Prepare to say goodbye to traditional urinals in Pismo Beach.
As part of its ongoing efforts to increase water conservation in the city, the Pismo Beach City Council on Tuesday will consider an ordinance that would, among other things, require that all urinals installed in new construction be waterless or “flushless.”
The ordinance would also require that all existing urinals within the city be retrofitted to waterless versions by Feb. 14, 2016. The city currently has a urinal retrofit rebate program, but if the new ordinance is approved, city staff have said recommended the program be halted, and new retrofitting under the ordinance, would be at the owners’ expense.
The council expressed tentative support for such an ordinance at its May 19 meeting — the same meeting in which the council declared a critical water shortage and pondered the possibility of a building moratorium (the moratorium was eventually dropped, though possible building restrictions are scheduled to once again come before the council Sept. 15).
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Waterless urinals work similarly to their conventional counterparts, but rather than flushing, they drain by gravity. A cartridge in the drain traps urine beneath a lower-density liquid — typically some form of oil — to prevent odors, before it flows out through the building’s plumbing system.
The city has already begun to use waterless urinals at several public buildings, according to a report prepared by city staff. In March, the urinals in City Hall were replaced with waterless units, and a retrofit of the Police Department and Veterans Hall urinals is scheduled for next week.
The city could grant an exemption to the ordinance in situations where the installation of a waterless urinal would cause “undue burden” on the owner, when the financial burden or other unforeseen burdens outweigh the water savings generated, or in situations to protect public health and safety, according to the staff report.
The council will also consider requiring all publicly accessible restrooms to be retrofitted with new water faucet aerators that would emit 0.5 gallons of water per minute, versus the typical 2.2 gallons per minute, and requiring that all multi-unit commercial and residential buildings within the city install sub-meters to better measure water use at each individual unit.
A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for July 21 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.