How the drought impacts urinals

Last year was one of the driest and hottest on record across almost the entire country. The crippling drought has also been the catalyst for some of the most widespread and chocking bushfire seasons in living memory.

Facilities managers, building owners, and operations managers rightfully question the suitability of water-hungry flushing urinals in washrooms. And architects re-examine incorporating ‘waterless’ urinals in their designs in an effort to satisfy a growing concern about the water shortages associated with the severe drought.

However, replacing flushing urinals with ‘waterless’ varieties bring with it a whole new set of problems, with persistent odour the chief complaint. Traditionally, the way to deal with odour in urinals was to flush after every use. But in times of drought the environmental impact and cost simply cannot be justified.

Is all water the same?

Before replacing flushing urinals, it is important to consider the effect different types of water can have on ‘waterless’ alternatives. Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney enjoy some of the best quality water around Australia. Other capital cities though are challenged with increasing degrees of hardness:

Low calcium water – Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney

Hard water – Adelaide, Brisbane and Pert

Extremely hard water – Country settlements that rely on bore water

Water sourced from the ground is high in dissolved minerals which coat fittings and urinals with calcium. To get rid of the build-up, many cleaners resort to the only solution they know … to treat surfaces with harsh chemicals. This approach may be effective in the short-term, but it damages assets and threatens the health of the environment.

What happens if we stop flushing?

There is no need to accept odour as the new reality when we replace flushing urinals with ‘waterless’ styles. In addition, the accumulation of uric scale and calcium in pipes over time should not be the source of extra plumbing costs. A premium biological solution, which uses natural bio-enzymatic action, will treat odour-producing bacteria, degrade stubborn uric scale, and soften calcium build-up.

Sensor-flush stainless urinal trough
Sensor-flush stainless urinal trough

Proven results

Biological cleaning solutions have been successful in innumerable locations around the country. A tavern in Brisbane for instance has been plagued with lingering odour issues. There was a constant smell of urine even though the sensor-flush stainless urinal tough looked clean on the surface. Closer inspection identified that 80% of the surface area of the urinal was dry and the cleaners used standard cleaning products to try and combat the urine smell. The dry areas were the perfect breeding ground for odour-producing bacteria. It was recommended that all surfaces be treated with a single biological solution, including the urinal, floor, walls and the step. A premium biological urinal block solution was used in tandem to treat the water and pipes. The feedback was instantaneous … the odour had gone!

A holistic solution

Using a couple of complementary biological cleaning solutions enabled the tavern in our example to continue to use a low-flushing stainless urinal trough with very little water. And because all surfaces were permanently coated with friendly pathogens that continued to work, the time spent cleaning was also reduced.

As for wall-hung ‘waterless’ urinals, you can continue to turn the water off providing you purge with water once a day.

Keeping things simple

Using the right product with the correct application is the simplest approach. Once cleaners choose to replace regular cleaning chemicals with premium biological solutions, and incorporate it with a simple cleaning regime, facilities managers and building owners can help save precious water resources in times of drought and channel plumbing costs to other operational priorities.

120 years of Australian rainfall - drought
120 years of Australian rainfall
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