Waterless Urinals

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Waterless Urinals

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Has any one had any experience with waterless urinals? Are they any good and are they more maintenance intensive from adding the liquid,pulling cartridges etc.? Thanks for any input.

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  • Noah:

    There is a good article: Putting Waterless to Work by Douglas Yon and David Cosaboon.  See:


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  • While employed at another university, I performed a cost analysis of the waterless. The results documented a water-saved payback period of approximately 22 years. Considering the unpleasant maintenance task facing the custodian, combining with minimal dollar savings - the university maintains the conventional low flow variety.

  • Hello,

    I’m not sure exactly how you determined the return on investment (ROI) of installing no-water urinal systems and am sure there can be different variables. For instance, it is almost always less expensive to install a waterless urinal in a newly constructed facility versus a retrofit. This will of course impact the ROI.

    However, a study conducted by the state of Massachusetts determined that if conventional water-using urinals were replaced with waterless urinal systems, a facility with 1,000 male workers could save as much as 1.6 million gallons of water annually.

    OK, we all know there will be a big savings in water use. But what does this mean in dollars and cents?

    The researchers wondered about this as well and estimated the cost savings of switching out the conventional urinals and installing waterless systems would amount to about $21,000 in water and sewer costs (based on June 2008 charges).

    We have prepared a Savings Evaluation Worksheet that might help you reevaluate the possible cost savings of installing waterless urinal systems.  More information is available at: http://www.waterless.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=24&Itemid=54




    Klaus Reichardt
    Waterless Co. Inc



  • Noah, I don't experience with waterless urinals but, I would like to hear from someone that has them in their buildings. Thanks

  • FYI, there is a previous thread on waterless urinals that people might find useful. It had a lot of replies ...


  • I have never managed a facility that had waterless urinals, so I don't have personal experience with cost or maintenance issues, but I have used them several times. The thing that bothers me about them is the biological hazard of urine splattered around the urinal and then splattered onto subsequent users. This is highly distasteful to me, whether or not it actually transmits disease or germs. It's the perception of this transfer that I find distasteful and possibly harmful. Comments?

  • interesting notion and I guess many have that same feeling;however, this is a misconception: when water is present the actual bacteria count is huge in a flushed urinal. Also if you look at any flushed urinal you will notice the splash around the urinal and the floor; a big issue with any facility. That splash comes from users not hitting the "sweet spot" in a urinal;however, most get it as to not get splashed. That sweet spot is also in any non water urinal and gotta be hit:) yet it is less bacteria laden that splash from a flushed urinal (no water,no moisture,less or no bacteria.

  • I have been running a facility that has 11 waterless urinals. We have the following challenges:

    1. We charted the plumber’s time and the cost of the replacement of the cartridge. Our maintenance cost is about 6 to 7 thousand a year.

    2. There is no way to indicate when the cartridge is going to fail. This causes pooling in the bowl. This results in the clients complaining that they are not working and a poor image to the maintenance department.

    3. There is a smell from the undiluted urine. We use an enzyme to counteract this.

    4. We had problems in the beginning with clients not thinking that they were sanitary and complaining to our OH&S department.

    With the creation of the cartridges and chemicals that go into them and then the used cartridges into the landfills I’m not sure what the benefit is to the environment.  

    I’m looking forward to hearing from other long term users.

  • I would never, ever use waterless urinals. They stink and require excessive and expensive maintenance. I have seen several locations where they were were removed after a very short time and replaced with standard urinals. There are low flow alternatives available, I recommend using them.

  • depends on which urinals you are using; there are some where a cartridge costs $42 each and there are some that cost $7.00 each; then there is the sealing liquid;some require special cleaners, otherwise the sealing liquid brakes down and you have odors, other sealing liquids do not require special cleaners and  do not deteriorate the seal.  On 11 urinals with average use cost of cartriges per year and liquids should be around $80 a urinal 9the inexpensive ones) while the average water/sewer/maintenance cost on the comparative flushed urinal (1 gal) will be between $180 to $350 per flushed urinal per year (depending on your water/sewer cost per 1000 gal. National average is $7.50 to high on east Coast areas of $26/1000 gal.

    And those water/sewer costs keep rising.  One company's cartridges are recyclable.

    On low flow alternatives, remember,the urine amount donated remains the same while you lower the water volume. More urine to water means more clogs. No water and urine will not build the hard encrustations you know in flushed urinals.

    Interestingly, there has to be something about these fixtures as more and more companies (especially the big guys)are getting into the game over the past 8 years - I guess that most of them work and as water/sewer/maintenance costs are rising, they are a definite alternative. The oldest company has been selling these for over 20 years.

  • Your true savings is in the construction stage of the waterless urinals.  Not having to run water lines to the urinals is where the initial savings is at.  Now if you are doing a retro fit that savings will not be part of the Return on Investment.  From my experience I would much rather deal with a low-flow water urinal than the waterless.  Waterless has a higher level of maintenance required to assure that the cartridge has the proper amount of chemical and in between cartridge refills you will have complaints from customers about the smell.  

    I have both water and waterless urinals at my location and the waterless are a lot more of a headache because I have to continually remind and train housekeeping staff how to use the chemical and refill the cartridge.

  • We piloted two different manufacturer's waterless unrinals 3 or 4 years ago. There was an odor issue with both models. The first model had a seal which was expensive to replace and didn't last very long. The second model used a special oil (vegetable if I recall correctly) that was cheaper but still had an odor issue.

    This was a retrofit application and we found that the mounting height was an issue. Our existing drain slope was an issue too. When we pulled the unit off the wall to inspect the drain line, the uric salts had almost completely blocked the drain line. Perhaps in a new installation the mounting height, drain line slope, and drain line material could be designed.

    This was a pilot and we worked with the State Plumbing Inspector to recieve approval as a pilot and were required to provide information about our experience to the inspector. These are not approved for use under our plumbing code. I would encourage you to work with your local plumbing official if you are thinking of spending any time or money using these. We ended up removing the units and retrofit the flush valve on the old urinal to .5 gpf. We've not had any issues with this.

  • sounds like you did not have much luck with them back then; was this in Illinois? still the one State that does not approve them-imagine, 49 others do and not IL??!!

  • It is a campus standard at Georgia Southern University.  We have found the waterless urinals have saved up front construction cost in new projects, as well as lower charges, do to the lack of water usage.  It is just the right thing to do if you want to be green.

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