We’ve heard for years that waterless urinals can save 20,000 to as much as 45,000 gallons of water per year, per urinal. For instance, Sierra Community College in California, replaced 33 conventional, water using urinals with waterless systems. They estimate they now save more than 1.3 million gallons of water per year.
But how do we come up with these figures that indicate no-water urinals can save 20,000 to 45,000 gallons of water?
The answer is that it all depends on how much water or how old the flush urinal is that the no-water system is replacing.
In an older school building, for instance, it is not uncommon to see the original urinals still installed in the boy's restrooms. These urinals may very well use 45,000 gallons of water annually. A newer urinal, especially if it was installed by the 1990s, would likely use closer to 20,000 gallons per flush.
However, something we have to remember is that even if a flush urinal says it uses one gallon of water per flush, that may have been so when it was initially installed. Flush urinals, over time, can use more water than what they were designed to use, especially if the flush handle has frequently needed repair or the urinal was subjected to some form of vandalism.
Another thing we hear about waterless urinals is that they can cut water costs. Is there some formula we can use to determine how much the cost of water (and sewer charges,) would be reduced in your facility if waterless urinals are installed?
Sorry, the answer is again no.
It all depends on the water utility rates charged in your community. However, there are many examples of cost savings when waterless urinals are installed.
For instance, Lucia Mar School District in Arroyo Grande, California, recently reported that after installing waterless urinals in their schools, they saved $1,700. While that is not a tremendous amount, that is 1,700 dollars that can be put to better use than paying water bills.
By the way, one of the most extensive studies of the cost benefits and overall benefits of waterless urinals was conducted by the state of Massachusetts. Click here to read their report and find out more about these urinals.
So with all these benefits, are waterless urinals for you? Again, it depends.
For instance, the Massachusetts study suggests no-water urinals are not recommended for prisons. They based this on the fact that the urinals in prisons tend to collect more residue than waterless urinals installed in an office, for example, due to misuse, which is not surprising. This can cause the cylinder, placed at the base of the urinal, to plug prematurely. However, depending on what system is installed, this is usually a simple and economical fix.
For help deciding if waterless urinals are for you, contact a Waterless Co representative.