eli5,Why aren’t all urinals no flush/ no water?


eli5,Why aren’t all urinals no flush/ no water?

In: Technology

How do you clean them without water?

Because urine does smell, quite badly, so it needs to be flushed. Toilets and urinals use [water as a ‘plug’](https://awphomeinspections.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/proper-P-trap-500×299.png) to prevent the smells in the pipes from getting into the room.

People here talking about odour don’t understand how sealant works in waterless urinals. It’s rarely ever an issue.

There isn’t a solid reason why urinals aren’t all waterless other than it being relatively new (about 30 years) and requires certain plumbing maintenance that can be difficult for older buildings.

Because some wastewater systems are over 100 years old in most countries, even the US.

And they require the additional water to flush the system to a mainline

Maybe they are concerned about lingering smells, but I see what you mean. There are other solutions for the smell. Could save a lot of water. My only concern would be will the urinal start developing stains over time? Maybe it’s better to have dark colored urinals.

Frankly because they they stink and need a lot of maintenance to prevent that.

The way most of the waterless urinal designs work is the urine drains out and is kept ‘sealed’ in the drain piping by an immiscible (non-mixing) liquid, usually coloured blue, that will float on top. The liquid is usually either injected directly in the drain after a cleaning, or it’s contained in a replaceable cartridge at the base of the urinal. This is supposed to prevent the stench of urine and other sewer gases from passing back up the drain piping and into the room.

In reality this liquid doesn’t work as effectively as claimed, and has to be replenished far more often than a traditional janitorial schedule includes for.

They also need to be flushed out periodically (most manufacturers I’ve seen say at least every two weeks) with a few gallons of water to wash away residual urine and prevent sediment build-up in the drain piping itself, which the salespeople who sell waterless urinals tend not to be upfront about either.

Neither the blue liquid/cartridge replacement procedure nor the flush-out procedure are required for a traditional water-flush urinal, and many facilities operators won’t carry the budget to do it, so bathrooms with waterless urinals in them end up reeking of piss.

Source: I’m a licenced professional engineer who designs HVAC and plumbing systems in buildings.

1. Few people want to be the “first” to adopt new technology
2. The perception they smell (not necessarily true)
3. Restrooms in office buildings are usually owned and controlled by the LL, meaning even though I can build whatever I want in my office, I don’t typically have any say in what the bathrooms look like or when they get renovated. (LLs won’t spend $250k renovating a pair of core restrooms because I’m a hippie)
4. LLs want standardized restrooms, you don’t want 1 floor in a 50 story high-rise, out of a dozen properties you manage, to have different fixtures for maintenance, cleaning and repairs.
5. Cheaper to reuse existing infrastructure – see items 3 and 4
6. Unions can be a hassle. I’m specifically referring to a recent MAJOR building in a major American market where the unions still required all waterless fixtures have domestic water plumbed to them because “the technology won’t work”.
7. And the big one – No one really cares. 99% of construction decisions boil down to apathy.

(source – I work in this industry)