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To Flush Or Not To Flush

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the that-is-the-question dept.

Science 746

gooman writes "Tired of arguing the same old issues like Linux vs Windows? Choose up sides in the fight over flushing vs non-flushing urinals. The L.A. Times reports on efforts to place the waterless urinal into the Uniform Plumbing Code. To quote: '...the ordinary-looking urinal is at the center of a national debate that has plumbers and water conservationists taking aim at one another.' Amazingly simple, the no-flush urinal uses gravity to force urine through a filter containing a floating layer of oily liquid which then acts as a sealant to prevent sewer odors from escaping. Each no-flush urinal is claimed to save over 24,000 gallons of water a year, but the opposition is concerned about the spread of disease. Although not mentioned in the article this technology is in use around the world. Does anyone have these fixtures installed at their place of employment? Are there any real drawbacks? Is this really a worthwhile debate or just an excuse for toilet humor?"

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746 comments

Get your $#!^ together (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116861)

There are actually a number of simple implementations that I have been absolutely surprised to not see in the US. For instance, in other places I have traveled around the world, dual flush toilets with "light" and "heavy" flush modes are available everywhere except in the most undeveloped third world countries. However, here in the US, particularly in water restricted areas you see standard high-flow toilets. Granted many "low flow" toilets such as the ones available in many areas of California are not so great if you have a fruit/vegetable intensive diet, but for some reason the toilets available in the US simply don't have the "power" that other more advanced designs have elsewhere in the world and I am not talking about the advanced technology toilets that they have in Japan either. Those are actually kinda scary because of all their automation and such, but simple things like pressure assist can make for very effective low water use designs.

Why is it that the US, one of the most advanced countries in the world cannot get their $#!^ together, pun intended :-) when it comes to plumbing issues that most of the rest of the world seems to have solved years ago?

Re:Get your $#!^ together (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116896)

Maybe the US is not as advanced as you think they are or maybe having a choice of two flush types is too much for the ordinary citizen to handle. :)

A side note to this (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116959)

I think it was just under 100 years ago that we were using waterless urinals. Why is it that we need to patent them now?

this has nothing to do with whats better (3, Insightful)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116969)



Sorry to break it to you bro, but this has nothing to do with what is available. The only thing that will mandate new methodology is political mandates. The only problem is no politition is going to back a bill that will raise contruction prices and help them lose all there campaign dollors from big developers. I'm an architect and I've seen it over and over again where a product will come out that will help either the environment or energy conservation. A contractor will look at it and go " what the heeelll is that I can install ya ten american standards that I gots sitt'n in back it will save you $$$$$$$$$$$$" ofcourse the developer doesn't care these are being sold to deseperate homeowners no.349835439

Re:this has nothing to do with whats better (4, Interesting)

GnarlyNome (660878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117054)

A political Mandate to save water is what got us saddeled with Low flow toilets ann restrictors in shower heads(that any idiot can bypass) in the first place.
When you "Mandate" something people will comply with the letter of the law as cheap as possible. Laws written for toilets by lawers instead of plumbers don't work as intended.(and neither do the toilets)

Re:Get your $#!^ together (1)

GnarlyNome (660878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116970)

Follow the $$ good low flush toilets cost as much as $600.00 while a crappy one that just meets code can go for less than $100.00
NO contractor is going to cut into his profit margin on a bid job. Just remember the Building Code is the *Mimium* that you can get away with.

uh, low flush toilets are often REQUIRED... (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117011)

However, here in the US, particularly in water restricted areas you see standard high-flow toilets.

Uh, no...maybe in high-traffic public restrooms, but everywhere else I've seen low-flush toilets. MANY towns and cities in the US REQUIRE them.

The problem with adoption in the US is partially that many early low-flush toilets didn't work well. I know because I vacation in an old cabin where we have very limited water supply, so all the cabins were required to replace the toilets ASAP with low-flush units. The first cabins that did ended up with toilets that constantly clogged. Cabins that waited a few years ended up with toilets that worked far better.

