70% of this water is used in the bathroom. More than 20% is used in the kitchen and for laundry.

So, how many litres of water does it take to flush a toilet?

Toilets manufactured in the 1980s use 13 litres per flush, and models manufactured prior to that use between 19 and 26 litres per flush.

The average person flushes five times a day!

This accounts for a considerable amount of water usage.

Now, do the math for a business that has over 15 employees. That is a lot of water and money wasted.

What Can You Do to Make It Better?

Urinals are highly common in men’s bathrooms of the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors of society. Today, there are models for women being developed and installed all over the world.

Personal homes are not left behind either!

Builders, plumbers, and federal agencies need to ensure that urinal fixtures are water-efficient and that the most appropriate fixture is chosen for specific applications.

Toilets and urinals can account for nearly one-third of a building’s water consumption. Inefficient or poorly-maintained toilets and urinal fixtures can be a nuisance.

Flush urinals, over time, can use more water than what they were designed for, especially if the flush handle has frequently needed repair or the urinal was subjected to some form of vandalism.

Luckily, innovative advancements have made it possible for a new wave of urinals to see the light of day.

Waterless Urinals

Urinals come in two types:

  • Flushometer urinals: These send pressurised water straight from the supply line via a flush valve directly to the urinal fixture to create the flush.
  • Nonwater/waterless urinals: No water is required to flush, but a cartridge in the bottom contains a sealant that allows waste to flow through into the drain line.

There are some contemporary waterless urinals that have a kind of self-cleaning property due to small pressure differences that ‘flush’ the valve clean with each use.

Urinals that have liquid sealed valves allow urine to seep through the oil blocking outlet, utilising the different densities of the two fluids.

Waterless urinals are designed to be compatible with already existing urinal infrastructure. The only difference is the lack of flush handles and no need to attach a water inlet pipe.

Waterless urinals take away the physical interaction with handles, creating a ‘touch-free’ environment.

That’s pretty cool.

Just as with other toilet fixtures, a full range of designs (and prices) are available for installation in both private residences and public buildings.

What Makes Waterless Urinals so Great?

There are a number of reasons waterless urinals are an obvious choice for your business or home.

1. Cost

This is always what it boils down to at the end of the day.

A switch to waterless urinals can pay for itself in as little as one year in municipalities that offer rebates for their installation.

They also end up being a cheaper option for new bathroom installations. Regular flushing urinals often incur substantially higher installation costs than waterless urinals due to their pipework and flushing devices.

Keep in mind that urinals now being used in your facility will cost you for water, sewer and maintenance.

Why not convert these costs to purchase waterless urinals? Your retrofit can pay its own way.

2. Maintenance

Maintenance on waterless urinals is different than that of a flushometer urinal and takes up less time!

All that is required is daily spray-and-wipe cleaning of each fixture and occasionally replacing the cartridge, which you will know to do when the blue sealant seeps through the top of the cartridge.

Typically, a cartridge will last about 7,000 uses, depending on the frequency of use.

As part of Alsco’s managed rental service, we will install, maintain and replace dispensers on a schedule customised to your business’ needs.

3. Hygiene

The hypothesis that waterless urinals decrease bacteria compared to water-based urinals is proven to be true.

How?

Water in toilet bowls is the perfect environment for bacteria growth, and the flushing of these urinals often sprays the bacteria into the air and onto nearby surfaces.

If this happens, it breeds cross-contamination, which can be very serious in a busy manufacturing facility.

In fact, in a study published in August 2003, Dr Gerba states, “Waterless urinals would result in a significant improvement in public restroom hygiene.”

Gerba studies “filth, pestilence, and disease,” with an emphasis on the bathroom, and says he has done more field studies on the toilet than anyone else in academia.

4. Environmentally Friendly

The most renowned benefit of using waterless urinals is the amount of freshwater saved, energy conserved, sewage eliminated and carbon emissions avoided.

Because no water goes down the drain, additional wastewater requiring treatment is not generated.

The special drain cartridges and inserts used in some models are recyclable. The sealant liquid composed of natural oil is also biodegradable.

How awesome is that? You get to contribute to saving the planet, too!

5. Odour Control

Air fresheners
Air Freshening and Odour Elimination Services

Controlling odour was actually one of the main problems in the development process of waterless urinals.

But not anymore…

Some restroom fixtures develop odour problems that can be corrected by cleaning professionals such as Alsco New Zealand.

We offer odour control services created with your washrooms in mind.

While the Alsco sanitisers work as your first line of defence and kill off odour-causing bacteria before they get the chance to spread, your air fresheners will add to your air quality by scenting it.

You can choose sanitisers or air fresheners, but they work best in combination.

Both of Alsco’s sanitising and air freshening units have dispensers that release their products on a regular basis, so you don’t have to worry about activating or replenishing them.

That’s Alsco’s job.

Why It Matters

Many innovators have diverted their attention towards developing low-flow urinals and shower heads to meet the demand for freshwater.

Such endeavours in environmental and economic conservation have seized the curiosity of some government agencies.

The U.S. Army’s Facilities Policy Division and Installation Management Agency specified that waterless urinals be installed in all new construction and major retrofits effective October 2006. Since 2010, all-new U.S. military facilities have only used waterless urinals.

According to Annette L. Stumpf, an Army architect at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Lab in Champaign, Illinois, the decision to install only waterless urinals is based on the following reasons:

  • They can save up to 170,000 litres of water per year.
  • Waterless systems require no freeze protection.
  • Electrical requirements for pumps are eliminated.
  • There is no need to provide an infrastructure for fresh (potable) water.
  • Septic loads and water treatment time are reduced.
  • The waterless systems require no installation or maintenance costs for flush handles, valves, sensors, or water supply piping.
  • No batteries, transformers, or other electronics are necessary.
  • The units are environmentally friendly.

The plethora of advantages of waterless urinals is worth the switch and an essential component to future building projects.

Don’t Let Your Waterless Urinals Be Your Achilles Heel

Get in touch with the experts and they will handle the upkeep for you!

Quality providers like Alsco will continually replenish all the consumables from your urinals and, if you wish, even deep clean all your toilets and showers.

Contact Alsco for a best-price quote today, and you are sure to leave a lasting impression on your clients, employees and the environment!

Photo: Nelo Hotsuma

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Disclaimer – These articles are provided to supply general health, safety, and green information to people responsible for the same in their organisation. The articles are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs.