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.

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

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Ken

It’s Pee Cee gawn mad!

Robinson

Oh good lord. Think of the children!

DaveF

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

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

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”

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

C. Reed

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

Brandon C

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.

kenboldt

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.

David Madsen

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

Mike M

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!

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…

Goracle

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

Disko Troop

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.

Reblogged this on The Blogspaper.

David

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.

Philip Peake

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

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

Colin Porter

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.

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.

“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.

Ben of Houston

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.

Mark C

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.

Bob Diaz

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.

Douglas DC

sorry about the long URL…

Latitude

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.

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.

Ben

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

Charlie K

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.

Cassandra King

“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?

pat

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

Myron Mesecke

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

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.

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 …
.

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)

Alan the Brit

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?

TRM

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.

FerdinandAkin

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.

Alan the Brit

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

Urederra

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

Mark

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?

michael hart

It was worse than they thought.

Dodgy Geezer

@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.

Allan M

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!

Allan M

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.

Rob Crawford

“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.

Ray

How many more buildings are in that situation?
Oh the horror… oh the humanity…

More Soylent Green!

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

John F. Hultquist

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.