Re:Get your $#!^ together (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14117027)

i don't give a crap about water conservation... $38 bucks a month for daily half hour long shower and nightly baths to fill my 80 gallon bathtub... its well worth it. Also my retrofitted waterwasting toilet can flush a small child.

Re:Get your $#!^ together (3, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117090)

" i don't give a crap about water conservation... "

Mr. Bush, what are you doing posting to Slashdot?

We don't have a good environmental boogey man when it comes to water wasting. Can anyone suggest one that's better than Bush?

Re:Get your $#!^ together (0)

slashdotnickname (882178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117052)

Why is it that the US, one of the most advanced countries in the world cannot get their $#!^ together, pun intended :-) when it comes to plumbing issues that most of the rest of the world seems to have solved years ago?

Your loaded question implies there's a serious problem with the current system in the U.S, and that's just not the case. Fresh water is cheap and plentiful in the majority of the U.S. and that's not about to change any time soon. Plus the "old" way just plain works so there's no major incentive to change things.

Also, what effect will a more concentrated (less dilluted with water) waste have on the environment? Seems like a total no-flush solution would require an overall change in the entire waster-water-management system. Such an expensive undertaking would be hard to justify giving how relatively cheap the current system is.
 

Re:Get your $#!^ together (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14117102)

because they don't give a shit ?

Re:Get your $#!^ together (1)

HardCase (14757) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117117)

There are actually a number of simple implementations that I have been absolutely surprised to not see in the US.

Like the implementation that I discovered in several modern businesses in Marseilles, France when I was there in the early '90s: a hole in the floor with two raised places to put your feet. No flushing at all! Of course, there appeared to be a problem with the, um, accuracy of the previous users that was disturbing, to say the least...

-h-

I'm relieved that this article... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116865)

was not categorized under "Your Rights Online".

Re:I'm relieved that this article... (1)

Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116971)

Actually, once fresh water becomes too scarce, we will all either die from a loss of water, OR the Government will have to restrict our rights and limit our water intake, making this is a rights issue.

Re:I'm relieved that this article... (1)

Ryosen (234440) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116991)

As with most other things, only the poor will suffer. The rich will continue to enjoy their subsidized water long after the readily available supply runs out.

Just flush once a month (1)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116868)

It's almost as efficent.

Re:Just flush once a month (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116886)

Why are we worried about urinals? Those use less water than TOILETS, which we should be worried about more.

Yeah (2, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116917)

That's an attitude I always find refreshing. Let's not worry about making small improvements and only go for the big ones. After all, slow and steady loses the race. There's no point in making things better if we're not making them a LOT better.

Re:Just flush once a month (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116975)

Could someone explain why the story mentioned not flushing as a source of disease? I thought that urine was one of the most sterile liquids available. Thats why survival manuals recommend using it as a sterilizer if nothing else is available. How exactly does urine cause disease?

Dual Flush Toilets (1)

apple ii guy (908438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116870)

I use the Dual mode flush toilets in Japan for many years and had no problem with them.. If you remember whick flush to use... But after that It works great...

I have one! (5, Insightful)

skazatmebaby (110364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116871)

We have a no-flush urinal in the bathroom where I live [myspace.com]

The disadvantages are that you have to change the filter every, like 3,000, "non flushes". The filters are expensive and I'm sure they're slightly wasteful. If you don't have a new one, the entire urinal stops working and lovely pee just accumulates inside the urinal. And that stinks.

What would be nice would be a hybrid - it's a no-water system until the filter, "craps" out, and then you have the regular way of doing things, as a backup.

Saying all that, it's proven to save us lots of water and keep our incredibly delicate plumbing working well.

yea, but... (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117013)

If the system switches to a water based method once the filter "craps out," many people will become lazy and simply not buy the filter for it, citing the fact that its doing its job as is.

