I stop blogging for a few days to discover that the Wolfblogs system is down for a couple days for a big update– the main effect of which seems to be to make all my existing entries look really ugly.  Hopefully, new entries won't be so ugly.  I guess I'll see in a few minutes.  So, keeping with the yuck theme, one entry I meant to write earlier this week was about this fascinating article about no-flow urinals.  I must say, I feel quite eco-friendly whenever I use of these and no flushing is required, but it turns out they are not all they are cracked up to be.  From the N&O:

Men since Adam have survived without urinals that flush. By the early
1990s, concerns over water shortages and environmental impact spawned a
garage industry for urinals that don't use water.

Since then, the
devices, which rely on special oil-filled drain traps, have become the
rage in eco-conscious communities nationwide, especially in
water-worried California and the arid Southwest. They're now
fastest-growing segment of the U.S. urinal market, accounting for
250,000 of its 12 million units, thanks largely to powerful advocates…

Still, an inconvenient truth hovers over the no-flush urinal industry.
It's that many buyers and one-time fans say that the urinals are icky,
tricky and costly to maintain…

The feature in question is the no-flush urinal's trap. It's the size
of a coffee mug and locks into the urinal drain. Urine flows under the
trap's layer of scented blue oil much as vinegar flows through salad
oil. At the same time, the oil blocks release of sewer gases in the
drain line.

"They're not a problem if they're maintained
properly," said Falcon vice president Daniel Gleiberman, whose products
are also sold under the Sloan Valve Co. name. Customers with
well-trained, well-managed and low-turnover maintenance staffs tend to
agree with Gleiberman.

Alas, apparently things are so pretty when they are not properly maintained.  If something goes wrong with the seal, it's not pretty.  Just keep flushing.



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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