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
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