Flawed analogy (3, Funny)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116876)

Tired of arguing the same old issues like Linux vs Windows? Choose up sides in the fight over flushing vs non-flushing urinals.
Yeah, right! If it isn't Linux vs. Windows, how would I possibly know which side to pick?

Pfft... seriously...

I prefer flush (1)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116878)

I always have a bottle of water with me, and keep myself well hydrated... so I know my urinals well.

IMHO no flush urinals suck. There's always that faint odor of urine that just doesn't go away.

The best urinals ever are the low flow with a urinal cake. Low flow means even when they get older, and have calcium buildup, no splash at all on flush, and the urinal cake keeps it fresh. When well mantained they are very good.

When I make it rich... I'm getting a Urinal in my home bathroom. And yes, it will be low flow.

Re:I prefer flush (3, Informative)

connah0047 (850585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116910)

On my next birthday, when my wife asks me what kind of cake I want, it's going to be Urinal Cake.

When I was a kid my grandparents had an outhouse. (1)

ernunnos (906778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117078)

A few months ago our restrooms at work were remodeled and we got no-flush urinals.

The outhouse smelled better.

Splash (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116879)

I will just be happy when they invent no splash urinals...is it really that difficult??

round (1)

rescdsk (34079) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116881)

Time for the classic round:

Everybody poops and pees
If it's yellow, let it mellow
If it's brown, flush it down.

(Sung to the tune of "White Sands and Gray Sands," if you know that)

Urinals (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116885)

I have used a few of these. I would think that they would reduce the spread of disease through their "no touch" design -- no buttons or levers to press. The same argument made by users in the article, there. I guess I can understand the opposite argument; urine is just sitting there on the surface. But, I don't know many people that touch the inside of the urinal.

You can always spray it with a disinfectant, can't you?

Re:Urinals (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116928)

It's also important to point out that normal healthy people urine is actually quite sterile, and doesn't contain anything that's really going to harm people with an immune system of any kind. Actually, it's safe to drink your urine if you're stranded and don't have any other source of liquids. It won't hold you up for every, but it could keep you alive an extra while till help arrives.

Re:Urinals (1)

Johnboi Waltune (462501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116958)

It's not important in this context. The point is that the urine is a breeding ground for bacteria that already exist in the urinal.

Re:Urinals (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117092)


Urine is sterile, and unless there's something kind of wrong with you, there shouldn't be any glucose to encourage bacteria growth.

Now, it is warm and wet, and that helps with bacteria growth, but the same could be said of any warm, wet, non-corrosive liquid.

~W

Drinking urine (3, Interesting)

3dWarlord (862844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117041)

