Green pee « The Daily Bayonet

Header image from the Falcon Water Technologies website

A Florida school has learned a hard lesson about green technology and green math.

The plan was to save water, and the planet, by installing waterless urinals in the boys washrooms. Each green urinal would save the school $100 per year in water utility bills.

But things went wrong. Horribly wrong:

Students at a high school in Boca Raton, Florida, must step over rivers of urine and endure the stench of rancid waste after a plan to bring ‘green’ waterless urinals into bathrooms backfired. School officials at Spanish River High School thought they had found an environmentally-friendly, cost-saving solution for their bathrooms when they installed Falcon Waterfree urinals in their boys bathrooms.

But with no water moving through the school’s copper pipes to flush the urine into the sewer system, the waste produced noxious gases that ate through the metal, leaving leaky pipes that allowed urine to drip into walls and flow onto floors.

‘It was pretty disgusting,’ school board chairman Frank Barbieri told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. ‘The girls had to step over a river of urine. I could smell it as soon as I walked into the hallway.’

via Green pee « The Daily Bayonet.

================================================================

And the Greens tell us they fully understand the chemistry of ocean acidification? Right.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Current News and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

122 Responses to Green pee « The Daily Bayonet

  1. Ken says:

    It’s Pee Cee gawn mad!

  2. Robinson says:

    Oh good lord. Think of the children!

  3. DaveF says:

    Didn’t anybody ask themselves why urinals have water in the first place?

  4. PhilJourdan says:

    Hindsight is 20/20, but that one (the lack of flushing) would seem to be more a PPPmPPP. (no pun intended).

  5. I have two anachronistic 3 gallon flushers and one ‘green’ 1.7 litre flusher. One wild guess which one always needs multiple flushes and is also the only one that ever requires a plunger to clear. This madness must be stopped before we become the civilization responsible for a ‘Green Plague’ in future history books.

    d(^_^)b
    http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com/
    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  6. Green It All says:

    I suppose this wouldn’t have happend with ABS piping?

  7. C. Reed says:

    Waterless urinals? Why didn’t they just install an out house?

  8. Brandon C says:

    Our entire sewage system is designed to work with a large amount of water with the waste. Flushing sewer systems is gonna become a regular occurance with reduced water flows. Its hard to upgrade hundreds of trillions of dollars of infrastructure after the fact, so we are stuck with it.

  9. kenboldt says:

    This doesn’t seem to be a failure on the part of the the urinals, but rather a failure on the part of the contractor who installed them to install to manufacturer specifications.

    My first question would be, why the heck do they have copper sewage pipes. Why aren’t they PVC, or clay in the case of an outdated installation.

    With proper materials and proper use, there is no reason the waterless urinals wouldn’t have worked as planned and would have indeed saved the school money in the long run. The mistake was NOT with using a “green” technology. The mistake was with not using proper materials for installation.

    An automobile is a fantastic piece of machinery, but if you put solid steel wheels on instead of rubber tires, success is not something you are going to achieve.

    I know that there are many “green” technologies that are utterly ridiculous and more wasteful than their traditional counterparts, but I for one don’t think that a reduction in water usage is a BAD thing to strive for.

  10. David Madsen says:

    Another classic example of the well intended but misguided.
    By the way, I thought sewage drain lines were supposed to be ABS, not copper!

  11. Mike M says:

    I hate the association of ‘green’ to anything outside of CAGW. Saving potable water in FL is generally a good thing to do and has been an ongoing effort for longer than CAGW and therefore doesn’t deserve the pox of the ‘green’ label IMO.

    It would be my guess that the urinals were installed by an illiterate person. The instructions plainly say to NOT use with copper drain pipes because of corrosion.

    Hello Boca Raton – SUE THE INSTALLER!

  12. Jim Nutt says:

    Actually, the waterless urinals work really well, the problem was copper(!?) drain pipes. Most drains are cast iron or PVC, so it’s not a problem for them. It also sounds like the vent system for the plumbing was poorly designed as those gases should have vented to atmosphere in a controlled manner rather than eating through the pipes. The urinals aren’t the problem, it’s the rest of the plumbing…

  13. Goracle says:

    Is the stench due to water-free urinals or is it actually a result of the quality of education kids receive nowadays?

  14. Disko Troop says:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115×239700

    It would appear that if you can’t kill the kids with pee, try and get a windmill to fall on them as they did in Ohio.

  15. David says:

    This is the second time I’ve read about waterless urinals failing because the plumbing was copper. But the first time was years ago in Los Angeles. Didn’t the people who sold/installed these things think to ask about the plumbing.

  16. Philip Peake says:

    If there is no flushing, how can it do anything but stink?

  17. Baa Humbug says:

    Sensational bit of education for those kids that money couldn’t buy.

  18. Colin Porter says:

    My daughter’s future mother-in-law lives the “Good Life” somewhere in the outer Hebrides and has two toilets, one for a number one and one for a number two, niether of which uses any water at all.

    What will she think of me at the wedding breakfast when she discovers that I am a WUWT blogging, uber consumarist, resource profligate “denialist” capitalist bastard. This is what comes of reading the gospel according to James Delingpole.

  19. I suspect that the drain pipes were originally copper/metal and that ripping up floors and pulling down walls to replace them wasn’t in the budget nor possible within the schedule.

  20. Zeke says:

    “Each green urinal would save the school $100 per year in water utility bills.”

    I think vouchers – which allow students leave the public schools and go where they can succeed – would be a safer, more humane route for saving money on urinals in public schools. Free the students, then they would be happy not to flush your stupid urinals.

  21. Ben of Houston says:

    I have to agree with the others. Although I find that flushless urinals are foolish (low-flush are much cheaper and easier to maintain for nearly the same benefit), this is a problem of a blind idiot who didn’t install things properly.

  22. Mark C says:

    I work in a LEED-certified building on a military installation that uses these waterless urinals. They are extremely picky and tend to clog easily. Even spitting in them will mess them up. I can’t imagine them being successfully used in a building with school-age boys, regardless of proper drain plumbing.

  23. Bob Diaz says:

    There’s a similar problem with “low flow” toilets. The solid material gets stuck in the pipes because there is not enough water to wash the waste down the pipe.

