Billions of people still lack basic sanitation. Why?


Hi-tech loos that use little or no water and can recycle waste products safely and sustainably promise to give billions of people around the world access to much-needed sanitation. So why do so many still lack this basic amenity?

About 2.3 billion people still lack basic toilets, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And 4.5 billion don't have safely managed sanitation, with waste disposed in a way that won't contaminate drinking water.

Each year contaminated water kills half a million children under five through diarrhoeal diseases, the WHO says.

So many inventors, entrepreneurs and research institutions around the world have been working on hi-tech loos that can function without the need for expensive mains sewerage systems.

To read more from the BBC website on this article, click here.

Architecture Firm Ooze Solves Freshwater Crises

On a small strip of land between the Emscher River and the Rhine Herne Canal in Germany sits a rest stop whose colorful appearance belies its radical purpose. The structure’s artful design consists of pipes leading from two toilets and the Emscher (the most polluted river in Germany) that converge at a small community garden and drinking fountain. The garden is, in fact, a man-made wetland that collects, treats, and cleans the effluence from the toilets and river—making it drinkable.

fresh clean water, drinking water, clean water

The 2010 project, known as Between the Waters, was one of the earliest projects of Rotterdam-based Ooze Architecture and its two founders Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg. Ooze is focused on one very specific goal: finding solutions to the world’s clean water crisis through observing, imitating, and socially normalizing naturally-occurring water purification processes. “The solutions are already there, they’ve always been there, ingrained in nature,” says Hartenberg. “We just use these ideas the environment has presented to us all along, and modify them to make systems that are efficient, low-tech, and easily maintained.”

To read more on the Metropolis Magazine website click here.

The Pros and Cons of Waterless Urinals

Because we are the oldest manufacturer of no-water urinals in the United States, we know probably better than any other restroom manufacturer of the "pro's" and "con's" of no-water urinals.  So, we thought we would discuss some of these with you, especially for those building owners and managers now considering the installation of waterless urinals in their facility.

First, the pro's

Least Expensive Non-water urinal

Water Savings

Of course, this is the primary benefit of waterless urinals.  In most facilities, more water is used in restrooms than any other area of the building.  While most of this water is used for flushing toilets, water consumption used for flushing urinals is not far behind. While the annual amounts can vary depending on where the urinal is located, the frequency of use, the number of males in the facility, and other factors, waterless urinals can save anywhere from 30,000 gallons to 40,000 gallons of water per year, per urinal.

Low Maintenance

Urinals, whether they are water using or no-water urinals, are very hardy and durable and can last for years and years. However, the same cannot be said for the flush handles.  In a restaurant, bar, or school, the flush handles frequently are tampered with or need service and maintenance just due to use and wear.  This is true whether they are sensor-controlled or manual. The absence of a flush handle, as is the case with a no-water urinal, eliminates this problem.

Further, we have found, and our findings are shared with other manufacturers of no-water urinals, that hard encrustation pipe clogging happens less often with waterless urinals.  It is the mixing of water and urine in flushed urinals that causes encrustations to form in pipes. With the absence of water, only soft sediments remain.

Improved Hygiene

As noted in some of our earlier blogs waterless urinals can actually be more sanitary than water using urinals.  For one thing, they stay dry.  Bacteria need moisture to grow and survive.  Further, when a urinal is flushed, it can release airborne pathogens that can coat floors, walls, and land on people's hands. This can result in cross contamination.  And of course, there is the problem with touching the flush handle.  Flush handles, like all fixtures, handles in a restroom, can collect all types of germs and bacteria.  With a waterless urinal, which has no flush handle, this means there is one less thing that needs to be touched, helping reduce the potential for cross-contamination.

Odor Control

We mentioned earlier that bacteria need water to develop and survive. So do odors, typically released by the bacteria.  This means fewer bacteria/less odor.  We should also mention that with the Waterless system, a trap or cylinder is placed at the bottom of the urinal.  Then it is filled with a sealant.  This keeps sewer odors from being released into the restroom, further keeping the restroom clean and odor free.




