Waterless urinals will be the new normal in Pismo Beach, following a unanimous City Council decision Tuesday night to ban traditional urinals in favor of their flushless counterparts.
The new ordinance requires that all urinals installed within the city at any new business or building be waterless, and requires all existing urinals within the city be retrofitted to flushless versions by Feb. 14, 2016. The ordinance will come before the City Council for a second reading at its next meeting.
City engineer Ben Fine said the city does not have an exact estimate for how much water the change would save — “It would be a lot,” he said, noting that a typical urinal uses about 40,000 gallons of water per year.
The council simultaneously decided Tuesday night to halt its urinal retrofit rebate program, so new retrofitting under the ordinance would be at the owner’s expense.
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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. 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 this week.
The urinal ordinance came as part of the council’s ongoing efforts to address water conservation in the city in light of the statewide drought.
At the meeting the council also voted in favor of an ordinance amendment that would require all publicly accessible restrooms be retrofitted with water faucet aerators that emit 0.5 gallons of water per minute, versus the typical 2.2 gallons per minute, and all new construction use the half-gallon aerators in bathrooms.
It would also require that new multi-unit commercial and residential buildings install sub-meters to better measure water use at each individual unit.