  24. Douglas DC says:

    sorry about the long URL…

  25. Latitude says:

    Trump Towers, Istanbul Selects Falcon Waterfree Urinals

    Los Angeles, CA. – January 19, 2012 – Falcon Waterfree Technologies is pleased to announce that the Trump Organization selected Falcon Urinals for installation throughout the Trump Towers, Istanbul, Sisli.

  26. Vigilantfish says:

    Brandon C says:
    February 6, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Our entire sewage system is designed to work with a large amount of water with the waste. Flushing sewer systems is gonna become a regular occurance with reduced water flows. Its hard to upgrade hundreds of trillions of dollars of infrastructure after the fact, so we are stuck with it.
    ———

    Indeed, it is hard to imagine any other sort of sewage system: one either has pits, septic tanks, or sewer systems that use large amounts of water. The prototype for our modern sewer systems was of course Ancient Rome. The efficient sewer systems were an accidental by-product of the need to empty the extensive baths daily, plus the fact that there was no way to turn off the flow of water through the aqueducts.

    Modern sewer systems have been working pretty well, which of course makes them a target for green activism.

  27. Ben says:

    Lots of localities mandate copper drain pipes because using copper requires more union labor during the installation process.

  28. Charlie K says:

    I suspect that the reason for the copper sewer lines would be that the waterless urinals were a retrofit installation in a old building. My house was built in the 1970’s and has copper sewer lines. This was not uncommon in certain time periods as copper piping could be done in a cost competitive manner. To tear apart the building to replace the old copper waste lines with plastic waste lines would have been almost impossible at worst and not cost effective at best. The failure seems to be with the installer and Falcon for not doing the homework to verify that the existing infrastructure would be compatible with the new urinals.

  29. Cassandra King says:

    “Each green urinal would save the school $100 per year in water utility bills.”

    And just how much did this disastrous experiment cost to install and how long did it last and how much did it cost to reinstall decent working facilities? Lets say it cost $10.000 and saving $100 per year it would take only a century to recoup the costs. Now that sounds like Obama stimulus economics doesnt it?

  30. pat says:

    There is no limit to the misery a Warmist is willing to inflict upon others.

  31. Myron Mesecke says:

    A couple of years ago we went to Pike’s Peak. Visitor center at the top had waterless urinals. The stench was horrible.

  32. Another example of how actions in the name of the green religion cause a suspension of critical thought. Wind turbine designs and siting are not properly checked. Scientific publications get pal review in place of peer review. New plumbing designs are not vetted. LED traffic lights become encased in snow because, oops, they don’t give off the heat of incandescent lights. The list goes on.

    Normal, rational concerns, like safety, reliability, cost-effectiveness, aesthetics, all go out the window when the green goddess Gaia is being worshipped.

  33. _Jim says:

    Hmmm … I wonder if they ran this idea past ‘engineering’ (e.g. plant engineering, or building engineering) personnel … prolly not

    BIG mistake, when lay-persons-in-charge (literally: the school’s ‘headmaster’ or the principal) assume they may know more than the professionals … there may have been dissenting ‘votes’ or voices on this move to, by someone knowing something about the unintended consequences, but, he (or she) was “out voted” by the ‘greens’ anyway …

    .

  34. The San Jose CA airport with much fanfare installed the same urinals in the new B terminal. They were removed 6 months later.

    Now, all we have left of their green tech are the solar powered trash compactors that are located under and awning on the North Side of the airport!! (i.e. no sun, ever)

  35. Alan the Brit says:

    Urine is good for agriculture with all that nitrogen, it’s a pre industrial revolution cleaning product, it was used in the tanning industry, it has a whole bunch of uses in many ways, it was used as a fire-fighting liquid in days of yore, its was also (along with other unpleasant things) used in the defence of castles in the event of a siege to pour down on to any attacking troops. Trouble is, it stinks to high heaven! Why is the school paying for the clean-up, these things were bought from the private sector preumably with warranties & guaruntees, so why is the public paying for it through their taxes?

  36. FerdinandAkin says:

    The root cause of the low flow / no flow facilities can be traced to a political decision to benefit land developers. By claiming that the instillation of high water efficiency fixtures and appliances allows more construction of residential dwellings, the land developers are allowed building permits without having to fund an increased infrastructure to accommodate it.

    No need to construct additional utility infrastructure translates into additional profit for residential buildings. Follow the money.

  37. TRM says:

    Retrofits done on the cheap just don’t work. A sports center near where I live has those waterless urinals and they work great. The reason is that the system was designed from the start with that in mind. People doing the analysis need to look at the whole system not just parts. That will require skills sadly missing in society today. I recommend checkers, chess, go and starcraft to improve their analysis skills.

  38. Alan the Brit says:

    I should have also added that urine is what Al Gore produces copious amounts of when he pees on us from on high! :-(

  39. Urederra says:

    Well, copper chloride is green. So they are actually going green. :P

    I never liked the “green” math. If you get to choose what items to consider when you are calculating the ecological impact, anything can be eco-friendly or eco-foe. An example. If you consider CO2 as plants food, then the most eco-friendly source of energy is burning fossil fuels. Not only you get energy but you also generate food for plants.

  40. Mark says:

    During a CA drought plumbers made money unclogging drains because people were saving water and not flushing disposals enough. Same goes with a toilet. Not enough water to move the stuff. It will flow to the mess hall but needs a bit of lube. I think it’s something like simple science. Do they teach that in schools today?

  41. michael hart says:

    It was worse than they thought.

  42. Dodgy Geezer says:

    @kenbolt and others…

    “…I know that there are many “green” technologies that are utterly ridiculous and more wasteful than their traditional counterparts, but I for one don’t think that a reduction in water usage is a BAD thing to strive for…”

    I, however, do.

    In the western world today there are regularly circumstances when water supplies to urban areas run short. This is NOT because there is a shortage of water. Water is not destroyed when it is consumed – it passes through us unchanged, and there are of the order of cubic miles of water for every person on this planet. There is enough water for us, and there ALWAYS will be.

