Q. Why were waterless urinals used for only a short while at the Michigan League?
A. While waterless urinals are reducing water usage around the world, the technology is new and there have been issues. A U-M spokesperson emailed that the urinals were “piloted in a first floor restroom and experienced mechanical issues and flushing system malfunctions …
“The mechanical issues experienced during the waterless urinal pilot included increased pipe calcification that required additional preventative maintenance. The system also produced an unpleasant odor that would have required costly restroom ventilation modifications.”
The urinals were manufactured by Sloan. Their product line manager responded to the U-M statement with the comment that drainage can be poor in older buildings. He noted that if the urine drains properly, waterless urinals produce less odor than standard urinals, because water enables the bacteria in urine to propagate.
Aside from a single unit at the G.G. Brown Building, the League’s were the only waterless urinals on campus. The spokesperson noted that university guidelines allow either waterless or low-water (one-eighth gallon per flush) urinals. The latter will be installed soon at the Michigan Union. No other waterless urinals are currently planned.
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