> From: Willett, J.R. > Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2000 3:16 PM > Subject: PUR > > Hi > > I received a PUR Water Filtration Pitcher (Plus LX, Platinum Edition) as a > Christmas present, and I have a question about what things it can't > filter. > > I have been very satisfied with its performance in removing chlorine from > tapwater, however I am wondering what the limits are in its filtering > capabilities. Could it, for instance, remove ammonia from an ammonia-water > solution? In other words, could I use it in the desert to recycle urine > into > drinking water? The box says a lot about what it can filter, but not much > about what it can't filter. It only says that the water must be sterile, > and > everyone knows that urine is completely sterile on leaving the body. Upon > leaving the urinary tract, it provides an ideal environment for growing > bacteria, but it is completely sterile inside you. The reason we don't > habitually drink our own urine is because the water in our urine carries > bodily poisons with it, including ammonia. If, however, your pitcher can > remove these poisons, I can see how my PUR Water Filtration Pitcher could > come in handy when water is scarce. > > Although my roommate has offered to sample my filtered urine, I thought I > would ask you people first, before I pee in my PUR pitcher. > > Thanks, > > -J.R. Willett -----Original Message----- From: Beckenbach.Mark [mailto:Beckenbach.Mark@purwater.com%5D [mailto] Sent: Friday, January 14, 2000 9:38 AM To: 'Willett, J.R.' Subject: RE: PUR Hello J.R., Gee-Whiz, I must admit that I read your e-mail with some skepticism. Upon further reflection I came to the conclusion that you could indeed run human urine through our filters. If you do this it could very well hasten your way to death, but you can filter urine. We don't normally test urine or the body's by-products associated with it. Drinking urine is a bit out of the main stream, if you'll pardon the pun. The filter may have some effect on the potency of the ammonia. If you're in an emergency situation with out water, drinking urine will only make your day worse. The ammonia in urine isn't what's going to ruin an already pisser of a day, its the salts. By constantly reintroducing those salts into your system, you are increasing the amount of salt in your system, and decreasing the amount of usable fluids. This salt will draw water from other tissues in your body, as will your kidneys. Your kidneys need the extra water to flush the salts out. It's a viscous circle. As your kidneys are shutting down, the poisons in your body will increase; thereby playing havoc with your heart. The lack of electrolytes in your in your brain can cause the synapses to misfire eventually causing you to get delirious and run screaming into the desert waving your hands over your head chasing Elvis. All levity aside, I am not a physician. However I do understand our products and have a thorough understanding of human physiology. My recommendation is not to do it. Carry a bladder of water in your trunk. Being prepared is the best way to keep from having to drink pee. Mahalo, Mark -----Original Message----- From: Willett, J.R. Sent: Friday, January 14, 2000 10:17 AM Subject: RE: PUR Mark, Thankyou for your timely reply in this matter. Not only have you saved us from what could have been a disasterous science experiment, but you have provided a tremendous amount of amusement to several college students with perhaps too much time on their hands to wonder about such things. I assume that if the filter cannot remove the salt from urine, then neither could it be used to filter ocean water to obtain something drinkable, another thing we were wondering about. Your skills in customer service extend even to answering the questions I did not ask. Have a pleasant day, and let me know if your R&D boys ever come up with a filter that can desalinate sea water and/or recycle human waste. I'll be the first to buy, if only for the bragging rights. -J.R.

Re:Urinals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14117111)

Actually, urine is only sterile in the body. When it passes out of the body, it becomes contaminated with the bacteria at the "exit". When they used to taste urine in labs to check for sugar content, the urine was removed with a catheter. Drinking your urine in a "stranded" situation is a bad idea. It will make you sick and if you're on land there's pretty many places to get water and if you're at sea, well, sucks to be you. I'd really recommend that you check out a survival handbook sometime if you're ever in a situation where you might be "stranded". Sounds like you could brush up on some points.

Re:Urinals (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117000)

Also, a flush-less urinal might not splash as much. There's a researcher who has does studies on how far commodes splash when flushed (I don't recall if he has done tests on urinals, but I assume he has), and it's something like 2 meters. That, combined with the zoo of bacteria you find on your toilet, and that's just disturbing.

Re:Urinals (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117006)

Oh, and what's wrong with the flushing toilets that flush themselves when you step away. Clean and sanitary because you don't have to touch them, and clean and sanitary, because the urine goes down the drain, along with the scent.

Spreading diseases? (4, Interesting)

Patik (584959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116888)

Does running some tap water over part of the urinal really help stop the spread of diseases and germs? If so, why not have one flush every night to clean it out and remain 'waterless' during the day?

Isn't urine sterile? (1)

OsirisX11 (598587) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116999)

Why should we be worried about diseases if urine is sterile?

Is it not?

I am not a doctor (2, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117062)

If a doctor contradicts me then ignore everything I say here.

Kidneys are wonderful microfilters and normally don't let bacteria through. On the other hand there are kidney diseases that let things through that shouldn't be there. The vet monitored our late cat's kidney disease by checking whether bacteria were showing up in her urine.

Then there are bladder infections.

Normally though urine is considered the most sterile of body fluids.

Re:Isn't urine sterile? (2, Informative)

hazem (472289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117101)

It is, for the most part. But it's nutrient rich and a great source of food for the bacteria living in the bathroom environment. By peeing on the floor, for example, you're not really adding bacteria to the environment, but you're feeding the ones that are already there.