    What we ARE short of, however, is water storage and distribution facilities. This would have amazed the Victorians, who built large infrastructure services just for this purpose, but we have lived off their foresightedness, and built little of our own. The last large reservoir that was built in the UK was Kilder, in 1975. THAT is why we have water shortages.

    The water utilities in all countries do not want to spend money on new infrastructure builds. They would rather take the profit from their current assets, and avoid the need for new investment by petitioning their customers to ‘Save Water!’. So if you save water, you are simply enabling the water utility to avoid spending money, and keep making profits for longer. Only if we use water, to excess if necessary, will we force these people to invest properly and provide the abundant water supplies which, with our current technology, are quite possible to achieve over much of the globe.

  43. Allan M says:

    The header at the top of this piece says: Every gallon saved conserves energy and the greenhouse gases associated with the creation of energy.

    Someone doesn’t know the first law of thermodynamics. That’s a bad start to the project. Then again, the universe conserves energy. How many gallons is that?

    The knowledge of organic chemistry and biochemistry doesn’t seem too hot either.

    Green!

  44. Allan M says:

    Get the boys to pee down a wide hole 2 miles deep. Because it’s several million degrees down there, it would solve the hygiene problem.

  45. Rob Crawford says:

    “The prototype for our modern sewer systems was of course Ancient Rome. The efficient sewer systems were an accidental by-product of the need to empty the extensive baths daily, plus the fact that there was no way to turn off the flow of water through the aqueducts.”

    The first sewers were built to drain the Forum, and then the Circus Maximus, both being swampy, low-lying areas. Adding the baths, palaces, and very high-end homes came later.

    Most homes in ancient Rome weren’t tied to the sewer system, and used a combination of pit latrine and urine jar. The urine was collected for use in bleaching cloth, and ISTR you either had to pay a fine if you didn’t collect it, or the cloth-makers paid you for what they collected. Or both, depending on the time; “ancient Rome” covers hundreds of years.

  46. Ray says:

    How many more buildings are in that situation?

    Oh the horror… oh the humanity…

  47. More Soylent Green! says:

    When are we going to learn to stop tinkering with powerful forces we can barely understand?

  48. John F. Hultquist says:

    Bob Diaz says:
    February 6, 2012 at 8:08 am
    There’s a similar problem with “low flow” toilets. The solid material gets stuck in the pipes because there is not enough water to wash the waste down the pipe.

    I choose to abbreviate “solid material” as SM rather than its more common 4-letter equivalent.
    Thereby allowing me to quote my plumber: “SM floats.” He will go on to explain that the drain pipe should not be inclined excessively or the water (sufficient to float the SM) will quickly flow past the SM and leave it in the pipe. Further, it helps to understand that SM most often incorporates a certain amount of gas that helps make it buoyant, so “float” is a better description of the process than “wash . . . down.”

    We installed “low flow” units a few years ago. It helps to keep a quart-sized can of water nearby to aid the flow. We haven’t had a problem since doing so, although correct timing is something to be learned.

  49. kbray in california says:

    Throwing an M-80 down one might help it purge…

    That was fun in High School using a “real” toilet….

  50. Paul Westhaver says:

    Teachers and school officials are the reasons why global warming was propelled into popularity. Ad just because it is popoular, dosen’t mean it is correct. Consider who runs the schools. Teachers and ex-teachers. Where do teachers come from?

    http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/Occupations.aspx
    From the pen of a hero of the leftists, GB Shaw:
    He who can does,
    He who can’t, teaches.

    and I add, he who can’t teach, becomes a school administrator.

    So the refuse of our society ends up teaching our children, mostly crap, leftist crap, and those who fail at that make decisions like this.

    These jerks didn’t really change the urinals to save money, they did so because of a green religious imperative, relying on the fiscal argument. Well there you go… you have teachers, accomplished at nothing, preaching green religion, based on silly fiscal reasoning, bringing the schools infrastructure to complete collapse.

    Teachers, just shut up why don’t ya. You are just ruining everything.

  51. eyesonu says:

    Save $100 per year in H2O costs? How much did each waterless urinal cost including installation? Include the time value of the $$$$ for that ‘investment’.

  52. Craig Moore says:

    Hey! diddle, diddle,
    The greens and their piddle,
    The cow jumped over the moon;
    The little dog laughed
    To see such sport,
    And the dish ran away with the spoon.

  53. 1DandyTroll says:

    So when did concentrated pee/ammonia ever get to be better ‘an diluted pee/ammonia?

    There’s a story that goes something like this:

    You can use your pee as fertilizers for your tomatoes.

    No, says the listener, looking dumb struck, really?

    A week later the listener states back: No, you can’t use pee as a fertilizer, I peed on ‘em all week and all my tomatoes died!

    Which ratio did y… wait what?

    What ratio?

  54. More Soylent Green! says:

    Dodgy Geezer says:
    February 6, 2012 at 8:55 am
    @kenbolt and others…

    “…I know that there are many “green” technologies that are utterly ridiculous and more wasteful than their traditional counterparts, but I for one don’t think that a reduction in water usage is a BAD thing to strive for…”

    I, however, do.

    In the western world today there are regularly circumstances when water supplies to urban areas run short. This is NOT because there is a shortage of water. Water is not destroyed when it is consumed – it passes through us unchanged, and there are of the order of cubic miles of water for every person on this planet. There is enough water for us, and there ALWAYS will be.

    What we ARE short of, however, is water storage and distribution facilities. This would have amazed the Victorians, who built large infrastructure services just for this purpose, but we have lived off their foresightedness, and built little of our own. The last large reservoir that was built in the UK was Kilder, in 1975. THAT is why we have water shortages.

    The water utilities in all countries do not want to spend money on new infrastructure builds. They would rather take the profit from their current assets, and avoid the need for new investment by petitioning their customers to ‘Save Water!’. So if you save water, you are simply enabling the water utility to avoid spending money, and keep making profits for longer. Only if we use water, to excess if necessary, will we force these people to invest properly and provide the abundant water supplies which, with our current technology, are quite possible to achieve over much of the globe.

