Four Places to Check to Find the Source of Restroom Malodors

There is nothing more baffling for building owners and managers as well as contract cleaning workers than restroom odor problems that simply will not go away. Most likely the custodial crew has tried just about everything, from using cleaners, disinfectants, and even bleach to wash down walls, counters, and fixtures, only to find a couple of days later, the malodor has returned.

Finding where restroom odor problems are coming from can be a really frustrating problem and may require a little help from Sherlock Holmes to solve it.

EverPrime Drain Trap Liquid Could’ve Saved the Day

Sewer odors coming from restrooms can be a problem just about anywhere.  This is why all types of facilities should stock EverPrime drain trap liquid, just in case it happens to them.


Case in point: In June 2016 in what was reported as a “milestone,” San Diego finally opened a lifeguard tower on La Jolla Children’s Pool beach.  The tower had been planned for more than four years and cost the city about $5 million.

However, this was a short-lived milestone.  By July 2016, a bank of toilets in the tower overflowed and leaked into the lifeguard locker rooms and shower areas below.  It cost the city $1,400 to clean up the mess…only to have the toilets overflow once again a couple of weeks later.

Fortunately it appears this problem has been rectified.  However, almost as soon as that issue was taken care of another one materialized.  By mid-July, lifeguards began noticing a nasty smell in the building.  Sewer odors were coming from the sewage trap on the floor in the basement of the building.  This is an area of the building that is rarely used or cleaned.  Likely it is just used for storage.

Email records from the lifeguards to city engineers indicate that the sewer odor problem seemed to be getting worse.

“It has been recently brought to my attention that a significant odor is present in the Children’s Pool facility,” wrote lifeguard Sgt. Marcus Schreiber.  “Guards are reporting this to be unbearable at times.”

But wait, there’s more.  By August 2016, the lifeguards were sending more emails to the lifeguard sergeant, this time about rats.  “Three large rats were seen in the new facility,” according to one email, and a temporary trailer set up near the new tower was infested with ants.

Sewer odors, rats, ants it makes you wonder what’s going to happen next.

As far as the rats and ants are concerned, it would not surprise us if the rats and ants were drawn to the area as a result of the sewer odors.  We can offer some insight into how the city could have addressed the sewer odors and this entire situation quickly and inexpensively. 

But first, let’s discuss what they actually did.  Their first step was to pressure wash the floor area in the basement.  This was a deep cleaning to help remove any sewer odors that had settled into the pores of the floor.  After this, the floor was sealed with an acrylic floor finish.  This sealed those very same pores.

To address the actual sewer odor problem, the city removed the grating from the floor drain and installed a solid plate over the opening.  Essentially, they closed the floor drain so no sewer odors could escape.

It does not appear that the city engineers ever investigated why the sewer odors were occurring.  On top of what we discussed here, the new tower was experiencing a number of structural problems which were blamed on the architects and contractor.  It’s very likely that they just added the sewer odor problem to the mix and blamed it on poor construction or design.

However, that may not have been the problem.  This is a new building.  There is no indication the basement floor had ever been mopped or pressure washed before.  What likely happened is that there was no water in the “J” or “P” trap underneath the floor drain.  It is the water that collects in these traps that prevents sewer odors from being released.

The city could have addressed the sewer odor problem in about five minutes and with a cost of essentially pocket change.  They could have poured about a gallon of water down the drain, to help fill the trap, followed with 3 to 6 ounces of EverPrime drain trap liquid, depending on the size of the drain.  As long as no additional water is poured down the drain, EverPrime can last indefinitely, keeping the trap filled and blocking sewer odors.  And even if water is poured down the drain, just add a few ounces of EverPrime drain trap liquid, and the sewer odor blocking power of EverPrime starts all over again.

Using Everprime drain trap liquid is fast, easy, inexpensive, and effective.  For more information, contact a Waterless Co. representative.




Is a Waterless Urinal System Right for Your Organization?

Original plumbing codes always insisted that a urinal be flushed with water. When the waterless urinal system was first introduced in 1991, builders and plumbers needed to adapt to new methods of thinking, as there will be less water used to flush fixture or none at all for urinals. With our cutting-edge waterless solutions, there is no need to modify your plumbing; our urinals will fit on like traditional fixtures but no more water supply line. There are great cost savings to be had both during installation and from the ongoing operation of using our waterless urinal system.

Saving Money for Your Organization

When you compare traditional urinals with our proven waterless urinal system, there are many cost savings to be measured.

During a new-build installation, there are savings to be made by not needing to install water supply piping and flush valves to each urinal.

Over time, the biggest saving will be the complete reduction of water used to flush a conventional system. Apart from the savings in dollars, there are further savings for the environment because water is not being wasted and fewer liquids are being sent to a water treatment plant.

