Saturday, 26 June 2010

Public choice plumbing

Wired nicely details the difficulties James Krug has had in bringing his waterless urinal to market. You see, city codes everywhere he wanted to sell required that urinals be plumbed with a water source rather than just a drain. And the plumbers unions really really didn't like anybody who'd try to reduce their members' work.

Solution? The Universal Plumbing Code was changed to allow the waterless urinal, but only if a useless capped-off water supply were plumbed in behind the wall where the urinal sat; the standard plumbing work would then still have to be done.


  1. Worst invention ever! It turns out that water does indeed play a vital in urinals - removing the awful smell of stale urine. I also have beef with the idiot who invented full length urinals - he obviously never wore shorts and jandals in summer (or was a woman).

  2. I've never actually tried one of the waterless ones so can't vouch for them.

    The Kiwi full length urinal, or more accurately, the trough, can be awfully confusing for foreign visitors. I seriously had never seen anything like it except in the hundred-year-old shed used as an ice skating / curling rink in Altamont, Manitoba when I was a kid.

  3. Rules are rules even when they don't makes sense.

    Our builder told us he was putting a step outside a French door. I asked why not make the path higher? He said in the wake of the leaky homes debacle new building regulations required doors be a certain distance from the ground, and that requried a step.

    That the house was on a slope and in North Otago where we get an average of 500 mls of rain a year made no difference. Rules were rules and he had to follow them.

  4. @homepaddock: I'm soon expecting the third or fourth visit back from the council swimming pool inspector making sure that very minor fencing details are up to her idea of sufficiency (which differs from the view of sufficiency that was in place when we bought the house, which differed again from the view that was in place when the prior owners built the pool). The unfenced Pacific Ocean is 5 minutes from my door, as is the unfenced Avon River Estuary. Rules....

  5. Though having the water connection there should make it cheaper to switch back to a traditional urinal if you get tired of paying for the filter cartridges at 40 USD each.

  6. I can understand why you might WANT to have the plumbing there if you're just trialling the system. It being required though?