    When I lived in Las Vegas, they put in restrictions on outside water use because that water could not be reclaimed. Otherwise, water that goes in the house drains (including the toilets) was recycled back into the system. I don’t know what the loss to evaporation and leaks was, but it was never discussed as being anything of significance.

    On a related point, the great irony of the low flush toilets is that it often takes two flushes to do the work that used to take only one flush. Where is the water savings in that?

  55. David L. says:

    A nice step back into the middle ages. Not much better than relieving yourself into a chamber pot and throwing it out a window. Ready to come back to the 21st century now? And to think they were “saving” $100 per year!!!! That probably cost themselves thousands of dollars in repairs for their little green experiment. This helps prove my theory that the human species despises it’s own success.

  56. Zeke says:

    With Florida public schools reporting spending $7,000 per student per year,* one has to ask if it really is a selling point to the taxpayers, citizens and students, that proper indoor plumbing is not to be included in that high tuition price.

    *This report by policy analyst Adam B Schafer at the Cato Instiute “reveals that, on average, per-pupil spending in these areas is 44 percent higher than officially reported.” http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=11432

  57. cromagnum says:

    Thinking of it a lil different. These days, when an architect designs a construction project, they pick up the written specs, and some dimensions, and begin to create a set of plans.
    Or to say it better, they take limited inputs and create a model for what they want it to look like.
    If they dont like it, they simply hit the erase buuton.

    Because it is so easy to erase, the thinking process gets short circuited.
    In the olden day, when drawings were pencil and paper, it might take 6 hours to erase and redraw what you didnt like. Because you didnt want to erase for 6 hours, you engaged the brain alot harder upfront. I personally witnessed the difference in the construction trades.

    Which brings me to a bigger thought: Our dependence in computers has reduced the general cognitive ability, whether with Architecture, Politics, or Climate.
    Unfortunately, we have to relearn that lesson over and over again, and its why sceptics are sceptical of computer generated solutions.

  58. Scott says:

    The San Jose CA airport with much fanfare installed the same urinals in the new B terminal. They were removed 6 months later.

    No, the San Jose airport still has and uses waterless urinals (as of three weeks ago, anyway).

  59. David L. says:

    Does Algore have waterless urinals in any of his mansions? Even just one as a novelty item?

  60. adolfogiurfa says:

    Those GREEN SCIENTISTS did not know that urine (ammonia) DISSOLVES COPPER! as tetramine copper:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetramminecopper(II)_sulfate

  61. G. Karst says:

    Typical Green execution. Pay extraordinary attention to the green idealism, and absolutely no attention to the actual engineering. Now I wonder what the total costs will be? All to save $100 per year in water. Water is a cycle and cannot really be saved as it is never really used up – just recycled by nature. GK

  62. Steve from Rockwood says:

    We have no-flush toilets at the house and they don’t work just fine. Plus we have lids that don’t go down and a toilet paper dispenser that cannot be refilled (by man anyway – had to outsource it). So we’re green all the way down.

  63. TANSTAAFL says:

    Bet it smelled like Grandma and Grandpa’s multi-generation, multi-hole outhouse.

  64. David, UK says:

    This for a proposed saving of a mighty $100 per year? For an entire school? As for being “Green” – does the area actually suffer from water shortages? Was anyone going thirsty? Really, this smacks of nothing more than a vacuous, smug feel-good exercise (like just about all Green nonsense).

  65. Ric Werme says:

    Steve from Rockwood says:
    February 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Plus we have lids that don’t go down and a toilet paper dispenser that cannot be refilled (by man anyway – had to outsource it).

    So what happens to the cat if you accidentally drop it in mid-wipe?

  66. BradProp1 says:

    It’s a good idea, but it sounds like someone forgot to tell the school that the old metal sewer pipes would need upgrading to plastic pipe for the waterfree urinals.

  67. Dave Wendt says:

    The supposed savings from these urinals was to $100/yr but,according to the news story. they have odor filters that must be changed quarterly. Given the probable cost of the filters plus the cost of paying a unionized public employee to do the replacements I wonder what the actual cost difference really was, although they were probably saving some money on the Polish breath mints.

  68. Resourceguy says:

    Since females make up the majority of the Green Movement and are often the most virulent and out of touch activists, they need to meet (and smell) the problems first hand in their own restrooms or at least do the lib thing and go coed on the restroom facilities. It’s only fair and educational too.

  69. Rob Crawford says:

    “In the western world today there are regularly circumstances when water supplies to urban areas run short. This is NOT because there is a shortage of water.”

    My favorite example was hearing of “water shortages” while I was living in Detroit. Um, what? You’ve got two of the biggest bodies of fresh water IN THE WORLD right outside your doors; you’re not running short on water, you’re just too cheap to make it potable.

  70. Vince Causey says:

    “the waste produced noxious gases that ate through the metal, leaving leaky pipes that allowed urine to drip into walls and flow onto floors.”

    They just need to convert to lead pipes then. Problem solved!

  71. Josualdo says:

    Good that they have copper all over, they can sell it for a fortune when changing all the plumbing for PVC.

  72. Ian W says:

    It is interesting to see all the recommendations to use PVC piping for the ‘green’ toilets. The refineries that are the source of the ethylene that is the basis of PVC will appreciate the business. But perhaps to be truly green these should be bamboo pipes?

  73. Brian in Bellingham says:

    One of the articles about this said it would cost $500,000 to fix it.

  74. MartinGAtkins says:

    If you want to get the boys really interested in chemistry, you could tell them how to make gun powder out of piss.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate

  75. Dodgy Geezer says:

    @More Soylent Green!

    “..When I lived in Las Vegas, they put in restrictions on outside water use because that water could not be reclaimed. Otherwise, water that goes in the house drains (including the toilets) was recycled back into the system…

    I thought that Vegas used the aquifers as storage – pumping them full when the rivers are in flood and then abstracting the water during drought? Everything goes back into the system and is ‘reclaimed’ – there are just different timescales for some paths, which mean that different reservoir sizes are required….

