DROUGHT: Waterless urinals one step forward

By Richard R. Bohannon
For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/04/07

As the drought has worsened in Georgia, we see more and more restrictions on outside watering. But what about inside use of water?

There are studies that indicate that billions of gallons of water could be saved by installing waterless urinals in commercial, government and retail buildings. Waterless urinals are less expensive than traditional urinals, they are more easily installed (no water line) and are believed to be more sanitary (truly touchless). They are designed with chemically sealed drain traps. One type of waterless urinal, for example, has a removable cartridge that holds the sealant liquid. The cartridges are replaced periodically based on usage.

Conservation in just this one area could contribute to having adequate water supplies in the future if building codes are changed to require waterless urinals in all new construction and as replacements for existing urinals when they become inoperable.

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston inform us of these initial savings: An installed Kohler standard urinal (18-inch) cost $752 compared to $339 for a Falcon waterless urinal. Then the annual savings kick in. In Atlanta, they estimated the savings per urinal to be $262.

Isn't it better to conserve fresh water than flush it away?

Don't the leaders of county, city and state government agencies have a responsibility to the citizens of the state to make responsible decisions on our behalf? It would be a very simple process to change existing building code requirements to make waterless urinals a requirement, and it could happen very quickly if the citizens demanded the change. Well-informed architects should already be making this recommendation in their respective building drawings. Leadership should be about doing the right thing, laying aside all personal agendas and ignoring the special interest groups.

> Richard R. Bohannon is a visiting assistant professor of organization leadership at Mercer University's Atlanta campus.