Seven Myths and Seven Facts about Waterless Urinals


Do waterless urinals spread germs?

Even though there are more no-water urinals installed around the world today than ever before, there are still quite a few myths about no-water urinals that need to be addressed.

Distributors of no-water urinals manufactured by Waterless Co. indicate the following are the seven most frequently heard comments they hear about waterless urinals. We’ve analyzed each one, to help separate fact from fiction.

The urine just stays in the urinal. Urine is virtually all water. Like water, gravity forces it to flow down to the base of the urinal where it is released into the plumbing below, making this myth fiction.

Waterless urinals spread germs. When a water-using urinal is flushed, the force of the flush causes urine, germs, and bacteria to become airborne and splash onto walls, partitions, the floor, hands, and clothes. That flush of water does not occur with no-water urinals, eliminating this problem.

No-water urinals are illegal. When first introduced in the U.S. in the early 1990s, this was the case in some areas of the country. However, by 2001, the Uniform Plumbing Code International and the International Plumbing Code accepted no-water urinals, indicating they are a viable alternative to traditional water-using urinals and needed to encourage water conservation efforts around the globe.

Waterless urinals are not waterless. This is partially true. Some manufacturers require that a certain amount of water be poured into the urinal regularly. However, for other brands, this is not necessary.

Waterless urinals are not right for busy locations. It’s just the opposite.  Airports, stadiums, shopping complexes, hospitals, schools, and military posts are some of the biggest purchasers of no-water urinals.

No-water urinals are often vandalized. It is water-using urinals that are most frequently vandalized. It is their flush valves and handles, whether manual or automatic, that are often the target of vandals.

Waterless urinals are yucky to clean. For the most part, they are cleaned in precisely the same manner as traditional urinals. However, it is recommended not to use harsh cleaning agents when cleaning a waterless urinal.



If you haven’t heard of Shreya Ramachandran, now is the time to get to know her. This young lady is likely to have a bright future when it comes to using water wisely and responsibly.

Shreya, who is Asian American and now lives in California, was in California’s Central Valley during its historic drought a few years ago. This was one of the worst and most prolonged droughts in the state’s history, and it was devastating for farmers.

The drought reminded her of similar conditions in India. Her grandparents told her they met with a former farmer that recently lost his farm as a result of an unforgiving drought in India.

Though only 11 years old, Shreya decided to see whether there was anything she could do to help the farmers not only in Central Valley but also back home in India. After extensive online research, she found that most of the water used in homes in the United States and India, such as the water used in washing machines and dishwashers, was discharged into sewers where it may not be treated and reused. She wanted to see whether this water, called graywater or greywater, could be redirected and reused for irrigation purposes.

However, she soon stumbled upon a significant obstacle. Most laundry detergents used in both countries, as well as many dishwasher detergents, contain chemicals that make the used water unsuitable for reuse. To address this situation, she combined several natural, safe, and nontoxic ingredients made from nuts and berries, which are used in India to make shampoo. Through various experiments, she found that by using just the right amounts of this mixture, the shampoo was perfect for washing clothes and dishes. Plus, it could be safely reused for irrigation purposes.

Her next step was to conduct another experiment. Her family started to use her shampoo concoction on their clothes and dishes. She then drilled a hole in the side of her parents’ house, allowing the graywater from those machines to be channeled and used to irrigate the plants and trees in her backyard.


It worked and worked well. Similar systems were built for Shreya’s friends and neighbors. In fact, it was the beginning of what is now called the Grey Water Project.

Today, a sophomore in high school, Shreya lectures at libraries and gives presentations on how to recycle and reuse water for daily purposes. Her teachers have even gotten behind the project. She is working with her school to develop a curriculum so that they can teach the topic and build further interest in water conservation and efficiency. “I learned about recycling when in elementary school, and it just became second nature,” she says. “I want that to happen with graywater.”