  76. Dr. Dave says:

    Man, I can’t even stand the stench of a traditional flush urinal if the guy (pig) before me didn’t bother to flush. I’ve encountered “waterless” urinals before and they all stink. All this “no-flow” and “low-flow” plumbing fixture craze is a step backwards for civilization. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to our increase in average life expectancy (e.g. clean potable water, improved food safety, vaccines, modern medicine, etc.) but high on the list is modern sanitation. Think of the paradox. We force teenage boys to pee into what is essentially a stinking outhouse hole and then expect them to “waste water” by washing their hands. Shucks, every day at school would be like camping (or perhaps “occupying”).

  77. Steve from Rockwood says:

    Ric Werme says:
    February 6, 2012 at 10:32 am
    Steve from Rockwood says:
    February 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Plus we have lids that don’t go down and a toilet paper dispenser that cannot be refilled (by man anyway – had to outsource it).

    So what happens to the cat if you accidentally drop it in mid-wipe?

    ROFL! The trick is getting the cat to stay there until you need it. Nothing worse than running through the house with your pants down going “here kitty-kitty”.

  78. dave ward says:

    As it seems likely the main problem was not replacing the pipework, why didn’t they just install some form of water control valve? Many public toilets in the UK have PIR controlled units to stop unnecessary flushing. A quick search provided the following device which appears to be more sophisticated, and is supplied by a company on your side of the ‘pond.http://www.watermatrix.com/utc_sentinel.php

  79. Taphonomic says:

    Unintended consequences: it’s not just a good idea; it’s the law.

  80. Paul Westhaver says:

    Canada has 20% of the world’s fresh water. We do not need to conserve water. This whole issue is so alien to me. Trouble is…urinals are made in the USA based on standards developed in locals where water use is restricted…like LA and NYC.

    I go to Home Depot to buy a shower head or a toilet tank level control and the sales reps says ” low flow this and low flush that”…my response is “so what.”

    I want the poo to go down the pipes.. with one flush.. not 3 or 4. Greenies don’t care about poo smudges on the porcelain and personal hygiene… a chronic issue with earthy sandal wearing green types…..they are gross.

  81. Matt says:

    And here is a stupid story from Germany on topic:
    Because the Germans are always very much on the spot with anything, of course they are great water savers as well. However, there is a lack of water now in the sewer system that has led to a serious deterioration of many systems, causing substancial cost. And while the EU is trying to push for water saving measures, this really does not make sense according to experts, because Germany simply does not suffer from water shortage; and so they say that using more water would actually be better – but hey, in the hands of politicians, this will be going the worst way out of all possible ones, you can bet your money on that. Germany is not Spain, why would the EU slam a regulation on top for everyone?

  82. Geoff says:

    We have used the waterless urinals at several of our businesses. We have stopped using them because they have not performed like we thought they would. They require a lot of maintenance to work properly. We find that the urine salts build up, they start to smell, and minerals will build up in the pipes. There are also unforeseen problems, one of our employees chews tobacco, and his spit just ate up the valve. We could never have foreseen this. We now use one gallon flush urinals and eventually will tear out and replace the waterless ones.

  83. Susan P says:

    From my very brief research just now, it seems that PVC piping is also not very “green”. From Wikipedia: “The environmentalist group Greenpeace has advocated the global phase-out of PVC because they claim dioxin is produced as a byproduct of vinyl chloride manufacture and from incineration of waste PVC in domestic garbage” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl_chloride). Sometimes there is a very good reason we have done things the same way for hundreds of years!

  84. Power Grab says:

    Heh – I wonder if they’ve stemmed the tide of smoking in the restrooms because the stench is so bad…?

    Or is the stench from the urinals so bad that it covers up the smoke smell…?

  85. Zeke says:

    “Falcon Waterfree Technologies, the Los Angeles-based manufacturer of water-free urinals, said the investment firm founded by Jeff Skoll, EBay Inc.’s first president, had taken a 25% stake in the privately held firm.”

    Jeff Skoll was involved in producing Al Gore’s award winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

    Now the scoundrels are making your daughters walk around schools where they are too cheap and low to flush the boys urine with actual water. Pin this on them! Give them a lifetime acheivement award!

  86. Ray says:

    From a study on the effect of bird poop on copper roof and statues, here is the chemistry of it and their conclusions…
    http://www.heritage.unibo.it/HeritageEn/case+studies/Cultural+Heritage+Environment+and+Territory/Uric_acid_from_bird_dropping.htm

    “Uric acid contained in bird droppings could cause appreciable damage to copper used in buildings and monuments, considering that uric acid chemically affects copper and bronzes by modifying the metal appearance and forming urates.

    Uric acid corrosiveness increases when the acid remains wet, but its biodegradation under humid conditions seems to suggest a temporary corrosive action.

    The role of water in enhancing corrosion by bird droppings appears of particular significance in management, suggesting that cleaning might be particularly appropriate if conditions are likely to remain wet.”

  87. j.pickens says:

    I have used these new waterless urinals in many locations, they all stink to high heaven.
    And now I have to worry about splashback from the unrinsed urine of the previous user.

    I’d like to see a comparison of infectious disease transmission between these and conventional flush urinals.

    Two practical solutions:

    1. Use the toilet stall instead of the no flush unit.

    2. Make a habit of chewing gum and expectorating the gum into the no flush urinal whenever possible. If everyone did this, these monstrosities would be gone within the year.

  88. Hoser says:

    Ken says:
    February 6, 2012 at 7:28 am
    It’s Pee Cee gawn mad!

    Perhaps it’s too Pee Sea.

    Wastewater facilties depend on the flow of water to process the waste. Collection systems can get clogged. Flow needs to maintain a certain rate to keep solids suspended. The grinders and screens at the headworks may have to be cleaned more often. That’s not a fun job. Nobody thinks about the wastewater end of the process. It’s flush and forget. Policy should be based on a whole-system analysis, not just half of the system.

  89. Good grief! They are not living in a desert, are they?

    Average annual rainfall in Boca Raton, Florida is 61 inches (1550 mm). Collect rainwater falling on rooftops, store in a cistern and you’ll have plenty of water to flush piss down with no utility bill whatsoever. Simple as a wood wedge.

    However, you’ll still have to pay for amortization of cistern and for operating the pumps. On the plus side you don’t have to maintain drinking water quality, not at all. You can even allow students piss on the roof when it is raining, just make sure they would not overdo it.