Overflow due to a blockage cannot occur with waterless urinal systems, and therefore, maintenance costs are vastly reduced. Your organization will also save by not needing to purchase deodorizers to mask foul odors.

In the conventional flushed urinal system, water used to transport urine out of the bowl could often over time block up the drain line because of a buildup of lime scale from hard water. This is vastly less an issue with waterless urinals.

During cold weather, some plumbing systems need to be protected against the water freezing, causing cracked pipes. This is no longer an obligation with this modern technology as no water is present in the system.

For public areas, there are fewer targets for vandals to attack, as removing and breaking water pipes to flood a restroom is no longer possible.

Waterless Inc. has operated for over a quarter century with the founder being the original inventor of waterless urinal systems. For a new build and design, it is easy to install a waterless urinal system, and it is straightforward to replace your current system with our technology to reduce your water bill, and plumbing problems.  Contact us today: (800) 244-6364.


Flies: How to Keep Your School a No Fly Zone

Ever wonder where flies go in the winter?  Well, they don’t pack up and move to Florida.  What they do is adjust to the seasons and when it gets cold outside, they go inside places like your school, where it is nice and warm. 

It’s true we do not see them as frequently. They tend to cluster during the winter months, probably to keep warm. When the warmer weather arrives, that’s when they become more independent and we find them flying inside and outside.

Even though they are not as noticeable in the winter months, they can become a nuisance and a serious nuisance at that.  According to Greg Baumann, Vice President of Training and Technical Services for Orkin Pest Control, “flies can transmit pathogenic microorganisms that cause E. coli, salmonella and shingles. To make matters worse, a 2010 study by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences documented five more bacteria species carried by common house flies that were not previously linked to the pest. These diseases can cause food poisoning or respiratory infections in humans.”

No Flies, use EverPrime

So how do we keep them from living in your school and especially out from areas such as cafeterias and kitchens. Give these suggestions a try:

You can blow them out. 
If you have ever walked into a store and felt a blast of air blowing down directly to the floor, it usually is doing two things.  It is helping to keep outside air – hot or cold -  from coming inside and it is helping to keep flying insects out.  Essentially, it sets up a boundary line that flies cannot cross.

Install another set of doors.
In some parts of the U.S. where flying insects of all kinds are a problem, having two sets of doors at all entries seems to keep most insects from “crossing the line,” so to speak, and entering the building.

Keep food odors down.
As you can imagine, food odors attract flies. To keep odors to a minimum in cafeteria and kitchen areas, line all garbage cans with trash liners and regularly clean the garbage can with a cleaner and disinfectant.  Simply “hosing down” the garbage can will not remove the odors that attract flies. Make sure all trash cans in the kitchen and in the cafeteria are covered and clean cafeteria tables frequently.

Clean up spills.
All types of spills, even if it is just tap water, must be cleaned up quickly.  If you have ever noticed, flies often try to reach our mouths or eyes.  They know that’s where the moisture is.  But if that is not possible, then they look for moisture on just about any type of surface.

Pay attention to floor drains.
This is an area that is often overlooked. Two things can happen to floor drains, causing them to release odors and attract flies.  The first is they begin to clog up, typically due to food or contaminants collecting in the drain.  If water begins to build up, it becomes a perfect place for flies to lay their eggs. Either way, flies love clogged drains. So be sure and unclog drains as soon as you see a problem materializing.

But the other reason is not so apparent. When schools are closed for a few days or longer, floor drains can dry out.  When this happens, sewer odors are released and this also attracts flies…a lot.  In fact, flies like floor drains so much there is actually an entire specifies of flies called “floor drain” flies. (They may also be called moth flies, sewer flies, or filter flies). These flies typically breed around floor drains, which make this a growing problem.

The best way to prevent sewer odors and keep drain flies out of your school is to use a product such as .  Surprisingly inexpensive yet very effective, EverPrime can keep drains from drying out for many months. Cold or hot temperatures have no impact on EverPrime so it is a year-round defense against this problem.

It’s tough to keep flies completely out of schools, but these steps and using EverPrime, can help you stay on top of the struggle and help turn your school into a No Fly Zone.

Water Use in Commercial Facilities

Water use in commercial facilities is very dependent on a number of factors, including the age of the building, the local climate, and how the facility is used, among others. For instance, office buildings that include a cafeteria and a kitchen probably use more water than locations that do not have these features. Further, the type and age of the HVAC systems installed can greatly impact how much water a property consumes.

However, in virtually all settings, restrooms use more water than any other part of a facility. This is according to the U.S. Department of Energy, which estimates that about 60 percent of all water used in a commercial facility is used in toilets, sinks, and urinals.* If building owners and managers want to use water more efficiently, the best place to start is in the restroom.