Re:Spreading diseases? (3, Insightful)

sacdelta (135513) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117009)

Given how accurate some people tend to be, I don't think either prevents urine from being on the surface. Using that argument seems like more of a red herring . I would actually rate the 'waterless' as more sanitary since, unlike a handle flush you never need to touch it. But of course if you wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, like people should, it really wouldn't matter.

I used to have one where I worked and some of the people there went to some interesting lengths to try to control the smell when the jatintorial staff wasn't quick enough with the filter replacements.

Before I would say it is an efficient water design, I'd have to see the figures on how many gallons of water get used to produce each filter. And also how much pollution is created for each one. It might end up as a wash, or even a loss when you actually consider all of the process.

Re:Spreading diseases? (3, Informative)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117022)

It doesn't matter, urine is sterile anyway. People are just really paranoid. ... unless said person has something quite serious going on and blood is coming out, but I have a feeling that's pretty rare.

washing hands (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117079)

Does running some tap water over part of the urinal really help stop the spread of diseases and germs?

This may not apply to urinals, but with toilets flushing ends up atomizing some of the contents. Which means it's spraying a little bit of urine alllllll over the bathroom...

That's not really the problem with germs and bathrooms though; it's WASHING YOUR HANDS. Hot water, soap, lather, and get it under the nails as much as possible.

I recall at a conference on infection control for doctors and surgeons, they put some researchers in the bathrooms and counted how many people (doctors! Many of them infection control specialists!) did/did not wash their hands. A HUGE number of them didn't bother. And we wonder why staph infection rates in US hospitals are astronomical...

One doctor recently infected several patients via a staph infection in his nose- he knew about the infection because several patients came back with staph infections, and he continued to operate. A woman he performed a back operation on (AFTER he KNEW he had the infection!) died as a result of a massive staph infection in her body.

The doctor was even told by the hospital prior to the operation that given the number of staph infections coming from his patients post-op, they wanted him to take an antibiotic regimen. The asshole REFUSED...and was still allowed to operate.

I have zero sympathy for doctors these days complaining about malpractice insurance costs; I see plenty of evidence they just don't give a shit about their jobs. Sloppyness on their part accounts for a huge number of prescription errors. You're willing to spend years studying the best way to care for someone, and you can't be fucking bothered to PRINT LEGIBLY on their prescription so that they don't get a drug overdose? And you can't wash your hands after going to the can, so your patients don't die from staph infections?

Well... (4, Funny)

Xaroth (67516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116894)

"Is this really a worthwhile debate or just an excuse for toilet humor?"

Given that this story was submitted to /., I'm gunning for the latter. I offer as evidence any comment that gets modded "Funny", including this one.

Re:Well... (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117044)

gooman is the name of the submitter of a potty article.

Tee Hee!

Seriously though, if you can get by without flushes, and there's no smell, how exactly is disease going to spread? It's not like people are going to go, "hmm, this urinal doesn't smell, oooh look a quarter to pick up!"

Re:Well... (1)

FreakyAntelope (827365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117053)

Looks like you must be wrong then..

Your post is the only comment modded funny with a score of three or above..

Looks like toilets are worthwhile afterall!

Not the only debate (5, Funny)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116895)

This picture [oss-in-efl.info] shows that flush / no-flush is not the only debate over urinals, at least in Korea.

Re:Not the only debate (1)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117029)

Wow, that's just disturbing. You know they wouldn't have to go to the trouble of coming up with a sign (pictures and all) unless it was really that much of a problem. God, hard to imagine though that there are _that_ many illiterate urinal users that have to be told how to use the thing.

Reminds me of a sign I saw once in a bar hanging over the urinal though:

We aim to please. You aim too, please!