  90. DavidS says:

    They can and do work, very popular in McDonalds in he UK.

  91. David A. Evans says:

    Would it be too difficult to recover the water from the mandatory washing of hands to flush?
    In the old days of the trough type urinal, the waste from the basins regularly ran into the trough.

    DaveE.

  92. JeffC says:

    I have hundreds of waterless urinals just outside my house in Pa. … they are called trees …

  93. I just googled “waterless urinals” and went to one of the retail links. In two sets of installation instructions I see no mention of piping requirements. It’s not only an installation issue but a manufacturer one. The technology sounds cool when it works correctly. But as many of these commenters say, it just doesn’t. Maybe they can address these issues in the future.

  94. pyeatte says:

    The simplist and only waterless urinal proven to work is…a hole in the ground – known as a latrine.

  95. cbone says:

    Heck a few schools is nothing compared to the entire CITY of San Francisco. It seems no one bothered to check the flow requirements of the sewage system before mandating low flow toilets and urinals. Now the entire sewage system is at risk. Not to mention the CURE to this invented problem could end up being worse! (The tons of bleach that they now have to add to the system to combat the smell and that doesn’t even begin to address the hundreds of millions in upgrades to the sewage system for a long term solution.)

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/27/BAVP1HUSUD.DTL

  96. pbh says:

    Finally! A subject where I have both experience and special knowledge. I have been involved with building school buildings here in California since 1989. In that time I can tell you that I have not seen a school building that was built with PVC or ABS waste lines. Copper lines are used in some locations for waste lines, usually due to space constraints within walls. They are legal for Drain Waste and Vent (DWV) applications across the united states and are listed as such in the current Unified Plumbing Code. The most common material for DWV lines in school applications is cast iron, now made almost exclusively in China. (And cast iron must be a green technology now, since there was no pollution produced here in the states. /sarc off) Copper lines are most commonly used for potable water, both hot and cold.

    I have inspected waterless urinal installations in schools, all of which carry a state mandated requirement for the installation of a water supply adjacent to the waterless unit. ( From the ca. give web site — http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/pubs/IR_P-1_rev11-03-10.pdf ) Apparently the California Department of the State Architect is not convinced about the longevity of these clean, green anti-pollution machines.

    My research into the Falcon Waterless urinals reveals the following facts: 1. The cartridge in each unit has to be regularly replaced at a cost of 41.99 each plus labor. The replacement schedule is 3-4 months (minimum). A very busy school restroom might require more frequent changes. 2. Each urinal requires regular maintenance at the time of the cartridge change. (Roto rooter, flush out, etc.) These are jobs that would require a plumber, working in conjunction with the regular custodian. 3. Each urinal requires daily cleaning with approved cleaning chemicals, not the same old stuff that has always been on the cleaning cart. With school budgets being slashed on a regular basis, my observation is that maintenance and cleaning will be ignored long before the first administrative position is cut in a school district. And while the state will budget funds for rehabilitating and rebuilding a school, they do not allow any state money to be used for maintenance, scheduled or otherwise.

  97. David A. Evans says:

    Like DavidS above, I can attest that these things are used in McDs all over the UK.

    Do they work? No they damned well stink & as pbh mentions, they require special cleaning chemicals too.

    I pity the water boards because they have enough problems cleaning out proteins etc. from waste water, add all the extra chemicals and you have an ecological nightmare!

    DaveE.

  98. Reblogged this on JustMEinT's General Blog and commented:
    Makes one wonder whay, O why did they use copper pipes?

  99. Greg Cavanagh says:

    Exactly the same thing happened in our Council building just last year. They took out the old flushing system and installed a waterless urinal. I can’t remember the company name.

    I’m not sure of story, but the piping leaked into the wall cavity behind, and after a month it stunk so bad I couldn’t enter the room. At great expense it was all pulled out, piping replaced and flushing urinals installed again.

    On the other hand; Council has been installing waterless composting toilets in parks and isolated places which work really well. No smell, and a long maintenance period to clean out the composting bin. Those things do work well.

  100. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    I am a professional civil engineer, and have designed a number of sewers, Normally, the design getting to the sewer is the drain going from a toilet was 3 inches in diameter. The diameter through the air seal was 2 1/2 inches. This pipe went through a sweep to a 6 inch diameter lateral . . . the main pipe all of the sewerage and used water.
    The slope of this pipe in 1/4 of an inch per foot, about a 2% slope (2 feet per hundred feet)

    For a lateral to continue to drain properly, the flow of water has to be deep enough to float the feces down the lateral, and fast enough to scour the bottom of the lateral of solids. Otherwise, the drainage backs up, causing all drainage to stop.

    Whenever proper engineering is not followed, the results will be bad news.

    A well designed toilet would have a double flush . . . one for fluids only, about 1 gallon, and a second flush of 3 1/2 gallons for solids.

    Having to flush 3 or four times at about a gallon per flush uses far more water than a sensibly designed double flush toilet, and plungers would not be necessary at all. And the laterals wouldn’t have to be cleaned out, a costly process.

  101. Gary Hladik says:

    At least the experience was educational. Hopefully the students learned to always “try before you buy” in their own lives.

    They also learned that what they’re taught in school isn’t always true. Let’s hope they remember that when bombarded by “green” propaganda.

  102. Goracle says:

    When I was younger and had to go bad, my mom/aunt would say “pee in the garden… it helps the veggies”. I didn’t understand but did it anyway. I seems I was ahead of the curve all along, “greening” the environment long before it was cliche to be “green”. Somebody should have smacked some sense into those school officials as they were growing up – it appears they needed it.

  103. Ian H says:

    If you want to save water the best way is to use water to flush but reclaim it from the waste stream and put it back into the water supply. With modern technology waste water can efficiently be processed so that it is completely safe to drink. The main reason why environmentalists don’t like this approach is that the Green movement is infested with homeopathists.

  104. vigilantfish says:

    Rob Crawford says:
    February 6, 2012 at 9:04 am

    The first sewers were built to drain the Forum, and then the Circus Maximus, both being swampy, low-lying areas. Adding the baths, palaces, and very high-end homes came later.

