December 10, 2004  


Waterless Urinals Could Save 4,000 Gallons of Water a Day

By Raven Hanna

Some may have already noticed the new facilities in the Test Lab’s (Bldg. 044) men’s restroom, where SLAC is testing four waterless urinals. Produced by Falcon Waterfree Technologies, the new models not only have less potential to back-up, they are also environmentally friendly.

Facilities coordinator George Kuraitis (SEM) estimates that complete replacement with the new urinals will save 4,000 gallons of water per day, or two million gallons of water each year.

"The numbers are staggering," Kuraitis said. "What that means for SLAC is that not only are two million gallons less of water that you are using, but also two million gallons less of effluent."

Replacement of all old units with the waterless models is contingent upon a successful trial period. After two months, all is going well, said Kuraitis.

"No news is good news," said building manager Mary Regan (KLY). "Since the initial adjustment, I have heard no comments at all about the urinals. And if I were to hazard a guess, that means that they are working just fine. As a building manager, I hear more about the men’s restroom than any woman should in a normal lifetime."

The urinals are only hooked up to the sanitary sewer piping. This requires a different means of preventing back flow of sewer gases than a standard plumbing connection. This is done by the replaceable cartridge containing a biodegradable liquid sealant. The incoming urine drains into the cartridge and sinks underneath the sealant, which is less dense. The sealant prevents odors from escaping.

Several studies have shown that the waterless urinals are more hygienic than their flushing counterparts. They will not back up and no flushing means no touching is required.

For the curious, Kuraitis has posted literature by the urinals explaining the workings and a vial containing a sample of the sealant.



The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Wednesday December 08, 2004 by Emily Ball