Gravity doesn't stop odors (4, Interesting)

Tux2slack (847353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116901)

I work as a government electronics contractor onboard U.S. Navy ships....some of the smaller ones have a similar urinal installed. It just collects urine until a certain amount has been collected (about 2 pisses or one really long one) and a level switch trips a vacuum suction device that sucks it away. The only drawback is that the urine that naturally coats the urinal walls and drain STINKS as it ages and never gets a water wash-down. It's nasty, but that's what you get when you piss in a hole and let it sit. I think they used to call it an outhouse back in the day.

I don't care what they do... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116903)

I don't care what they do, provided they can stop those public restrooms from stinking so much. It's amazing that they can clean them every hour (there's a timesheet on the wall that says so) and still have them eternally smelling like Piss. Also, if they could just provide dual flush toilets in all public restrooms, that would probably clear up a lot of the water issues very easily. You probably wouldn't even have to replace the entire unit, just parts in the tank, to be able to make them dual flush. Urinals aren't where the problems are with water usage. It's the other half of the population (women) using 5 gallons on every flush, and going to the bathroom twice as often.

Re:I don't care what they do... (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117020)

I say we just replace the whole restroom with a giant metal grating for a floor. If you gotta go pee or poop, just pick a stall and let it go through the floor. When your done, the flush just rinses off the section of the grid you used through a common drain. No fixtures to clean, and when they do their hourly "cleaning" of the whole room, they just get everyone out and flush the entire thing with bleachy water to kill the smell....

tm

To pee or not to pee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116905)

... that is the question.
"If it's yellow, let it mellow.
If it's brown, flush it down."

Let's Go Back To Potty Training... (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116908)

From the Article: "They seem clean and you don't have to flush them and I like that," said Philippe Van Nieuwenhuyse, a sophomore business-law student. "I always hate to flush with my hand. A lot of germs can collect on one of those handles."

Philippe, that's why Mommy told you to always wash your hands when you're done...

Re:Let's Go Back To Potty Training... (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117106)

And why can't urinals in the great United States have electronic infrared sensors in place of those flush handles, like all those third world countries have?

Oh, silly me. I forgot that it's [uspto.gov] already [uspto.gov] patented [uspto.gov]. At least now some of us can go on our marry ways to argue about intellectual property.

Sure do (1)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116911)

Does anyone have these fixtures installed at their place of employment? Yes. But it smelled real bad and had a handle on it that did nothing. Could never figure out the technology. Must be too advanced for me.

hmmm (1, Interesting)

orbit86 (932209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116915)

how can you waste water, when you flush it gets filtered again..It's not like Water Disappears..or am I stupid?

Re:hmmm (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116980)

This is why in countries in europe and asia, you see devices that are made to save water, because they could run out, if they can't filter it fast enough and get it back into the system. This is less of a problem in the US, where there is quite a bit of water, at least in most places. It's even less of a problem in Canada. So much so, that I would hardly call it a problem at all. They say, per capita, that Canada is the (or one of the) largest users of water. Well we got a tonne of it. We can't really do anything else with it. I guess we could sell it to the americans. But they aren't hurting that much yet. As long as the water we used gets filtered and put back into the environment in a clean form, then there's many more important environmental problems to worry about like coal power plants.

Isn't that called a tree? (5, Funny)

caffiend666 (598633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116916)

Isn't a no-flush urinal called a tree? Why not simply avoid the sewer system and start installing shrubberies in all men's rooms :)

Re:Isn't that called a tree? (1)

Chucklz (695313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116994)

So, umm.... bring us a no-flush urinal... and make it a nice one! Not too expensive...

Used them at Acadia National Park (3, Funny)

Sugarcrook (795680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116922)

ANP [nps.gov], in Bar Harbor, has these at the summit of Cadillac Mountain. One of the major attractions at ANP, these urinals get a lot of use. No noticeable smell and the rangers seemed happy about the reduced maintenance.

Yes, I went to a national park and asked about the urinals.

My local community college has them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116924)

My local Comm. College has them in their main office building where the cafeteria is.



About a week after they put them in, there is a strong urine smell in the room. I stopped using them immediately and either went upstairs where they used regular ones and did not smell at all. I just basically avoided using that particular rest room.