While it is less a problem today than years ago, there remains some user resistance to using no-water urinals. However, time and a bit of education have helped eliminate this resistance. When men realize how much water is being saved, any opposition to using waterless urinals soon dissipates.  We should also mention that some cleaning professionals are reluctant to remove the cylinder/trap at the bottom of the urinal. Because it is so crucial that these cylinders/traps be changed when necessary, some manufacturers have introduced specially designed tools to make the entire process as safe and easy as possible.


While many waterless urinals are designed to have the same footprint and convention water-using urinals, some adjustments may be necessary.  For instance, in about 50 percent of retrofits, the drain pipe may need to be lowered for proper mounting height, especially if older flushed urinals were installed.  However, when facilities realize how much water is being saved, and the return on the investment, any opposition to using waterless urinals soon dissipates


Local Approvals

Over the years, this has virtually become a non-issue.  At one time, code officials in many states, even Texas and California, which have some of the most serious water problems in the country, were reluctant to allow for the installation of waterless urinals.  Now, these states and many others offer tax rebates and other credits, encouraging building users to install no-water urinals.

Improper Cleaning

Once waterless urinals have been installed in a facility, cleaning professionals are often not taught how to clean them properly.  While it is not much different than cleaning a traditional urinal, too much water used in cleaning or the use of certain cleaning chemicals, for instance, can harm the cylinders/traps used in waterless urinals. In most cases, the distributor marketing the waterless urinal will advise cleaning professionals how they are to be cleaned and what products to use, many of which are made by the waterless urinal manufacturer.

For more information on waterless urinals and their many benefits, contact a Waterless Co. representative.

Couple Wins prize with making water from air

LOS ANGELES – It started out modestly enough: David Hertz, having learned that under the right conditions you really can make your own water out of thin air, put a little contraption on the roof of his office and began cranking out free bottles of H2O for anyone who wanted one.


Soon he and his wife, Laura Doss-Hertz, were thinking bigger — so much so that this week the couple won the $1.5 million XPrize For Water Abundance. They prevailed by developing a system that uses shipping containers, wood chips and other detritus to produce as much as 528 gallons (2,000 liters) of water a day at a cost of no more than 2 cents a quart (1 liter).

To continue to read, click here to go to the original article on the FOX News website.

World Toilet Day is November 19, 2018

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A Celebration of When Nature Calls

World Toilet Day, an annual event to help bring awareness to the fact that billions of people around the world do not have access to safe, clean, and reliable toilets or water for drinking, bathing, cooking, and handwashing, will be held this year on Monday, November 19, 2018.

The theme this year is When Nature Calls, and while a tad humorous, the problems related to accessible working toilets and safe drinking water are a major problem worldwide.

It is estimated that one in three people do not have access to a toilet or dependable “potable” water supplies. 

According to a joint 2017 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, Ethiopia has the highest percentage of people in the world – about 90 percent - without access to toilets.

India, with all its economic and technological progress over the past decades comes in second. An estimated 730 million people in India live without basic sanitation facilities, according to these organizations.

“World Toilet Day promoters are asking us all to become WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) ambassadors on Nov. 19,” says Klaus Reichardt, CEO and found founder of Waterless Co., Inc.

“The job of a WASH ambassador is to spread the word and encourage action.  The lack of clean, sanitary, and reliable toilets is one of the major reasons for disease and death around the globe.”

According to Reichardt, some of the ways we can all become WASH ambassadors include the following:

•    Photograph how your organization is helping to promote sanitation and the proper use of toilets in your community. Deliver to by November 14; a high-tech camera will be awarded for the winning photo

•    Take part in one of the many World Toilet Day events around the world, which are listed here

•    Share social media cards available from this site

•    Download posters, artwork, and fact sheets

“Most importantly, get involved,” adds Reichardt. “I would like to see more corporate sponsors backing these efforts.  Millions if not billions of people can benefit from their efforts.”

Fact Sheet:

•    Today, an estimated 4.5 billion people live without a safe toilet

•    Nearly 900 million still practice open defecation, which can spread disease on a massive scale

•    Approximately 80 percent of wastewater flows back into the environment without being treated (Sato et al., 2013)

•    Nearly two million people use drinking water with no protection against contamination

•    Twenty percent of schools worldwide have no toilets.