The Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management Toolbox (SSWM) is essentially an online library providing advice on how to handle many different types of sanitation and water-related problems, especially for third-world and developing countries.
In May 2019, they published a study, produced by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, essentially covering the advantages and disadvantages of waterless urinals. Introducing their report, they said very simply that:
A urinal is used only for collecting urine. Urinals are generally for men, although models for women have also been developed. Most urinals use water for flushing, but waterless urinals are becoming increasingly popular. This is the reason for our investigation.
With that, we report their findings:
The advantages of installing waterless urinals
Waterless urinals do not require a constant source of water
Can be built and repaired with locally available materials
Low capital and operating costs
Waterless urinals produce fewer odors than urinals with water ﬂush and also have no problems with urinal cakes (odor and urinal cakes occur when urine is mixed with water)
Waterless urinals contribute to water saving at the highest possible degree
Waterless urinals allow the pure and undiluted collection of urine for reuse, e.g., as fertilizer in urban farming
Disadvantages of installing waterless urinals
In case of replacement of the odor trap seal, the maintenance staff needs to be instructed on how to replace the seal when necessary and how to wash the ﬁxture. However, no skilled personnel are required
The use of microbial blocks may cause pollution problems in case of reuse of urine in agriculture and is therefore not recommended
Problems with odors may occur if not used and maintained correctly
Models for women are not widely available
While none of our other blogs discuss no-water urinals for women, many of them do discuss the importance of proper custodial training on how to clean and maintain no-water urinals. This appears to be an ongoing problem but in reality it can be handled so easily. Some cleaning solutions need only to be sprayed on the waterless urinals. The solution dissolves soils and contaminants, no wiping or scrubbing is necessary. The process helps keep both the waterless urinals and the entire restroom fresh, clean, and odor-free.
The Waterless Co blog is where building owners and managers find expert, practical advice on ways to reduce water consumption and to help use water more efficiently. Our goal is to protect our most valuable natural resources, help facilities reduce their water consumption and water-related costs, and operate in a more environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. For more information, contact us at 1-800-244-6264