I think they don't help out that much. Which would you rather have: clean restroom, or one that stinks but saves water? Urinals use much less water than toilets do, anyway.

The interests of business over public interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116943)

I don't see much of a debate here at all. Look at what happened to all the typewriter repairmen when the PC (and word processor) got big. They'll have to adapt, so what? There's no reason the non-plumbers among us should have to suffer inferior urinals for this reason.

Water conservation is important! (1)

cobras2 (903222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116953)

Because, after all, there isn't much water on the earth.

Re:Water conservation is important! (1)

bhav2007 (895955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117115)

Hey, that a good point! Why the hell are we using freshwater in out toilets? Seems like if a city really felt like saving water, it would be able to convert some part of the system to saltwater. Heck, we could just pump the crap back into the ocean!

Pee in the Sink (4, Funny)

diakka (2281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116955)

Seeing as how urine is fairly sterile, I just pee in the sink. no splashback, and it all gets washed down when i wash my hands. I learned about this environmentally friendly tip from Adam Carolla.

Me, too (1)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117017)

But only when I'm too drunk to know which is which.

Sadly, the older I get the less often I get that way.

We have them (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116960)

My University has them in the new CS building. I was pretty sceptical at first, but after about a year of usage, I have to say I am positively surprised. If anyhting, there is less odor, since people can't forget to flush. In our previous building we hat light sensors that would auto-flush, but since half the students wear black t-shirts, that didn't seem to work too well.

We have them at University of North Texas (5, Interesting)

nbahi15 (163501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116967)

One of our newest buildings on campus (1998) is the EESAT (Environmental Education, Science and Technology) Building. There is a picture of the building at http://www.ias.unt.edu/about/ [unt.edu]. It is generally a favorite building on campus to have classes in, with a giant earth population clock, all native plants landscape the facility, and other conservation and science exhibits exist in and around the building.

The mens, can't speak to the womens, have urinals that are the flushless type described and there is a plaque above them indicating that they save water and trap odors. However the contractor went ahead a outfit the urinals with a water pipe in case they didn't work out. It stops short where an L shaped pipe would normally connect to a standard handle flushed or motion activated unit.

They have been there for several years without complaints, and they don't smell, so in this instance they are a success.

That's What Phasers are For! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14116972)

But actually, saving 24,000 gallons of drinking water per urinal, per year.

Wow!

That's like bigger than Lake Erie,
considering all the Urinals used during baseball and football games.

Saves a Tree,
Saves a Fish,
and saves on the water bills, and municipal taxes too!

I find that.. (1)

ltwally (313043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116986)

I find that it conserves water if I just piss outdoors. Sure, the neighbors might not like it, but ... it's for the environment!

Yup, they block (5, Interesting)

vik (17857) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116988)

We had one installed at work - then ripped out and replaced with an old-fashioned water variant. It kept on blocking up. We asked why, and the answer came back that people were pissing in it too often.

Well sucks to that idea. Out it went.

Vik :v)

Technology? I think not! (2, Informative)

Drosophila_R_Us (726239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14116996)

Let me say one thing- No Flush Urinals stink to high hell! It's incredible. I work in an ~20 million dollar building on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus (Engineering 2- for those who know UCSC) which was completely 2 years ago, and it has only no flush urinals. They're nasty. Yes they save water, and that's a good thing, but to be lauded as new tech! Give me a break. Imagine that design meeting? "I've got an idea! No water in urinals!! We'll save water and then spin some horse#$%! about how they are odor free!!!" Thanks Guys!

One solution I've seen (1)

MoOsEb0y (2177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117010)

The college I go to recently built a new building which follows all kinds of "Green" standards. One of the features of the building is a rainwater reclaimation system. Rainwater is collected from the roof and held in cisterns in the basement. When needed, water is pumped from these tanks and placed into toilets. Thus, there is a huge water savings at the cost of the amount of energy needed to pump the water from the tanks into the toilets.