    Most homes in ancient Rome weren’t tied to the sewer system, and used a combination of pit latrine and urine jar. The urine was collected for use in bleaching cloth, and ISTR you either had to pay a fine if you didn’t collect it, or the cloth-makers paid you for what they collected. Or both, depending on the time; “ancient Rome” covers hundreds of years.

    ————-

    There is evidence that the wealthy first floor apartments in some insulae also enjoyed running water and toilets. However, you are otherwise correct, except that the public also had access to public communal toilets where up to 40 people shared the pleasure of emptying their bowels or bladders in full view of each other. For hygiene, a runnel of flowing water set into the floor ran a foot or so in front of the toilets so patrons could wash their hands as the need arose.

    The full elaboration of the Roman sewer system was more a consequence of Rome’s 11 aqueducts and not simply a product of draining the Forum and Circus Maximus. If anyone wants to read an authoritative account of Roman plumbing and sewage systems, I would recommend reading A. Trevor Hodge, Roman Aqueducts and Water Supply (2nd edition 2002).

  105. Anymoose says:

    Costs $100 per year? What are they flushing with, Perrier? Take the number of school days per year, multiply by 3 for a kid with a small bladder and assign any reasonable flush that comes to mind. That gets the usage per student per year. Look at your home water bill. Surprise!!!

  106. D. J. Hawkins says:

    Alan the Brit says:
    February 6, 2012 at 8:36 am
    I should have also added that urine is what Al Gore produces copious amounts of when he pees on us from on high! :-(

    Why else do you suppose the rest of us are referred to as peons?? ;-)

  107. D. J. Hawkins says:

    1DandyTroll says:
    February 6, 2012 at 9:27 am
    So when did concentrated pee/ammonia ever get to be better ‘an diluted pee/ammonia?

    There’s a story that goes something like this:

    You can use your pee as fertilizers for your tomatoes.

    No, says the listener, looking dumb struck, really?

    A week later the listener states back: No, you can’t use pee as a fertilizer, I peed on ‘em all week and all my tomatoes died!

    Which ratio did y… wait what?

    What ratio?

    Our Rottweiler liked to grace the front lawn with his largesse. As long as I could keep him from picking a favorite spot, the increased lawn growth was amazing! All well and good, until I realized I was cutting the lawn about 20-30% more often. >:-(

  108. common sense says:

    I live one county under in Broward. There’s Agenda21 in atleast the neighboring city; I haven’t checked recently to see if it’s creeped into mine. It’s all just based in stupidity and lack of common sense. This filters up thru each generation and cumulatively gets worse.

    Toilets that doesn’t dilute or push waste, Washers that don’t clean clothes, Dryers that need more time…all in the name of energy efficiency. Might as well glue wood together instead of expending energy on nails/screws/bolts.

  109. captainfish says:

    “Each green urinal would save the school $100 per year in water utility bills.”

    Has anyone thought of the economics of this? This is only replacing the boy’s urinals and they are hyping water savings? How many boys, especially in school, flushes their urinals? And urinals are only 1/3 of the number of body-waste handling units. Think of all the girl toilets that do get flushed, even when just pee-d in.

  110. cjshaker says:

    Confirmation that the toilets in question, from Falcon Waterfree Technologies are indeed the waterless toilets associated with Al Gore

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/06/ff_waterless_urinal

    Chris Shaker

  111. EO Peter says:

    There is a good reason why engineer exist, they make the bridge between utopic theories and the cold and harch realty of nature. The practical knowledge they (shall) posses in multiples field is what make them say so often: “Don’t think it will work” or “If its not broken don’t fix it” because most of the time they will inherit the responsability “to make the impossible work” or else appear to be incompetent.

    Human urine is normally around neutral pH and most importantly for the “owner” sterile… Most of the time, it is well past the saturation point for many dissolved solid it contain and the human body rely heavily on presence of anti-crystallisation factors like citrate or magnesium and be within a specific pH range.

    I’m quite sure many visitors of this remarquable blog had, actually has, or in a not so far away future, will encounter a phenomenon inside their “personnal plumbing” (I mean their urinary system) called by physician ‘calculus’. Patients tend to call it: Pain, trouble & lots of pain… Any experienced subjects will know what I mean!

    There are multiples causative factors for calculus creation but one of the most worrying is bacterial infestation of the urinary system (read it as urinary tract infection). There exist a large variety of different bugs able to infect the urinary tract, but my favorite in the context of the subject of this discution are the ones we call ‘urease positive’. These ones really deserve attention, on chronic patients (catheterized), urinary infection will evolve throught multiples “flora” or ecosystem of competing & sometime cooperating bacteria but the final “steady state” will most often involve antibiotic resistant urease producing mix of bacteria typically countaining ‘Proteus mirabilis’.

    Proteus mirabilis is a truly remarquable bugs, not that I like this nasty guys, but this is a true “survivor”, an ennemy you must learn to respect and NEVER underestimate. It has the capability to organize in group (swarm). Ask a microbiologist what its like when P. mirabilis “decide” to take a walk on the culture plate! Also and most worrying is that this organism is capable of producing H2S gas, a very very toxic & unforgiving chemical. The biofilm it form will typically protect (shield) inner bacteria from eradication attempt like antibiotics (even antibiogram selected working ones) & chemical desinfectant. When the threat disapear, one of these littles bugger will emerge & recreate the infection…

    For those not familiar w/t the effect of urease, this enzyme breakdown the urea present in the urine & produce ammonia, thus sending pH straight to the roof (alkaline). That way it inhibit growth of others very common bacteria like E. coli who need acidic condition to exist. I’m sure many of you are aware of the effect of alkaly on copper & brass. H2S react also w/t these metallic compounds, if not possibly straight to the air & into the lung of these poor students that will learn quite hardly the lesson directly from mother nature…

    For those saying ABS piping is the solution, remember that passage of urine into high pH regime, effect of absence of water dilution and temperature drop from 37degC to something lower will produce a couple of nasty precipitate like Struvite, Amorphous Phosphate & Calcium Oxalate. Be advised that some of the amorphous phosphate if exposed to minutes quantity of fluor will produce the fluorided version of Hydroxyapatite that will not redissolve even in acidic condition: This is the same exact mecanism that make your teeth more decay resistant when exposed to fluor!

