If you live in Arizona, you’ll likely hear a lot about House Bill 2428. Introduced by State Representative Bob Thorpe, the bill would require that all state-owned and -operated buildings convert traditional, water-using urinals to waterless urinals in the next two years. Furthermore, it would require any commercial buildings in the state undergoing renovation or remodeling costing more than $10,000 to install waterless urinals.
Going waterless has been a trend in Arizona for a while. We could say Arizona has been at the forefront when it comes to installing waterless urinals and finding other ways to reduce water consumption. In 2004, it was the first state to recommend the installation of waterless urinals in all new state buildings. However, House Bill 2428 goes beyond any recommendations— waterless urinals would be a requirement.
The reasons are obvious. Arizona is one of the driest states in the country, and droughts and water shortages have been a problem in the state for decades. Furthermore, it is expected that the future will not be all that much brighter. In the past, as soon as the state found ways to deliver more water, more people and more industry would move in. This started the cycle all over again. More people and more industry need more water.
Thorpe’s bill takes a different approach. Instead of finding more water, Representative Bob Thorpe wants to find ways to use water more efficiently or, where possible, not use water at all. As to the installation of waterless urinals, he also believes the return on the investment will justify the cost of installation.
“National standards are that in a commercial setting, these types of units [referring to waterless urinals] can save up to roughly 40,000 gallons per year. It appears that the payback is approximately 18 months—as far as the cost of replacing the [flushable] unit.”
Furthermore, he believes this is something the state must do. “If we’re asking farmers and others to reduce their water usage, then I think the state ought to as well,” said Thorpe. “It’s my hope that we’re going to be saving potentially millions and millions of gallons within the state.”
Thorpe is even getting support from plumbers in the state who, many years ago, were not that enthusiastic about waterless urinals. “If it’s a new build or a remodel, [waterless urinals are] the way to go and the wave of the future,” says John Ricart, a plumber in Phoenix. “You have to think about the environmental impact.” He also agrees with Thorpe that waterless urinals provide cost savings over time, which is not possible with water-using urinals.
At this time, House Bill 2428 is in committee, but according to Thorpe, “I've had conversations with the Speaker [State Representative Rusty Bowers] and he’s completely on board. I haven’t gotten anyone who has expressed anything negative toward the bill.”