Re:One solution I've seen (1)

RITMaloney (928883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117073)

Rainwater is collected from the roof and held in cisterns in the basement.
Meanwhile all the nearby streams are drying up and the fish are dying. The trees and shrubbs in the landscaping around the buildings are shriveling up, and the sprinklers need to be used twice as much.

spread of disease? (1)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117021)

I thought urine was sterile? Or does my doctor not know anything about bodily functions?

Re:spread of disease? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14117094)

Hint: just because it's sterile when it comes out doesn't mean it stays that way.

As soon as it hits the air, it starts growing bacteria.

"Sterile" and "germicidal" are two entirely different concepts.

magnitude? (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117031)

My gut feel is that we're wasting far more on watering lawns. People are literally just spraying water out onto the ground. Anybody know the numbers?

IKEA has 'em (1)

fiji (4544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117034)

The new IKEA near Boston has them, and I have seen them elsewhere (perhaps at other IKEAs)... I have never noticed a smell, but that may be the strict cleaning the bathrooms get.

-ben

Odor issues with waterless. (1)

mikus (222126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117040)

I'm not entirely sure what to say about these, other than my experience with them has been quite unplesant. Property management has been steadily replacing traditional urinals with Falcon Waterless units in our building, and to many people's dismay due to an ever increasing urine smell that doesn't go away. I don't know if it's a matter of needing special care the average slack-jawed janitors aren't aware of, or if this is just normal for the units. Anyone else have experience with the Falcon Waterless units (or other) perpetually reeking of old urine, or is it just misuse?

    With any choice in the matter, I'll not ever purchase them based on present experience...

-mb

Waterless (1)

DeathBunnyRanger (640362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117049)

At my office we have a waterless urinal, it kicks ass! the walls are made of this anti bacterial, super slick substance that even reduces splatter. our model is easy maintenance, a cup of the blue jell once a week and every 2 weeks a quick rinse with water for the walls. I have found that I can piss and run and safe precious coding time by not dealing with the flush handel, (nor washing my hands for all it is worth, since I know how clean the rest of my body is)

Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14117055)

I can see the newspaper headlines now: "The Number One Issue in America Today: Flushless Urinals?"

Apologies in advance.

Brilliant idea (1)

mysterious_mark (577643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117071)

This sound like a great idea! especially for LA which has no local water supply. The water from LA is pumped from the Owen's Valley (where I happen to live). The impact of water pumping from the Ownens Valley has caused massive environmetal degredation for the eastern sierra and the Owens Valley including the complete draining of Owens Lake, and has severely damaged Mono Lake. So anything that would help this problem would be a step in the right direction. Now if we could just stop everyone in LA from washing their SUV's twice a week, we'd be on a roll!

If its yellow, let it mellow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14117080)

I don't know about these fancy urinals, but at home I just don't flush the toilet when I urinate. If it's brown, flush it down.

Urine Drinkers (-1, Troll)

mikapc (664262) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117083)

I've heard there are some people who drink urine. Just get some of them at your office. I suppose I could oblige them if they opened they're mouths hehe.

narita (1)

Maglos (667167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117084)

I'm pritty sure I seen these no flush toilets in narita airport. They worked fine. Their argument about not being able to clean the inside is bull, because it seems like they could easly modify the design so it could flush for cleaning.

This is just like when the milk delivery men protested fridges.

Why not electronic? (1)

RelaxedTension (914174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117091)

Electronic flushers are the way to go. They use infra-red sensors to flush when used, can be retrofited to almost any existing urinal, and save huge amounts of water.

Seems to me they are a far superior choice to the cost of replacing whats's already in place.

Let me clue the editor in... (1)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 8 years ago | (#14117096)

No flush urinals came [i]before[/i] flush urinals.

The article makes them seem like they're a new invention or something and that the USA is somehow behind the times when it comes to technological advancements in bathroom.

Now that that's out of the way... flushing urinals were invented for a reason. That reason, undoubtedly, was to help reduce the smell of dried urine.

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