    In conclusion, the ABS piping will suffer as it age the same faith as our “internal plumbing”, calculus formation & the docs won’t tell you but fluor will play the same trick it do on your teeth, make the calculus a lot more resistant to acidity…

  112. Bob Kutz says:

    It seems like the company selling this product has some explaining to do . . .

    As do the school officials who bought it.

  113. rg says:

    ho to turning $100.00 into a half a million Dollar. Ups, I forgot the minus sign.

    rg

  114. kenboldt says:

    Dodgy Geezer says:
    February 6, 2012 at 8:55 am </blockquote.
    So your argument is that we should be more wasteful so that we can be more wasteful? That seems exceedingly shortsighted if you ask me. You fail to recognize that if we did indeed all save water, there would be fewer water shortages.

    You also fail to see that the water isn't just delivered to us magically. It must be first treated to ensure that it is safe for consumption which requires many resources and energy. Then it needs to be pumped through the distribution system, which requires more resources and energy.

    Also, drawing more and more water out of the natural systems often results in negative impacts that don't become evident until they occur. It can be harmful to the ecology, and also to geotechnical stability of the ground on which our buildings are constructed. Aggressively altering these systems is very unlikely to improve them in any way shape or form.

    Then we consume water, and it is true that it is not actually consumed, however it is altered in that it now filled with contaminants which must be removed before the water can be returned to the environment. This consumes even more resources and energy. Increasing water usage is only going to put more stress on the sewage treatment facilities, and could lead to system overflows which sends untreated sewage directly into receiving waters.

    As a side issue, many municipalities still lack proper sewage treatment facilities. Directing spending on water treatment and storage facilities isn't going to help that situation out.

    Consuming to excess is simply unnecessary no matter how you look at it. And if you don't realize that water utilities are simply going to pass the cost on to consumers if they are forced to build more facilities, then you need to take a little time to research how things get paid for in this world. It sure as heck isn't done out of the goodness of anyone's heart.

  115. Brian H says:

    I’ve seen reports that many sewage systems, where the “low flow” toilets have been mandated for some years, have to redirect large amounts of fresh water directly into the sewers to keep them flowing — otherwise the whole system clogs, with very unpleasant results.

    So many bad things could be (have been) avoided by taking the “conclusion” of greenie proposals and repeatedly asking, “And then what?”, and insisting on a fully justified numerical answer.

  116. Shawn says:

    ‘It was pretty disgusting,’ school board chairman Frank Barbieri told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. ‘The girls had to step over a river of urine. I could smell it as soon as I walked into the hallway.’

    So that’s what they mean by “Going Green”!

  117. lolo says:

    @potwater savers

    it would seem to me that you live under the impression that if you do not use the water, it somehow stays “there”, and if you do use it, it goes “somewhere” where it can be reached no more.. I understand that one would wnat to reduce water consumption in say- Vegas, but this is NOT a concern for most places on Earth. Did you notice this strange thing that falls from the sky every so often?

  118. lolo says:

    “Then we consume water, and it is true that it is not actually consumed, however it is altered in that it now filled with contaminants which must be removed before the water can be returned to the environment. ”

    you do realize that the amount of contaminants stays the same? and that the “treated contaminants” are likewise going to end up somewhere? as far as household sewage goes, most of it is biodegradable.. (human excrements and such). i.e. urea is used in agriculture :))) so it is actually much better if i take bath without much soap than save water and use a lot of shampoo (although all these things are almost completely degradable these days).. or if i do my laundry at higher temps with more water and less washing powder than vice versa..ah yes, but than there is the evil carbon

  119. kenboldt says:

    Lolo, I’m a skeptic when it comes to AGW. You are preaching to the converted when you sarcastically remark about he evil carbon.

    But it still doesn’t make sense to waste water resources. You are right that the contaminant loading is the same, but that doesn’t remove the treatment step. If 1000 gallons of water are used and flushed down our sewers, then 1000 gallons (minus system losses of course) need to be treated at the sewage treatment plant. If 10000 gallons are used, then 10000 gallons need to be treated. Which do you think consumes more energy, and more resources.

    Anthony has written here many times that while he doesn’t think we need to be concerned about CO2, something that we all agree on, he doesn’t feel that being wasteful is a good thing. I have read his articles where he has converted lighting in his house to LED bulbs to not only save money, but to avoid wasting energy.

    The “green” movement is incredibly flawed in countless ways, however that doesn’t change the fact that it is shortsighted and unnecessary to continue wasteful practices when perfectly viable alternatives exist.

    If a toilet, and our sewer systems can be fully functional using 1.6 gallons per flush, why on earth would it be a good idea to use 3.5 gallons? If you can properly light a room using 12 watt LED bulbs, it doesn’t make sense to use 60 watt incandescent bulbs.

    Not everything that works to make the world a better place is the devil simply because it is more friendly to the environment. The unquestioned hatred for anything labelled “green” without due consideration is folly in my opinion.

  120. kenboldt says:

    Brian H says:
    February 8, 2012 at 1:16 am

    I would be interested in seeing these reports. It seems to me that there might be more to the story than is being told.

    Regardless of the use of low flow toilets, people are still having showers, running the dishwasher, doing laundry, brushing their teeth, etc. There are many many water uses that do not add solids to the sewage which would assist in flushing the system.

    I would be looking at things like, what has the rainfall in the area been like? has there been a drought? Has that caused there to be blanket water usage restrictions to be enacted? What type of sewer system is it? what are the pipes made of? are there any existing blockage points that would be susceptible to problems if there were a reduction in total flow, such as a crack in old sewer lines where the shift in the pipes and intrusion of soils has created a bottleneck in the system? What grades are the sewage pipes installed at? are there any zero slope locations due to faulty installation or differential settlement over time?

    There are so many reasons that a sewage system could be having issues. The installation of low flow toilets is more likely that not, a very small part of the equation.

Comments are closed.