Before going any further, we should clarify what is meant by the terms water efficiency and water conservation. Typically, when there is a serious water shortage, local governments ask or even require consumers to use less water. However, once the shortage has passed, these restrictions are lifted. This is an example of water conservation—water is conserved during the shortage.

Water efficiency, on the other hand, refers to a long-term reduction in water consumption that is not in response to current water conditions or shortages. Facilities that use water efficiently have systems and fixtures in place that are able to meet users’ needs while also using less water than conventional equivalents.

The benefits of water efficiency efforts can be measured by calculating the difference between what the building owners/managers previously spent on water and related operating costs and what they spend after water efficiency programs are implemented. The return on investment of new equipment, fixtures, and other water-related items can also be calculated over the lifetime of a water efficiency project, and includes such things as reduced maintenance, water, sewer, and related energy costs.


Water Efficiency Steps

Below is a quick summary of how a typical commercial facility can use water more efficiently:

Toilets. Replace older toilets with fixtures that meet or exceed Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and International Plumbing Code (IPC) requirements: 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Some newer toilets, including high-efficiency and dual-flush models, use even less water than that.

Faucets. Replace existing faucets or install restrictive aerators to reduce water use from approximately 2.2 gallons per minute to 0.5 gallons per minute.

Urinals. Again, replace older fixtures with newer models that use less water (one gallon of water per flush or less). However, facilities can achieve far greater savings by installing waterless urinal systems.  Further, according to a study by the Rand Corporation, waterless urinals often provide a significant savings due to their lower annual maintenance costs, in addition to the benefits incurred from reduced water use.

Alternative water sources. Some facilities, and even some legal jurisdictions, have installed or are planning to install “greywater” distribution systems. While this water is considered non-potable (that is, not for human consumption), it can usually be used for toilets and traditional urinals, as well as for plant/landscape irrigation in some cases.

Leak Detection. In most cases, leaky restroom fixtures and pipes are only fixed when they become excessive or cause problems, such as water pooling on floors. A formal leak detection program—in which building engineers regularly check all fixtures and major plumbing connections on a set schedule—can save literally thousands of gallons of water annually.

Tracking Water Use

While taking the steps above can help facilities use water more efficiently, the first step building owners and managers should take is tracking where water is being used in the facility. One way to do this is by installing sub-meters in various facility locations (such as restrooms, cafeteria and food service areas, different floors or blocks of floors, etc.) and then monitoring water consumption in each area. This can provide insight into where water is being used and can also point out inconsistencies in water consumption—information that can sometimes result in significant savings.

For instance, a facility might find that one block of floors uses far less water than another block. Is this because there are fewer people on those floors? Or are there plumbing leaks or older fixtures in the block using more water? Tracking water use allows building engineers to move quickly to identify problem areas within a building’s water systems. It also allows owners and managers to decide which areas to tackle first when making changes to increase water efficiency—and decrease water-related expenses.

Taking the time to increase water efficiency gives buildings owners and managers a unique opportunity to become leaders in their communities, helping to have a dramatic impact on reducing water consumption.

A frequent speaker and author on water conservation and water efficiency issues, Klaus Reichardt is founder and CEO of Waterless Co. Inc, Vista, CA, makers of no-water urinal systems and other restroom products.  He may be reached at


*This can vary if water is used for landscape irrigation.

Are California's Utilities Their Own Worst Drought Enemies?


By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

In California, life for water and wastewater utilities isn’t easy. They are asked to find solutions for increasingly desperate drought conditions and to do so in ways that won’t make things worse. A new effort to keep them from contributing to climate change might not make things any easier for now, but it could make for a brighter future.

In late August, a bill sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and introduced by Senator Fran Pavley passed California State Legislature. Enrolled and presented to Governor Brown in early September, the bill “SB-1425 Water-Energy Nexus Registry,” would require the California Environmental Protection Agency to develop a registry for greenhouse gas emissions produced by water suppliers and water and wastewater treatment plants.

Water Pumps California Utilities Waterless Urinals

“According to Senator Pavley, this bill was inspired by our report ‘Clean Energy Opportunities in California’s Water Sector,’ which concluded that better data are needed to understand where opportunities lie for the water sector to contribute to California’s climate goals,” said Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith, a UCS climate scientist.

To illustrate the pollution that inspired the bill, Christian-Smith cited California Energy Commission findings that the water sector uses about 20 percent of California’s electricity and 30 percent of its natural gas to pump, treat, transport, deliver, and heat water.

In California as elsewhere, water and wastewater utilities either purchase electricity from a public enterprise or the wholesale market — in which case they have little say over how the energy is produced — or they buy it from independent providers or generate it themselves, which does allow them to choose where that power comes from.

To read more, click here.