Waterless urinals make a difference.

posted Jan 13, 2017, 12:20 PM by Todd Fox   [ updated Jan 13, 2017, 12:21 PM ]
What happens when your bladder is full? Urine trouble. We like to joke, but the way we use urinals is a serious matter. And in a world that’s becoming more green conscious, making the switch to waterless urinals has never been so encouraged.

Waterless urinals are an alternative that rely on gravity to drain. When properly maintained they are odor free and more hygienic. But the real hype lies in the serious impact on people’s savings and the environment.

Urinals Matter

The world is looking at a 40% water shortage by 2030, if consumption habits and industry and production policy are not changed. That shortage would not just affect shower times, but also food security.

Australia, despite being the driest habitable continent, is breaking records with water consumption, according to international water experts Hoekstra and Chapagain. Australians use an average of 341,000 liters of water a year – well above the world average of 57,000 liters.

In commercial premises, conventional urinals can consume up to 20% of fresh water usage, so the role urinals play in meeting reasonable water consumption targets needs to be taken seriously. From hotels to restaurants and corporate office buildings, almost everybody can benefits from waterless urinals.

The Importance of Maintenance

For waterless urinals to be effective in saving time and money, they need to be maintained accordingly. Whilst they do differ with cleaning from water flushing urinals and are easier to look after; they do require TLC to keep in working order. Waterless urinals should be periodically sprayed with a mild cleaner and wiped down and staff should be educated on the plumbing wastepipe system to avoid clogs and damage to the pipe.

Maintaining waterless urinals isn’t too different than maintaining conventional urinals. High traffic areas should be kept clean and disinfected daily but a bi-weekly flush out is sufficient for others. Liquid-seal waterless urinals require less maintenance than dry waterless urinals and won’t need to be repaired or have flush valves replaced, making them a great asset for businesses. Sealant and cartridges will be required with a cleaning agent to disinfect the piping.

Many parts of Australia are supplied with very “hard” water, meaning high in mineral content. This water sees supply pipes and cisterns becoming “furred up” over time, and limescale combines with uric acid salts found in urine to form a hard scale which gradually blocks waste pipes. Bacteria can stick to the limescale on the surface of urine bowls. Waterless urinals avoid this issue, making them easier to clean and maintain than regular water flushing urinals.

Time and Money Savers

Waterless urinals are made of vitreous china or porcelain – as are most toilets. There are two types of waterless urinals. The first uses a liquid sealer and the density difference between the sealant and the liquid waste means that the less-dense sealant floats, creating a barrier. This type of toilet can then either use a cartridge or an integrated drain trap. The cartridge design uses disposable inserts that fit into the urinal base, while the integrated trap uses a liquid that separates waste through a basin trap.

The second type doesn't need a seal to work – it instead uses a flexible silicone diaphragm housed in a removable cartridge. This diaphragm allows the urine to pass through, then seals over, preventing odours from entering the room.

There's also a less common model, manufactured in Australia, that uses solid blocks full of microbes to neutralise bacteria and filter waste downwards.

So not only do waterless urinals not smell, but they are also more hygienic. When urine leaves the body, it’s generally sterile. It's the mixing of water with urine that encourages bacteria to grow. Waterless toilets prevent urine from being exposed to both water, the minerals in water and the air.

On top of that, they don't need water supply pipes or a flush system.

A family with four men or boys, each flushing a 5.7 litre toilet three times a day would save 24,800 litres of water a year if they installed a waterless urinal. Such water savings can be translated into money savings, on top of the savings in maintenance and time.

Be Part of the Solution

A lot of that water consumption is taken up by industry and business, but families, government institutions, and medium sized businesses can still do their part.

There are numerous ways individuals and organisations can save water – from shorter showers, to recycling house water, using water tanks, and alternative farming methods. A waterless urinal is one of these measures that is worth looking into.

Some institutions, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, are installing waterless urinals in order to reduce water consumption. You too can be part of the eco-friendly solution today.

Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson who writes for Envirocare Systems – Perth’s green business dedicated to handling auditing and effective waterless urinal maintenance. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.