Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New waterless urinals in city facilities will save millions of gallons

As a crucial part of a citywide conservation initiative, Orange officials are having waterless urinals installed.

The installation of 49 waterless urinals at 14 city facilities is underway; they are expected to save nearly two million gallons of water each year.

The urinals, installed by Falcon Waterfree Technologies, will be especially helpful as Southern California is in its eighth year of drought, said Greg Warren, an Orange senior administrative analyst.

“The urinals have been tested and they work great,” he said. “And in the end, they’ll save a lot of money.”

Equipment and its installation, which cost nearly $27,000, was fully covered by a grant from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

“Traditional urinals require costly maintenance for replacing gaskets, washers and handles to fix leaks,” Warren said. “But waterless urinals only require you to replace a cartridge every once in a while.”

The cartridge, which serves as a drain funnel for the urine, contains a scented, oil-like solution that is thinner than water. Any water-based substance, such as urine, passes through the funnel and the solution, which re-settles on top of the urine, forcing it into a connected drain system while blocking the release of odors and bacteria.

The waterless urinals are already running in several city facilities, including City Hall and the Orange Police Department. The units, which first began appearing in city facilities in September, may also be bought for public parks, said Paul Sitkoff, Orange’s business and public affairs manager.

Less than one percent of urinals in use today are water free, according to Falcon Waterfree Technologies. But the waterless urinals are rising in popularity, as green programs gain speed, and as they are being installed at some large entertainment venues.

Water conservation is just one aspect of the city’s Orange Goes Green! project, which focuses on altering city practices in public and private sectors to be more eco-friendly, Sitkoff said. One Orange Goes Green! initiative is the installation of moisture-sensing sprinkler systems at city parks.

– David Hall

OC Register

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