Ask the Expert (Restroom Fixtures)

Why should we install waterless urinals?

Determining the need for waterless urinals depends on the number of males using the building. Also, if new construction or a restroom renovation is involved. If new construction, there are few reasons not to install no-water urinals. If a retrofit, and 10 or fewer males use the facility, the return on the investment may not prove worthwhile at this time. But with rising water and sewer rates, reconsideration may be necessary at a future date.

When looking at installation and maintenance costs, no-water urinals usually cost less to install than traditional fixtures because no flush valves or water lines are involved. Overall, the return on investment can vary, depending on the number of users, water and sewer rates, and the age of the urinals. Waterless urinals range in price from $250 to $500 per unit. In most cases, the return on investment is about two years or less.

If you are concerned with odor issues, most waterless urinals have cartridges installed in the base of the fixture. Filled with barrier fluids, these cylinders suppress odors and block vapors. Proper cleaning will help prevent odors. Be aware that some cartridges are costly and must be replaced fairly often, but others are relatively inexpensive and last longer. Investigate the different systems available before selecting your waterless urinals.

Also, if sustainability is an objective, installing waterless urinals can earn you LEED points. The LEED rating system offers up to five points (out of approximately 32 required) toward certification for buildings that incorporate measures to reduce water usage. Installing waterless urinals is often one of the easiest and most significant ways to accomplish this.

This article originally appeared in the College Planning & Management October 2019 issue of Spaces4Learning.

About the Author

A frequent speaker and author on water conservation issues, Klaus Reichardt is founder and CEO of Waterless Co. Inc.(, based in Vista, CA. Reichardt founded the company in 1991 with the goal to establish a new market segment in the plumbing fixture industry with water efficiency in mind. The company manufactures restroom and plumbing-related products.