Sunday, February 25, 2007

Saving Water in Public Buildings

Enware  Sensor Activated Flushing UrinalWith water restrictions in place in Australian cities one of the frustrations is to go into a public building and see water being wasted. While Australian governments are requiring private citizens to save water, their own agencies are wasting it.

As an example I have sent a quick note to one Canberra library suggesting they fix their toilets. Water is leaking from the cistern down the drain in one and the urinals self flush every minute or so. The result is thousands of liters of drinking water water wasted each day.

It would just take a few minutes for a plumber to fix or replace the leaking valve. At the same time they could adjust the urinals to flush less often. A Sensor Activated Flush could be installed which only works when someone is present (at least it would stop the flushing over night when the building is deserted).
The movement of a user at the urinal is detected by the detector & control module. After a delay of about 50 seconds the urinal is flushed by the water actuator. Once the urinal is flushed all user movements are ignored for 20 seconds to reduce unnecessary water wastage. The sensor reactivates and waits for another user.

Enware tapware range- Electronic hands free (Urinal flushing devices), Enware Australia Pty Limited
Waterless Urinal TrapBetter still would be a waterless urinal. Some of these use a cartridge filled with vegetable oil to form an air tight seal to stop smells. This needs maintenance. Other units use a flexible plastic seal:
  • Urine flows down the waste.
  • The silicone diaphragm opens, allowing liquid to pass through.
  • One urine has flow through the diaphragm, it closes.
  • When the diaphragm is closed, a positive seal is created, therefor trapping odors within the pipes and not in the atmosphere.
From: How does it work?, Britex
The Australian Government is handing out $200M in Community Water Grants for such water saving devices. Unfortunately federal government agencies can't apply for the grants. But local government can:
Improving Water Efficiency in Boroondara's Public Conveniences

$38,315.50 (+ GST)

Proponent: City of Boroondara, VIC

This project will save water by replacing 15 full flush toilets with dual flush toilets and 7 water flushing urinals with waterless urinals at four public facilities. This will save an estimated 789,000L of water per year. A community education program will be undertaken as a part of this project.

From: Details of Demonstration Round projects - Local government projects, Department of the Environment and Water Resources, 2006
See also:

1 comment:

Tom Worthington said...

The public library I complained about in February seems to have fixed their water wasting urinal by installing an infrared movement detector which activates when someone is present. But another problem in the same toilet is the bizarrely complex hand basin tap.